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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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"Biggest losers" have things in common.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No secret diet, no magic pill. I’m sure we have all realized this by now. All the people who have successfully tried to lose weight and have managed to keep it off, Sparkers or non-Sparkers, managed to find their own unique combination of healthy eating and exercise. Each one of us is a different person, with different needs, who needs a different approach to weight loss.

But we have things in common. Looking back at my own weight loss journey and browsing through blogs of other people’s successful stories, I think I have pinpointed some attitudes that seem similar, sometimes even identical. And I believe that if these attitudes are put together with our own individual ways of eating and working out, they can easily pave the road to success.
So, these are the things that most “biggest losers” have in common:

- They realized they had to make permanent changes.

Most of them had been tortured by diets many times in the past. Some of them hadn’t. But they all knew that a small period of eating differently and a month of exercise in a year of complete absence of activity would bring changes that wouldn’t last. Sooner or later they would go back to their old habits. It would be like a drop in the ocean. It would only affect the surface of the problem. Only if they changed their habits permanently could they hope for long-lasting results. And this realization was critical to their success.


- They moved on by trial and error.

What worked for me won’t necessarily work for you. People who successfully lost weight were ready to accept failure. They tried many things that proved to be wrong and many times they would bring them back to square one. They just researched and found another way. A new way of exercise, a new trick to deal with cravings, new menus, new breakfast ideas, anything they had a hard time with, they would just replace it with something new. Eventually they found what worked for them.


- They created a support network.

Struggling is part of everything in our lives. Sometimes we struggle with our jobs, with our studies, with our relationships. A weight loss attempt couldn’t be an exception to the rule. There will be difficult days. Days that nothing will seem to work. Days that all our will-power and motivation will have vanished somehow. And when we struggle, we need someone who can relate. A friend or many friends who can put themselves in our shoes, give us a pat on the back and help us move on. Most of the people who managed to lose weight had their own support system. One or more Sparkfriends, a gym buddy, a family member on the same weight loss journey, they all played their own role in someone’s success story.


- They constantly motivated themselves.

What did you think? That all these people lived in gyms and never missed a workout? Or they had hired a 24-hour nutrition expert who cooked all their meals for them? No, they lived in the same world we all do. Where everyday life issues continue and smaller or bigger problems come up and draw our attention away from our personal goals. And, of course, motivation is diminished. But those people didn’t let their motivation meter reach zero. They would motivate themselves weekly, daily or whenever they felt it was needed. They would make visuals, read success stories, browse through motivational pictures, reflect on inspirational quotes, blog, do anything they could to keep the spark alive. And their constant vigilance rewarded them with success.


- They put “health” in the equation.

Vanity reasons are good. Who doesn’t want to look good in skinny jeans or swimsuits? We all do. But there’s a problem with vanity motives. They can easily be postponed for …later. This way: “Well, I still have my baggy T-shirt to hide in. I’ll try for the tank top tomorrow. Now bring me those donuts!”
But when the factor “health” appears, things change. When you know that your unhealthy way of eating and your non-existent activity levels are kindly inviting Mr. Diabetes in, you don’t get lots of time to postpone your decisions. When cholesterol and blood pressure have started using the elevator and are flirting with “the upper floors” of their values, you have to act. All those people who managed to lose weight didn’t necessarily have a health problem. But they educated themselves on health statistics and they measured the odds. And they decided that to the extent they could, they would get in control of their health.


- They wanted it badly.

Probably the most important ingredient in the “weight loss success recipe”. The key attitude. A strong desire. The starting point of all achievement. They wanted to reach their goals and they wanted it badly. So badly that they refused to quit no matter the obstacles. They would always get up no matter how many times they fell. They had the visual of their goal in mind and they never let go of it. And, in the end, they made it happen.

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There are so many success stories on Sparkpeople. Have a look at the strategies of those people and you’ll soon realize it’s all a matter of the right attitude. They say that attitudes are contagious, don’t they? Well, I believe you’re in the right place to “catch” them!




  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1HAPPYSUSAN 11/15/2012 2:29PM

    Thank you, Elle! Your motivational post has given me some great points to ponder, especially at this stage of my life; I've started and stopped so many times yet I've gained and now find myself a mess physically...and emotionally, as well, when I think about it.

Your points on what has meant success to the biggest losers are logical, inspiring and spot on. I'm looking forward to reading future posts of yours, for the inspiration and the example of success.

Best wishes on the remainder of your journey to health and who knows?? Perhaps we'll race that incredible Marathon in Athens together one day!

