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Day 6 of 21: Operation Hot Mama.... Plus, July ain't gonna happen...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Operation Hot Mama is the name of my game! 21 days of giving 100% focus on my diet.

Yesterday went really great. In spite of being very down and crying a LOT LOT LOT, I didn't reach for the comfort foods or sweets... and I even HAVE some left-over Easter chocolate lurking up in my cabinets. In fact, I barely ate anything for lunch, because I had to go grocery shopping and needed to get out the door. Then for dinner, I made chicken and veggie stew with whole-grain dumplings. The stew was sooooo yummy!! I didn't track very well yesterday, but I am pretty sure I did not go over calories, and my choices were healthy.

This morning involved a VERY successful 17-mile run. I was definitely feeling it toward the end, but still finished strong!! Very pleased with that. My foot feels 100% better. If you wanna pop on over to Dailymile, here is what I ran:

Here are a couple of pics from my run this am:

Here is where the path veered away from the main road and went through some trees - so serene!! I love it!

I have run past this building many times on long runs, but only read today for the first time, what was actually inscribed above the door:
"Lobe den Herrn meine Seele und vergiß nicht, was er dir Gutes getan hat. Ps. 103/2"
My translation: "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not the good things he has done for you." Ps. 103:2, but that was my own translation without looking...

Anyway, that was EXACTLY what I needed today!!! A reminder to remember the good things, the blessings in my life!! In spite of some very difficult times, I am very blessed.

Yesterday was really tough. I posted a blog but deleted it, because I just couldn't find the right words to describe what I was going through. I cried..... a LOT yesterday.

I am very homesick, and haven't been back to the States since May/June 2007. Since before Christmas, I had been planning a trip to come over in July. Then I also signed up for the Make It By Midnight Marathon in Georgia to run with fellow Sparkers. To put it mildly, I have been SO STOKED about coming.....

But in the interum, we have decided to MOVE to the US, something we weren't really thinking about when I signed up for the race. Plus, the plane tickets for July are so WICKEDLY expensive, I couldn't help but question whether I should even go in July. I was planning to come with just my son, who would go to see his father in Pensacola. My ex-husband was going to help with the tickets, but for my trip, I was going to be shelling out over 2,500 USD for round-trip tickets for just me and Mikah, my son.....

I just couldn't shake the feeling that I should be buying ONE-WAY tickets!!! Not round-trip!! But there is no way I can go in July to stay............ UUUUGGGGHHHHH!! So frustrating!!

So after a long debate, and many tears yesterday, I have decided not to come in July. That means no Make It By Midnight Marathon with my fellow Sparkers who I was DYING to meet. It means I will have to wait a while longer to see my friends and family who I was planning to visit.... emoticon

But although it is VERY disappointing, it is also with a sense of HOPE and FAITH that we WILL be coming home FOR GOOD in the near future. The $2,500 and more that I am saving will only go to help us when we move!!!! That is not "if", but "WHEN" we move!

Out of curiosity, I searched for ONE-WAY tickets for my ENTIRE FAMILY, all 6 of us, for November 2nd from Hamburg, Germany to Miami, and found some for 2,800 USD for ALL of us, TAXES AND FEES INCLUDED!! We are not ready to buy them yet, but I thought that was crazy cheap!! Less than $500 per person!

So, I am NOT going to stay down about this. I WILL be thankful for my many blessings, and I will be looking forward and anticipating VERY GOOD things to come.

Maybe I will even run a virtual marathon on July 16th in honor of Becki, Wendy and Suezette, and load that up on my Dailymile!!!

Happy Sparking, Everyone!! Hope everyone has an AWESOME weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELISAMLW 5/7/2011 10:12PM

    I know what it's like to be so ready for something and then have all the plans come crashing down. :( I'm sorry you're going through that. But I'm glad for you that you had a great run and WOW on the tickets!!

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ETTEZEUS 5/7/2011 4:38PM

    Great run! Loved the pictures.

