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RAYLINSTEPHENS's Recent Blog Entries


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I had decided to write a blog called Motivation over the weekend. I was planning to explain why I am not needing motivational support from Spark Members. Both my parents have/had heart conditions and we are talking a lot of medicines that I am choosing not to put into my body if I am able to prevent it.

I have 2 sisters older than me, one quite heavy, the other slim. Both have assorted medical problems, some from stress. If losing this weight can prevent some of the family health problems I am all for it. If walking will help my heart, I will become a "walking fool."

Then I got an email from a spark-buddy, my first here, asking how I am. My reply to her is the blog you will read below if you choose to.

Good Morning Marty,

It is 5am and here I sit on my balance ball typing at Spark People, lol.

I moved my dad out to my place (his own brand new mobile home on my property) when he stopped eating in November last year. Well, finally he decided why not rent the house? On my part because it was still so full of stuff. Well, we got it all down to one room and I still have about 3-4 truckloads left to haul so yesterday I just wore myself out somehow. I think maybe stress now that we are so near the end. That is how my body handles things - I don't fall apart until the end of a job like this. I was in bed at 7:30 last night, just couldn't keep my eyes open and I hurt everywhere like an elephant had been tap dancing on my body.

But this morning here is an email from you asking how I am. Sometimes it is just nice to be able to tell someone how I feel so I thank you most heartily!

I am really glad you are almost 100% and your weight just keeps coming down! Walking 45 minutes daily is awesome! " I couldn't be happier for you if I was twins."

I have discovered my walking is therapeutic! I have become compulsive about getting it all in first thing in the morning but while my feet are moving so is my brain. I just feel so cleansed when I get back to the house, and yes, exhausted too!

My walking buddy had cancer of the appendix, very very rare. She will be undergoing Chemo therapy every other week, 2 days a week. Very intensive for a minimum of 6 months and possibly a full year. We don't know how her body will react since she only starts this week if her blood is ok. I can't tell you how thankful I am that she is still here. Her appendix ruptured and the amount of scraping that had to be done! Plus she didn't know she had appendicitis, she thought it was a kidney stone.

Cathy is the best friend I have ever had in my entire life of 56 years. She moved across the street about 5 years ago but we bonded after Hurricane Katrina and we lean on each other when needed. She is out of the Navy on disability for Rheumatoid Arthritis and begged everyone in her family to walk with her but no one would. One day she just dropped her garden things and fell into step behind Ray & I on our walk. She told us that she needed to walk but wasn't able to make herself do it on her own and that even if she couldn't walk with us we couldn't stop her from walking behind us. Well, my Ray is really something special and from that day forward he gave up walking with me so that I could become Cathy's walking buddy. She was only able to walk about 1/2 mile but I managed to spur her on to almost 2 miles daily. Her doctors were so impressed and told her she needed to keep walking. Now she was told that it was the walking that got her through 3 surgeries within the past 3 months and told her that if she continues to walk to the best of her ability her body will get through this intensive chemo better.

I'm sitting here with tears forming because it is such a blessing for me to be able to do this with her. She has really thrown herself into our walks and managed 4 miles the other day at my pace of 3 MPH. I have told her I will walk with her daily no matter the distance or speed just so she gets in some walking whenever she can. Even if it is only to her mailbox. God really blessed me when Cathy moved across the street.

I am crying now so I am going to end here. Marty, I hope you don't mind but I think I am going to use this email as a Blog. It is the best example of motivation I can think of.


My chosen image is my dad sitting on his new front porch with a local stray (someone actually dumped her out a year ago!) he befriended and finally adopted. They are God's gift to each other.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JJJ1226 8/7/2009 10:06AM

    :) this must be your first post on motivation and I liked it emoticon

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BABYFACE26 10/14/2008 1:50PM

    God's angels are everywhere. You for Cathy, and for your dad. Your dad and that poor dog, here for each other. So much sadness in your story- with your friend's Cancer, and your dad's situation....and then there are the Angels. Breaks my heart, the kind of cruelty that makes some people treak animals like dirt - when in reality, they are here (I believe) to embody the Love we are all here to give to one another. They are angels.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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JCHLLM 10/5/2008 11:43AM

    What a wonderful entry. You and Cathy are blessed to have each other. I've always said that people are put in your life when you need them......you just proved my point.

The picture of your dad and his little doggie is so cute too. I have a little dog that looks an awful lot like this one, that someone also dumped near my house. He found me and we've been inseparable ever since!

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CRTSANG 9/29/2008 5:12PM

    That's a really touching story. Cathy is lucky to have a friend like you, and I wish you both luck and blessings on your journeys together. My heart is with you two.


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    What a fantastic story you shared! :) It really shows what a caring person you are.

