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Finding beauty!

Monday, January 07, 2013

I haven’t posted a blog here for more than a month! Too many ideas, so little time… And even though I have many health, weight and fitness-themed blogs in mind, I’m going to start the year in a different way. This blog is about beauty. The beauty of winter, the way we saw it during our new year’s trip.

We had decided to start this year in a very different way. No big festive dinners, no guests, no fireworks. Just us and nature in the peace and quiet of our isolated village in the mountains. We were all hoping for snow. The kids were hoping for lots of snow, actually! But when we got there, the mountains around looked like this:



It was actually a beautiful sight. Looking at the evergreen fir trees, slightly touched by the white snow, mixed with the last remaining fall colors, awaiting the thick fog coming down from the mountains. Breathtaking!



But we wanted more snow. So, we set off to find it!
Soon, the green color of the trees became difficult to find.



And after we had driven for less than half an hour, the landscape had been covered in a white, fluffy blanket!



The forest had surrendered to the power of the snowflakes. Sticking together, they had transformed everything in sight! And in such a quiet way!



A small hotel in the middle of the forest was waiting for those who were looking for adventure.



A small cabin, half-buried in the snow, and a little white church, fighting to remain visible.



Soon, we reached the skiing center. The peace of the forest was disrupted by joy! Kids feeling free while playing in the snow and laughing, grown-ups finding the kids inside them and becoming even more playful than their children!



We stopped and made a snowman.



And my girls tried snow-sledding. But they soon realized that it was more fun without the sleds!!



I saved the best picture for last. Nature got jealous of humans’ Christmas tree decorations and decided to create a star made of snow on top of this fir tree:



I hope you can make it out in the picture. It truly was amazing!!

I’ll end this blog with a wish. A wish for all of you to find the beauty around you this year. As my good Sparkfriend Claire pointed out in her last blog, there is beauty in everything around us.

I hope you all find it. Connect your eyes with your soul and everything will look different. Find the beauty in your surroundings. Find the beauty in the people of your life.

And above all, discover your own beauty.
You don't have to look in the mirror.
It’s always been inside you.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLOOMINGLENA 1/22/2013 5:58AM

    Such beautiful photos and so beautifully described! I couldn't agree more with you and claire! Beauty is in everything around us and we should take a look with the eyes of our soul to see it! Love you my friend!

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CLAIREINPARIS 1/10/2013 1:58AM

    This is such a gorgeous blog, Elle! Thank you! I hope we can inspire all our Sparkfriends to look for beauty... You are right, it makes everything look different!
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TINAJANE76 1/9/2013 7:40AM

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely blog to kick off the new year. It definitely provided me with a much-needed dose of serenity.

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FITFORMYFAMILY 1/8/2013 9:39PM

    Perfect.
I love what you were in search of, I love that you found it, and I am very thankful that you shared it with us. You are very good at inspiring!

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GODIVADSG 1/8/2013 2:50PM

    What a wonderful blog... thank you. And I could see the star! WOW

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NASFKAB 1/8/2013 11:33AM

  beautiful thanks

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BAKER1009 1/8/2013 10:10AM

    What an awesome blog, Elle! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
That star is amazing...truly beautiful!

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Beth

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KANOE10 1/8/2013 7:37AM

    That was a lovely blog..both words and photos. Thanks for sharing a beautiful day in nature.

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AEROBISAURUS 1/7/2013 6:30PM

    Awesome! The star was rad. I'm jealous. emoticon

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MICKEYH 1/7/2013 5:45PM

    Beautiful place. Glad you've enjoyed it. emoticon

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MADAMES 1/7/2013 4:17PM

    Absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your photos, your blog, and your wishes for the new year!

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FITFOODIE806 1/7/2013 1:20PM

    This blog immediately made me take a deep breathe and feel a sense of calm. Thank you for the reminder of beauty.
All those pics, especially the girls! are such beauty.

