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RAYLINSTEPHENS's Recent Blog Entries

I have Quit Smoking except for One Free Day per Week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I have Quit Smoking except for One Free Day per Week!

I think as long as I do not smoke from Monday through Friday I deserve to reward myself with cigarettes on the weekend - this will keep me quitting the smoking the rest of the week.

I smoked up to 3 packs daily when I smoked and now I barely smoke a pack all weekend!

What do you think of my plan?

Makes about as much sense as having a cheat day, doesn't it?! It makes more sense to learn how to work into your plan the foods you just cannot live without.

Article after article here at Spark tells us that you can gain 9 lbs per year by not adhering to your meal plan one day per week.

This Blog is not aimed at anyone in particular, it is just my humble opinion of needing to have a cheat day every week. When I thought of the Cigarette analogy I just had to share it.

For me it put things into perspective.

**edited: No, I quit smoking when I was 28 and I do not smoke now.

**edited again: Eating food is the way we nourish our bodies; we cannot live without food and eating. And no one can resist temptations 100% of the time. Work it in or at least track it. There is nothing wrong with going over on our calories sometimes - this is not the same thing as having a cheat day of no tracking and eating whatever is desired.

A dear friend just blogged about such a day where he ate over 11,000 calories - but he tracked it and is trying to learn from it.

**3rd edit: I don't consider BlackHeart's one meal as a cheat day. Cheat days are very dangerous in the wrong hands. Going overboard but tracking is not having a cheat day - it is trying to stay with your program. A day of eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as much as you want, and don't worry about tracking - that is a cheat day.

But the saddest part is the only one being cheated is the one doing it. No one is cheating me by not adhering to their own program. The only one that can cheat me is me. And it is not an option. I want me to succeed too much to do little mind games on myself.

**4th edit: I was attacked in another person's blog because of me posting this one. I gather "this person" recognized himself or herself and so I am to be shot and hung immediately for my opinion. Why is it I am not allowed to have my own opinion in my own blog?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATERUNS 5/18/2009 11:28PM

    Absolutely love the anology! As an exsmoker what you say makes perfect sense. Thanks for sharing.

As for people who post about other people's blogs, don't worry about it. Everyone's got an opinion and blogs are for expressing our opinions! People are people. It has taken me a long time to realize that if something someone else says or does is really bugging me it's because there is some truth in it for me.

Thanks again!

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JERSEYGIRL24 5/13/2009 11:12PM


I agree with you (as usual). I don't see the point of a cheat day. That isn't to say that you won't ever cheat. But personally, I think one of my biggest problems has come from taking too much latitude. That is a very central theme in Kirstie Alley's story about how she regained all her lost weight. From what I have read about Kirstie, she was aware that she was steering off course but just could not right the ship. I really think this is a big danger in having a cheat day.

This is getting a little off topic, but there is an organization (www.sweetsurprise.com) that tries to promote high fructose corn syrup!!!! I don't want to get started on this, but one of the ads they run claims that HFCS is ok "in moderation". What is moderation? I think that even one high HFCS drink per day goes beyond the realm of moderation, but who is to say? Maybe some people think that five drinks a day is moderate.

The point is that I think that having a cheat day is an invitation for trouble. I can see Gail (Blackheart's) point that she has dinner out once a week. I don't really consider that cheating. But having a no-holds barred day every week is too much, I think.

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DEBIPOGUE 5/13/2009 11:02PM

    WOW! A lot of truth and a lot of wisdom. Thank you for that insight.

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GRALLEN 5/13/2009 1:46PM

    I have a cheat day too. But really it's only one cheat meal out of the entire week. I still eat clean on cheat day except for the evening meal and that's the one night a week we go out to eat.

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_VALEO_ 5/13/2009 7:14AM

    Excellent blog!
Lots of food for thought once again.


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SASSYSACY 5/12/2009 7:26PM

    Wow! That was worth the read. Very good point and you certainly got my attention!

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MARTY19 5/12/2009 6:00PM

    Well, that was good food for thought.


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Staying Motivated!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

From an article by Dean Anderson, 3 Simple Ways to Build Consistency.

Rule #1: Never tell yourself ďIím not motivated.Ē

"Thatís not the real problem, unless you really donít want to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle. As long as you do want these things, you have all the motivation you need.

It may be true that sometimes you donít want to exercise, or that you really want to stop and get fast food rather than cooking dinner. Thatís understandable, but it doesnít mean youíre not motivated. It just means that you want two different and opposing things, and you have to make a decision. Telling yourself that you lack motivation is just a way of denying that you really do have a choice. It makes the problem seem mysterious and out of your control, and it makes you feel less powerful than you really are, because you lack something (the motivation) you need. Not true!"

