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Excerpts From My SP Team Interview

Monday, February 18, 2008

***One of my Sparkteams has a very cool feature of choosing a different team member each week to highlight with a "getting to know you, Q&A" thread.
Last week was my turn. Here are some of the questions I was asked, and my responses.***

Q: What is your favorite lunch?
A: South Beach Wrap, yogurt and fruit, hummus and veggies

Q: Do you send Valentines to friends or family?
A: Just to my husband. BTW I LOVE Valentines Day, it's very special to us!

Q: In keeping with St. Valentine, what was your favorite Valentine's Day date?
A: They're all special to me. My husband and I are very big fans of Valentine's Day and we always go out for a fancy dinner. It's kind of like a honeymoon for us, every year; and we really go all out.

Q: What is your favorite way to exercise?
A: My favorite exercise is WALKING. I am walking my first marathon next month. I also love strength training. I lift heavy weights and work out on the elliptical.

Q: What is something surprising that you like about your body now, vs. when you were at your starting weight?
A: Well, let me start by saying I have never hated my body by a long shot. I was more disgusted with what I was doing to the huge blessing of having a strong and intact body. It's amazing how we let something so valuable go to waste.
Okay, now that I've stated my disclaimer, I'm most surprised by the fact that I could recoup from such a sad state of neglect. My mind was in a very hopeless and pessimistic place too, and THAT obstacle is gone as well.
Moving on to specifics, I love being able to fit into so many great places and things now: restaurant booths, airplane seats, normal sized clothes, and even better job opportunities. It really has been an all-encompassing change. Really, it's hard to remember what it used to be like! But I know I lived it... there is truly no part of my life that hasn't improved dramatically.

Q: What's your workout like...3 to 4 days a week, 5 to 7 days a week, and since I read that you love strength you do it every other day as well?
A: I work out just about every day, meaning I rarely take a day off. I've long been talking about how my dog is my personal trainer (see pictures of her in my spark page gallery). She needs to run and poop everyday, so I have to take her! Our walks have gotten very long: typically we walk 5k every day. About 5 days a week I get on the elliptical for half an hour (I'm a little lazy, I KNOW I could benefit from 30 min a day); and I lift weights about 5 days a week too.
My strategy is to rest muscles that need rest, and don't rest the ones that don't. For example, three days ago I worked my abs so hard that I'm still a little sore... so although I'll work OTHER muscles, I won't work my abs again until they stop hurting. Your body has so many muscles that you can easily work a different area every day and still not overdo it. I don't ever push myself to my true capacity. But I do some form of cardio every day... I'm a real believer in that.

Q: What is your favorite way to relax?
A: Online shopping! I'm addicted to handbags! I also am addicted to Jigzone (online jigsaw puzzles).
I'm normally very relaxed due to my long walks and workouts. I also like to "relax" with some strenuous outside work such as (don't laugh) shoveling snow or splitting logs! LOL I'm dead serious too.

Q: What has been the most difficult thing to get a handle on during your journey so far? The easiest?
A: The most difficult thing to get a handle on: my eating for sure! I love to eat. I eat like a linebacker, so portion control (and staying in the game MENTALLY) is my Everest.
Ironically, in some ways, it is also the easiest thing... I have never been much of a junk food eater, so I'm not "giving up" a lot, I'm just giving up a little and CHANGING a lot.
It is also difficult for me to wrap my brain around my limitations: I don't want to admit that I'm getting older, and I may never be an Olympic athlete (so to speak). I still derive a lot of inspiration from dreaming really huge dreams, so I don't want to see myself failing at anything. I try not to visualize it, though it may turn out to be a delusion.

Q: If you could wave a magic wand, and be done with this journey, would you? Or do you want to go through it, no matter how tough it gets?
A: If I could wave a wand and be at my goal weight, sure I would, but only if I could still have all the benefits of the journey. I WANT to go through all the physical work of muscle building, endurance building, and character building. The journey ends when I die.
I'm not just trying to achieve a number, I'm trying to achieve a really superior level of fitness. I want to be an example. I want people to think of me when they think of a fit, athletic person; so when they say 'I could never do that' I can whip out my "before" pictures and make them think again.
I have a question for you: how much does my magic wand weigh? Maybe I could get there faster by lying on my mat and waving it with my feet... I bet that'd be great for building leg and core strength.

