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Happy DST, Sparkers!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Unlike a lot of people, I love DST. I love not having the sun in my eyes as I squint to see the stoplights on my morning commute. I love still having 2 hours of daylight left when I get home in the evening. And I love the warmer temperatures. My body even does pretty well on the spring ahead time schedule; this morning at 5 AM I was wide awake. Not out of bed mind you, but awake emoticon.

Today is the first full day of my 10 Weeks to New Orleans plan. Yesterday I got groceries, but I was lazy and used the drive through pickup. They gave me strawberry greek yogurt instead of plain :( Just when I was trying to get used to plain to cut my sugar intake... /sigh. Oh well. Not the end of the world I guess.

I planned to go running yesterday but my calves were still on fire from my hike on Saturday. According to Spark that burned over 900 calories!!! I have never burned that many calories at once before. I am definitely going hiking again soon. But anyway, I decided to go for a walk instead of a run. Hey, it's something.

So yeah, first full day of my plan and I've had a couple little snags, but I am still very excited! And I have a date with Jillian Michaels tonight, I'm sure she'll be happy to whip me into shape emoticon. I even thought about taking before pics to compare to when we go on our vacay. I know if I stick with doing that No More Trouble Zones video 2x a week I will see results. That video used to kick my @ss regularly... I've never even finished the whole thing. But like a lot of things I did before and then tried again this year, I am hoping to see some improvements due to my increased fitness level. Fingers crossed anyway...

Hope you all are ready to kick some Monday butt!! emoticon emoticon Whether you bike, walk, do a video, swim, or just play with your kids for a while, make it a Sparkalicious day!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INFINITEJESS84 3/15/2012 7:22AM

    Yes! DST is awesome and so good for those of us who work in windowless places

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    I love DST too! emoticon

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MICHSTATE 3/12/2012 4:32PM

    Drive-thru grocery store?!?! That's a new one!!! I was thinking you meant you stopped for fast food for dinner at first, but then the yogurt comment threw me off!!!!:-)

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APED7969 3/12/2012 4:04PM

    I love the extra sunlight from daylight's savings as well. unfortunately we don't have daylight's savings here in QLD but it's kind of entertaining to argue with the locals about why we should since a lot of them are dead set against it!

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SMILINGTREE 3/12/2012 12:52PM

    Yeah, I like DST, too. We slept half the day Saturday so that we would be ready for it this morning. I love being able to go run in the woods later in the evening. And, like you said, it means warmer weather is just around the corner. It's been really nice here already and last night the weather man said he thinks winter is over and it will just steadily get warmer now. ah.

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FITNESSMONSTER8 3/12/2012 11:22AM

    I love the extra daylight after work!!! Keep up the good work! emoticon

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KICKINGIT@56 3/12/2012 10:06AM

    The extra sunlight is great. I'm getting up early to take advantage of it.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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STLCARDSFANS05 3/12/2012 9:09AM

    i'm with you. it doesn't take me long to adjust and i love love love the extra hours of sunlight and knowing that summer is around the corner

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Great Outdoors > Gym

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Today I went to Crowders State Park, about 20 miles from my home in Charlotte, for a Saturday morning hike. A friend of mine told me about the mountain and how much fun she had hiking it with her boyfriend.

Last night before bed I told Bradley I was going hiking. He didn't say much... I think he was hoping it was just something I was saying, as I am apt to do, and would forget about it or change my mind in the morning. But morning came and I had not forgotten about it. I have wanted to go hiking for a really long time. It has been forever since I have been (literally... unless you count some woodlands in the back of my friend's house, it has been at least 7-10 years, probably longer), but it was always something I enjoyed doing. It's just that I have dated guys who are more at home on the sofa playing XBox. And don't get me wrong, I love my video games... probably what drove me to seek out guys like that in the first place. But I also really love nature, and today I had decided it was my day.

