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My Biggie NSVs - Challenge Blog

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Here's the challenge for this week:

MAIN CHALLENGE: Most of us probably have a number of non scale victories, even if we aren’t to our goals yet. This week, reflect on those gains. Have you had health gains so far in your journey as a result of the changes you’ve made? Is your blood pressure down, or maybe your off some medications, or your asthma has improved? Maybe you’ve moved from obese to overweight? Share a health gain that you have made so far in your journey with your team for the main challenge this week. Also share a health goal that you have, that you have yet to achieve, and some things you will do to make it an accomplishment in the future.

Now I am a BIG advocate of Non Scale Victories, or NSVs as we call them here at Spark. In fact, that is the only thing that gets me through the month sometimes, especially when my loss is slow. So for this week’s challenge it was fun to see just how far I’ve come in my journey at Spark.



Here are my major NSVs:

AGE:

When I first started out on this journey 3 years ago when I did the online “Real Age” test, it said that my Real Age was 44 years old. I remember thinking…my gosh….and then I actually felt relief that it didn’t say I was 50 – imagine that! Relief that it was saying I was over 10 years older than what I was….

I retested myself the other day and my "Real Age" is now 33 years old and I am 36 years old. (Soon to be 37, but shh…). I'm actually getting younger!

BMI:

I went from being above a 45 (over VERY obese) to being under 35, which is only obese, to 32.4, which is ALMOST just overweight. It is my goal to be under 30, and then finally under 25, which is my ideal weight.

V02 SCORE:

VO2 is a measure of how much oxygen your body can consume during maximum intensity exercise. I started off two years ago and my score was so bad it literally was not on the chart. It was 21.1. My boot camp instructor had to draw a line way below the worst on the chart and say “you are here.”

Since then I went up to 24.7, which was still Very Poor, but at least on the chart. From there I went to a 31, which is “Fair”, and I’m happy to report that NOW I am at a 34, which is actually deemed "GOOD"!!!

Now I am working toward "Excellent", which is a score of 35.7 and up.

WEDDING RING:

I gained much of my weight the first year of being married. Maybe it was the stress, maybe it was that I was too happy, content, whatever it was, my wedding ring, the antique set that I loved - didn't fit me after a year of being married. It was so unfair. My understanding hubby said I should just take it in and get it resized (I just love that man). My stubborn nature said, no. If I couldn't get back down to the size that I was when I was married, then ppfft. Forget it. Well I am happy to say that not only does my wedding set fit me now, BUT....dare I say it is a tiny bit LOOSE.



Other major NSVs include:

Pants – went from a size 26 to a size 14/16, or from a size 3XL to a L.

Jeans – went from a size 28 to a size 16. I would like to be a 10/12 eventually.

Shirts – went from a size 24 to a size 14, or from a size 3XL to a size M.

Bra – went from a size F to a triple D and finally down to a respectable C cup, lol.

Running – went from being a non-runner to running 5 5ks last year and 1 8k this year with plans to run 2 10ks this year and a 15k as well. I eventually plan to run a half marathon.

Smile factor - in every picture I am now smiling - in the past I was not. 100% improvement!

Spiritually - I have found myself and don't feel lost anymore. I feel I have a purpose.

Happiness - Oh my, I went from being depressed and not ever wanting to get off the couch to being a happy, vibrant person. I am now fun to be around, and not only when I was drunk, like before.

Energy - I now have loads of it! And I need it with 2 young kids!




  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMALLERMELORIE 6/12/2011 3:52PM

    Like I said before, I want to follow in your foot steps. You are doing fabulous.

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INSPIREBYNATURE 6/10/2011 10:24PM

    gosh you are so freaking amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!

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JRIMM4 6/9/2011 11:31AM

    Awesome! Those NSV's are a way more impressive than any number could be!

JR

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OFFDREA 6/9/2011 10:38AM

    All wonderful victories!!!!! You have done some amazing things!

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FREES1 6/8/2011 11:58AM

    awesome victories!!! way to go!!!
emoticon(lotusflower's victory dance)

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CHICAGOHEALTHY 6/8/2011 10:55AM

    WOW! Really.... WOW! Your NSVs tell an amazing story. There is so much more than the number on the scale on the journey to a healthy lifestyle. You have so much to celebrate.

emoticon

Keep Sparking and keep up the good work!