Q: Is there a certain special reason that Valentine's Day is so important to you?
A: Because I am a very goal oriented person, and because of my belief in seizing opportunities; and because I have a goal of being in a strong, loving, enduring and fulfilling marriage, I CHOOSE to see that day as an opportunity, or a perfect excuse, to promote those values in my life.
I also think timetables and dates are an essential part of goal setting and planning, so having a date on the calendar to measure that is a real GIFT. To ignore this (otherwise silly) holiday would be like squandering an opportunity to grow together and benefit our souls.

Have you ever recognized an opportunity that you missed, right after you missed it? I think it would feel like that to me, if we didn't acknowledge Valentine's Day and play along with the tradition.
Recently, I was at an industry seminar when I was introduced to someone, and spoke very briefly to that person before lunch. It only dawned on me minutes later how I should have spent more time talking to the person, and wondered why I failed to see the network expansion possibilities in that chance meeting. I kind of look at it that way, y'know? Like a relationship opportunity that you should do something with... so we do!

Q: Did you have a time when you felt like giving in? If so, what was it that helped you to regain motivation?
A: Well, that depends on what you mean by "giving in".
If it's as simple as eating something I really want, and throwing caution to the wind, then YES, all the time! LOL
But if you are talking about those frustrating times when your progress slows, and you don't have the tangible, fast results you crave (like they do on TV); do I feel like giving up, the answer is unequivocally NO!
There is no end to this journey. It is my LIFE... it is my NEW life. This is what fit people do, and this is how fit people live.
Fit people also have cravings and indulgences, and so do I; however, those facts would in no way make me want to change my mind and make a conscious decision to go back to living the kind of life I was living as a morbidly obese person.
Everyone needs to know, that in weight loss or ANY situation that you should never EVER give up HOPE or the belief that you can live your dream of being FIT and HEALTHY, and that you have the power to achieve almost any goal you can set for yourself and for your life.

I was watching a television show recently about the Alaskan fishing industry. A young man was being interviewed after having been plucked from the icy sea, where he miraculously lived for over an hour, zipped into his survival suit.
They asked him to recount the events that lead up to his ship sinking.
He described how his two shipmates reacted- one went into panic, and started talking about how they would all be dead shortly; and the other fellow froze and never put on his survival suit.
Both men died.
I think that, when he froze, the latter guy was in fact visualizing his fear and belief that they were all doomed. Out of the three men, only one of them did not abandon hope during this horrible tragedy. He never gave in to panic, and he never stopped believing that the Coast Guard would rescue them if they kept their wits about them and tried to stay alive. He survived FAR LONGER than the accepted "window of survival" time.
Giving in, and giving up, virtually guarantees failure.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEB0413 2/20/2008 6:53PM

    Wow, very nicely said!

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FJORDING 2/19/2008 7:40AM

    Fabulously written. Thanks for the inspiration and congrats on your strong will. Good luck for the rest of the journey!

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BODYNSOIL 2/19/2008 5:35AM

    Janine, What a cool team thread!!! I learned a lot about you and it seems that you have a very level head in everything you do.. Your journey to health is fantastic and you continue to inspire people everyday.. You rock JJ

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Remind me again why Amy Winehouse won a Grammy?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Until I watched the Grammys on TV the other night, I had only seen photographs of Amy Winehouse. I was able to gather that she doesn't know how to brush her hair or apply eyeliner, but I'd never heard her sing.
I had heard her described as "soulful" by the media, so of course I was looking forward to it.
Well there she was, caterwauling unsteadily and lethargically into the microphone via satellite. Hearing her, I was surprised that this woman had so much hype propelling her career forward. She looked and sounded like just about any other substance abuser (and since my mother was an addiction counselor, I've seen plenty). Her appearance, movements, and demeanor all said "drugs" to me.
Watching her perform was like watching a bad American Idol audition. I was wondering where Simon was when we needed him.
When she finished singing, the audience erupted in thunderous applause. I was dumbfounded. Were we watching the same performance? The crowd rose from their seats and applauded her enthusiastically.
I've spent some time thinking about what on earth people would find so appealing about her, and it occurred to me that much of what people see as "uniqueness" is simply due to the fact that most people have little experience looking at addicts.