Thank you for sparking my day! emoticon

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DIXIEWORKHORSE 11/15/2012 10:03AM

    emoticon emoticon

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RUSSELL1960 11/11/2012 7:11PM

    Thanks. What you shared resonates with my experience too. I had many of these "pieces" in place but still didn't experience success. When I added into the mix the daily motivation provided by Spark Coach it put me over the top and I am now a bit surprised and delighted with the good results. It is possible that some discouraged people are very close to success but lack perhaps just one ingredient or one small change in their lives to tip the balance toward progress.

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PEZMOM1 11/8/2012 10:57PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PENSIEVEGAZER 11/6/2012 10:11PM

    Really like the summary of tips!

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ANNANN63 11/6/2012 8:36AM

    Awesome.

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JANEMARIE77 11/5/2012 10:08PM

    sounds about right

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COCHRANE0511 11/4/2012 6:36PM

    Thank you for your blog, it was very interesting information.

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SHAZG321 11/4/2012 1:07PM

    emoticon emoticon

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NEWMREY 11/4/2012 10:26AM

    Thank you for your blog and for sharing all of your hard won knowledge! It gives me so much to think about and absorb as I am learning my way to maintenance.

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ELAYNE39 11/4/2012 10:16AM

    Fantastic post!

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NASFKAB 11/4/2012 7:37AM

  awesome blog put what I think in words so beautifully THANKS

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ANNARUTH2 11/4/2012 6:07AM

    Good words!

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CUDDLYPOLARBEAR 11/4/2012 4:22AM

    great post

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ARIZONA33 11/4/2012 1:32AM

    Amazing blog. Thanks for sharing and reminding us that we all have things in common but that we need to find our own unique combination in order to make things work for truly work for us!

And, you are so right--attitude is everything!

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REENIE131 11/3/2012 10:46PM

    Thank you for a GREAT blog!

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DETERMINED_ME 11/3/2012 9:23PM

    Thank you so much for sharing...You are right, as I think of the motivational blogs I have read they do read similar. Definitely puts things into perspective.

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NOTSOFLUFFYDAD 11/3/2012 8:05PM

    Wow!!!! Talk about an eye opening blog!! It really puts things into perspective!! Thanks for sharing!!

Paul

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TUBLADY 11/3/2012 8:04PM

    Another great blog. I agree each of the points you made play a part in my weight loss and my success in maintaining. I really believe you have to want it so bad that nothing will deter you from achieving your success..
It all comes down to mind, your attitude. You are either ready to commit and make the changes needed or you aren't.
It doesn't happen over night. It's a process.
I wish everyone who is on that well traveled road to health and fitness reaches their destination.
Be strong, stay positive.
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BIERMA 11/3/2012 7:32PM

  I think you summarized very well what we all realize but needed you to put it into words. Thanks...very inspirational and motivating. emoticon

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SUSUSUZZZIE 11/3/2012 7:32PM

    Love your blog!

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LAWANDMUSIC 11/3/2012 6:05PM

    I really learned a thing to two in your post. Thanks!

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NAOLEE 11/3/2012 5:31PM

    Thank you and well done.

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MARYGOLD5 11/3/2012 3:47PM

    Great blog. Several great ideas that I sometimes forget and needed a reminder of. It is easy to give up if we don't keep our focus and realize that we are worth being healthy. emoticon emoticon

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POINDEXTRA 11/3/2012 3:26PM

    Great points. For me, the main thing has been just sticking with it. Sometimes it's easier than others, and sometimes it's harder, but perserverance is the key.

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DEBLYNN323 11/3/2012 2:39PM

    emoticon ...great blog!

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FALLNTENN 11/3/2012 12:25PM

    Great blog!

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SHOAPIE 11/3/2012 9:39AM

    emoticon

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MANILUS 11/3/2012 8:38AM

    Good points!

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THOMS1 11/3/2012 8:22AM

    emoticon

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STEPH-KNEE 11/3/2012 5:17AM

    So true!! Great advice!! :D

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MARYJEANSL 11/3/2012 2:07AM

  Very well said. You put a lot of things together in a clear, concise way. I need to print it - thanks!

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MARTHAWILL 11/2/2012 8:51PM

    Well written! Everytime I think I've heard it all, I hear a refreshing new perspective. Thanks!

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/2/2012 7:25PM

    A lot of TRUTH here! Thanks for capturing it so well! It needs to be shared and shouted from the rooftops...

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SUSIEMT 11/2/2012 5:47PM

    WooHoo to you lady! Another good insightful blog. Thank You! Keep it up!

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JEWELMOTI 11/2/2012 3:23PM

    emoticon

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MILLIE5522 11/2/2012 3:05PM

    emoticon Great blog!

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ADRIENALINE 11/2/2012 1:57PM

    This is a great blog! It's great to see so many simple truths in one place. You knocked the ball out of the park!

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MELINA3582 11/2/2012 1:54PM

  what a great blog,Elle! thanks for sharing and have a good day!

