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Ready or not, in 16 days...

Friday, April 20, 2012

My second half marathon. In December, when the e-mail came announcing that registration was open, I signed up on the first day. I remembered the thrill of finishing last year. The couple of days of moving a little slow after, but the grin that lasted a month, I swear.

Was it wise, given my aspirations for the Tri in July? At this point, I'm not sure. I know I am fit enough to walk the 13.1 miles. I make zero promises about finishing time, because I have no clue how much I'll jog how much just walk. If I want to guarantee a finish, I'll walk nearly the whole thing.

But if I wish to guarantee my ability to finish training for that Tri? I may be playing a "safety first" game with the half. And you know what? That's OK.

The competition is NOT a single day. It is not a single race. It is not with the other racers. It is with myself. It is a competition of character, of keeping promises to myself!

To US, fellow Sparkers. To living our lives, our way... fit, healthy, strong... the best we can be... to be the people we most desire and need to be. To purpose. To goals. To LIFE!

Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 4/22/2012 8:29PM

    What an awesome philosophy! You are so right. The race is not one day. The race is life, is health, is fitness.... I love the commitment to character and promises to yourself. This is an incredible blog. I voted for it. -Marsha

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EBEAMS 4/21/2012 10:52PM

    You are so right ... You are already a hero for your dedication and commitment to yourself! You care enough about yourself to explore your mental process and figure out what is right for you, what isn't right for you and not try to do everything to 100%! Giving ourselves permission to be what we are capable of being is so much more beneficial than pushing ourselves to be what we might never be ... there's no comparison! I'll say it again ... You are already a hero! Hugs!

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WATERMELLEN 4/21/2012 8:34PM

    For I have promises to keep . . . the most important ones are always to ourselves!

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REJ7777 4/21/2012 6:34AM

    It sounds like you have a balanced, workable plan. Why am I not surprised? emoticon

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DEBRA0818 4/20/2012 12:41PM

    Whosh! The time goes by and before you know it, you'll be post-race receiving congratulations from everyone for a great job and you will know the thrill of accomplishing something really tremendous for your health and for your life!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/20/2012 10:42AM

    Yes, you are absolutely not competing against the others. This is something you're doing for you. Who cares if you walk the whole thing? You'll still accomplish your goal of completing it without risking a set-back in your Tri training. Great way to work it out, Barb!

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1CRAZYDOG 4/20/2012 9:53AM

    Good luck to you! I am proud of you for doing it YOUR way and not stressing about your time, etc. Sometimes we put so dang much pressure on ourselves. Whatever you do, you'll do fine. Keep it up!


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KRISZTA11 4/20/2012 8:00AM

    Good luck to the half marathon!
If you plan to walk a lot and jog less, then I don't think there is a risk of getting injured and you'll recover in time for your Triathlon in July.
Congrats to your consistent, long-term healthy lifestyle!

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_LINDA 4/20/2012 7:58AM

    Well done Barb, you got your head screwed on straight with that amazing attitude!
I get the feeling you are going to rock this race!!
Go, Barb, GO!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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In the end... Mental Kindness IS mental toughness

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Being mentally kind to oneself allows one to be resilient. To never give up. To stick to the plan because we're worth it, and we are kind enough to ourselves to keep our promises. That inner child is EXPECTING the inner parent to help him/her do this... to show up at the game or the party or the school play.

Does your inner parent spoil your inner child? If so, is that kind?

So, in essence, the inner parent has to be mentally tough... to be mentally kind to that inner child. Encourage your inner child today: we can do this!

Because we're worth it. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIZCATHI 4/23/2012 5:51PM

    My inner child is being a brat right now and needs to be parented. I forgot for two seconds that I'm a good Mom - thanks for the reminder!

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MSLZZY 4/22/2012 7:44AM


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WATERMELLEN 4/21/2012 8:33PM

    I think that Steve Siebold could learn a lot from your relationship between the inner child and inner parent. He's very condemning of what he calls "adolescent" thinking (the emotional demand for instant gratification) and rightly so. But there's a place for childlike spontaneity and joy too!! (So long as it doesn't involve self-destructive indulgence . . . ). Relentless stern hectoring: not good, not necessary, not kind!!

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_LINDA 4/20/2012 1:06AM

    Another great one!! My inner adult is a little too permissive sometimes with the allowance of salty snacks. Has to set some boundaries before the maintenance is in jeopardy..

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1CRAZYDOG 4/19/2012 9:31AM

    I so agree! So many times it SEEMS easier for the parent to "cave in" and give the child what they request rather than do the RIGHT thing and make a WISE choice. Great blog! Hugs!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/19/2012 9:29AM

    Very true. And we'd be wise to remember that. I know I do so much better when my inner parent cares enough to show up and nurture the hurting inner child. Great blog.