I'm sorry I won't get to meet you in July but since you'll more then likely be in FL for awhile, we'll get together for lunch or a run.

I know you're disappointed but like you said, the next tickets you buy will be ONE WAY!!

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ERIC_ANDREW 5/7/2011 4:24PM

    I'm sorry about your trip in July, but I'm happy you're getting what you want in the long term!

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MBOURKE8 5/7/2011 11:48AM


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BEACHTUDE 5/7/2011 10:04AM

    I tuned to this channel in the middle of the program. It sounds like you have a lot of challenges, however, you seem to have a good attitutde about things... I'll send up a prayer for your situation. Keep up the good work. Now, off to work on my own issues. ha! emoticon

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WONDERJUL 5/7/2011 10:01AM

    Wow, I would be sad also to not make it for the run but to come here to stay sounds like what your heart wants to do. I wish you the best--cheap tickets, smooth planning, and lots of blessings along the way. Congrats on a great long run--looks beautiful there.!

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KKFRENCHY 5/7/2011 9:43AM

    Sometimes a good cry is what you need to put it all in perspective. Your run is VERY impressive, keep up the good work!

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NYC_NATIVE 5/7/2011 8:00AM

    Oh Darcy, I'm so sorry that your July plans fell through. But you're really doing great w/the challenge so far! Hope you have a great weekend, too.

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AMOHAME2 5/7/2011 7:50AM

    I'm so happy to hear you're back to running those LONG runs without any foot pain! The photos are nice, it must be such a great place to run!
It really is a shame that you won't be visiting your friends and family and July, but it will make the move back that much sweeter!

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    You will get through this. It sounds like you have a great plan:) Kudos for not eating all that Easter candy! I hope you have a much better day today! Glad also to read you had no pain while you were running! I am lovin' getting back into my groove also. I did three miles Thursday with no pain! 2 on the schedule for today:)

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MBSHAZZER 5/7/2011 5:57AM

    Darcy, I'm so sorry to hear that you won't be getting your summer trip to the US, but it sounds like you'll be moving back here for good soon, so just hang in a little longer.

GREAT news that your foot is not bothering you!

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School update...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Yes, I am writing 2 blogs today. Just couldn't bring myself to combine them to make some wickedly long, boring blog....

Several weeks ago, I said I would log off of SP for a time in order to concentrate on my schooling, and my upcoming exam....

WHICH IS ON TUESDAY, MAY 10TH, PEOPLE!!!! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!! Yes, I am a little panicky, but I have been studying hard (will be putting in another intensive study session tonight), and am gaining a little bit of confidence. And I found that I JUST. CAN'T. LIVE. WITHOUT. MY. SPARK!!! emoticon .... which is why I came back. But with limitations.

Anyway, we also had a 3-day seminar at school just before Easter, during which one of our instructors gave us a practice test, formatted much like our test will be. And I PASSED!! I didn't study nearly like I wanted to for it, and I still passed. BARELY, but a pass is a pass. And I have put in some serious study time since then....

So, what am I studying, you might ask????? For those of you who don't mind the boring details.....:

I am studying Home Economics here in Germany. Sounds boring, I know. All I remember from Home Ec class was cooking a little and sewing. But Germans take their Home Economics (Hauswirtschaft) VERY seriously. Have you ever heard that Germans are obsessive about everything looking neat, and clean, and tidy?? It's totally true.

So, I am doing an apprenticeship (Ausbildung) at a school here to become a Hauswirtschafterin (a person who specializes in home economics).

The course teaches you really boring stuff, like how to clean and take care of your household, like laundry and stuff... MY FAVORITE!! (Pls note the sarcasm.) But also teaches proper and safe handling of food, and how to set up your workspace to minimize clutter and mess, which is one of the main reasons I took it. I cook like a mad woman, but afterwards, my kitchen always looks like a HUGE basket of groceries EXPLODED! Well, it used to..... I have gotten a LOT better!