Own the moment! Decide to follow through on your motivation. You get to decide if you sit and eat or get up and exercise.

Rule #2: Build momentum one step at a time.

Rule #3: Always have a plan B.

Read the article! Great reading if you think you've lost your motivation!


Don't forget to take your spark points!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PRAIRIEGIRL44 5/12/2009 2:55PM

    Thanks for sharing this article! emoticon

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GRALLEN 5/11/2009 3:53PM

    Great article. Thanks Linda.

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ONMYWAYTOGOAL 5/11/2009 11:37AM

    Excellent Article...I saved it! Thank you for the reminder.
Hope you had a nice Mother's Day.
emoticon Laurie

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SPARKLESSENCE 5/10/2009 10:17PM

    Linda, this is one of my favorite articles! Coach Anderson's Rule #1 really hit me between the eyes, it was so amazing! We may be, at times, conflicted, but that doesn't mean we've lost motivation. It just means the emphasis we've put on our priorities has become clouded.

It's a great article - thanks so much for mentioning it! - Sara emoticon

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MEADSBAY 5/10/2009 9:44AM

    Excellent article.
Thanks for sharing, Sparky!

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MARTY19 5/10/2009 9:43AM

    I have read it before and he does say a mouthful. I am motivated but time seems to be a huge factor lately. But where there is a will there is a way. LOL

Happy Mother's Day!

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_VALEO_ 5/10/2009 7:59AM

    Already got my Sparkpoints from this excellent article!
I should refer to it more often! Thanks for the reminder.

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Blog Prompt - If Ray gained weight...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

No, it would not bother me.

I married Ray for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer...

Ok, so as the joke goes, why can't I take better, healthy and rich?!

I told Ray that unless his health depended on losing weight, I would never force him to do anything. It is his body and we are supposed to have free choice in life.

But I must say that Ray actually started losing weight before me! So it was really tough to catch up to him and pass him by since he dropped 30 lbs on his own!

Now he wants to drop another 10 lbs but the doctor advised him to go really slowly. Ray's health is good and his doctor advises not to "rock the boat" too much or too quickly. He has maintained his weight loss for almost a year now!!
WooHoo Ray!!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Yeah, Ray and Linda!! You two inspire me! And I suspect you'll both enjoy a nice, long stretch of great health up ahead due to your efforts. You'll also inspire each other to maintain that good health, too. This is so much easier with teamwork, isn't it? I'm finding that out, too. - Sara emoticon

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_VALEO_ 5/9/2009 3:58AM

    Go Ray!
It's good that both of you are on your healthy journey, you can support each other!


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GRALLEN 5/6/2009 2:20PM

    Good job Ray! You are right Linda. Only if the doc said he had to lose weight would I ever push the hubby into it. Although he does pretty good on his own to lose when he feels he needs to. Dang stinker can lose 4 lbs a week if he really tried and here I struggle to get rid of one measely pound. lol

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MARTY19 5/6/2009 11:36AM

    emoticon RAY!!!!

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LIVNFITNHAPPY 5/6/2009 11:25AM

    Hi Linda,

My husband has gained some weight since we got married. It does not bother me in an aesthetic sense. I love him for who he is as a person.
I do, however, think about the effect of even those 30 or so pounds have on his overall health.

Before we started dating he was quite fit and a perfect weight. He had hired a personal trainer and a nutritionist to get there. His doctor had threatened him with more medication unless he took off the weight.
After marriage the nutritionist moved away and he stopped going to the personal trainer. The weight crept back. He soothes himself with food after a hard day of work and while at work.

He is on 4 different medications for high blood pressure, cholestrol, etc.
There is a family history of stroke and heart by-pass surgeries. So, I am constantly concerned. I, too, know that I cannot make him change and he does have free choice.

I thought that my own weight release might inspire him. He is very proud of what I have accomplished and he does accompany me on some
of my fitness walks. He has even eaten entrees I have made from Spark People recipes. But he has not really made a commitment yet.

So, it is a challenge. I will continue to share how great I feel with the extra weight gone back into the wild. I will make the healthiest, tastiest dishes I can and bring him along on walks. It was really late in life before I found my true love and I pray that he will take care of himself
with as much love and attention as he cares for me as our life together.


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How tacky can some people be?!

Monday, May 04, 2009

I read another blog today and was quite appalled that someone suggested that activities logged were never done.

How rude some people can be! Never fear, I would never question what someone else is posting. Not ever!

To me, my trackers are to hold MYSELF accountable. So if I *fudge* I am only fooling myself; this is NOT an option.