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MOMFAN 6/8/2011 2:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LMLOPEZ 6/7/2011 10:57PM

    LOVE your NSV's. Especially the wedding ring one.
Keep Sparking!!

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UNICORN212 6/7/2011 9:54PM

    You have come a long way! Congrats!


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STARPESCADO 6/7/2011 9:02PM

    Wonderful!

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TEMPEST272002 6/7/2011 8:19PM

    You have come so far in this journey! I'm super-impressed by the V02 score. You've just made some many huge improvements to your health & your whole family is benefitting from the fitter, happier you. Great list!

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TRAVELGRRL 6/7/2011 7:41PM

    You should be so proud! You've come far and deserve to feel very good about your NSVs! Thanks for reminding us that we are gaining MUCH MORE than a smaller number on the scale.

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LOOZINITNOW 6/7/2011 7:37PM

    What a fantastic list of NSV's!!!! emoticon emoticon

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KSGROTHE 6/7/2011 7:22PM

    emoticon on all these NSVs! You have a lot to celebrate! emoticon

- Karen

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ROBYNROSE26 6/7/2011 6:03PM

    Fantastic, you are an inspiration!

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AMBER281 6/7/2011 5:48PM

    Awesome NSVs!!!
You are truly inspiring!

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NEVERGIVEUP1969 6/7/2011 5:45PM

    emoticonNSV's to celebrate!!! U have come far!!!

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May Progress Report and June Goals

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Start weight: 209.5
End weight: 207
Weight lost: 2.5 lbs.
Total weight lost this year: 18.5 lbs.
Goal weight progress: 29 more lbs. to go to goal weight!
Onederland progress: 8 more lbs. to reach ONEderland!
Total weight lost: 91 lbs.
Total fitness minutes: 1,374

My goal this month was to lose 4.5lbs, bringing me to 205. I lost half of that, losing 2.5 lbs. this month. I’m happy with that, I went through a plateau this month where I kept gaining and losing the same 3 lbs. I learned a lot about myself during this process. I am a strong woman and I don’t give up. I am persistent and I will reach my goals.

Oh, and did I mention? I reached OVER 90 lbs. lost – 30% of my weight!! And the size of a newborn calf. emoticon


FITNESS ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

Reached 1,374 fitness minutes! Woo hoo!

Worked out for 10 days in a row for 20 minutes or more. Streaker!

Started the swimsuit boot camp – I stress started…but I am going to re-do it in June, every day. Going for another streak.

Started to train for a 10k.

Set a new PR for a 5k time - 34:08 and that was with 5 minutes of warming up by walking.

JUNE GOALS:

New Goal: To run a sub 30 minute 5k! (OK, I may not reach this in June, but sometime this summer would be nice. It’s fun to have something to reach for).

New Fitness Goal: To run, walk, bike 60 miles in June.

Weight goal: To lose 4-6 lbs.

NON-SCALE VICTORIES:

I reached for carrots instead of chips with dip.

We had family over and I made a healthy salad for myself, but enough for others so that I wouldn’t be eating ribs.

My old swimming teacher did NOT recognize me at the gym – and I was in a swimming suit. She was in shock when she learned it was me, and turns out word has spread in my old gym about my success since my Mommy Boot Camp. Woo hoo! She said my face especially looks different.

I felt sexy dressing up as a pin-up for my husband’s 40th birthday surprise party.



At a company meeting a guy I hadn’t seen in 6 months freaked out about my weight loss, he said, and I quote “You are a shadow of your former self.” – it was quite a compliment, but it reminded me of what Jenn KITCHKINCAID said about people’s comments about weight loss, I didn’t like the term that much after thinking about it…but I’ll take it. I like how Jenn said that we are not shadows, or ghosts of our former selves, but that “In fact, YOU are probably feeling fuller and more sure of who you are now than ever before.” – if you haven’t read Jenn’s blog already entitled “The Language of Losing Weight”, it’s a must read, the link is below.

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4190286


And best of all, this month I got to meet and hold my twin nieces!



