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Earth Skills

Friday, May 09, 2014

Today is my 3 Year SparkVersary!
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I lost 90lbs with the help of SparkPeople, 80 of them in just under 9 months. During that time, I lost weight every single week with only two exceptions (the day after a party and after a vacation). This was done with laser-like focus. The benefit was that I never lost momentum and ultimately this helped me reach my goals relatively fast and personally made me feel awesome. The disadvantage was that I was less prepared for maintenance than those who have plateaued along their journey. So, if you're just getting started, I wouldn't get too worked up about how long it's going to take or whether you hit bumps along the road, because there are always advantages and disadvantages to any path you take. For me, I'm grateful for my route. Results may vary.
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I've maintained my weight loss for over two years. The longer we maintain our weight loss, the more we reduce the probability of regaining the weight. I find comfort and relief in this because I tend to worry about these statistics. Maintaining longer means our odds do get better.
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I've tracked my nutrition virtually every day I've been here. This helps keep me focused and has taught me a lot about food and how my body reacts to different nutrients and situations. While I struggle with the necessity of this at times, I think tracking helps me more than it hinders me, so I will continue tracking, for now.
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I've logged thousands of miles biked and tens of thousands of fitness minutes since joining SparkPeople. This helps keep me focused, reminds me to exercise when life gets hectic and quantifies my efforts.
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I learned a lot from other people and SparkPeople articles during the last three years. A lot of this learning was in the form of remembering. In other words, most of this information wasn't my first exposure to health, fitness, vegetables, positivity, etc. You learn this stuff and then you forget it. This is why repetition is so important.
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A gift I've received from a few people, including several SP community members, is hope. Hope is probably one of the more inconspicuous tools available here on SparkPeople. But, if you are lucky enough to find it and accept it, true hope can power you to achieve just about anything. I'm not talking about desperate hope or wishful thinking. I'm talking about the realization that something isn't just a remote possibility, but a real tangible outcome that you or anyone can achieve. A funny thing about true hope is that it's silent. When you really have hope, you don't say "I hope I can do this." You say "I can do this." I guess for me, hope is the spark in SparkPeople.
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A few other things that are really important:
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I drink a lot of water, and I like it. Water hydrates your body and will make you feel better. If you don't like water, I suggest learning to like it.
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I eat a ton of vegetables, and I like them. Actually, I love them! Vegetables fuel your body and will make you feel better. If you don't like vegetables, I suggest learning to like them.
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I exercise a lot, and I like it. Some exercise I love (biking); some I like a lot (hiking); some I like a little (strength training); some I don't like much at all (like the KrankCycle). I can do a lot of different things and there are many things I can't do. But, by all measures, I can do a lot more now than when I started SparkPeople. And, because I can comfortably do a lot more exercises now, I tend to like things that I would never have liked to do when I first joined SP. Exercise strengthens your muscles, reduces stress and reduces your chances of illness and injury. If you don't like to exercise, I suggest trying every exercise until you find the ones you enjoy. Then, do those the most often.
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So, to recap, those three things: water, vegetables and exercise are what I would say are probably the most important non-negotiables as far as weight-loss or general health are concerned, especially if you like to eat a lot or find yourself eating for psychological reasons. SparkPeople helped me remember them and relearn to like them. And, for that (along with hope), I'm very grateful.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRAN0426 6/4/2014 1:05AM

    Continued success with maintenance Ken. I would say most of us have some type of exercise we aren't fond of, mine is strength exercise, and I really need to get to doing more of it.

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1HAPPYSPIRIT 6/3/2014 12:15PM

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CAKEMAKERMOM 6/3/2014 11:55AM

    I'm glad you're here for support and as support. Thanks for the awesome blog (although I'm reading this really late). Keep on Sparkin'!

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MEBAZI 5/30/2014 8:45AM

    YAY!!! Amazing blog from my favorite SP friend! You are a huge inspiration to so many! I don't know what your job is, or what you do in the world outside of SP, but I do hope you use your skills to inspire....it comes naturally for you, and from an honest place, so it is so easy to accept!

Keep being fantastic! I look forward to seeing you on SP for another 3+ years!

Congratulations on your successes thus far!