Hillary, WTF is up with your campaign?

I know you've just lost your campaign manager, but girlfriend, it's too little, too late.
Yesterday, Obama's people came by my house TWICE. In the bitter cold. Now THAT is dedication.
Yesterday, Obama called. His recorded message urged me to think of him as the agent of change and cast my vote accordingly.
Today, the Governor called. He called after I voted, but he called. HE urged me to vote for Obama.
That's FOUR attempts in two days made by Obama's camp to influence my vote.
THAT is why he is winning.

I haven't heard a peep from Hillary.

I told my husband that I was going to follow Obama's example. He asked me if that meant I was voting for him, and I said "Obama is a business manager. He is in the business of becoming President. His mission statement is to get elected. He's doing everything he can to make sure his customers don't take their business elsewhere."
Even his name was positioned at the top of the ballot. How'd he arrange THAT little coup??
I'm taking notes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROL_HOORAH 2/16/2008 10:45PM

    lol awesome I love your blog!

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SHORTY20 2/14/2008 2:57PM

    Janine, I feel the exact same way about Amy Winehouse. I just don't get it. She's not that great of a singer, and she's in and out of rehab every week. There is nothing special about her, IMO. I was floored to hear she won 5 Grammys. That just brings me to the conclusion that winning a grammy doesn't mean much anymore.

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SECRETFUN 2/13/2008 8:54PM

  Winehouse used to be good-ish, or at least held it together. But yes, now she is just another addict washed up and will be on one of those VH-1 shows about the one-hits/woulda/coulda/shouldas in 5-10 years.

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BODYNSOIL 2/12/2008 7:57PM

    Janine I don't understand why people do that to themselves with drugs but Amy Winehouse has a very unique sound. A few years ago she was a healthy looking girl and I hope that she gets the help she need, and Brittany too...

Obama, he and his machine are doing a great job aren't they.. It will be interesting to see what the future brings. JJ

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Summary: Mid-Atlantic Horticulture Short Course

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I survived the MAHSC. For those of you who donít know, MAHSC is the premier educational event for green industry professionals in the Mid-Atlantic region.
I have been eagerly anticipating this event since late October, when the first email reminders are sent out to landscapers and horticulturists all over the Mid-Atlantic corridor.
While it wasnít cheap, the classes, facilities, and speakers were top-notch and well worth dragging myself out of bed at 5am every morning for the past week, and making the 100 mile commute.
(Before you call me crazy, $40 in gasoline every day for five days is still way cheaper than a hotel room every day for five days.)
There were many notable lecturers, and I am truly saddened by my inability to clone myself and hear them ALL, but I want to give special thanks to Dr. Ed Gilman of the University of Florida for having a major effect on my thinking about branch and stem physiology. I will never prune the same way.

It may be a bit premature at this point to make any announcements along the lines of ĎI am now an ISA Certified Arboristí but I *did* take the exam.
For a long time I have been hearing, from everyone who has ever taken it, how DIFFICULT a test it is. Well, long story short, I did NOT find it difficult. I already have a strong horticultural education, so I was not nervous about it; and felt pretty sure of myself afterwards.
Now, why, after Iíve said all this, do I still feel paranoia creeping into my mind about the exam results? I have been second guessing my performance since I took this test. Isn't odd how self-doubt creeps in to shake our confidence and keep our enthusiasm in check? Or am I the only one who goes through this?? Sometimes I wonder WHY I seem to fear success so much.
I mentioned this to a few of my spark friends, and allowed them to reassure me that this is NORMAL and probably just an emotional insulation reaction. I thought about it for awhile, and had a flashback to my nursery performance evaluation. I was talking with my manager about the high value I place on continuing ed, and how many classes were packed into my winter schedule.
She interrupted me and said "Very soon you'll get to the point where you'll realize you could be teaching these courses." That comment hit me like a ton of bricks... I knew INSTANTLY that I had already reached that point for some subjects. Sometimes I feel that way when I pick up a book on landscape design, thumb through it, and decide how lame it is, and how I could do better.
I guess I better get busy on that last item.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOOPYLORAX 2/4/2008 2:40PM

    Congratulations! I'm sure you aced it! Glad you had a good time at the event! I look forward to reading your books someday!