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VIXSTERLU 1/7/2013 11:22AM

    Love it Elle! Thanks for the reminder that beauty is all around us. I see beauty in this blog :)

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MRSJERRYBUSH 1/7/2013 11:13AM

    What a lovely blog--and focus!

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-AMANDA79- 1/7/2013 10:36AM

    Beautiful! Cold, but beautiful.

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THOMS1 1/7/2013 10:27AM

    emoticon Sounds like a great trip. HAPPY NEW YEAR! emoticon

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MILLIE5522 1/7/2013 10:26AM

    How lovely! What a stunningly beautiful place.... I love the star!!

A great way to start the New Year emoticon for sharing.

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DIXIECAP79 1/7/2013 10:22AM

    emoticon

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WALKINGTHETALK 1/7/2013 10:19AM

    A perfect first blog of the year! So beautiful!

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Welcome, Christmas spirit!

Monday, December 03, 2012

We're glad to have you here! You were a bit difficult to find this year. Things have been difficult and our minds have been preoccupied with many thoughts, most of them on the negative side. So, I guess Christmas spirit had a slight difficulty entering our hearts. But there's a blessing in being a parent. Actually, one of many blessings. Children have their own way of bringing the holiday spirit in a house. They carry it in their smiles and they generously spread it through the excitement in their eyes. That's what happened in my house this past weekend. My children made me realize that through difficult times, when there's struggling, when hope seems difficult to find and when uncertainty and fear about the future dominate our everyday lives, that's when we need the holiday spirit the most. That's when we need to liven up hope and remember the importance of giving.
So, we started by decorating our house. And I thought I'd share some pictures with my Sparkfriends. This is the holiday version of our house!

Our Christmas tree!




The nativity set!




The fireplace has been my favorite spot to decorate ever since my husband built it. It gets most of my attention all the time!










Our little village on the mantel. My little daughter wanted a family of four there so she added the doll on the right!




The little side table...




...and the center living-room table!




The fire was a "must" to make the place even warmer and cozier!




And the proud creator! The rest of the team were in their pyjamas, so they'll have their pictures taken some other day!



Thank you all for reading. I hope the Christmas spirit is alive in your hearts. I hope the true meaning of Christmas fills your hearts and minds with kindness and hope.
May we all have a blessed holiday season.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 12/24/2012 9:30AM

    That was a lovely blog. I love your photos and your reminder about the love of family during xmas. emoticon

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JSTETSER 12/18/2012 11:34AM

    beauutiful!!

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HAKAPES 12/11/2012 4:54AM

    Looks lovely! :-)

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LVMAMAW 12/5/2012 3:11PM

    You are so right! The decorations are beautiful and you are blessed to have those little Christmas Spirits running around your home! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GODIVADSG 12/5/2012 10:39AM

    How very nice!

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CLAIREINPARIS 12/4/2012 3:21PM

    How lovely! You all did a great job of it! Have a beautiful Advent season, until Christmas!

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MADAMES 12/4/2012 2:20AM

    A beautiful home....glad you have found the holiday spirit! Very inspiring.

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MICKEYH 12/3/2012 7:59PM

    Thanks for sharing Christmas spirit. You have a beautiful Xmas tree.
Have a wonderful season and happy holidays"!!

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THOMS1 12/3/2012 7:11PM

    emoticon

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TINAJANE76 12/3/2012 5:41PM

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful decorations with us. Your place looks fantastic and full of Christmas spirit!
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MILLIE5522 12/3/2012 5:30PM

    emoticon emoticon Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas! Gorgeous decorations!

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ANNIEONLI 12/3/2012 3:33PM

    Thanks for sharing your holiday spirit!!! Looks lovely!!!
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BAKER1009 12/3/2012 11:58AM

    Your tree is beautiful, and your fireplace is AWESOME!! I'm jealous!

You are so right about our children bringing in the holiday spirit! They are just wonderful, aren't they?!