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KALIGIRL 4/19/2012 8:43AM

    Here's to encouragement in all its forms!

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LEANJEAN6 4/19/2012 7:02AM

    Nice!------ I need to be kind to my inner child to-day!-I do enjoy your blogs Barb!--They are very informative---make me think--*S*-Lynda

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Mental kindness has to include...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

accepting your strengths, not just your weaknesses.

In swapping comments with WATERMELLEN about the mental toughness coaching sessions, I told her I have little trouble with the concept of being "part of the masses" versus "the elite". I expressed that this went against my egalitarian emotional identity.

From my youth up, I've been trained and have discovered in interactions with others that EVERY human is an amazing creature. May not be crazy about each and every one, and each and every one can't be depended upon to be crazy about ME, BUT, everyone has a story.

Steve Siebold preaches that most people fail at weight loss and getting fit, but "YOU aren't one of them", that YOU can become and are becoming a success, part of the small percentage of those who succeed... and that's when my talk-back begins.

You see, deep among the things that block me from being "world class" is a desire to fit in, to belong. It's close to the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of need... survival comes first, but belonging is close behind. I think that there are times when I (and others like me) undermine my own success because I don't believe I would truly belong in a culture of the world class. That somehow they are different (and, claims Siebold, they DO think differently). And I'm trying to get back to being "a part of the masses".

Yet, do I truly belong among "the masses", either?

Truth is, human beings are complex. We are all elite. And we are all "the masses". Some of us fear our success will take us away from the familiar where even if we're miserable, we are "at home". In the end, it is mentally kind to allow ourselves to grow, to achieve, to be strong where we can be strong... and to reach for our personal goals and the stars! And along the way? You will find Spark people who ALSO are reaching for similar goals and stars... and suddenly find... that YOU BELONG!

Life is good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 4/21/2012 8:27PM

    I don't like the "elitism" of Siebold's "world class" talk which also sounds, frankly, a little dated -- like 1990s style "world class cities" talk. Toronto has always been too preoccupied about whether it's a "world class city". Well, yikes, of course it is!

And of course we're world class. And of course we're also part of the masses. We want to be (and are) unique. And to be recognized, accepted and celebrated for our uniqueness. But we do not want to be "braggy" (women suffer from that more than men, I think). We want to belong too. (And women will be ostracized if they are too vain, too braggy).

Fact is (I suspect, because you haven't bragged about it here!) you have accomplished a lot in your life. Have a great kid. A responsible job. Where you are well liked and respected. Are well liked within your family (MOBYCARP will attest to that!!)

Fact is: very few people lose weight and keep it off. You have. And you will continue to do that!

So -- setting aside that odious "world class" diction: Yay you!!

Comment edited on: 4/21/2012 8:28:34 PM

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_LINDA 4/20/2012 1:02AM

    We are snowflakes. No two alike. Not even identical twins -they have their differences too. Here is to being our own individual, making our mark in the world however we choose to do so. Be the Spark!
You go girl!

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REJ7777 4/19/2012 1:03PM

    When I started on SP, I was amazed to see how much I was learning from blogs written by ordinary people like me!

I agree that there's fear and insecurity when we go out of comfort zone. It can really hold us back. It takes courage to be the best we can be! emoticon

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SUE_2U 4/19/2012 2:10AM

    Excellent points and thank you.

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SHARON10002 4/18/2012 3:35PM

    You are making terrific progress! Very insightful blogging!

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1CRAZYDOG 4/18/2012 12:17PM

    Bonus points on this blog! I spent so much of my life just trying to "fit in". Never wanted to be in the masses necessarily, but lacked the self confidence to strive for the elite. You hit upon a major truth though, and that is, we are all a mix of being part of the masses in some areas of our life, and being a part of the elite in other areas of life. It ISN'T cut and dry . . . one or the other. It took me a long time to figure that out.

I always had self-esteem issues becuase of my height . . . ridiculous, I know, but that is where my head was at. THE gradually, in my career, I learned that I had a brain, was going places using that gift of my brain and it was NOT dependent on my height. I learned that those who judge me purely on my height were missing out on ME . . . and you know what? That is all right! As you said, it feels god to be liked, but you're not going to like everyone and not everyone is going to like you either. And that's alright! Tolerance is definitely required for everyone, but we have to accept that we're not going to be universally liked. I'm ok with that.

My son, throughout his life, has had certain challenges and he has taught me a valuable lesson. EVERYONE has strengths and weaknesses. The key is to use those strengths to balance out the weaknesses, not deny the weaknesses. Imagine . . . my son taught ME that lesson. Proud Mom moment.

Wonderful . . . no . . . BRILLIANT blog.