Also, what a cute dog! When I was a kid, we took in our number of strays as well. One day I hope when I have a place where I can have pets, I can give a home to an animal like that! :)

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LUCKYLESLIE 9/25/2008 2:18PM

    Linda-First let me thank you for the fruit basket! That was SO sweet! I cried with you on Cathy's story! I know that you have been a literal God send to her and I am so happy that you have been able to be there for her! All I can say is God Bless You (and Ray too-he sounds like a really special guy!)

I know that I have surely enjoyed our spark relationship and feel blessed that you are one of my friends! Good luck to you and all those you love! You will be in my thoughts and prayers!-Leslie emoticon

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REVSERENA 9/25/2008 10:52AM

    Wow. You know why you are on this journey.
The people (and dogs) that God puts in our path (or behind it!) really are blessings.
A need is an opportunity for purpose.
A friend is more valuable than riches.
Love is always costly and always worth the price.
Thank you for sharing.

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SPIONEN 9/25/2008 12:05AM

    Thank you for sharing your story! I *do* need the motivation of other Sparkers and hearing things like this really brightens my day and reminds me why I come here :)

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    You and Cathy were meant to meet. I'm so glad that you're there for her, and I know that she helps keep you motivated.

I'm so very touched by your story. Stay strong.

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MARTY19 9/23/2008 6:39PM

    Hi Linda,
You brought tears to my eyes reading this. You are an incredible woman whom I am proud to call friend. You insprie me to keep moving forward. I will think of this blog whenever I feel like I can't do any more. I can do as we all can. It takes guts determination and the frienship of good people. Blessing on you.

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CALIFORNIA-GAL 9/23/2008 11:50AM


Thank you for sharing this story with us. It is yet another reminder of why we are here at Spark People and why we need to take care of our health.

I will be thinking of you, Ray, and of course Cathy!


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LIFES*2*SHORT 9/23/2008 8:33AM

  Yes my friend... you are a true blessing indeed! I would be honoured to call you friend any day! What an amazing person! Keep us posted on these people! I will add prayers!

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QUILA927 9/23/2008 7:08AM

    Linda, you are a very special person! Cathy is blessed to have you as her friend!

Goonie emoticon

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Well, I finally reached 165 today! Ok, 165.9 but that's still 165!!
My BMI is 30.3! I am so close to overweight I can virtually taste it!
Only .4 away from overweight! Makes me want to get up and do WATP!!

165 is a very important number for me because this was my first posted goal. I know I can maintain it and it was important for me to pick a weight goal I knew I could manage.

Well, following Spark People is just so dang easy for me that I changed my goal weight to 148 which is as low as I can actually remember ever being even though I couldn't maintain it. If SP is right, that will be one awesome birthday present to myself in 2 months!

And since following SP has been so easy for me my new goal is into uncharted territory and the sky is the limit!

My chosen image is what I hope to look like at 148!

And the saga continues......

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 9/18/2008 7:57AM

    Congratulations on reaching the milestone of 165. I am inspired by your enthusiasm and positive energy. Keep up your great work!

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JENIFIREHARP 9/17/2008 10:10PM

    emoticon You will be there before you know it...

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CALIFORNIA-GAL 9/16/2008 7:02PM

    Wow, Linda you must feel so great right now. Congratulations. I have no doubt whatsoever that you will reach 148 too!

Way to go!


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    That's so great! I'm glad you got there. Do a little jig and hoot and holler! You earned it!

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MARTY19 9/16/2008 5:26PM

    emoticon Linda,
With your determination, you will be at 148 in no time.

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QUILA927 9/16/2008 1:35PM

    emoticon Congratulations! And I know you will be at 148 in no time! emoticon

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H-2-OH 9/16/2008 1:12PM

    Congratulations, Linda! All of your ...um...hard work? Can't really say THAT since you said it's so easy! :-D Anyways, it's all paying off! Congratulations to you for changing your life!

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FLYBABYC 9/16/2008 1:06PM

  WOW!!! You go, girl!

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LIFES*2*SHORT 9/16/2008 10:52AM

  WOOHOO!!! Way to go!!! I am so thrilled for you... keep at it!!

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Another pound another goal

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's official, today I weigh less than DH finally! It's only by .4 lbs but it is still lower than him! He was so happy for me!

I renewed my drivers license 2 months early so I cheated/lied and told them the weight I should be on my birthday which is 148!

So now I no longer weigh what is on my license, lol.

emoticon Gotta stay with my plan to make it happen!

**edit: DH did get passed me again but he cannot take away the glow of the day I finally caught him! I will do it again!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 9/14/2008 7:30PM

    Congratulations on your progress! Your enthusiasm is inspiring. Keep up your great work, and I wish you continued success.