THINGS I’VE LEARNED:

This journey is not a quick-fix solution. I am worth the time invested in myself and not one minute is wasted on my health.

Don't be so serious. Have fun with it. This is your life, the journey is EVERYTHING.

Below is my May SparkSummary Calendar.


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WONTBEWAISTFULL 6/7/2011 4:34PM

   
Wonderful !!! You should be so very proud of yourself.

Sue

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MERULE 6/4/2011 4:22AM

  So inspiring!

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UNICORN212 6/3/2011 1:19PM

    Love it! You are doing so well!

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SMALLERMELORIE 6/2/2011 8:52PM

    I am looking at the little woman holding those twins and she looks great.

Great goals and I am so proud of your accompaniments.



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CARILOUIE 6/2/2011 8:23PM

    emoticon

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TEMPEST272002 6/2/2011 8:21PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

May was a great month for you. I love your positive attitude and your commitment to enjoying this process. You look fabulous. You're just beaming out of your pictures. Congratulations on 30% loss - just think of the positive impact on your health. No wonder you look so good.

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MOMFAN 6/2/2011 5:33PM

    emoticon emoticonI am cheering for you!

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ROEANDGO 6/2/2011 4:32PM

    Well done Kathy!! Wow!!! I love your entire blog....your month review, new plan, positive attitude.....LOVE IT !!!

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MARCH_ 6/2/2011 10:32AM

    YOU are such an incredible inspiration to me! To all of us I'm sure!
I love your rejoicing in NS Victories, grateful (strengthened even!) by the things you learned last month about plateaus, and how you keep your vision very clear and forefront.
And lastly, how you remember that this is long-term and worth it long term!
Thank you!

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INSPIREBYNATURE 6/1/2011 11:49PM

    I am soooooooooo proud of you! And you ARE a sexy pinup!!!!!!!

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KSGROTHE 6/1/2011 7:24PM

    emoticon on all your successes in May and on passing the 90-lbs lost mark! You rock!

Keep up the good work! emoticon

- Karen

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OFFDREA 6/1/2011 5:02PM

    Kathy you are so motivating and inspiring. There aren't enough congratulations for you and your success. Rock it out in June!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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LMLOPEZ 6/1/2011 4:34PM

    WooHoo!! You look great-even if you ARE a "shadow of your former self". Sometimes what's in the shadows are the best part...
Congrats on your twin nieces. Twins are really fun!! Enjoy!

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-ICANDOIT- 6/1/2011 4:33PM

    Could you be any cuter or any more positive??!! I just loved this blog, especially your outlook on things and the goals you have set!
You have done great things so far- I can't wait to see you accomplish those June goals!!

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AMBER281 6/1/2011 4:13PM

    Well done!! Keep up the good work and you will be in Onderland in no time!!

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/1/2011 3:51PM

    Well done! Progress in the right direction is progress, and you have certainly made it this month in so many ways. Congratulations on all you have achieved; you are doing great!

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CHICAGOHEALTHY 6/1/2011 3:29PM

    I always love seeing your pictures. You have an infectious smile. Thank you for making me smile. You are are so full of life! You are a beautiful strong woman and leave inspiration in your trail.

YOU ROCK!

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TREASURINGLIFE 6/1/2011 3:24PM

    GREAT JOB!!!! And best of luck with your June goals. I have no doubts you'll reach them! :)

- Michelle

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LOTUSFLOWER 6/1/2011 3:18PM

    Thanks everyone! TRAVELGRRL - 2.5 lbs. IS a reason for celebration! I just need to do that 12 more times and I've reached my goal weight. Boo yah! emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 6/1/2011 2:43PM

    "This journey is not a quick-fix solution. I am worth the time invested in myself and not one minute is wasted on my health."

That's really profound!

I'm so happy that you can lose 2.5 and still celebrate. I can feel your determination right through the computer! WTG.

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JENJESS48 6/1/2011 2:32PM

    You're doing such a great job, Kathy! This month I, too, learned to put the journey first and the stupid scale second. You're absolutely right: the journey is much more important. And I love that you focus on non-scale victories. I know that I've already told you, but you look just amazing in your pin-up outfit. You're such an inspiration!