Comment edited on: 4/18/2012 12:19:22 PM

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FITFABJENN 4/18/2012 8:15AM

    Life IS good! Have a terrific weekend, Spark friend. Excellent, insightful blog.

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Mental kindness is sometimes accepting help!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For those of you (and me) in the world who feel like it's OK for everybody "except me" to need help now and then, this blog's for you!

Who appointed you as having to be more than human? Seriously, mental kindness has to include giving oneself a break now and then to holler "help" and go seek it.

Whether that help is a phone a friend (remember who wants tobe a millionaire?), a poll the audience ("hey Spark buds, whaddaya think?"), or a 50-50 (THAT one is a bad answer!)... help sometimes gets us through a rough patch, even if we go right back to independence.

The secret to long term success is recognizing that the journey never ends. It isn't really about numbers on a scale. It's about living life, fully, feeling good. Things come up. They do! Families, work, injuries, illness, loss... celebrations and sorrows alike can throw you for a loop.

After a very bad week last week, I happened across two appointments last Saturday that I had made weeks ago. Part of me didn't want to go. But I went. And I came out with help, and renewed purpose.

The first help resulted in my coming out with a pre-planned week of food. I don't have to think about it this week. I look at the paper, pull the stuff, pack the lunch and snacks, and live my day. When I get home, look at the paper again, fix what it says for supper, have the evening snack it says... and I'm done.

In my mind it is kind of like a Spa... where meals are provided. OK, not quite, I still do some prep work... but I don't have to think about it.

The second help was the personal trainer, who worked my *** off, and I'm still feeling it on Tuesday, folks. What the help there was kick-starting the motivation. I love being able to do what she asked of me.

Anyway, these two things got me thinking about "help" and how sometimes I think I don't need it, that I don't want it, and it's not worth it. I can get really stubborn about that... then when I slip up, get really upset with me, and it spirals. That's hardly kind.

But getting the help? Deciding it's not only OK, but worth the investment? Priceless!

Be kind to yourself today. Life is good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 4/21/2012 8:19PM

    Asking for help . . . . is tough. It helps if I think of asking for help as giving someone else the opportunity to "reciprocate" or "pass it forward". But yeah. Easier to be the helper than the helpee!!

I just remind myself of how much I dislike "friendships" where I'm always cast in the role of the recipient . . . doesn't feel good, not at all. Not really a friendship, actually.

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_LINDA 4/19/2012 6:24PM

    Unfortunately, I am used to gettting help, sometimes a little too much. Mom has done a lot of sacrificing so she could help me with my various ailments. But when the shoe is on the other foot, she won't accept any help readily..
That help you got was very timely!

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ALOHAEV1 4/17/2012 10:25PM

    As always, emoticon blog!

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COMETER 4/17/2012 9:12PM

    You've led me to think about planned eating a little more positively.

Mental kindness is a great theme--I often start beating up on myself about something, and then ask myself, what would my BFFs say about this? They would be kind. And then we'd find something to laugh about.

And then I'd find it easier to back out of the kitchen.

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SUE_2U 4/17/2012 5:01PM

    Wow! that sounds awesome!
You know, this is me. I can't usually bring myself to ask for help. I don't think it ever occurred to me when I was younger, either. I always was the one that gave but never took and felt very uncomfortable accepting anything. I think that being so ill for so long, I kind of learned to accept some help and that is a good lesson to take home. Learned the hard way, of course!
So glad you are getting such good help!

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MAYGIRL14 4/17/2012 2:23PM

    Great blog, Barb! As a matter of fact, think I will print this one out for the front of my fridge! Great reminder that it's okay to accept and to ask for help!

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DEBRA0818 4/17/2012 12:30PM

    Sounds really good, Barb! In addition to not feeling worth it, sometimes I get into the toddler-like "I can do it myself!" except that, of course, I cannot. If I could do it myself, I wouldn't still be struggling all these years later. Surrendering to the idea of help is a very, very positive step.


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1CRAZYDOG 4/17/2012 11:18AM

    Hurray! What an insightful blog. Sometimes when we ask for help things aren't done exactly the way WE'D do it, but who says there's only one way? Hard lesson that I've had to learn!

Kudos to you for seeking help and taking that help.

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AUNTB63 4/17/2012 8:42AM

    Love this blog. Your thoughts are a powerful message for so many of us. I like the fact that planning meals is such a relief during a busy week. Also those written down menus are a good reference for another week. Most of us don't look for help, not do we know what to ask for, but you are right...we don't need to be super human all the time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. emoticon

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EBEAMS 4/17/2012 8:32AM

    Good for you on both "helping hands"! You know, the best part is that you did it for yourself - to be the best you can be! I can't wait to hear about your adventures with your personal trainer! Woohoo!