We also learned how to plan out things in detail - like how to cook a meal and such, in tiny little steps. Not only for private household, but also as a business. There is also a focus on using your skills and running your own business - as an event planner, or catering business, or as a cook in a home or hospital, or cleaning business, or laundry service business... things along those lines.

Oh, and we learned a lot about decorating the table!! Something I NEVER did before, and always thought I was horrible at, but have really found that I enjoy! We had do plan and work out a couple of projects. Here are my tables that I decorated:

This one was done in a maritime theme, as a 60th birthday party for a man. Actually I had had my FIL in mind when we planned this one, because he is turning 60 this year. Ok, so the spoon is ON THE WRONG SIDE... silly me. Hopefully you all didn't notice....

This table is decorated for a family of 6 who wanted an Easter lunch to be made for them.

Because I have a dream of having my own organic/whole foods cafe one day (don't know if that will ever happen, but here's to DREAMIN'), or even a catering business, and because I am a mother and housewife, this Ausbildung was perfect for me. I have learned how to better my own housekeeping while simultaneously preparing for fulfilling a dream for my future.

Plus, I am just a nerd and like to learn. emoticon

So, on this coming TUESDAY, I will be doing my written exam, and exam that will last about 4 hours, and it WILL BE INTENSE!! Largely because it will be in German, and German is not my mother tongue! So, prayers and/or positive thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated!!

A practical exam, where we have to plan out a couple of events, and carry them out in front of our instructors, will be in October of this year. I need to stay in Germany long enough to complete that......

But any time after October 27th..... AMERICA, I'M COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll keep you all posted on that.....

Happy Sparking, everyone!!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUESKY_321 5/6/2011 6:45AM

    very cool! I would love to take this type of class! Those are skills that would bring some peace to any household, and will certainly be useful when you open your cafe! good luck with the exam!

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NYC_NATIVE 5/5/2011 6:31PM

    Good luck on the exam! The coursework you've been doing sounds so interesting, too. I esp. love the 2nd table setting - very nice!

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RUNTRILAUGH 5/5/2011 3:45PM

    Sounds like a fun class!

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FITMAY 5/5/2011 11:48AM

    I love it! I would love to take that class! GO YOU!...
You will pass that test with flying colors!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/5/2011 11:48:59 AM

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NOELLIEMAE 5/5/2011 10:29AM

    YEAH!!! What an interesting thing to study! and you did an AMAZING job with both tables (despite the spoon flub-up) hahaha. GOOD LUCK NEXT WEEK!

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WENDY1075 5/5/2011 10:23AM

    I'm German on my father's side - that explains my obsession with tidiness! (Which I've had to let go of with four messy children - they must not have the German genes!)

Your tables look beautiful! Good luck on your exam. What a great accomplishment, especially since you're taking the class and the exam IN German!

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AMOHAME2 5/5/2011 9:55AM

    Wow, some of those courses sound kind of interesting! Organization is a skill I never did master so maybe that would be a good class for me to look into!! I never did like home ec in highschool, but the idea of owning a cafe does sound very cool! Good luck on your exam!

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SEEHOLZ 5/5/2011 9:53AM

    I know you'll do AMAZING! I can tell that you totally ARE ready, but not over confident- Du machst das schon!

I'm only half German, so only half of a neat freak-LOL... probably more balanced anyways-LOL.

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Day 4 of 21: Operation Hot Mama

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Yep, I am staying on top of my GAME!!

emoticonCleaning up my diet hardcore for 3 weeks is the game,
emoticonOperation Hot Mama is the name.

Really, I don't plan to quit after three weeks. The 3 weeks is just a short-term, achievable goal to get me good and on the right path.

Yesterday was RIGHT ON TARGET!! I had an awesome power run in the am - 4 miles in under 34 minutes - then biking to and from the gym - 7.75 miles total - and a KILLER BodyPump session. I even got up this morning and ran another 5 miles. They were 5 hard miles, and my legs were really feeling last night's workout, but I did them.