My mother used to tell me that people who accuse you of falsehoods are generally guilty of them themselves or they wouldn't think of it. And my DH, Ray, says anyone that doesn't trust you cannot usually be trusted.

You go ahead and post what you do and take your points - you are earning them my friends!

I added some exercises to my strength training that are not *kosher* but who cares?! Anyone that has ever spent an hour picking Blackberries will understand that is a lot of bending over, just like touching your toes, for each and every vine of berries! Almost like my Planting 100 onions, lol. And I don't stop until my back says "UNCLE!" I am up to being able to pick for about an hour now!! WooHoo, that is an accomplishment! (So I take the 15 minutes of ST credit.)

And Saturday I had to seal my dad's wood porch. I found out that painting is Cardio and I took my credit for the full hour that I was working. And I did it with a paintbrush and by bending over! (I actually went back and did the last 6 boards but didn't count them, lol.)

If you do the minutes, go ahead and take your points! Don't worry about anyone else - you are doing this for you!

Love you,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VEGEFARMER 5/6/2009 12:38AM

    Well said. Perhaps the person throwing the stones is the person cheating her/him self. Perhaps they are not loosing the weight, perhaps they are just plain jealous of what you have achieved I mean ......... your photo's tell the story of your excercise etc. You go girl.
I am so impressed and motivated to follow in your steps.

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_VALEO_ 5/5/2009 9:47AM

    No "exercise" is exercise!! And I bet you burnt those calories!
I saw a very interesting programme a few weeks ago, they compared a woman who *proudly* reported going 3 times (1h) a week at a gym center to another woman who doesn't go at a gym center and seemed shameful not to practice "sport" -guess what: the second person was more active daily than the first (because she doesn't use the car, lot of walking, chores, gardening, etc). She was doing "sport" without knowing it! Isn't it grand?

Concerning the tracker, you can't lie to your body. My tracker is set for me, I'm not going to lie to myself! I've decided to make it public -even if sometimes I'm a bit ashamed- for my teammates if they want to look at it as I look at my friends' trackers for inspiration, so it's fair enough they can access to mine too.
But above all and very selfishly it's for me, and it's me all over with my little victories and defeats.

Comment edited on: 5/5/2009 9:49:43 AM

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    It's always amazes me that these so called "pot stir-ers" cannot find better things to do with their time. Take a walk or something, geez! Who cares what someone else is logging in SP for their activity points?? That's no ones business but the person doing the logging. I only wish I had that much time on my hands and that I'd make better choices as to what to do with my time. emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/5/2009 8:57:04 AM

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JERSEYGIRL24 5/5/2009 7:33AM

    Totally agree. Just curious, though. How do you calculate calories for these other activities? I sometimes feel like I should give myself credit for heavy housework but don't always do it because I don't know how to count it.

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CAROL_ 5/4/2009 10:48PM

    Oh brother. What business is it of theirs??? And who asked for their opinion anyway - I'm sure NO ONE asked her, and I'd bet no one WANTS to hear her - she's just spouting off, trying to stir up trouble to make herself feel important.

You know I think really negative people like that, need to go to the gym or need to go walk beans, or be a construction worker, or dig ditches, something that gets them up off their rear and gets some REAL work done. She's probably constipated, too.

Comment edited on: 5/4/2009 10:50:00 PM

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MEADSBAY 5/4/2009 9:14PM

    Oh Lordy, how annoying some people can be!
I always assume 99% of people are good and honest
and I bet that's true here on SP as well.
So call me Suzy Sunshine but it's what I believe.
I just wrote a blog today about how I earn so many points.

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    YOU GO GIRL emoticon

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MARTY19 5/4/2009 7:35PM

    I thought I had seen it all. I'm not sure if it is meanness or jealousy. I do what I say I do and frankly I don't care if anyone believes me or not. I am the only one who matters. What is wrong with people today.


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    Who cares if it falls outside of the traditional exercise category -- as long as you are moving and doing something it counts as calories burned as far as I am concerned. Your mother was right -- those people are feeling guilty about something and try to put others down to feel better about their situation.

Sorry, you ran into this on SP -- I saw a lot of that on Weight Watchers boards which is one reason I stopped using their online website. Thankfully I have only run into supportive and motivating people here at SP.


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NEWAPPROACH 5/4/2009 6:44PM

    You know it's really sad how we as people can mind other people's business but not really take care of our own. That negative energy people spend doing things like this can be put into something positive for themselves or someone else. I know about picking blackberries..my grandmother used to have us help her when I was a child and YES that IS some serious work. It's no walk in the park let me tell ya lol. To me, it doesn't matter what the exercise is, so long as we're doing it emoticon; just make sure you enjoy what you do.