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HOOPYLORAX 2/4/2008 2:40PM

    Congratulations! I'm sure you aced it! Glad you had a good time at the event! I look forward to reading your books someday!

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TRECECOOKS 2/2/2008 8:15PM

    I am so proud of you!!! I am sure you did terrific, and will soon get the results to prove it. And yes, I'm sure you already are doing a fair amount of unrecognized teaching. You go girl!!

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BODYNSOIL 2/2/2008 4:50PM

    Congratulations on completing the test and I am sure you will pass with flying colors. How exciting the whole experience must have been for you.. Without a doubt you will be teaching and if you think about already are with the employees and your customers.. JJ

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SECRETFUN 2/2/2008 11:40AM

  New project! I am looking forward to it.

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Unlike most people, I have no gripes with the DMV

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My drivers license expires this year, on my birthday. Since my birthday falls on Sunday, which is a federal holiday, and I work tomorrow, getting it renewed today was the obvious choice.
I know that a new drivers license means a new picture. The realization hit me this morning, while I was brushing my teeth and staring at my 'fro in the mirror: damn, I'm gonna have to do something with this hair. And there better be enough makeup on the planet.
Now, I am getting better at doing my own hair. I am a trained professional... or at least, used to be. Still, I find it much easier to do someone ELSE'S hair than my own; and I have not really spent much time "doing" my hair since I was in my twenties. I took a deep breath and set about to transform myself.
An hour later I was done. Full kabuki makeup, hair pressed straight with ends neatly curled under, and some last minute bangs I cut over the bathroom sink. I hope I don't regret them later.
The wait at DMV was surprisingly short, considering how crowded it was... just teeming with people. The whole task was accomplished in about half an hour, and I walked triumphantly out into the parking lot with my new drivers license. I scrutinized the photo: nope, no face shine. Good job. The makeup and the flat iron were time well spent.
I had just stepped onto the pavement and was walking briskly toward my car, when I got some extra validation from a stranger: a passing car was tooting the horn, and when I looked at the driver, I saw a strapping young buck smiling and blowing kisses at me. I couldn't help but smile back and wave.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWINKS55 1/25/2008 10:12AM

    You do look beautiful.
Your blog is terrific.
You are doing so well.

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JOCECHRIS 1/23/2008 12:09AM

  You write a great blog. Thank you for sharing with all of us. Happy Birthday, you look great!

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QUIZSHOW 1/21/2008 10:12AM

    Seriously, that is the best drivers license pic I've seen. Gorgeous, chica!

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CAROL_HOORAH 1/20/2008 9:08AM

    I totally identify with your last post about wearing the same size now as your husband and how emotional that is, there's something about finally matching a healthy partner that feels so wonderful doesn't it? ANd WOW your drivers license looks so amazing!!!!!! You are a sexy lady for sure!!! Great blogs :)

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GRET30 1/18/2008 8:55AM

    Love your new picture...what a transformation! And I love the bangs...can't believe you cut them yourself over the sink - great job!

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BODYNSOIL 1/18/2008 7:39AM

    Duh, I guess if I had come here first then I would know when you got the new do.. ugg I am such a slacker.. I love the bangs and no kidding on the guy checking out your hotness as you are beautiful.. and built like a brick @%*& house too... JJ

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KERRIGIRL 1/17/2008 3:52PM

    you look BEAUTIFUL!

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HISTORYGEEK913 1/17/2008 9:51AM

    You look great! What a fantastic licence picture, too. I'm impressed. And you gotta love the cat-call - you deserve it!

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SECRETFUN 1/16/2008 9:38PM

  Woman, I better hear your voice in April or I am not going to recognize you!

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EMSCHICK9 1/16/2008 7:33PM

    WOW! You look great! You've always looked great but that hair cut really just makes you look extra hot!

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TRECECOOKS 1/16/2008 6:57PM

    You are beautiful!! Inside and out!