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Beth

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-AMANDA79- 12/3/2012 10:18AM

    emoticon

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JACKIE542 12/3/2012 10:05AM

    Beautiful! Now this is motivating me to finish mine. Thank you! emoticon

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WILLOWBROOK5 12/3/2012 10:03AM

    Love the decorating! Just beautiful. I plan to clean and deck the halls on Thursday when I sill have a day off.

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MRSJERRYBUSH 12/3/2012 10:03AM

    Beautiful message. And may your home be filled with Christ's love today and always.

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SHANTODD420 12/3/2012 10:01AM

    What a beautiful tree and other holiday items. I love you took a picture of each item. Thanks for sharing.

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SUNSHINE99999 12/3/2012 9:52AM

  Loving the tree and decorations. A blessed holiday season to you and your family.

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"Dark days" in maintenance

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bull’s eye!
The number on the scale is finally right. What you’ve been eagerly awaiting, what you’ve been working for is a reality at last. Nothing could make you happier. You feel your work from now on is like a walk in the park. You managed to shed all those pounds. How much more difficult could it be to keep them away?

After all, you’re prepared! You have a brand new set of eating habits and plenty of fitness activities that you enjoy doing. You’ve managed to deal with binges and emotional eating successfully and you have your strategies ready for all the temptations that will be thrown your way.
You feel you have it all figured out. Being overweight or obese is a thing of the past.

When suddenly – actually not so suddenly but that’s what it feels like – things take a wrong turn. The scale starts going up...



And this triggers a series of attitudes that I’m sure many of you will recognize as the lead-in part to the sad story of weight regaining.

First, it’s self-reassurance. “Oh, come on. There’s nothing to worry about. I’m doing everything right. I’m sure my next weigh-in will be back to normal.” And we rest assured. No action.

Then, there’s denial. “It can’t be my fault. I haven’t been overeating or anything like that. I can’t have gained weight just because I inhaled the smell over the freshly-baked cookies!!! There must be another reason. Maybe water retention!” And we find something else to put the blame on. Still no action.

After that comes confession. “The truth is I didn’t just smell the cookies, I tried one. Or was it two? Now that I think about it, I ate half of them in front of the TV! And that pizza we ordered that night, I just couldn’t eat just one piece!” And suddenly the memories come back. And the realization hits hard!

At this point, two things could happen.
The first one is panic. We want to fix everything and we want it done fast. We maximize our cardio activities and we starve ourselves hoping that the scale will go back where it was. And this starts an endless vicious circle of deprivation to over-indulgence and vice versa. And little by little, day by day, wrong choice by wrong choice, the pounds creep back up.

I know this sounds frightening but most of us have been there and have felt the despair of this experience. Thankfully, things can be different.

We take full responsibility for our actions. We can’t keep up trying to find someone or something to blame – unless of course there is a medical reason present, in which case we should talk to our doctor. What we put in our mouths, though, is something we have full control over. A number of reasons, different for everyone, led us to the wrong path. But we are still in control and that’s what we have to realize.
WE decide when this stops. A little damage was done. Shall we undo it or make it bigger? Our choice!

I am currently at those dark days of maintenance. The ones when you realize you’re not maintaining anymore but you’ve started gaining. The damage is still small. I can sit around pretending that nothing happened and wait for the situation to resolve itself in a magical way. I can start blaming everything and everyone around me, like my stressful life, my mom’s delicious cooking, the holidays’ delicacies which have started making an appearance or my new intense fitness program which mistakenly led me to believe I could eat more of anything.
Or I can accept my responsibility, assess the damage and strike back. Reverse the process and correct everything.

I choose the latter. And if you’re dealing with something similar, I encourage you to do the same.


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIDMIS 12/6/2012 12:06AM

    emoticon blog and you hit the nail on the head. That is why I am on a no dessert streak. I can't eat just one.

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FRANCES-AGAPE 12/5/2012 11:41PM

    emoticon



You totally nailed how I've been all week !
And most of November !