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FREES1 6/1/2011 2:24PM

    congratulations - 90 of them!!! - for all you have accomplished - and may June continue to bring you successes!
what a happy looking auntie Lotusflower!
enjoy!!!

I am glad you are taking what seems was meant as a heart-felt compliment.. people usually tend to mean well and use expressions that are familiar... I lived with a person who used a wheel chair and it was interesting to see responses to phrases not meant in malice or ill will and yet stung... people sometimes just don't understand the fullness of what they are saying and I think, as you said, we should take those comments as positive and well-intended.

you rock lady

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MISSVOLUPTUOUS 6/1/2011 1:47PM

    Congrats on such awesome weight loss!!! You're doing amazingly and are a strong lady! You're also gorgeous! Best of luck on your June goals, I know you will reach them emoticon

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

HOW I do this - Sunny Challenge Blog Bonus

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For the bonus challenge, we are to share a tip for success that has helped us progress so far with our team. It can be anything, from how you make sure you get enough sleep, or batch cooking, sneaking in workouts, anything that has helped you improve yourself on this journey.

Here are my quick and dirty actual “tips”, followed by other things that I feel have helped me in my journey.

emoticonSwitch Out. When I hit a plateau switch things up. Add more strength training, or use SparkPeople’s meal plans. The meal plans are great because they keep food balanced and for the most part clean, and also I get great ideas from them. I would never have thought to put cream cheese, walnuts and raisins on a wrap before for lunch, but now it’s one of my favorites. How about PB&J without the “J” – using blueberries instead. I had that today. Delish. AND they give you a grocery list - the work has been done for you!

emoticonCalorie Cycle, aka “Trick your Brain”. So last week I was exactly at 1600 calories every single day of the week. And guess what? Not only did I maintain, but I gained. Sometimes I think our bodies need a “jolt”, and so now I try to alternate “high”, “Low” and “mid” days into my week, still staying in my spark range. 1600 was the middle range for me, now I’m adding 1400 low days and 1800 high days and this week since doing it I’ve lost 2.5 lbs. (the same weight I gained last week). I think calorie cycling has a lot to do with it. Sometimes our brains, and bodies, just need a jolt.

emoticonSave it for later. When I plan and pack my breakfasts and lunches, I save something for later. For example, today’s breakfast called for a waffle, fresh berries AND yogurt. Well, I knew I’d be satisfied after the waffle and berries, so I saved some berries and the yogurt for later, and had that for my morning snack. Then for lunch my sandwich called for carrots on the side, well I’m saving those for later, when I’m hungry for a snack mid-day. I’ve saved lots of calories doing this, and I’m still satisfied. Also if I have a sandwich and am full after half (which sometimes happens, sometimes not), I save that for later, too. Try it, you might like it.

Now for some more detail. You can stop reading here if you wish, lol. Earlier this year I posted a blog about WHY I do this. I’ve gotten several emails asking me exactly what is my secret, what am I DOING to do this, after recently hitting the 90 lbs. down mark, exactly WHAT I am doing. So I tried to formulate that into answer.

I don't really have a secret, I've been doing things the boring way, just eating healthy, working out, etc. There are a few main things that I think helped me especially in the beginning (but I still do them).

Here’s my list. Remember, what works for me may not work for you. But this is my list, take it or leave it, or take one step vs. all of them. I am a spiritual person, but you may not pray. That’s fine, just perhaps believe that you do have the strength to do this instead of literally praying.

There are no rights or wrongs on this journey.

Good luck, just believe and know that you CAN do this!!

1. Pray - I didn't have the strength to make changes on my own - I had tried so many times in the past to change and just couldn't. So I turned to the bible whenever I felt the urge to binge (my background is I used to be a compulsive eater, in H.S. I was anorexic and bulimic). This satisfied me in a way that food couldn't. I realized I was turning to food to fill me up, and knowing this helped me, plus turning it all over to God. He can handle it, I can't. Only He can take away my urge to binge and purge...not me. I am weak. But through Him, I have strength.

2. Track everything I eat - every morsel that goes into my mouth I track. I use the nutrition tracker to do that. Also Sparkpeople has been the #1 weight loss tool I've used – I love the fitness tracker, reports, teams to support you, it's great. Sort of like Facebook but for a healthy lifestyle.