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HOLLYM48 5/10/2014 9:15PM

    Awesome job and awesome blog! Wow, 80 lbs in such a short period of time! You must have been really focused and really determined. That is great. I know that I am very hard core when it comes to this because there isn't a lot of room for foods that are fattening and you can't eat much of it. I like bang for my buck so I too love veggies and fruit and lots and lots of water. I probably drink at least a gallon a day if not more! I agree with everything you said. Find an exercise and learn to love it and trying new things. It can be done, but it takes a lot of determination and willpower and it isn't for the feint of heart! Way to go and wishes for many more years of continued success. Staying here in the Spark Village will help of achieve years of better health! Here is to you! Cheers!!!

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JUJUMILLER 5/9/2014 11:24PM

    CONGRATULATIONS!

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Every single small victory that SparkPeople posted on my friend feed, you always commented on with one simple word: "Congrats"
You don't know what kind of impact you have had on my weight loss
journey!
I've got exercise ideas from you (that damn KrankCycle!) along with lots of inspiration.

I commend your maintenance, I too fear the future, but I know that my SparkFriends are there for me, and I will be just fine!

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M0MTH3W1TCH 5/9/2014 9:48PM

  Yep, you summed it up very well. I am so glad for you staying focused and reaching your goals. Maintenance is probably harder but you are doing it. Keep up the good work and be true to yourself. You are an inspiration and I am a much better person for having you as a SparkFriend. I hope to follow in your footsteps this year . . . no I can follow in your footsteps! We can do this. Together. One day at a time!

xoxo
marge

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 5/9/2014 8:58PM

    So well said! Perfect for those starting out and reaffirming for those of us
who have been here for a while!
I wish for you continued success with your maintenance and resulting good health!
Thank you for your SparkFriendship and continued support...it gives me
HOPE.
Hugs,
Mary

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Murphy's Law

Thursday, May 08, 2014

I guess my intention of starting to make some blog posts again didn't go exactly as planned. Haha! This week I remembered that my three year anniversary at SparkPeople was coming up and today I thought that I should start thinking about what to include in a post to reminisce. Then, I went in and realized it had already been a long time since my last post!
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I think the title of my last post might have made it look like I had left SparkPeople and came back (which isn't the case). I was here all along. I was just really quiet for a while, mostly tracking my nutrition/fitness and doing other essentials. I've been under the weather to various degrees since the beginning of the year. And, since I'd rather not complain about my maladies, I just don't say anything at all. Something about "if you don't have anything good to say..." Regardless, I've got a lot to be grateful for, so I'll try to come up with something good for tomorrow (my SparkVersary).
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEBAZI 5/30/2014 8:35AM

    Heyyyy! Yeah, I totally thought you were saying you left and came back! Glad to know that wasn't the case!

=)

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FRAN0426 5/11/2014 9:21PM

    Happy SparkVersy. I myself have pulled back at times and just just track food and fitness, it's a break from doing a lot but keep up with what is most important.

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UPPITYANN 5/11/2014 10:26AM

  Yes, there is noting wrong with keeping silent. It saves the energy and mental focus for planning the work and working the plan.

I'm so happy about your weight loss success.



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TENNISJIM 5/9/2014 6:23AM

    Happy SparkVersary

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 5/8/2014 10:23PM

    Looking forward to any of your blogs!
I understand how the time gets away...I do the same!
Happy Spark Anniversary!
Love & Hugs,
Mary