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CCSDESTINY 1/16/2008 4:18PM

    Wow! You look awesome!!!!! Loving the new hair and your makeup looks gorgeous! :)

And your face is looking so SLIM!!!

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ASTROS_FAN 1/16/2008 3:54PM

    LOVE the new do!!!

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SMURFETTE0725 1/16/2008 3:08PM

!!!!!!!!!! What a transformation Janine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT! Your hair! Your face! Your smile! Your attitude! I LOVE IT, ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

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SMURFETTE0725 1/16/2008 3:08PM

!!!!!!!!!! What a transformation Janine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT! Your hair! Your face! Your smile! Your attitude! I LOVE IT, ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

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Comparing body types (with my husband)

Monday, January 14, 2008

My feminine ideal... except my hooters are bigger

Today I was in the SparkPeople Cafe, when the following thread caught my eye: Does your husband know how much you weigh?
Well, NOW he does.
Now, I can openly discuss my weight, including the massive "before" weight, OPENLY, with just about everyone.
Here's my reply:
I became much more forthcoming about my weight after I joined SparkPeople.
I used to be embarrassed and secretive about it, but I soon realized that I was not the only person in the world suffering with obesity. I enabled my ticker, and I know that seeing this highly visible record of my journey has helped other people, the same way I was helped by the courageous souls who enabled their tickers before me."

I think the only time I would hesitate to talk about my weight, or how heavy I used to be, would be if I sensed that the person with whom I was conversing was insincere or likely to ridicule me behind my back... and such people do exist.


Somewhat related, since we're on the subject of what we reveal to out significant others, I put on a new pair of jeans today. The next size down from my comfortable, but slightly large, present size (okay, they were on final clearance and I bought them early because I didn't want to run out of clothes the way I did last summer).
They were way too snug. I put them on but didn't zip them.
As I began doing the days chores, I lost the conscious realization that I was wearing too-small jeans that were not zipped. I washed and put away dishes, washed and dried laundry, checked email. Somewhere in there, I went to the bathroom.
I know this because my pants are zipped and fastened. I did not explode, and I can still feel my feet.
I was so tickled I walked into my husbands office and nonchalantly asked him what size jeans he wore. He stared at me blankly. (NOTE: I know darned well what size my husband wears, and he knows it, so he was confused by my apparent amnesia). He took the bait and answered "Thirty-four by thirty". I turned my back to him, grabbed the tags that were still dangling from my back pocket, and asked him "what size are these?" -trying to sound as innocent as possible.
He never did answer me. I had to turn around to look at him. When our eyes met, we were both smiling broadly, and I could no longer conceal my joy at finally wearing the same size jeans as he does.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 1/16/2008 1:15PM

    BIG BIG smile on my face for you, babe!

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SHANNONKA 1/15/2008 2:47PM

    great post

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TRECECOOKS 1/15/2008 8:58AM

    Oh, honey - I am tickled for ya!! I can't wait for the day that I weigh less than my DH!!

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KELLYGRREEN 1/14/2008 11:08PM

    What an awesome feeling! What an awesome post!

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SECRETFUN 1/14/2008 9:32PM

  I was so excited to get to 34x30! (and just got DH there!) You must be so tight! You are ripped like that pic!

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LUCUBRATRIX 1/14/2008 7:37PM

    Way to go! What an accomplishment - to be able to talk openly just as much as the smaller size. :)

I am just starting to get to the point where I can sometimes borrow clothing (skirts or short-sleeved shirts, if they have stretch) from my wife, and it totally gives me a huge kick every time, too.

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BODYNSOIL 1/14/2008 6:39PM

    You are looking and doing so well and woohoo on being in the same size as the DH.. Did you say you had them zipped up too..
"I know this because my pants are zipped and fastened. I did not explode, and I can still feel my feet. " That is too funny..

You rock... my this summer those will be too big as well and I can't wait for the next photo update.... JJ

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FJORDING 1/14/2008 4:17PM

    What a lovely story. I remember shortly after meeting my better half that I was able to borrow his summer shorts. I am now wearing jeans much bigger than him, that's so sad. But I'll get to the day you had today and I know I'll see the same smile in his eyes. Congrats!

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