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Have a Thrilling Thursday

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BLESSINGS!
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GODIVADSG 12/5/2012 10:36AM

    Thanks

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GOING-STRONG 12/4/2012 4:43PM

    emoticon

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MISSB8604 12/4/2012 1:42PM

    Seriously fantastic blog. Thank you, as this is exactly what I needed to hear.

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ILOVEMALI 12/4/2012 12:52PM

  Wow. Thanks. This is exactly what's been going on with me.

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HEALTH4LYFE 12/4/2012 12:11PM

    Great blog. I am not yet at maintenance, but have done the gain, up and down and up and down again. It isn't pretty. Have about 15 lbs to go and I'll be there. May be looking to you for some guidance?? emoticon

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SHERIO5 12/4/2012 8:56AM

    Oh how I wish I would have read your blog this time last year! It is a slippery slope! But you are right, we can control what we put in our mouths! emoticon

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FIREFLY4407 12/3/2012 1:14PM

    Thank you for sharing your Spark !! Perfect timing as I am trying very hard to stay on track (ok - maybe get back on track would be more accurate). emoticon

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STARDUSTGR 11/30/2012 9:18AM

    Oh! Elle, your blog is what I need this day!!
Things go wrong and what I am reading makes me to think that it is hard but I can do it!
Thank you very much!!
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FEB_SHOWERS16 11/28/2012 11:32AM

    Thank you SO MUCH for this!!! I definitely needed to read this! I feel much better! Today is going to ROCK!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WILLOWBROOK5 11/28/2012 9:36AM

   
Excellent blog! When we take responsibility for our actions, we also assume the power to make needed changes.

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KANOE10 11/28/2012 7:27AM

    I like your dark days of maintenance..and your honesty. We are still maintaining even when we slip and struggle. This is the reality of maintenance, continually working on being accountable.

Great blog. emoticon

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MARTHAWILL 11/27/2012 9:27PM

    Awesome blog. So thankful for SparkPeople. The journey is not the same as before with so many helpful inspiring people like you.

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FITFOODIE806 11/27/2012 8:55PM

    Ahhhh! You're reading my mind! (And my scale) thanks for writing and sharing. I needed this today.

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WATERMELLEN 11/27/2012 8:17PM

    Great bkig! And Mr. Maxwell probably has a point about women too!!

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CRANRANA 11/27/2012 7:51PM

  Isn't it funny--I always think others are maintaining perfectly and I'm the only one who struggles. It's so wonderful that you can share the truth that so many of us face. How is it that we expect to change a lifetime of habits and choices and never falter....ah, human nature. We will always have choices and we we will learn from them and improve.

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TINAJANE76 11/27/2012 7:14PM

    Super blog, Elle! I think this happens to almost all of us at some point after we hit goal. Taking responsibility for our slips and correcting them as quickly as we can is what makes the difference between continuing the perpetual cycle of yo-yo dieting and remaining a successful maintainer. I think this is why it's so helpful to have a maintenance range rather than a specific number as a goal. Not only is it unrealistic and incredibly frustrating to stay exactly at the same number, but having a range also helps you to identify trends over time. If I see one where I'm continually inching up in my range, I know it's time to take action. That was starting to happen to me after my summer vacation--I went from the lower end of my range to the mid-to-upper end so I decided enough was enough and that I had to buckle down and get back under my midpoint before the holidays set in. I am determined to stay in that range and not become a weight regain casualty ever again.

Thanks for addressing this issue so thoroughly. I'm sure it will help a lot of people and I hope everyone who reads this blog will 'like' it.

Comment edited on: 11/27/2012 7:16:11 PM

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MICKEYH 11/27/2012 5:52PM

    What a great blog. Thanks for sharing !! I am with you on this one. My weakness was not cookies but brownies.:) oh yeah, pizza too. Lol)) But since I started my health journey, I become much stronger and smarter to avoid those my weakness. I am so glad that I feels like finally I work up from illusion and nightmare of being fat and obese. I realized it is not worth it to go back unhealthy living in my mid age. But holiday season is a toughest season of all, with all kind of goodies...