3. Exercise. I started out not being able to walk even 1/2 mile at a pace that wasn't a snail's pace. I began with Leslie Sansone's DVDs and worked up to 1 mile. Then 2, then 3, then eventually 5 miles. Then after Marlo was born I joined a "Mommy Boot Camp" at Good Sam's Wellness Center. That gave me the desire to run, since I was the last in the pack and it frustrated me and pissed me off. So now I run and have run 5 5ks, 1 8k and will run 2 10ks this summer and a 15k in the fall.

4. Don't forget strength training and stretching. I try to strength train at least 2x per week, if not 3. Also stretching after any cardio and strength training is key to avoid injury.

5. Patience. I'm a SLOW loser. I've been doing this for 2 years, and only lost 40 lbs. each year - this year I've lost 16 so far (which is a lot for me). But some people lose quicker - I have good friends who have lost 100 lbs in just ONE year. That is awesome. I wish my body worked that quick. But my body isn't like that. It likes to hold onto each and every pound, so I have to be patient with it and just continue eating healthy and working out.

6. Don’t compare. You are you. I am me. We are all different and come in all shapes, sizes and speeds. Find which one you are and work with that.

7. It's a journey - Enjoy it! I want to be healthy, and so the things I do I would do even if I never lost another pound. I LIKE running, I LIKE eating cleaner foods, trying to stay away from less processed. This helps me when the scale doesn't move. Knowing that I have this amazing, brand new life and I'm happy - even though I still have a ways to go.

Most importantly, believe that YOU CAN DO THIS. It's entirely possible.


emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANDOK1260 4/6/2012 9:22AM

    thanks you very much i love your ideas

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DEBIGENE 4/6/2012 8:22AM

    Hi and thank you for this blob. I congratulate you on your success and send you wishes and prayers for a continued healthy life. I too have been on my journey for 2 years and to date gone from 303 to 205 it is def becoming a lifestyle for me and I am enjoying it everyday. That's a big secret, enjoying the journey and wanting to continue to make the changes to make it a permanent healthy way of living. I continue to remember it is still just living, and life has ups and downs and hills to climb and fall from, hurdles to jump and fall over .... but you and I are winners we just keep getting up and moving along the path. My strong faith in Jesus is also my guide each day of my life. Stay knowing you are blessed and enjoy a lovely Easter celebration.

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IGGYFLOP 9/26/2011 2:17PM

    Awesome. Thanks thanks :)

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REDROSEMARIE 9/19/2011 9:08AM

    Thanks for the great ideas!

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BIONICMONARCH 9/19/2011 8:48AM

    GREAT!

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THEIS58 9/18/2011 4:53AM

    emoticon emoticon

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JBIGELOW77 8/31/2011 12:21AM

    Thank you so much for the great tips! I pray too, and that is how I have come as far as I have. There may be something to that calorie change up, I am going to try that!

Your blogs are a blessing to myself and many others!

emoticon

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CORDIA72 8/29/2011 1:30PM

    I agree with KATV865...I want to stick these tips up on my fridge. Amazingly, simple, honest, and to the point...there's nothing you said that I can't do for myself. Thanks for sharing!

Cordia

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KATV865 8/29/2011 11:32AM

    These are some amazing tips, I kind of want to stick them up on the fridge! Thanks especially for the advice about trying the meal plans, and for the reminder to pray.
You are emoticon!

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KELLEEH 8/28/2011 12:48PM

    Your tips area great! Thanks for sharing! I may have to try the meal plans and see what they have to offer.

Congratulations on your AMAZING success!

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MY_HEALTH_BABY 8/27/2011 5:54PM

    Wonderful!! Thanks for sharing this emoticon

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KIN59VARA 8/27/2011 12:59PM

    Love the tips!

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KROLES55 8/26/2011 2:24PM

    Great posting... I especially like number one.

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SGTSUNNY 8/26/2011 2:09PM

    Love this, thank you for posting

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DZINE4KING 7/29/2011 12:52PM

    Wow...thanks for writing this blog! I think I will print it out and re-read, as I am going along in this journey! Thanks. for taking the time to write!