I got out of bed and got dressed. I could tell Bradley didn't want to go, but we have a sort of way of tagging along with the other whether we want to or not. I wasn't going to push the issue though, because a lot of the time I feel like I have to drag him out of the house and today I did not want that. I was feeling enthusiastic and didn't want anything to dampen that by the feeling of guilt I sometimes get when I know we are doing something just because of me. So I went to the kitchen to make an egg sandwich for breakfast and pack some snacks and water in my backpack, as well as a bowl that Luna could drink out of.

After a few minutes he came into the kitchen to make some toast (something he rarely does, usually he skips breakfast) and he asked how long we would be hiking. "Please stay here," I said, and I explained to him that I didn't want to feel like I was dragging him anywhere, and it was really fine. He grumbled a bit then said OK.

So I grabbed Luna and Lily and headed out! Lily had an appointment at the groomer's today so I dropped her off there, then Luna and I were on our way to the mountain. Although I definitely did not want him to come if he was not going to enjoy it, on the other hand I was just a little bit nervous. Since we have been together, I have rarely done anything without him. I usually rely on him to do things like read maps, find the best places to park, etc. Recently though I have begun thinking that if I want to do things and he doesn't want to go, I should not put myself in this place of either feeling guilty if he does go because I worry if he's enjoying himself, or in a place of resentment if we stay home. I should just go, have fun, and not hold it against him for wanting to stay home. Plenty of couples have separate some interests, and that is OK! So I decided to put on my big girl panties and make my own way of it. There was a part of that which was very thrilling! Before I met Bradley I used to be pretty independent, but when you have someone who is so willing to take care of you it can be easy to sit back and relax. Pros and cons to that, for sure, so it's nice to strike a balance sometimes.

Luna and I arrived at the park after driving through a lot of winding country roads. The views were beautiful, and we even passed a few small farms. It was really encouraging to see that at least some farm animals still get to eat grass and aren't stuck in windowless sheds all their lives.

We parked and made our way to the visitor's center, where a passing hiker was nice enough to go inside and get us a trail map since they don't allow dogs in the visitor's center. After looking over the various trail lengths and difficulty levels, I picked a 2.8 mile (one way) trail of moderate difficulty, and we were off!

As soon as we were in the woods with no one around, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I had forgotten how much I love the woods. I have always loved fantasy movies and novels and of course a deep forest is essential to a good fantasy story. As a child I loved playing in and around the woods and daydreamed about lush green trees and rippling brooks, where fairies might be hiding under a rock or a unicorn grazing in a clearing.

Several times on the trail when we passed people, they would remark about how Luna was so small and joke about her not being able to keep up. Nothing could be further from the truth! I chose the trail because we have often walked 2 miles around my neighborhood and it didn't seem like 2.8 would be that far. I soon found out that when you are climbing rocky hills and accelerating terrain, it feels a lot longer! But Luna was right at my side the whole time, climbing rocks, going up and down the natural stairsteps, jogging across the state road that cuts through one part of the trail... and she didn't even seem to tire!

I stopped to give her water at several parts along the way but each time she took a few laps and then looked up at me, jumping up as if to say, "Let's go Mom, times a wasting!"

I took a few pictures along the way of parts I found particularly beautiful. It took us about 2 and a half hours to do a round trip of 5.6 miles. I loved every minute. I have been talking for a while about an outdoor activity that I could do so that "exercising" would be fun, not because I need to do it. I think I may have found what that is for me. I would love to go on another hike very soon, and sometime I want to take the trail that goes all the way up to the top of the mountain!

After all was said and done, I loved being there with just me and Luna. She is definitely a partner in every way, and the stillness was refreshing to my spirit. I was home before 12:30 anyway, so I had plenty of time to spend with Bradley too :) Hooray for balance.

Here are some pictures I took:

And one of my little mountain goat:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULIA_RUN2SMILE 3/11/2012 5:14PM

    I like your blog! I feel the same way at time... don;t know why I feel kinda guilty for doing things for me... I am working hard at changing this and I call it my Self-care. My DH practices some sports that I don;t take part on. In the past I would allow myself to do something on my own only when he was busy so that would not interfere with "our" time... I changed that and I recently decided to do a few things just for me when it is convenient for me (i.e. cooking classes).I think if I am happy - he is happy to see me happy... I am sure you felt great about hiking and doing something YOU LIKE! Great! Love your pics.