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TRAVELGRRL 11/27/2012 5:25PM

    Great blog! Even when we aren't to maintenance yet, we STILL have the same issues. When we make a slip (not "if") do we end it there or compound it? I think this is the whole crux of maintaining our weight.

I have every confidence that you will change your course forthwith!!

Comment edited on: 11/27/2012 5:32:58 PM

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BLUE42DOWN 11/27/2012 4:14PM

    emoticon blog!

Amazing how quickly and easily self-deception can come back into play - and I don't mean the scale. I mean the MOMENT we pick up the cookie and tell our brain to remember it as just giving it a sniff. THAT is one of the hardest habits to truly break.

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BAKER1009 11/27/2012 12:04PM

    Thanks for the blog Elle!
Although I myself have yet to get to maintenance mode (and am currently on HOLD, lol), it is nice to read about how it is when you reach that point. Your insight will be helpful to me when I reach maintenance mode.

As for your struggles...I still believe it is only human, right? You've done a great job, and you're doing a great job now. You know what's happened, and you know what needs to be done to fix it. Go you!!
And I absolutely LOVE that last quote!!

Thanks for sharing this with us all. You ROCK!!
Hugs,
Beth

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THOMS1 11/27/2012 11:31AM

    emoticon

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MIDROAD 11/27/2012 11:30AM

    Love your blog. My personal experience with weight gain has been hmmmm how can I put this..... Something like, but way worse than total blind DENIAL. It's a horrible place, where I never wake up until of course it's too late. I am learning to be present in my own life! My fondest wish is to stay far away from blind denial.
But sincerest thanks for your wonderful blog you really know how to put things in perspective.

Hugs
Jeannie

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KOOKYCOOKIE 11/27/2012 11:30AM

    GREAT blog! This so true! Although I didn't catch my gain until I had REALLY gained a lot back, I did go through all the excuses and blaming it on other things and now I'm back to holding myself accountable. :) I love how you worded your blog and really called it as it is :)

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MJZHERE 11/27/2012 11:10AM

  For me, weighing daily is essential to staying honest. The other day when I "forgot" to weigh in, I discovered I was up 5 lbs (now 4 as I do what is needed). After a life of yoyoing, I am determined to not ignore what gets me there.

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CATMAGNET 11/27/2012 11:00AM

    SO true. It really is about taking the bull by the horns and getting back into those healthy habits instead of letting things slide. Kudos for catching it quickly and getting back on track!

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WINDSURFNERD 11/27/2012 10:41AM

    Great blog! You captured the essence of backsliding!
thanks for sharing!
naomi

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SEPTEMBERSPIRIT 11/27/2012 10:08AM

    Excellent Blog!! Unlike you - I let my gain go too far and feel just that 'panic' of getting back to where I had busted that 3 year plateau finally.

I am sure that maintenance is just as hard if not harder than losing the weight but you are doing emoticon

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PINKANGEL73 11/27/2012 9:45AM

    How fantastic that you have hit your goal emoticon

Now is that dangerous time where you can either creep slowly back to your old ways emoticon and weight gain or you can try to find the balance with your new habits which keeps you close to goal. emoticon

How many times have most of us lost weight only to put it back on. Well done you for taking control and making the decision to keep it off. emoticon

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MRSJERRYBUSH 11/27/2012 9:22AM

    Just what I needed aftervThanksgiving! Thank you!

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NASFKAB 11/27/2012 9:04AM

  thanks awesome blog so true

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ANNIEONLI 11/27/2012 8:52AM

    There you go!! Well said my friend!

Stop - reassess - take action.

You already know what to do, it's just a matter of doing it right now instead of tomorrow. Soon enough things will be right back where they were before...it just takes some time and patience.
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1935MARY 11/27/2012 8:51AM

    Thank you. This is awesome. You are so right we want to blame it on everything except the one who is responsible for no action. As Barney Fife would say you have to nip it in the bud. emoticon

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AMARILYNH 11/27/2012 8:50AM

    Absolutely awesome blog!! I'm in those same days - and like you realize NOW is the time to take action!! emoticon

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A tribute to fitness overachievers!

