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REVIVINGFAITH's Recent Blog Entries

We All Struggle

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Logged into Spark for the first time in a few months today and started checking up on some of the people in my friend feed. To my surprise, someone who I thought definitely had it together has begun struggling and fighting a hard battle against herself. I say that not to imply in any way that she should feel guilty or that I am better than that; merely I took notice of the lesson that we all have our demons to conquer.

So many times in my life I have unfavorably compared myself to people, thinking that if only I had so-and-so's ambition or was as organized as "her," or had "his" willpower, I could overcome my feelings of inadequacy once and for all. If you've ever fallen into that trap as well, you can be sure it is just an illusion.

I used to attend a church where the pastor would tell us that our feelings of inadequacy arose because "we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else's highlight reel." And isn't that so true?

So actually, if my SparkFriend reads this I want to say Thank You for being honest about your struggles. I know it is tough for you but in your uncertainty you are actually inspiring me to be kinder and gentler to myself. I hope you can find similar reasons to give that to yourself - and that goes for anyone who might read this.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUTRON3 11/26/2012 8:09AM

    Hope you have a great day!

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SWEETYOUNGTHING 11/26/2012 5:54AM

    I struggle with food/exercise at this time of year - always have. My goal this holiday season is to allow myself to indulge in some unhealthy holiday choices but not to allow that to cause an avalanche of unhealthy living.

Don't be too hard on yourself; we are all human afterall. Pat

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Back in the (Vegan) Saddle again

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wow it's been a while. I'm overwhelmed knowing where to start, and honestly I'm not sure how much time I have for community interaction these days, but here's a little update.

- I stayed at 135 for a while, meaning that I permanently lost about 3lbs from the time I started Sparking again last Jan.
- I choose water and unsweetened tea most often now at restaurants, and only drink soda once or twice a month
- My exercise is still not very steady and sometimes drops off completely but I joined the YMCA near my house again and I have been keeping up with yoga and body flow (tai chi/yoga/pilates fusion) classes without having to dread doing it. I'm fine with this.
- A week and a half ago I decided to go vegetarian and 85-90% vegan again. In one week of eating this way, I lost as much weight as the entire time I was sparking at the beginning of this year (eating omnivorously). As of today I am at 130.4 lbs. Some of that is undoubtedly water (veggies have so much water, you know), but I think at least 2lbs is not. My stomach is flat and I can see a very noticeable difference in my body. The upside to being short and having a more petite build is that when you lose weight, it doesn't take much to show it. (It works the other way around too, though....)

Now in my personal life, I am studying for the GRE because I'm headed back to grad school next year. I'm deciding between a masters in counseling and a masters in social work. So, again not sure how much time I have to be online but I was so excited about my progress today that I had to log in. Didn't really know who else to brag to about this ;)

I hope all of you are doing well and I hope to check in with your blogs and see what you've been up to as well.

Much love,
Michelle

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALLYTHEATHLETE 9/30/2012 4:23PM

    I was wondering where you went! Glad you're back! Congrats on your successes and good luck on the GRE!

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LATTELEE 9/30/2012 11:08AM

  Good luck

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Doing Vegan This Week

Monday, April 02, 2012

Well I took about 2 weeks off and now I think I am ready to make that final push toward the last 5lbs. What I loved about this time off was:

1) I barely had any cravings for junk because I did not feel deprived at all
2) I did not force myself to work out a certain number of times per week so when I got the urge to work out (2-3x/week at least), I really enjoyed doing it and gave it my all
3) I did not gain any weight. At one point I was at 131, then at another point I was 129, but typically here I am right back in the middle again at good old 130lbs.

Sometimes it just makes your mind boggle to think about how all the diligence, counting, tracking, pushing, etc etc does not give you any better results than being lax and easy going and flexible, and yes sometimes even eating "bad foods." I guess that is the great, but also sometimes frustrating, thing about being at a very healthy weight but not your "perfect" weight.

Anyway I have decided to do a week of veganism, and perhaps two weeks if I feel like it by next Sunday, and see if that helps. I know in my heart that the difference between me at 124-125 and me at 130 is a diet change. Those are changes I just have not been able to make yet, and I am giving myself plenty of time to do it. And why not? I'm not overweight, and although I am far from being a fitness or bikini model, I have a nice, average figure with a pretty waistline and a cute butt...