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GIANTMICROBE 3/11/2012 8:46AM

    I bet Luna slept like a rock last night! :)

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    Cool pics. I love to hike too! Luna looks so precious! I can't wait till I can go on hikes with Sydney. emoticon

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MARVEEME 3/10/2012 8:52PM

    FANTASTIC! I'm so happy for you doing the GOMA routine and carving your own morning peace. Don't be surprised if you have company besides Luna the next time you decide to go.....'cause I'm betting Bradley will want to nose in on your fun. Even if he never does decide to join will survive.

DH & I spent lots of years doing our own thing and balancing that with stuff we did together too. I'm very glad I did not miss out on going to the pistol range without him (he has no interest in guns) and when he disappears for a retreat weekend at the Friary, I can ALWAYS find adventures of my own. I love to dance and walk, and he has had bad knees and lots of pain for the last 10 years. Our conversations are always enlightening about our "separate" lives, and I admit, I can honestly say, I don't know what boredom is. But then, I really never did.

Two words of advice: Don't stop.


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APED7969 3/10/2012 8:17PM

    Love it! So nice to get out hiking and even though she's small I'm sure Luna could have went for miles and enjoyed every minute!

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MICHSTATE 3/10/2012 8:03PM

    That sounds like a TON of fun!!!!! Your liitle Luna is quite the cutie too!!!! Good job on the fun exercise!!!!:-)

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10 Weeks to New Orleans

Friday, March 09, 2012

A few days ago, Bradley and I booked our summer vacation. We are going to New Orleans! I am so very excited. I have been once before, over ten years ago, and I fell in love with the city. I am absolutely thrilled to be going back.

Not gonna lie, I had a really bad week last week. Sure I had hormones but I can't blame it all on that. I just... wanted to give up. To stop measuring everything so closely. Somehow I've got to learn to deal with the blues I get at least once a month. For now though, I am feeling better. And although I'm a bit bummed that I took some steps backward, at least I didn't lay down and die.

I do pretty well having a deadline; having my wedding looming over me was something that kept me pushing on when I wanted to quit before. So since we have booked our trip now, I have another deadline. I know at some point you just have to learn to live your life, but I have to be gentle with myself and do what works for now. I have to work with the personality I have, not the one I wish I had; same goes for the body I have, right now.

So we have 10 weeks until our trip. One big reason why I went so astray this week was because I failed to plan.. and you know what they say about that. I had been keeping up with buying groceries pretty well but this week, I just... didn't. And that meant restaurants twice a day, and we've already been down that road.. plus craving sweets and not telling myself no. Which is easier to do when I don't have acceptable snacks/"treats" in the house. A sugar free chocolate pudding... good way to satisfy a craving. A huge brownie and full fat ice cream? Not such a good way.

Realizing how critical planning is (for probably the hundredth time), I planned out breakfasts and lunches for myself for the next 10 weeks. Well, I am still missing the last week but I will figure it out this weekend. My plan is to eat the same thing for breakfast every day for the workweek, and then take the same lunch 3 days of the week. Every week I will change what it is I am eating for my breakfasts and the 3 lunches. The other two days for lunch I can go out, but only from a list I created of healthy things to order from places around my work. It's got a lot of variety on it so I shouldn't get too bored. I'm going to give myself one cheat day a week but instead of eating HOWEVER much I want, I'm just going to eat WHAT I want - meaning, not too worried about nutrition, as long as it doesn't exceed my calories for the day.

For workouts, I am going to do: one day of running, one day of Jillian Michael's No More Trouble Zones video, one rest day. Repeat. On rest days or when I feel like it, I will add in yoga. I have been feeling like I am actually switching my workouts up TOO often.. I'd like to see how effective something is if I stick with it in the long run.

I'll make changes to this plan if I have to to ensure that I don't get off track for some stupid reason like boredom. I'd rather change it than fall off the wagon. But I think it is a pretty solid plan because all my lunch and breakfast ideas have protein in them and I will be eating something different every week, plus it allows for going out occasionally.