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EMMABE1 5/4/2009 6:32PM

    I'm sure we all do some form of 'exercise' that isn't written on Spark - I know I do and its frustrating not to be able to find something similar listed in Spark exercises to enable correct recording - but that doesn't mean it isn't exercise and we should be allowed the credit for it. But that is genuine exercise - we aren't fooling ourselves, we often have sore muscles to prove it!!
If exercise or foods are entered incorrectly or not entered at all so that points are gained, no one is gaining - after all the food and exercise logs are mainly private (unless you choose to allow it) What on earth is the point of going to the trouble of entering everything up incorrectly just for an odd point or two????

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    Boy, it's really THEIR problem, isn't it? I just looked up "picking flowers or vegetables" on my nutritional/fitness software. If I do an hour of it, I burn 176 calories! Calories are calories, and more and more, it's acknowledged that the daily activities of life are exercise. I don't see any problem at all, Linda - as you've said - and if you're not living, VISUAL proof, I don't know who is!! - we are doing this for ourselves. So just ignore 'em! - Sara emoticon

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MSLZZY 5/4/2009 5:14PM

    If I work in the garden, I count it! If I pick up my 24 pound grandson 50 times in a day, I count it. Granted, sometimes there isn't a category that "fits" the exercise, but it all counts! Keep up the good work. Maybe those people are jealous of all the activity but that is the whole point-being active, no matter what!

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AMBERROGUE 5/4/2009 5:12PM

    WOW. I've never seen it before, but I imagine it happens. That's why I don't track on my food log; because I know myself well enough to know that I'll cheat, and it's only harming myself. So why give myself the additional stress?

Yu're right; the trackers are for us and us alone, and what other people think doesn't matter!!

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GRALLEN 5/4/2009 4:44PM

    Yep, if I can find it in Spark, I'll record it. There's other ways to burn calories besides exercise.

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JENIFIREHARP 5/4/2009 4:40PM

    Yeah, on some of the threads I have seen people suggesting the same thing, that some people weren't really telling the truth about what exercises theydid just to get points, and I say, WHO CARES?!?! It doesn't hurt anyone else, so why worry about it? That is why I usually just stay out of those conversations!

Comment edited on: 5/4/2009 4:41:20 PM

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I just can't do this anymore!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I just can't do this anymore!

This meal is 428 calories which is about 1/3 of my day, actually it is a bit less than 1/3.

8oz of chicken breast, roasted, no spices, no skin, no bones = 52 protein on the Nutrition Tracker. 249 calories

2 Cups Mixed Vegetables = 3 veggie portions. 179 calories

I just can't fit it on a small plate anymore!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHUCG1004 5/6/2009 4:32PM

    I had the same problem yesterday!!

Thanks for posting on my blog. I really look forward to your comments.

WONDERFUL job on hitting your goal weight. You are awesome!

Dave and I did a half marathon, by the way. That's a 20.96K! Or something like that :)

Here's to loving ourselves and treating our bodies well:

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_VALEO_ 5/5/2009 9:57AM

    You got me with the tittle!

Time to say goodbye to the dessert plate, and to welcome the "normal" plate!

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ONMYWAYTOGOAL 5/4/2009 10:57AM

    I wasn't sure where you were going with this by the title, but I'm glad to hear that you're not giving up. You've come way too far for that!!! emoticon
Have a wonderful day Linda...and thank you for being such a HUGE inspiration and support for all of us.
emoticon Laurie

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VICKI-BISHOP-56 5/3/2009 10:06AM

  I would have had to add some spices to the chicken. emoticon

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VEGEFARMER 5/3/2009 4:03AM

    whewwwwwwwwwwwww, you scared me. I am so glad that you were having us on with the title.

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CHRISTY60 5/2/2009 8:33PM

    Very funny!!! I too thought you were were giving up, but I knew you wouldn't do that!

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MEADSBAY 5/2/2009 8:29PM

    Yes, it's time for you to go back to a grown up's plate!
I keep telling myself to stop at a consignment store and buy myself a real nice small plate because I only have big 'buffet' plates. I think they're 12".

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MARTY19 5/2/2009 7:23PM

    Then use a bigger plate for all those veggies. LOL


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SYCOBABE 5/2/2009 3:19PM

    What a relief!! HaHa The title scared me. I need you around as an inspiration! ! emoticon

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    LOL, Linda!! And the picture is wonderful! The larger plate is very pretty, too. Bon appetit! - Sara emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL24 5/2/2009 2:11PM


When I first saw the title of your blog (in the list of BTN blogs), I thought it was from someone giving up, and I was about to try to offer them some encouragement. When I saw it was from you, I knew that wasn't the case! We should all have such problems LOL.

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