But my challenge to myself is not exercise related so much. It's weird - I have no problem exercising regularly, and sticking to my plan. It's diet, that's where things go haywire for me. That's always been my struggle. But I refuse to let "that's always been my struggle" hold me back from WORKING MY BUTT OFF, literally, to reach my fitness goals, and keep looking GREAT as a mom of 4.

I found it also really interesting as I read a blog here on SP called "Jackie Warner's Secrets to Amazing Abs" -

In the interview, she is asked a few questions about what exercises she recommends, and her reply (more than once, if you open up the link to the whole story) is DIET. She emphasizes that proper DIET is a must. Reading this only solidified my determination (even more) to focus on my diet. You want results? Clean up your diet. That was the message I got.

Yesterday went really awesome. No sweets. No sugar other than organic whole cane sugar in my coffee. Lots of salad and good protein. And I totally stayed within my calorie range. Today has been a bit tougher so far. I am RAVENOUSLY hungry, probably due to my MAD workouts in the past 36 hours. But I am still trying to stay on top.....

With each day, I am gaining momentum, and I can feel it. I feel stronger and more confident in myself. I can also feel the changes in my body. I can tell I am not just working off JUNK CHOICES with my workouts. I KNOW I will see results on the scale at the end of the week. Maybe it will be mostly water weight loss, but a move in the right direction, nonetheless. emoticon

How about you, my fellow Sparkers?? Are you working toward reaching your goals?? Are you working hard to stay on track? TRY IT!! THREE WEEKS!! I challenge you, if you are struggling, just try it for 3 weeks. Anyone can do anything for 3 weeks.

What have you done today to get yourself closer to your fitness and health goals????

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILESRME 5/6/2011 1:35PM

    Hoo Boy! Yep...exercise is not a problem for this's the food diet! Moderation; portion control; wise choices...sigh. But food is so good!!! : )

Thanks for the reminder that diet choices and exercise go hand in hand. You have inspired me to start this day on choosing wisely. I am hoping to start the book "Made to Crave". It's a study of why we choose food as our emotional outlets, and why we need to focus on the Lord for our comfort.

You have really challenged yourself in the fitness department girl! Woo Hoo!
Julia : )

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IGSBETH 5/6/2011 12:46PM

    Way to go!

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RUNNING4KT 5/5/2011 3:18PM

    I'm exactly the same way...I love to exercise and make time for it no matter what is going on, but the diet is always my struggle. Sounds like you're on a roll!!! Great job!

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RUNTRILAUGH 5/5/2011 1:17PM


I blew it at 10 pm last night, then had mexican for lunch today, but only chips/salsa and chicken soft taco.... So, maybe not all bad.... LOL


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JUNEBUGABEE 5/5/2011 1:12PM

    I'm the same way-- I have no issues with exercise, whatsoever! It's the eating that gets me.

What I'm doing to stay on track is making sure I am eating enough on a regular basis, so that I don't get crazy hungry and eat everything in sight. Make sure you eat enough, too, with that insane workout schedule of yours!

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ETTEZEUS 5/5/2011 12:55PM

    I love your name for your new game emoticon

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MARATHON_MOM 5/5/2011 12:36PM

What a great day yesterday!

Today, I am eating ok, but not stellar. Didn't have breakfast so I ended up having a pack of crackers for morning snack .. but lunch was good. Tuna & crackers and an orange.
I think it's going to be a rest day for me today.

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Day 3 of 21: Operation Hot Mama

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Yes, my little challenge to myself now has a name. Operation Hot Mama. 3 weeks of eating right, committing myself 100%, and getting back on track with my healthy lifestyle. No more excuses. No more endulgences. No more whining about my extra flab on my hips that has appeared in the past 2 months. Gonna DO SOMETHING about it. HARD CORE.