Friday, November 09, 2012



I’ve come across this poster a lot this past week. On bus stops, on TV, on Facebook, on sports sites. To be honest, I feel jealous and kind of disappointed. I wanted to be part of this. Not the marathon, of course, but one of the other races that are held on the same day. But it was my choice not to sign up for it. And I keep reminding myself that just because something is not happening for me right now, it doesn’t mean that it will never happen. It means I’m not ready for it.

But this is not to talk about me. This is to talk about them. The people who are the personalization of commitment, determination, courage and will-power all in one. The marathoners.

And I’m not talking about the people who are athletes and have been running since they were teenagers. Not that their accomplishments are inferior. But I really admire and look up to all those people who took up running late in their lives. People who started running counting their heavy breaths until they managed to finish a mile. And they ended up transforming this mile into 26.2. They went from a few meters to 42.2 kilometers. I feel so lucky to have met many of those people here.

I always read marathon blogs. And they always bring me to tears with overwhelming feelings of admiration and awe. Their training, what brought them to the big day, is usually a mix of joy and disappointment, belief and disbelief, peaking and dipping self-confidence, courage and discouragement. And all this mixture of emotions leads them throughout their training journey which is not happening in a parallel dimension. It’s part of their daily lives and it co-exists with their demanding roles in their families, jobs, societies.

But what’s almost always the most impressive and overwhelming part is their experience from the race day. Their description of how they managed to overcome their bodies’ limits and their fears. The persistence that helped them continue. The thoughts that guided them through all the mind barriers. The hidden stockpiles of strength which helped them surpass their limits of physical and emotional endurance. And this small step of victory, the one that crossed the finish line and felt like a giant leap which marked a life-changing point in their own personal story and their life’s achievements.

I wanted to name all of you in this blog. But I’m afraid I might forget someone and it wouldn’t be fair. All of you, my Sparkfriends, whether you’ve run a full or a half marathon – you know who you are – have been an endless source of inspiration for me. And I believe you’ve done the same for other people, too.

This Sunday, more than 9,500 people will be running the authentic marathon route, the one that named this wonderful athletic event. People from all five continents of the planet and people of all ages. Many of them are well into their seventies and the older one is a man from Italy who is proudly running at the 84th year of his life! If you’re looking for inspiration this weekend, think about this man!

Good luck, marathoners! Keep on showing us the way to achievement.

Thank you for reading, Sparkers. Have a great weekend!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANNIEONLI 11/13/2012 8:30AM

    Ahhh...my Greek goddess Sparkfriend has inspired me once again!

I'm running my second 5K in a week with my sister in law...and while I am a bit rusty and have not trained, I am not bailing on her since it's her very first one.

Support is half the battle sometimes!

Thanks for yours!!
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KANOE10 11/13/2012 7:25AM

    Great blog. I admire the marathon people here also..very dedicated and hard working people who have made fitness so important in their lives!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 11/11/2012 9:20AM

    Great blog-Thanks!
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VIXSTERLU 11/11/2012 12:40AM

    "And I keep reminding myself that just because something is not happening for me right now, it doesn’t mean that it will never happen. It means I’m not ready for it."

This sooo resonated with me today! I have been feeling exactly this and I really want to be able to put that 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on my care, but it's just not my time, won't be for a while. But I will get there, with the help of those blogs you mention and friends like you! You are inspiring Elle! Thank you.



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SPUNKYDUCKY 11/10/2012 2:07PM

    I agree completely - I want to do something like this so bad it HURTs. And I know I will get there and so will you!

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THOMS1 11/9/2012 2:18PM

    Good blog! emoticon

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AMARILYNH 11/9/2012 12:40PM

    Well said!! And I'll just add one thing - if you really WANT to run a marathon, you CAN!! Its all about training!!