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MISSB8604 11/2/2012 12:51PM

    You hit the ball out of the park with this one, especially the part about wanting the weight off badly. When I knew I was only 5lbs away from goal there was nothing I wanted more than to see my goal weight on the scale. It fueled my passion, fueled my fire to reach a goal for myself. Sure, I wanted to give up plenty of times, but deep down I knew I never would because I DESERVED to have the body/lifestyle I wanted.

We all deserve the life we want to live. We all deserve to be happy.



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GERMANIRISHGIRL 11/2/2012 10:42AM

    emoticon emoticon

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LJCANNON 11/2/2012 10:35AM

    emoticon I believe you Nailed It!! Each of these things -- Added to Individual Needs -- Really Will make a Huge Difference!!

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OOLALA53 11/2/2012 10:29AM

    Props for sure. emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 11/2/2012 9:50AM

    Spot on. When I look back at why I have been successful this time as well as what it will take to keep the weight off for got, it comes down to those things.

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DAISYBELL6 11/2/2012 9:11AM

    Your blog was right on! Without all these factors combined, I know I would have quit at the first roadblock. Now, when I goof, I just dust off and do it again!

Thanks for your thoughtful summary!

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ISHIIGIRL 11/2/2012 8:59AM

    Hi Elle, you really made some excellent points with this blog and everyone of them is true. i think anyone who is successful at maintaining their weight loss incorporates all of these into their new lifestyles. You did an amazing job of summing them up. Great job!

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62NVON 11/2/2012 8:51AM

    Brilliant thoughts and so very true.
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LOGOULD 11/2/2012 8:51AM

    emoticon insisghts and so right on! There are so many more facets to living healthy than just dieting. It REALLY MUST become a lifestyle, your lifestyle, my lifestyle. We need to take ownership of ourselves and what we want for ourselves. That is KEY!

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TORTISE110 11/2/2012 8:50AM

    You nailed this. Great job.

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WATERMELLEN 11/1/2012 8:15PM

    Another fabulous blog! I'm so glad to have been introduced to your excellent writing . . .

Vanity can be effective short-term motivation . . . . but HEALTH is the biggest factor in sustaining motivation for life-long maintenance: gotta agree with you from my own experience.

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Sparkers don't know quitting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

8 weeks!
That’s the time I would need to run 5 kilometers non-stop according to Sparkpeople’s 5K Your Way Rookie Running Training Program. This means that the end of this week would find me running my first 5K on the treadmill.
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Hmmm… Not even close…
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I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to finish the sixth week of the program. Even though the last time I ran – which was a week ago – felt slightly easier than all the previous ones, I just can’t find the strength to get on this treadmill again and continue with the rest of the program. It’s not that I don’t exercise. I do circuit training most days of the week and an hour of dancing on Mondays. But on the days that I’ve scheduled to run, I just look at the treadmill and this little perfectionist inside me that has been making my life difficult for 36 years – what a mean girl! – starts the talk:

“Seriously now, do you really believe you will run for more than half an hour in two weeks? Ha! You can’t even run for five consecutive minutes! You run for three and you need another two to recover! Look at you, you can’t even finish week 6! Can’t you just accept it and go on? Running is not for you! You will NEVER be a runner! You weren’t able to run when you were in high school. What makes you think you will do it now that you’re approaching your forties? You? A runner? Wishful thinking!!!”

See? I warned you! She’s mean!

But she’s part of me. And she wins. And I turn around, away from the treadmill and do circuits instead.

I was about to quit. Forget about running. Post a blog about my failure, thank all my wonderful Sparkfriends for their support and let all of you know that, simply put, running is not for me. I tried, I failed. It happens.

And suddenly I started thinking differently.
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I’m a Sparker!
I belong to the Sparkpeople community. People here don’t quit! It's the number one rule! I took the word “quitting” out of my vocabulary a long time ago. When I realized that not every plan is for everyone. When I figured out that everything, from meal plans to fitness schedules should be flexible and tailored to our own individual needs.

Who decides that every person in this world is able to run in 8 weeks? Who can be absolutely sure that life will agree with our plans? No one! It’s just a plan that gives us the guidelines. And if we want it to work, we have to make it flexible. We can’t be perfect at it. Simply because our lives are not perfect. My life right now is a constant combination of multi-tasking and multi-thinking! I’m not always in the mood to press myself for something which my brain and my body categorize as “very difficult”. Sometimes I just need to do something that is also challenging but I know the limits of it. I’ll choose the time when I will be strong enough and ready to exceed my limits.

So, I won't quit. I’ll keep on training with my own terms. Maybe I’ll need double the time to finish this program and run 5 kilometers. So? Time is irrelevant to the accomplishment.