Carolyn1213 posted an AWESOME blog yesterday that hit home to me. I HIGHLY recommend you all read it!!



She goes on to say: "I do not play around when it comes to my workouts and my nutrition. Muscles that work hard need serious fuel and I don't have time to spend in the gym working off junk choices. "

".... I don't have time to spend in the gym working off junk choices."

".... I don't have time to spend in the gym working off junk choices."

".... I don't have time to spend in the gym working off junk choices."

I read that line several times. That USED to be my philosophy, but somehow, lately, I have let it slip horribly! "Oh, yeah, I can eat that, I will just run it off tomorrow." WHAT?? This is NOT the attitude that got me results.

I did NOT get from here:

To here and here: making JUNK CHOICES and trying to work them off!!! I did NOT splurge on the weekends, I did not tell myself I deserved that ______ for running so hard or finishing a race, I did not allow myself to go wild at family/friend gatherings and stuff myself with all the food and dessert.

I spent MONTHS disciplining myself, saying "no, thanks", avoiding the junk food isles at the grocery store altogether, NOT eating out AT ALL (for 3 months straight), focusing on eating HEALTHY and fueling my body properly, KEEPING MY EYE ON THE PRIZE AHEAD!

I KNEW that my hard work and sacrifice would pay off. AND IT DID.

So, why am I being so sloppy with my eating, and thinking that I will still have results?

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. That is the reason for my 3 week challenge to myself. Enough is enough.

And let me just say, this is NOT only about weight. I don't think it is ANY coincidence, that in the past 2 months that my eating has gone downhill, I have also been VERY sick 3 TIMES! I know some of that may be the time of year, but seriously??? Sugar is one of the worst things for your immune system, and I have been eating a LOT of it. I had a flu bug shortly before my marathon (I was already starting to eat bad), then I got a stomach flu bug a few weeks after the marathon, then I got a really bad cold that knocked me on my butt for a week just a couple of weeks ago. Coincidence? I think not.

In addition to being sick several times, I also just FEEL horrible. Not just about myself, but I do not feel as great as I do when I pumping my body full of good proteins and vegetables. Let's be honest - eating right DOES feel good.

So, with DAY 3 almost under my belt, my confidence is growing. I am not sure I feel like my mojo is back YET, but I definitely feel more resolved and determined with each passing day.....

So, what do YOU want?? How BAD do you want it?? What are you willing to do to get yourself there??? GO, & DO IT!! 3 weeks. Dedicate to 3 weeks. Just 3 weeks. 100%. All out. 3 weeks. And at the end of those 3 weeks, see how much you have accomplished and how easy it feels to be into your healthy groove.

SPARK ON, my Friends!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JSPEED4 5/4/2011 10:24PM

    Yes! The strength efforts need support!

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MBOURKE8 5/4/2011 6:23PM

    I"M IN! I slipped from December-ish to April. DONE! Gotta get back on track... keep my eye on the prize... OPERATION HOT MOMMA! lol!

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    I needed to hear this Darcy! I slipped after 10 very successful days and have been having a hard time getting back into that groove. I have 20 days left until my holiday, that's 20 days to finish what I have started!

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MRS_LOOMIS 5/4/2011 1:23PM

    nice...think I'll join you emoticon

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ROOT4HOME 5/4/2011 11:21AM

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today Darcy! emoticon and so can I!! emoticon

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    Fantastic Blog and here's to your recommittment emoticon (Note the healthy water)

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KKINNEA 5/4/2011 11:07AM

    I slipped on your day 1 already! Back at it today, maybe I can make some progress along with you!

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Now all I have to do is....

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Get my EATING back into full swing, on the RIGHT track!! My running and other exercise is really going great, which I am totally encouraged about.

A pic from my run on Saturday - I love all the green!! And the sun was just shining so pretty. I was on a total runner's high all day after those 12 miles.