Next year I might be trying to get pregnant anyway, so I don't think aiming for 12-15% body fat is realistic or ideal. I read the other day that it takes about 15% to get a six pack. No freaking wonder I can't see mine, then... I know I am probably more around 25% body fat. Sure I'd like my thighs to be smaller but hey, I do like my butt and boobs thanks very much and maybe they are not worth giving up.

Anyway...

Last night I made some very yummy guacamole style filling for corn tortillas... avocado, jalepenos, red onions, pepper, salt, lime juice, garlic, and cherry tomatoes... it was freaking delicious. I had it again today for lunch on some all bran crackers. Tried to make a green smoothie for breakfast but that was sort of hilarious... the blender didn't really work out so I tried the food processor but it couldn't get it liquidy enough so I ended up with a mouthful of kale chunks :-/ eww...

oh well... one of these days I'll get to experience that famous green smoothie I keep hearing so much about.

In the meantime, I'm happy to be doing a week of veganism. One week does not seem daunting at all and there really are so many delicious foods you can eat while you are doing it. I am inspired a bit by my sparkfriend Bookworm. So yeah... hope you all have been sparking along nicely...

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILINGTREE 4/3/2012 1:00PM

    Most vegans that I know are big time foodies - they make amazing stuff! There is a vegan restaurant here called Sluggo's (I think it might be a franchise, but I'm not sure) and it is one of my favorite places to eat. They make a mushroom walnut burger that is way better than a ground beef burger.

Isn't 18% body fat as low as a woman should go to maintain optimum health? I don't know why I think that but seems reasonable. We are *supposed* to have boobs and curvy hips...

It makes me think of Lisa Marie on bodyrock, who has such crazy muscle definition - she might even have like 8 or 10 pack abs. It doesn't make sense to me to lose all of your natural body fat and then go get some fake boobs...to each her own, though.

ps - your week "off" sounds remarkably like one of my "on" weeks....hmmm...this could explain why you are at my goal weight...

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GIANTMICROBE 4/2/2012 4:51PM

    Boobs are sexy fat :) LOL

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Things I've Learned

Friday, March 23, 2012

Well, I haven't been around spark that much the past week. I have been partially tracking my food and logging my exercise, but on Monday I woke up and I could just tell that my "obsession" with all this was over.

What does that mean? I've written before about how my life goes in cycles. Something grabs my attention and I focus on it obsessively, to the point of driving myself and my husband crazy talking and thinking about it. It can be a new video game, a tv show, or sometimes it is weight loss. Usually when I've come off a period of overdoing it and I look and feel like crap.

Health and nutrition are always somewhere in the back of my mind. I definitely don't always take my own best advice, but I know the dangers of our modern food supply. I know fast food 5x a week is bad for you. I know you should try your hardest to get organic, grass fed meat. But sometimes my knowledge of that turns into something else... a quest. Like Don Quixote, it's on my mind all the time and all the pitfalls of my diet are windmill monsters that I let chase me through guilty days and nights.

I usually start out on the right foot, not just full of motivation but also full of good intentions. But along the way, my good intentions change and I find myself unable to focus on anything but the goals I want to meet but don't seem to be meeting. The pounds lost, the muscles gained, the minutes I should be working out. It always ends up imploding into a giant meltdown.

Then one day, a switch gets flipped in my brain. Like night and day, I suddenly am not worried about the things that were so troublesome to me. Something else grabs my attention, lights up my brain's pleasure center, and steals me away. Monday, I knew that day had come again.

But this time things are a bit different. I haven't dived head first into a pile of junk food. Sure, I could get more vegetables into my diet, but that was true even when I was busting my @ss every day to log every bite I ate. I've just gone back to eating what I feel like eating and stopping when I'm full. And because there's something else making my brain go buzz, just like magic I am not craving junk. Two nights ago Bradley wanted ice cream so I went with him. We both ordered shakes but about halfway into mine I didn't want it anymore. So I put it down, and put it in the freezer when we got home, where it's been ever since.

I've discovered that the more I freak out about eating healthy food, the more my mind craves junk. Probably just because I'm THINKING about food all the time - any food. So now I know, when I get too obsessed with this, it's a sign I need to stop and find something else to crush on. Cause just like early humans must have, when you spend your days thinking about your next meal, your brain is wiring you to eat sugar at every opportunity.