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NASFKAB 11/9/2012 10:30AM

  awesome thanks

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BAKER1009 11/9/2012 9:27AM

    Beautiful blog Elle!
I love reading the marathoners blogs too, and all about how it felt to do it. I enjoyed running track in high school, but nothing long distance. I am not sure that marathons are for me, but ya never know I suppose. For now, I'll just live through people like Nikki! LOL!

Have a wonderful weekend too!!
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Beth

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MICKEYH 11/9/2012 9:18AM

    emoticon thanks for sharing !!

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 11/9/2012 8:09AM

    Great blog! I agree, those marathoners are amazing and crazy at the same time, lol! But like you, I love reading their stories, being excited about the results, and crying with them in their despair.

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CAT609 11/9/2012 7:19AM

    Awesome. I would like to be a part of it, too.

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NUOVAELLE 11/9/2012 6:11AM

    JSTETSER thank you for your comment. I'm sorry I misguided you with the title of my blog "A tribute to those who deserve it." I am not American and I had no idea about Veterans day being this Sunday. Thank you for pointing it out to me. I changed the title to avoid misguiding other Sparkers, too.

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JSTETSER 11/9/2012 5:40AM

    Go girl! I thought that this blog was going to be about celebrating Veterans for Veterans Day.

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GHOSTFLAMES 11/9/2012 5:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Think seasonably!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


This is my dad’s vegetable garden from last summer.


And his beanstalks. Maybe not magic ones, but gigantic in nutrients!

My dad has been filling our kitchen with fresh, organic vegetables for years, ever since he retired from his job in the city. And I’m grateful for that. And when it comes to food, I owe much of my knowledge to my dad. He taught me proper nutrition principles. Is he an expert nutritionist? Far from that! I’m sure he has no clue as to what “saturated fat” means and he has only heard about “carbohydrates” from his doctor. But he has valuable knowledge acquired from experience and from nature.

He taught me that yogurt is good for us. How did he know? In his village everybody used to eat it! And the high majority of them were privileged to spend more than a century on this earth! He advised me to use lemon juice wherever I could when cooking. He has no idea about its nutritional value but my grandmother used it a lot and it kept them healthy through the long winters. Of course it did since it’s full of potassium and vitamin C and it shields our immune system. Not to mention its anti-inflammatory effect. They knew none of this information but, yet, they were wise. Experience had been their wise mentor.

And I wouldn’t be fair to my mum if I left her out of this gratitude expression. She passed on to me her passion for cooking and showed me the magic that is hidden in the treasure of ingredients mother earth provides us with. Maybe the love for cooking led me to experiments that became catastrophic for my waistline – sugar is also one of nature’s gifts to us – but that’s another story.

Both my parents taught me that when it comes to our food, we have to abide by nature’s rules. And that’s the reason I’m writing all these today. To talk about “seasons” as a concept we should always keep in mind when choosing our food.

When I was a child, our neighborhood’s fresh market had a unique characteristic that I really enjoyed! It changed colors according to the season! At least, that’s what it looked like to my eyes back then. It became so vivid in the spring with the strawberries and the tomatoes, even more colorful in summer with the peaches and cherries and watermelons, only to cool down at the beginning of autumn with pears and cauliflowers and cabbages and become one with the surrounding fall colors as oranges and tangerines made their first appearance.
As I grew up this seasonal variety disappeared. I could see tomatoes just before Christmas and strawberries in January! Apples would be around all year long and you could find oranges in the middle of the summer. But I knew better. I stayed away.

We have many important reasons to choose our fruit and vegetables according to season.

- Each unique kind of fruit or vegetable needs a certain quality of soil and a specific amount of rain, humidity and sunlight in order to grow and become fully nutritional for us. Each season provides us with the right conditions needed for certain cultivations. When we try to grow them in different conditions, it’s like declaring a war to nature. And nature fights back by robbing them off most of their nutrients.

- Nature is wisely constructed for our benefit. Each season, we need different foods for the different needs that our body has. For example, in summer we need fruit that will reduce our body temperature, like watermelon, and fruit rich in carotene, like apricots, which protect our skin from the sun. Eating what’s in season will only help our bodies function better and protect themselves against any kind of dangers that each season brings with it.