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Mental Kindness begins with...

Monday, April 16, 2012

There are so many starting points to being kind to oneself. However, I'm going to start with one that folks might have vocabulary troubles with of their own (as I do with the "mental toughness" vocabulary).

"If I'm kind to myself, isn't that just another way of giving myself permission to behave however I want?"

Well, no, it's not. I think of mental kindness as mothering my inner child. Good mothers do not let their children run wild. When the child begins to misbehave, the good mother does a little diagnostic work, right?

She determines what's been different about the child's day/week/surroundings and then comes up with a plan that works... FOR THAT CHILD. Because every child is different. The plan *could* be a swat on the bottom and off to a time-out corner or "go to your room and think about it". It could be a mutual distraction: "Go outside and play until dinenr time!" It could be a hug and a shoulder to cry on. A listening ear. And sometimes it's a cookie and a glass of milk! emoticon emoticon

Yes, there is even a place in the life of a child for the occasional treat. But the treat should not become a substitute for the love and careful consideration of what the real need is. The plan doesn't always work, every time, it's something of a trial and error figuring out what works with any given child. So we might change plans the next time.

But if we skip that step of assessment of the real need, and doing something about it, the temptation is to try to "fix" things with food, which is "easy"! Mental kindness is being a good parent to yourself.

Sometimes that good parent is one of Dad's little talks about the way life is... and you can equate that to some of the Mental Toughness lessons. Especially the hard ones: people are watching you, things are expected of you because of XYZ, you are a role model, people are attracted to or make judgements about you based on your size and fitness and appearance. Hard lessons, but true, nonetheless.

And sometimes that good parent is one of Mom's hugs and the reminder that YOU are special, and precious, have value and are worth taking care of... and she's there for you! Sometimes followed by the practical suggestion of something that might help... and sometimes leaving it for the child to figure out what will work that *isn't* the whole bag of cookies!

So... are you being mentally kind to yourself? emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 4/18/2012 1:31AM

    So true. Always a struggle not to berate myself for being dumb and so forgetful.

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COMETER 4/16/2012 9:22PM

    You hit the nail on the head--food taking the place of what we really need. And kindness (combined with wisdom) being the key to working it all out. Nice!

And thanks.

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ALOHAEV1 4/16/2012 5:22PM

    This is one of those, why isn't this on the most read? I know it spoke to me, maybe this old gal can finally learn it's okay to be kind to yourself, outwardly and inwardly.

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1CRAZYDOG 4/16/2012 2:02PM

    What a wonderful blog! It IS like us parentint our inner child. Without assess situations first, you are not sure how to address the challenge. If we take that step, the challenge will be addressed appropriately and a lesson learned.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/16/2012 9:47AM

    I think mothering our inner child is one of the toughest skills to master. We want so badly to be accepted and loved that we sometimes are hard (mean?) on ourselves to try to become what we think other people want/expect.

I have been working hard to mother my inner child for the past few weeks. When I remember (that's the key) to stop and ask myself what it is I need, why I'm feeling this way, why I'm acting this way, etc., I can usually calm myself down and figure things out.

It's when I act first/ think later that I get myself into trouble. Very hard habits to break. But as long as we continue to keep trying, you and I both will be better off for it.

Great blog, Barb. Have a great day!

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WATERMELLEN 4/16/2012 8:04AM

    Really like this! And a lot of the time, yeah! I'm kind to myself. Fresh red raspberries; red cowgirl boots; time to listen to the red-winged blackbirds on the golf course! (There seems to be a theme here: and I'm hoping it's not self-indulgence!!).

Loved your comments on my Spark page about Siebold's "elitist" vocab, the "world class" versus the "middle class" etc. It's a core belief that doesn't work for me either . . .


Siebold tells us most of those who sign up for quit by day 3 or 4: and if not then, at day 13!! You didn't quit.

What per centage of those who sign up for SP lose weight? And what per centage drop out? SP isn't telling: but anecdotally, I see a lot of great people leaving . . . . without achieving their goals. We miss them.

And what per centage of people who lose weight keep it off? National Weight Loss Registry says . . . I think . . . 5%. You are not quitting.

So: "objective reality" indicates to me that you're probably and reluctantly "world class" in Siebold's terms! Sorry Barb. I KNOW you don't wanna be "world class", just fully human. And you are that too, yes you are!!

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SUE_2U 4/16/2012 7:59AM

    Thanks for writing this out. I loved it! And agree wholeheartedly. We do all have this inner child that needs some nurturing, and nurturing is not spoiling.
I do have trouble being mentally kind to myself. I rake myself over the coals too often. Sometimes I do things that sabotage myself. Still learning what not to do as well as what to do.
Sparking on! Thank you! And your video was awesome. I loved it!

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