I've also discovered that I actually like running. That is something I never ever thought would be true. But even though I feel my attention being pulled away from exercise as an obsession, it is still coming back to running as a release. I don't run every day. Probably not even every other day, at least not steadily. I am not forcing myself to do it. It's just that sometimes I get the urge to do it, as a release, as - dare I say it, fun. And then I do it. And I really enjoy it. Honest.

That's progress.

I have come to accept that I was, when I started, and I am now, at a healthy BMI. I'm OK with being here for a while. History repeats itself so I'm sure there will be a time in the near future when I feel driven by a compulsion to make this the sole focus on my life again. It's just who I am, to work like that. But I've lost all but 1-2 lbs (depending on the day) of the weight I gained when my mother was living with us. And I feel like I have a grip right now on my overeating. I've gained some valuable things to take with me on the next leg of the journey.

I now have a wonderfully equipped gym, IN MY HOUSE! This definitely has increased my frequency of exercise. I now know that I CAN drink unsweetened beverages, and yes, come to prefer them. I know now that I actually like to run, love to hike, and love to do yoga. These things aren't chores, they're enjoyment. And thanks to my Lent commitment (still going strong), I no longer have uncontrollable cravings for pizza.

My toolbox is more full for the work of the past 3 months, and I'm satisfied with it for now.

I'm still here, reading all your blogs, even if I'm quiet. I'm just not spending 3-4 hours a day on the site like I was a few weeks ago. I'm working on writing a story, the first piece of writing I've done in a long, long time. It's just fan fiction but that makes me happy. And I'm finding out that when I'm happy, and busy, I'm not spending all day wishing I could eat a chocolate bar. I like that, too.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VICYVICY 4/1/2012 5:50PM

    What a fantastic blog! You are doing so well and I agree so much with what you're saying. Also, thanks for the supportive comments you put on my blog :D, much appreciated!

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GERMANIRISHGIRL 3/26/2012 6:28PM

    ...and that chocolate bar won't make you happy either

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AGAMER 3/24/2012 7:03PM

    I think you're finding a different kind of balance in your life, and that's a good thing. You seem to understand what you need to do to maintain or lose pounds, and it's not always necessary to track all of that, as you already know. I hope you still post occasionally, and thank you for your tips and advice. They're still appreciated! :)

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STLCARDSFANS05 3/24/2012 3:53PM

    learning is good. soul searching is good. the joys we find when finding ourselves...priceless....

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GIANTMICROBE 3/24/2012 7:07AM

    One thing I learned in the past year is that we don't have to be perfect all the time, just good most of the time emoticon

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MARVEEME 3/23/2012 9:13PM

    Realistic approach you have here. We all have to find what works for us. I don't spend as much time here as I once did, but daily tracking here really helps me. It helped me lose, and now helps me maintain. I've been maintaining for awhile, and will know when the stars have aligned for the next leg of the journey myself.

Many blessings, my friend!
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GAL7288 3/23/2012 3:35PM

    You aound just like me. I confess that I too am obsessed with the whole loosing weight, eaiting healthy bandwagon, to a point that no one listens to my jabbering anymore. Once i stopped obsessing was when the real results came in. I broke a plateau, I excersize and enjoy it, I eat healthy without even thinking about it, and my pants are baggier than usual. So I guess until we learn to learn our brain and obessions is when we really start applying what we have learned. I would love to read what you are writing, reading is my favorite pass time. Keep up the good work!

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The Climb

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sure, Miley's another teen star with angst issues, but this song is great. Heard it on my way to work this morning and it seemed so relevant to what we face daily. Hope it inspires some of you!

"The Climb"

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby
It's all about, it's all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AGAMER 3/16/2012 7:01PM

    I love that, and thanks for posting. It's worthy of the fridge door.

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INFINITEJESS84 3/15/2012 4:08PM

    Aw, she's just being Miley!

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MISTYBLUE716 3/15/2012 3:54PM

    love that song! (even tho i don't really love her lol)

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LADYJ6942 3/15/2012 10:11AM

    Thats a winner! Thanks for sharing

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STLCARDSFANS05 3/15/2012 9:46AM

    emoticon

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