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JIBBIE49 9/12/2008 11:48PM

    Thanks for stopping by my page. I'm thrilled you are less than your DH, as that is great. I look at my ID Card for the Military and it is from when I was 214# before SP, and I think "Dang, that is one fat woman!" I haven't lost as much as you yet, but I will get there.
As for getting married, yes, I know I read that a woman doesn't become a real "feminist" until age 50, when she realizes that PRINCE CHARMING is never coming because his horse died.

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JENIFIREHARP 9/12/2008 11:04PM

    How exciting! I remember how excited I was to be able to wear my husbands sweat pants. My weight isn't smaller than him yet, because all my healthy cooking is making him lose weight too LOL! I told him (jokingly) How am I ever going to catch up with you when you keep shrinking?!?

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MARTY19 9/11/2008 9:25PM

    emoticon Linda,
You must feel terrific. I know I would. I weight just slightly less than my daughter. I have to work hard to keep it that way. LOL
Keep up the great work.

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CRTSANG 9/11/2008 8:07PM

    That's great! I weigh more than my husband, and he's also trying to lose weight. Talk about discouraging! Anyway, congratulations!


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    That's fantastic! Way to go!!! emoticon

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CALIFORNIA-GAL 9/11/2008 6:32PM

    Congratulations Linda. I am so proud of you!



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H-2-OH 9/11/2008 6:03PM

    That's so exciting! Congratulations!

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FLYBABYC 9/11/2008 4:00PM


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LBSTRINGER 9/11/2008 3:18PM

  Congratulations, a pound is a pound and every one is hard to lose.
As of this morning, I have lost 3 pounds - only 22 more to go to meet my goal. I know it will not be easy, but I am determined to do it. If you can lose 40+ and still going, then surely I can lose 25. Tell Uncle Ray I said Hi and keep on encouraging you.
Linda emoticon

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LIFES*2*SHORT 9/11/2008 3:16PM

  WOW!!! That is awesome! I can hardly wait for the day that I will weigh less than my husband... I have approx 50 lbs to go... but I CAN DO IT!!!! Way to go... WAY TO GO!!!

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Not my best day...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My day started out great! I was 170.0 today and that means 40 pounds gone!

Gustav missed us, we only got rain. Lots of rain.

My dad had an appointment to go to the doctor and it was raining so hard I was thinking to cancel it. At 85 the risk of pneumonia warranted the delay. Then when I called him I learned he had started bleeding last night and was still bleeding and it is internal. Not only did he have to go to the doctor, he had to go right away. 2 doctors later he was hospitalized with the thought that his bleeding ulcer might be back. With luck he will be home tomorrow!

However, I totally missed breakfast today! I just had no time and my stomach was in knots anyway. I got a head cold yesterday and it is still with me. So today will be the first time since I started using the Spark Nutrition Tracker that I have missed a meal and not met my requirements for the day. With all the excitement and not getting back home until 1 p.m. there was just no way to eat enough for 2 meals.

So I will wait and see what tomorrow brings.

I did manage to do 1 mile WATP followed by 2 mile WATP! Tired but feeling good!

9/3/08 - Our prayers have been answered and it is only hemorrhoids! Not that they aren't awful, but with what else it could have been this is the blessing we were hoping for. We think it is his exercise bike and we are going to try to resolve the situation!

Thank you again for all your prayers. I feel they have been answered.

Linda and family

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEDDYTEDDY 9/7/2008 2:39PM

    Thanks for blog comment on my page. I will read some of the messages, etc on the Goonies group and see if it sounds like a good group to join. It seems I joined quite a few groups but have not made any close friends in the groups as of yet. I have been active only since the end of May. I am sorry your dad had those medical problems but it sounds like he will be okay. Be sure to take care of your needs, too, after all if you are not in good shape and nourished and well hydrated you will not be able to help anyone else. That is something I learned from reading about survival skills. Always take care of yourself first, so you can in turn help others. emoticon

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H-2-OH 9/4/2008 10:23AM

    Hi Linda! Just checking in to see how you're doing. Looks like things are going pretty good all-in-all. That's good news.

Things are fine here as well. The town's coming back to life and our house has no damage...we even got our power back by the time we got back!

Onward and Upward!

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LEAHSHEALTH 9/4/2008 4:11AM

    Hi Linda!

I'm so glad that your Dad's problems aren't more serious! Don't let yourself get down about missing breakfast! My goodness you have everything to be happy about and proud of your weight loss!

For future reference, you might try to have some "grab & go" snacks on hand for occasions such as this. I am a very busy mom (3 teenagers & a 2 1/2 year old). The teenagers are constantly surprising me with last minute places to go and tasks that need to be accomplished as well as football & baseball practices, etc. I have discovered that if I have lots of healthy snacks on hand, I can just grab them and eat in the car or wherever I end up going.