Soon you'll read one of my next blogs. It will be called “I ran my first 5K!”
I can’t promise you the date I’ll post it.
But you can be absolutely sure that I will.



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LLL742 11/7/2012 11:43AM

  Your post opened my eyes. I'm a great planner and will spend all my time getting prepped and ready only to get discouraged when things don't go as I planned them. I now realize I am setting myself up for failure this way. I have to allow for adjustments. Go your own pace. That's what I'm going to do.

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FALLNTENN 11/3/2012 12:30PM

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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BRIAN36 11/2/2012 10:26AM

    I've ran two full marathons but I have yet to successfully complete couch to 5K. Can't get past week 5. Your plan, your way.

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MOBYCARP 11/1/2012 6:56AM

    Yes. No canned running program is right for everyone. If you really want to run, you can take the principles of the canned program, and modify the program to fit where you are and how quickly you develop.

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WENDYSPARKS 10/18/2012 8:00AM

    emoticon

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STARDUSTGR 10/18/2012 2:33AM

    We can’t win all the battles but for sure we can win the war!!! Keep going Elle and think like a winner!!
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CRYSBROWN1 10/11/2012 10:45AM

    You can do it! The C25K program is HARD! To prep myself for the later weeks I added more days of the shorter run/walk intervals which helped out a lot, it kept me psyched for the days that I had to go longer. Also, I slowed it down...my "run" was more like turtle-like for the longest time, but that is what worked for me. AND it seems like you have the right idea, find out what works for YOU!
Never Quit!

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EDOHERTY107 10/11/2012 5:35AM

    What a great attitude !!!
emoticon emoticon



emoticon Here you come!!!

Comment edited on: 10/11/2012 5:36:28 AM

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BAKER1009 10/10/2012 2:47PM

    That is the spirit Elle!! You're just so darn emoticon and I knew you would just emoticon

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FITFOODIE806 10/10/2012 1:35PM

    YES YOU WILL! You are stronger than that mean girl. One thing that I've learned about running is that it is just as much about mind and soul as it is about muscles and lungs. Running can be a mental battle. And it sounds to me like you are winning!!!

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VIXSTERLU 10/10/2012 1:07PM

    My week 5 took 3 weeks to complete, week 4 took 2 weeks to complete. For me it was finding a good app on my phone that told me when to run/walk. If I was left to stare at the clock, my mind took over and I got winded and would walk more. And my first 5k I even walked twice for a minute each, but I did it :)

You'll get there!
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TRIXIERUNS 10/10/2012 11:09AM

    You will get there! I struggled with the C25K program. I never actually finished it. I started the program 2 or 3 times and never finished it. My first 5k race - I ran and walked. Probably walked more than I ran, actually. But now I can run a 5k. It's taken me almost 2 years to get there. And sometimes when I go out for a run I still do run /walk intervals. It's okay. What helped me was getting off the treadmill and running outside. At first I found it harder to run outside, but it's not nearly as boring.


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JHUSTO01 10/10/2012 9:15AM

    GREAT Attitude!! I'm rooting for you! Let me know how it goes, I'm in week 5 right now and will be doing for a second time (at least)... I'm also fighting the mean girl inside of me telling me I can't and will never run.

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 10/10/2012 8:40AM

    Listen girl, you need to put some duct tape on the mean girls mouth = ) I struggled with the 5k program, and decided to do it MY way. I'm a perfectionist, and trying to run 3 min and walk for 3 when I knew I could run longer, was ruining my fun! So, I just started running until I couldn't, then I walked, then ran more, etc. No timers, no numbers, just me and what I can handle. I'm REALLY slow right now, 44 min for a 5k, but I'm jogging the whole thing. Best advice I was ever given... SLOW down. I was trying to run TOO fast, and I never made it. Slow down, get your endurance built up, and the time will get faster and faster. I may only be at 44min right now, but when I started, it was 57. 13 min off my time is good for me, and I know I'll get better. SO WILL YOU!!! NEVER QUIT!!!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 10/10/2012 8:33AM

    Yup Yup, YOU CAN DO THIS. I just commented on your feed about this. Just a suggestion, why not move your running outdoors? I find it very very hard to run any length of time on the treadmill. You have the right attitude. Just keep on going and who cares how long it takes. I am looking forward to reading your 5k blog. Happy training!
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BLOOMINGLENA 10/10/2012 8:20AM

    emoticon That's my sparkgirl! That multi-thinking did the miracle I guess! Thank you for the inspiration and I needed it so desperately! As you know this week I have been off the right track as I had to be at the hospital for my dad and at work and at the hospital again and my nutrition and my workouts were behind schedule. But I will be ready tomorrow with my salads, fruit and my fitness videos because WE NEVER QUIT!
Love you ELLE! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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