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The Returned

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I haven't made a blog post in a long time. Back in January 2012, I was on the cusp of reaching my 80 pounds lost milestone. To follow-up, I reached -80 two days after that blog post, and then continued to lose another 10 pounds over the next few months. In all, I probably lost a bit more considering my muscle mass now compared to when I started this journey.
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I've maintained my weight loss all this time and generally hover somewhere between -85 and -90 pounds. Sometimes I get closer to -80, but it's usually water weight caused from eating other people's food too close to my weekly weigh-in. I'm usually closest to -85, which oddly was my original (albeit arbitrary) goal. Sometimes I wonder if I gravitate toward that number because of the amount of intention/attention I originally placed on it. It stands out to me because it's almost magical how my body will shift toward that weight, even when I do things that should move me in one way or another away from it. Right now, I'm focusing on losing a few vanity pounds before summer. I say "vanity pounds" because I've been in my healthy weight range for a long time. So, these pounds are purely because I want to look my best over the summertime (when I'll be wearing less clothing).
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So, I've been maintaining a healthy weight all this time, why a blog post now?
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A few reasons actually. First, I point a lot of people to SparkPeople since I often get asked how I lost all of my excess weight. I realized that my SparkPage (updated November 2012) and blog posts (updated January 2012) were very outdated and don't really reflect my current story. So, I thought this would help me keep my health and fitness story more current. Second, I've been noticeably absent from the SP Friend Feed lately. I've been busy and overwhelmed, so I chose to ignore that portion of SparkPeople for the time being. I guess I'm hoping that by returning to posting stuff, I'll be able to reconnect with more SparkFriends. How that will pan out with my busyness and overwhelm is yet to be seen. Third, I privately journal from time to time and often notice good bits of info in there, so I think I'll push a little more of that information out into the public. Finally, I still have my share of struggles and writing about them semi-publicly has helped me in the past, so I'll rinse and repeat.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1HAPPYSPIRIT 4/15/2014 2:13PM

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LORNALARSON1 3/29/2014 10:17AM

    Great spirit! Way to go!

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UPPITYANN 3/27/2014 10:42AM

  I am going to go back and read your blogs from the beginning.

I think that you will have a lot to teach me.

Thanks for sharing your story.

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TENNISJIM 3/17/2014 8:18AM

    well done

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JUJUMILLER 3/16/2014 10:06AM

    HEY!
Congrats on your maintenance!
That's where I am now, and I'm still trying to figure out my plan.
I have noticed your absence, but figured that life got in the way and you would be back!
Hopefully, things get back to normal & you can get back to routine, unless you are making welcome changes....it that case, go for it!
Glad you're back!

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MEBAZI 3/16/2014 9:17AM

    Thank you for sharing! You are definitely a SP friend that I admire and your success is so inspirational. Your support is unparalleled to many on this site.

I, like you, have pointed many, at least hundreds to this site; it is so unique and completely filled an emptiness for me. It's given me that extra push to a higher confidence, which allows me to stay on that path, of hopefully least resistance.

But, again, it's looking to SP friends such as you, that have succeeded and are maintaining, and that continue to come here anyway because the journey never really ends....

So, I just want to say thank you for all you've invested and the countless lives you've touched! Keep being amazing!

emoticon .....what's a SP post without a woohoo?? lol!

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M0MTH3W1TCH 3/15/2014 9:33PM

  I too have missed you. Life is really crazy and unfortunately you and I are both work in a busy world. Remember to take time for yourself and especially be true to yourself. You are an inspiration and I am grateful to have known you in your journey and mine. Now, I just have to do the same.

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HOLLYM48 3/15/2014 9:06PM

    What an awesome and inspiring blog! Congrats on losing and maintaining your 85 lb weight loss! Something that is not always easy! Way to go! I am so glad to have met you along this wonderful journey and hope that our paths will cross in person some day! I received the book today and will start reading it later tonight!
What an inspiration you are to so many! I too tell everyone I meet about my journey with sparkpeople and the life that changed forever once I joined!
Keep up the great work and keep on spreading that spark!

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FRAN0426 3/15/2014 7:56PM

    First of all congrats on the weight loss and successfully maintaining the loss. emoticon Sorry to hear your so busy and overwhelmed, not always the best position to be in, looks light your holding your own though with weight loss even with the overwhelmed and busy. Hope things settle down and see you om sparks more often.

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 3/15/2014 4:44PM

    Hey!
So good to see you on SP and read your blog, as I was one that missed you on the SP Friend "Feed"! I am glad you are maintaining and doing well, but sorry you are so busy and overwhelmed. I am pleased you will be around with your blogs, and look forward to any insights, advice, etc!
PLEASE RINSE AND REPEAT....love that line!
Hugs,
Mary

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CTICKET 3/15/2014 1:19PM

    Thank you for sharing with those of us that are just beginning what you've already accomplished. It's encouraging to see that you not only hit your original goals, but are maintaining and continuing incremental improvement.