Some examples for me are: Protein bars, turkey jerky, yogurts, fresh fruit and berries, trail mix and cheese and crackers.

Just an idea!



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LUCKYLESLIE 9/3/2008 10:13PM

    Hey Linda!
So sorry to hear of your Dad's episode and everything that you've gone through recently! Hang tough cause you can do this thing! Looks like to me that you are doing a FANTASTIC job! Keep up the good work!!!-As always, God Bless You (and yours)-Leslie emoticon

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    Congratulations on your 40 pound loss! I'm sorry about your dad's illness...I hope that tomorrow brings better news for your family.

I didn't have the best day with my nutrition either, though I went the opposite way that you did. One day isn't enough to throw you, just make sure that you continue your commitment and that you don't go under your calories tomorrow. Congratulations again!

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LBSTRINGER 9/3/2008 1:41PM

  Aunt Linda,
This is your neice (Gay's daughter) from Marion Co. I just found SparkPeople from an article in a magazine, joined last week and accidently found your blog. Your 40# weight loss is an inspiration to me. I need to lose about 25 pounds, maybe with your encouragement, I can do that.

Hope your dad is better, sorry to hear about his problems. I would love to have one of his cheesecakes, but that sure wouldn't help my weight loss plan, now would it?


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PEACHYLADY 9/2/2008 7:57PM

    I said a prayer for you and your Dad to be well! 40 lbs gone is great!

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LIFES*2*SHORT 9/2/2008 7:44PM

  40 lbs gone is AMAZING!! Don't discredit yourself at all! You are making big changes. About your dad... I hope he is okay. Hang in there.

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Calorie Deficit aka Calorie Banking

Saturday, August 30, 2008

August has been totally awesome for me. I owe this to Huggers1 for recommending the Walk Away The Pounds videos and to Kalh7338 for teaching me about "banking calories" aka calorie deficit. Also to my sister who gave me a used pedometer which got me striving for 10,000 steps daily and then spurred me to go for 15,000!

I am doing so well that I have decided to throw caution to the wind and have changed my goal weight to 135! Unknown territory! According to Spark this will happen around Jan 7, 2009! Will I reach it? I don't know, but I am going to give this my all!

Total losses for August, my personal best month yet!
Lost 8.7 pounds! Lost 5 inches!

Whew, that is a load off my chest! And everywhere else, lol.

Calorie Banking aka Calorie Deficit

Calorie Banking helped me and takes away the "will I lose" and changes it to I know I am going to lose the weight.

I am going to put the links here but if you should have trouble with them, go to the very top of the spark page where you see a box and search and type in calorie deficit and it will bring up many pages including www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/search_results
.asp and www.sparkpeople.com/community/ask_the_expe

Basically you must find your BMR www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ and multiply it by 1.2 to get the number of calories your body will burn just by being alive and breathing. You next take your total calories eaten for the day and subtract this from the other number. Then you find how many calories you burned from your fitness page Cardio exercises and add the number to the other one. The resulting number is the number of calories you are "banking" . The goal is to have 500 or more deficit calories per day which will give you 1 pound loss a week. 1000 per day will net 2 pounds loss per week.

My BMR today is 1422.7 X 1.2 = 1707.24 calories my body burns just by existing.

I eat 1200 calories today, 1707.24 - 1200 = 507.24

I walked 1 mile - 135 calories burned
3 mile Walk Away The Pounds video - 346.5

The total calories burned is 481.5 and added to 507.24 = 988.74 deficit calories banked!

I keep learning things here at Spark People!

It is really exciting to see why we are losing weight instead of worrying about will we lose weight.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JJJ1226 8/7/2009 9:52AM

    this is very good I had no idea about this and if I hadn't read this I'm not sure I ever would. Linda I wish you will repost this emoticon emoticon

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BONMACK 9/1/2008 9:00PM

    Oh Raylin, you are a TRUE inspiration!!! I never realized til I joined up with sparky just how darned sedentary I'd gotten.....finally dug out a cheapo pedometer I'd had around for over a year and never opened, and first day I wore it, I logged something like 500 steps!!!! Geez, and I never considered myself a couch potato, but guess what..........that's exactly what I'd turned into!!! I think the most steps I've ever logged on any given day was around 2500......so I have a LONG way to go, to ever work up to what you're doing! But I'm gonna give it my all this month........gonna dig that ol' pedo back out and give it a whirl this month and see how I can do by October. Kudos to you for doing so GREAT!!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LUCKYLESLIE 8/30/2008 11:35PM

    emoticon I am so proud of you!!! Hang in there and you will reach that goal before you know it! "That is just fantastic!!!-Leslie

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    You're doing all the right things to hit that goal! That's so fantastic!!! emoticon

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