Thank you so much, my fellow Sparkers, for posting your thoughts and encouragement on my blog last week (the one where I ask for a pep talk)!! I cannot even put into words how much I needed encouragement. Normally, I am a very positive person, but last week, I just felt so down about EVERYTHING. So much so that I didn't even feel like running or doing any exercise. But I hung in there and did it anyway, because I knew if I didn't, I would feel even worse, and this whole emotional rollercoaster I was on was going to spin COMPLETELY out of control!

Not sure if it was simply due to my horrible eating lately. Or if it was because I had a CRAZY week, the week before, I was simply just worn out. Or if it was all just hormonal (TOM last week). Or if it is because I am a bit homesick, and ready to move back to the US, and I want everything to happen NOW.....

Or if it were a mix of all the different things. Not sure. It just wasn't like me to feel this way. And I am so glad I shared my struggle, because my spirits were certainly lifted with all of you sharing your own experiences and thoughts of encouragement....

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
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I love that all of us face similar struggles, and we can vent our frustrations on here, and be understood and encouraged and lifted up by others going through the same thing.....

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

And to all of you who totally related to my struggle, I hope you find the strength to overcome for yourself as well!! emoticon

This week is going better. Sunday, not so much. I worked at the cafe on Sunday, and a slice of Raspberry Torte was calling my name. Torte is like, a cake, but with lots of creamy layers to it, usually combined with fruit, and there are some cakey layers too. But LOTS of cream or joghurt or quark. Has calories written ALL OVER IT!

Anyway, I admit, I endulged (I also didn't eat dinner after that, so maybe that helped...LOL). But yesterday was an excellent day in the eating realm, and my spirits are in a much better place this week. For me, feeling down = bad eating. Bad eating in turn = feeling down. Continued bad eating for long periods of time = no confidence in myself to turn it around. It's a vicious cycle.

But here's to working very hard at it over the next 3 weeks! A very wise person once told me, "If you want to start something new, do it hardcore for 3 weeks, and after that, it's already begun to be your habit." This has ALWAYS stuck with me, for more than 10 years now since this person told me that. And it always seems to work. If I just focus on doing something 100% for 3 weeks, it always seems super easy after that. It's like I build up resistence to the bad habits and cravings. The first week is ALWAYS the hardest....

So, the next 3 weeks!!! I am shooting to make them AWESOME!!! Plus, I don't work at the cafe for a couple of weekends, so I have some time to build up resistence.... LOL

3 WEEKS!! Who is with me, Sparkers???? Who is willing to commit to 100% for simply 3 weeks???

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KKINNEA 5/3/2011 11:22AM

    Alright, alright, I'll clean it up for 3 weeks with you - I've been lazy on everything but running lately!

Glad your feeling on the up!

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RUNTRILAUGH 5/3/2011 10:56AM

    I'm in!!!!!!

Don't those runs just make everything right in our world sometimes????

Can't wait to see you!!!!!

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SEEHOLZ 5/3/2011 10:53AM

    I'm with you- jumping on the 3 week train- it's ON!

Love the happy blog- makes me smile emoticon

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FITMAY 5/3/2011 9:30AM

    I'm with you Darcy!
I'll commit to my plan 100%(both food and exercise) for three weeks!
Let's get this done!
PS. That's a lovely picture.... that would make me run any day... emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/3/2011 9:31:51 AM

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CAROLCRC 5/3/2011 7:58AM

    I like the 3 week idea too! Exercise is easy for me to stick with, eating is much harder. Glad you are feeling back on track.

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MESEATURTLE 5/3/2011 7:57AM

    Good luck!!!!!!
12 miler!!!! U r awesomeness!!!!!

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MARATHON_MOM 5/3/2011 7:23AM

    I'm totally IN with you, Darcy! 3 weeks! Here goes!
Way to go on getting your mojo back! I hope to be out there doing some long-ish runs soon, and maybe I will feel a little more confident going into my summer marathons!

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