- Foods that are brought to us in different seasons, contrary to nature’s will, are actually born in a “cruel” world since they are grown in different circumstances than they should be. So, they need some “help” in order to survive. A great variety of pesticides and chemicals come to the rescue. And to our plates!

- Foods that are not in season in our country could be in season in another country! But they need to travel lots of miles to reach us and this reduces their freshness. So, another set of chemicals is used to help them look their best when they get to the market. And of course their “make-up substances” and their long trip cost a lot, so their price has to make up for the expenses.

- Freezing and frozen products may sound like the solution. And it’s a really convenient idea. But experts say that freezing also destroys a certain amount of vitamins and nutrients, so why not choose fresh when we can? After all, what can be compared to the taste and aroma of fresh fruit and vegetables?

Being “seasonable” eaters can have a surprisingly beneficial effect on our health, our weight and even our finances. All we have to do is research and educate ourselves on what nature has to offer to us every month of the year. Think about all the fresh ingredients your meals could be enhanced with and all the variety this could bring to your family’s table. Isn’t it worth a try?

I would be really glad to offer you a list of my own seasonable options but I live in a different part of the world and things could be slightly different than where you live. So, instead of misguiding you, I found this article on Sparkpeople about fall’s choices:
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutriti
on_articles.asp?id=956


I’ve also come across a very nice video which discusses many important subjects concerning our food. I thought you might find it interesting.
www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player
_embedded&v=PzGSHTP-U20


Everything – and I mean everything – that we eat originates from nature. Doesn’t it sound logical that we get the best it has to offer if we follow the rules? It does to me!



What do you think?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINAJANE76 11/13/2012 2:04PM

    Love it! I think we're both very lucky to be living in places that have the wonderful gift of gorgeous fresh produce year-round. Thanks for another great blog!

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AMARILYNH 11/7/2012 5:07PM

    Awesome and thought provoking blog!! Thanks for sharing!! emoticon

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 11/7/2012 3:44PM

    Fantastic blog. Love the wisdom your parents passed down to you. I totally agree buying in season is the best choice.

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MADAMES 11/7/2012 2:37PM

    What a wonderful blog with so many thoughtful statements! Thanks for logical thinking!

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THOMS1 11/7/2012 2:36PM

    Great blog!!!

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NASFKAB 11/7/2012 9:42AM

  such great thoughtful blog we hardly think that way but we should eat seasonal food thanks for pointing it out

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AEROBISAURUS 11/7/2012 8:32AM

    Now that's food for thought! I agree. Great blog! emoticon

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BAKER1009 11/7/2012 8:11AM

    Thanks for this blog Elle!
First, for sharing the story of your own parents, and how they guided you as far as nutrition is concerned.
Second, for the information regarding the fruits and vegetables. You sure put a lot of thought and work into this blog and it is greatly appreciated!
You're awesome!!
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Beth

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FITFOODIE806 11/7/2012 8:06AM

    Awesome blog! The more I learn, the more I believe that local and fresh is more important than organic or even calorie count.

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MICKEYH 11/7/2012 7:52AM

    Thank you for the great advice. Fresh fruit and vegetable are the best!!
This blog was very informative.

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GOTTAPLAN4U 11/7/2012 7:19AM

  Very good advice to consider. Thankfully the cost of produce prompts us to "buy seasonal" even if we are not thinking nutrition. And the taste is a MAJOR impetus to choosing the locally grown in-season produce.

I would be most interested in reading expert references on the loss of nutrients when freezing produce. I have found no research reference of any significant loss and frequently rely on frozen. Do you remember where you read/heard this?

Kate

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 11/7/2012 7:12AM

    This is an excellent blog, thanks for sharing the info. I never thought about it, because we always just seemed to have "fresh" fruits and veggies of any type all year round. But most of them come from the west coast and warmer climates. Not exactly fresh, right?!?

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