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Dance Dance Revelation

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today I finished SparkPeople's Official January Jumpstart Workout Challenge!
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Finishing any challenge always feels great, but for some reason this one feels especially gratifying. Maybe it's because I got one of those shiny trophy icons as a reward. Or, maybe it's because I know I stuck with it even while out of town on a combination business trip and mini-vacation in Las Vegas. Or, it could also be that this challenge took me quite a bit out of my comfort zone as far as exercises go. None of them were really difficult, although the very first one was quite a beast the first time I did it!!! But, a lot of them were new exercises to me and stuff like that always takes me a little time to get used to. I definitely learned that I'm not as coordinated as I thought I was, although I improved over the course of the 4 week challenge.

Unfortunately, this month has also been very hectic and a lot of my forum and team participation waned. Between fitting in a lot of new exercise and a crazy amount of work stuff, something had to get cut. TV time and the more social aspects of SparkPeople both went on the chopping block. And, I definitely missed my SparkPeeps more than the TV!

Anyhow, my big challenge is over and work should be getting more manageable in the next week, so things will be back to normal for me soon.

p.s. I'm getting SUPER close to reaching my 80 lbs lost milestone! I suspect this Monday or the following Monday I'll be celebrating!!!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TODDERICKV 12/3/2013 7:02PM

    Looks like you have surpassed that goal now. 90 down, keep it up!

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BOPPY_ 2/12/2013 3:08AM

    Excellent achievement.

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KJAZZINGILBERT 6/29/2012 11:24AM

    Excellent! Hit that 80 lbs marker! emoticon

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MOM-MOM8 1/29/2012 7:33PM

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 1/29/2012 7:50AM

    emoticonWe will be waiting to celebrate the big 80 with you!

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LUCKIEST24 1/29/2012 7:47AM

    Fantastico,Ken!!!! You know we'll be celebrating with you on that wonderful day! You truly are inspiring, sir. Thank you!

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TENNISJIM 1/29/2012 7:03AM

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Don't Bid So Close to Me

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Right now I'm in Las Vegas and don't have a lot of extra time to write, so this post is going to be a little different than my others. In fact, I'm probably going to edit it with more info later, but I wanted to get a couple things jotted down here. My partner and I used to go to Vegas quite a bit, but this is actually the first time we have been here in about six years. It's a short work-related trip, but we are also here with friends. Anyway, I have quickly learned and/or remembered a few things:

1) I LOVE LAS VEGAS!!! I absolutely LOVE it!

2) A medium Fatburger and peanut butter shake contain 1,540 calories and are worth every single one of them!!! Granted, this should probably be on a once or twice yearly schedule.

3) If you wait long enough, most cravings will pass. I had ordered some sort of delicious-sounding smores ice cream sundae somewhere. Over 30 minutes later, we hadn't been served and my craving was gone. I canceled my order and probably saved myself well over 1,000 calories. In the past, I would have probably waited and ate it even though I was no longer craving it. So, very happy about this!

4) As much as I love Las Vegas, my skin does not. I'm chalking this up to the hotel detergent, but I'm sure the smoke and desert air could also have something to do with it.

5) You can get a LOT of walking in here. A lot! My feet actually hurt, which is rare for me these days.

6) A run around 5pm can literally give you a new lease on the day. After walking around the Consumer Electronics Show all day on Friday, I was pretty tired. In the past, I might have taken a nap. This time around, I ran for 4 miles in the hotel gym. I think this is the first time I've ever used a hotel gym. It completely woke me up! I showered and felt like a million bucks and lasted until 2:45am yesterday night! Woohoo!

7) It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Although, winning is a nice bonus!

8) Time in Vegas goes very, very fast.

- more to come, gotta run -

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEWHENRYSMAMA 1/18/2012 5:50AM

    You said it emoticon
Enjoy!

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M0MTH3W1TCH 1/15/2012 3:30PM

  Glad you are having fun! Especially after the end of year work stuff. Enjoy the rest of your stay. Time sure does have a way of flying when you are having fun!

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GOURMETLOSER 1/14/2012 4:24PM

    Sounds like you are having some well deserved fun. Good for you. You really have earned it. I'm not sure if a second lease on life, if it keeps you up till 02:45 is what I would describe as healthy though?????!!!!! emoticon

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