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CARILOUIE 6/2/2011 8:23PM

    I love the reminder "Don't compare." I still find that I compare myself to other people, even though I know that everyone is different.

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CATHYUNEW 5/27/2011 1:20PM

    This was an incredible blog and JUST what I needed at this moment in time!

Thank you and God bless every day of your life!

Cathy

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MARCH_ 5/27/2011 10:42AM

    Your "#5" really inspired me. Persisting for year after year toward a goal is inspiring. It shows a change in the thought process toward health. Thank you for sharing this personal part of your journey.

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DREAMGIRL76 5/27/2011 10:16AM

    Sounds like a plan, great job!

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-ICANDOIT- 5/27/2011 9:40AM

    What a great blog! I am a slow loser too- and it reminded me that progress can be made if I keep my commitment high- like you do! You are awesome!!!

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ZURDTA- 5/27/2011 9:26AM

    Lovely blog I like:

"6. Don’t compare. You are you. I am me. We are all different and come in all shapes, sizes and speeds. Find which one you are and work with that."

A lot of sense...



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RED_WRITINGHOOD 5/27/2011 9:26AM

    All great tips!! Thank you! I may have to try the Spark meal planner............

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MERULE 5/27/2011 2:24AM

  Great, inspiring...

I've noticed one particularly interesting fact: the strongest, the most determined, inspiring and motivating women there are the slowest "losers". I was thinking at first about how unfair that is, but then it hit me, that all this happens for a reason. You lose slowly, but that makes you stronger, you lose slowly, but that teaches you how to be compassionate and tolerant towards others, you lose slowly, but you have time to think, to meditate and to prepare for your new life, you lose slowly, but learn a lot about your own body, you lose slowly, but you learn to appreciate what you have, because hard work increases the value of you achievements, you lose slowly...but you lose anyway.

I admire you!

I want to be a slow loser to! emoticon

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INSPIREBYNATURE 5/27/2011 2:23AM

    Dang, once again you remind me of jus thow freaking amazing you are! This blog should be one of the blog highlights you see on spark! Seriously! YOu amaze me!!!!!!!!

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TEMPEST272002 5/26/2011 9:26PM

    I'm so glad that you shared a list of all the ways you create a healthy life. I especially like the last one about enjoying what you do. Easier to do something - for the rest of our lives - when we enjoy it! Love love love your running progression. Quite simply, you ROCK!

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THEADMIRAL 5/26/2011 8:50PM

    Great blog! You're encouraging everyone and you're inspiring us as well! emoticon

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BABY_GIRL69 5/26/2011 6:08PM

    Great ideas & thanks for sharing! God bless, Dee

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TEDDYBEARGIRL 5/26/2011 6:00PM

    I absolutely loved the last 7 tips on your blog!!!!!!!

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KSGROTHE 5/26/2011 4:49PM

    This is a great blog! emoticon

(I love how you incorporated the sun emoticon into your blog!)

Keep up the good work!

- Karen

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RONIREDD 5/26/2011 4:42PM

    Thanks, I needed this ...

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AMBER281 5/26/2011 4:10PM

    Great tips thanks for sharing!!

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TABIKATZZ 5/26/2011 4:10PM

    These are great tips! Awesome blog!

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SEWINGMAMACDS 5/26/2011 2:37PM

    Thank you so much for sharing! I love the tips.

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SKFEREBEE 5/26/2011 2:30PM

    Great tips. And patience can sometimes be the hardest part in this now, now, now society.

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BESTSUSIEYET 5/26/2011 2:26PM

    This is a great blog and I'm sharing it with my Colorado Chrisatian Women team! I'd also like to share the Vacation strategy challenge! God bless you as you continue to journey toward health!

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KITHKINCAID 5/26/2011 2:25PM

    All good pointers. You have this in the bag kid - cause you said it yourself - you LOVE it - and that's what matters.

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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

    emoticon

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INSPIREBYNATURE 5/22/2011 2:15AM

    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!

Dee

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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

    emoticon

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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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MISSROCKABILLY 5/21/2011 5:47PM

    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!
emoticon

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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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SMALLERMELORIE 5/21/2011 5:17PM

    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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