Something good is that I am still sticking to my Lent commitment. I haven't even had any cravings yet! (That will be the real test, lol). I'm really proud of myself for that, this is the longest I have been without pizza in a couple years. The funny thing is that once I told myself I am not going to eat it, I haven't really had that much trouble. I realized about myself that I do pretty good with rules, but not so good when I have more freedom. I know that sounds backwards but if I tell myself "OK you only have this one (or two) rule," I can follow it better than if I just tell myself to make "a healthy choice" or "eat in moderation." I know moderation is the ultimate goal but it seems that for now I need much more structure than that.

I guess any new lifestyle is like being a kid again... at first you need someone to hold your hand, to set borders for you. Then when you get more mature in it you can govern yourself. Right now, I am definitely in the infancy stage. I have a lot of knowledge but I am just now starting to grow the tools I need... and it's going to take a while. I'll get there though... recently I came across the quote "If you're tired of starting over, then quit giving up." That really really stuck with me. This time, even when I fall down, I'm going to get up again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STLCARDSFANS05 3/12/2012 9:08AM

    nola is the bomb!!!! you have to eat chargrilled oysters at dragos!!!!! we are 3 hours from nola and go over whenever we possibly can, even if it's just for lunch. the culture and the atmosphere are amazing

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    You are doing great! Vacation sounds FUN! emoticon

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KAREN_NY 3/10/2012 3:55PM

    So much to look forward to!! One day at a time, within the great plan you've got, and you'll be rockin' Bourbon Street!

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MICHSTATE 3/9/2012 9:19PM

    Good job planning!!!! I am happy when I plan dinner for the workweek on Sunday!!!! You are going to do awesome!!!!

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*KATY* 3/9/2012 8:36PM

    I blogged about how critical planning is for me, too. It really is vital! I ran out of groceries and I was stuck with zinger and cake temptations at work.

Good luck and I'm putting that quote in my arsenal. Thanks for posting!

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My Mantra for Today

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I am not the only one feeling this way.

I can make better choices.

I may have gone backwards but I am not back at the starting line.

I can learn to include nourishment and fitness as part of my life and still have energy for other things.

I can choose to ignore the confusion and conflicting information and just focus on what I know is right for my body.

I can learn to be patient with myself. I can decide not to give up on myself.

I can.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You will! emoticon

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MARVEEME 3/8/2012 5:29PM

    You CAN, for certain.

It is now unanimous.


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MICHSTATE 3/8/2012 12:10PM

    You CAN!!!!!!

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TKTMTA 3/8/2012 11:13AM


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SKYWATCHERRS 3/8/2012 10:49AM

    Darn tootin, you can! emoticon

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Hell Week

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Since I started keeping track, I have noticed that the second week after my period is always horrible. I have started thinking of it as hell week. During hell week, I get so many cravings for junk food and my energy levels drop. My mental state is usually kind of fuzzy too. I'm at the start of it now, and just ate a way-too-big lunch of all the worst things... Still in my calories for today if I eat a tiny dinner (which I will probably not be hungry by then), but as far as feeding my body goes... emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I know what you mean. Mine is the week before. emoticon

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INFINITEJESS84 3/7/2012 1:53PM

    Yeah at some times in my cycle I'm just so exasperated with my body like, what do you want from me??

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CHICSHAN004 3/6/2012 10:25PM

    Eh...amen sista'girl! Calcium helps me... Hang in there...

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MARVEEME 3/6/2012 8:42PM


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MISTYBLUE716 3/6/2012 4:19PM

    I hear ya girl..the week before my period is when I go nuts..I hate like CRAP all last week....still having trouble staying away from chocolate....its nuts....but you're definitely not alone!

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    I wonder if there are some nutritional remedies for that. For example, I know that soy helps menopausal symptoms...might be worth researching or talking to your doctor about.


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CRISTHIANE 3/6/2012 1:18PM

    That sucks. Just know you're not alone :) emoticon

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