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"Be miserable!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice."~Author Unknown~

SANDRA0011 sent out this quote today and I think that there are no value judgments implied! You CAN choose and there is no judgment attached.

Today two more of my sparkfriends blogged about feeling very down/not good enough/tired of working so hard for so long for such small gains. Their blogs made me think about my own journey toward LETTING MYSELF BE MISERABLE if I need to be!

This is really an essential life skill. But DON'T add it to your "other goals" list! Part of the joy of being miserable is that it's optional. But permissible!

I grew up with the responsibility of being happy and successful. My mother was a marvelous lady in many many ways, very creative and intuitive and supportive -- but it upset her terribly if I was unhappy. And when I was unhappy, she couldn't rest or be happy herself until I WAS happy. So I learned to pretend. And I learned to put up a good front. And I learned to keep a stiff upper lip, chin up, smile on my face, and "I can do it, you can too" exterior.

It took me years to get over this. It led to all sorts of bad things...for one thing, who wants to be friends with someone who is ALWAYS positive? Ergh. So for some reason, my "friends" were really acquaintances.

I won't bore you with the whole thing...suffice it to say that once I began to let the world know that I wasn't perfect, that I felt dreadfully inadequate lots of times, and that I certainly wasn't always happy -- life became much happier.

I really love sparkpeople but there are times I wonder if we drive ourselves and each other crazy with all this motivational crap. Not that it's crap really...but you know, there are days you just need to be unmotivated and...

MISERABLE! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECOMINGJAMI 9/17/2010 6:15PM

    I loved this post. I agree with what's been said about authenticity. And it resonated with me as well, because I get so down on myself about feeling down. (Which, in hindsight, is problematic and slightly silly.) But sometimes journeys like this call for honest assessment. They call for stress, sweat, blood, and sometimes tears. If we don't know what those moments feel like, what we've accomplished is never going to hold as much weight - no matter what it is. And have to own up and come to the realization that there's a time for the miserables, and a time to buck your chin up. It's up to us to decide when each is appropriate.

Wonderfully said, and really freeing to read. emoticon

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SARAWALKS 9/16/2010 9:33PM

    Thanks, CJ, Susan, Debbie, and GOINGTO (sorry I don't know your name, I'll have to look for it on your page) - we all resonate with this in different ways. I think you're so right, Debbie, that the miserables have a purpose. Unless we know where we are - where we HONESTLY are - how are we ever going to know where we should go...or how to get there? Often a bad mood leads to great insight if we let it!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DREAMGIRL76 9/16/2010 6:05PM

    Your words ring true. I am so delighted that you wrote this and you are supporting our team members and others with this blog today and for that I thank you.

Ya know, you make an interesting point. We have options we can be miserable and woller in it, or we can choose to do something about it. Sometimes we just have to push through it and keep our focus on the positives hard as that may be.

Sometimes though I think the miserables have purpose. It makes us wake up, ask ourselves, "how bad do you want this? are you really doing all you can, or could you do more?" Sometimes we get in a comfort zone, and think we are logging and keeping our portions in check. Every now and then I have to double check myself, often times finding that eye balling the portions result in more than I was counting and as a result more calories and less weight loss.

Now I treat those miserable, doubting times as my time to double check my portions, weighing and measuring, making sure I'm on target, walking a little or exercising more, and when I do this, the miserables and doubts go away and I can SMILE again.

Thank you for sharing and caring about team mates and others.
Debbie (team laugh a lot leader)

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CJWORDPLAY 9/16/2010 5:03PM

    I resonate with you giving yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling. That is soooooo freeing. I have an uncomfortable echo in my brain from very well-meaning people who told me, "Don't feel like that!" whenever I voiced something less than positive. I know they just wanted me to feel better. . . BUT. . . Like telling me NOT to feel something is going to make it go away!?! emoticon

I'm replacing that echo with determined honesty. What is - IS. And that's okay. And so are you, Sara. Thanks for the gentle reminder to remain genuine.
emoticon CJ

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SUSANS111 9/16/2010 2:49PM

    True enough.
Sometimes I do like to wallow in misery. I can get stuck there though. Most of the time I resist it and look for the positive in what ever situation I find myself in. Be whatever you need to be today.

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    Ah, makes me feel better about what I blogged on today. heh

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SARAWALKS 9/16/2010 11:27AM

    Yes! Authenticity. But the "miserable" quote touched it off! emoticon

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DEWACHA 9/16/2010 10:37AM

    Lol I so know what you are saying Sara. And it is nice to know we CAN give ourselves permission, maybe we had the same MOM! I was down yesterday; business, cash flow, moon was in the wrong phase. Anyway my GF phoned and I vented a little bit(grin). We finished the conversation and about 10 mins later she phoned and invited me for a manicure - pedicure - her treat. Silly person that I am, I told her I needed to wallow a bit more. But how blessed to have friends like that! Feeling good today! emoticon

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FLAMENM 9/16/2010 10:34AM

    There is a difference between miserable and grumpy and unsatisfied, etc. I thnk Karen got it right - strive for authenicity.

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KAREN42BOYS 9/16/2010 9:47AM

    authenticity, that's what this blog is about. i was reading about authenticity just yesterday.

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It only takes two weeks...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

to begin to lose muscle mass when you stop strength training. emoticon

I had often wondered about this and Trivia gave the answer today. Bad news for me, since when I went to the gym, I was much more regular about strength training. Of course I also put off going to the gym and was NOT as regular about my cardio, and I told myself that cardio was really more important, and I could always do strength at home just as easily.

But somehow I haven't. emoticon

Funny how these little spark reminders come just when you need them. For the last few days I have been more regular about the strength stuff. I've been very busy at work & it's been harder to get in 3 miles of walk/run or 40 minutes of cardio. So I've done 1.5 miles & watched my calories carefully...

AND I've added some cardio that I do during commercials for my favorite shows - NCIS, The Closer, the show right after that that has Jane the cop & Maura the pathologist, and NCIS Los Angeles.

My notion is to do one arms exercise, one legs, and one core/abs. Often I'm tired so I don't max out, but I can usually do 6-10 sets of 8-10 reps each. I'm going to try to vary these each week & try new things from sparkpeople. Right now it's wall pushups (close position), thighmaster, and bicycle crunches.

I can feel my arm & thigh strength improving. The crunches are harder but I can do 10 x 10. Funny thing is, I actually like strength training, once I get started with it! It's just that it's hard to start. Silly me.

Maybe the motivation of knowing that it only takes two weeks...
will help me get going! emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAUDECF 9/19/2010 3:26AM

    I like the idea of exercising during commercials emoticon. It'll make them useful. You should post this in the useful tips section, or whatever it is called

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SUSANS111 9/15/2010 8:14PM

    Good reminder for me. The days are shortening and the weather is getting wet and gray so I'm really going to have to push myself to get in the right kinds of exercise. I haven't been focusing on strength training, but thanks to you, I'm putting it in my plan for exercise as the weather pushes me indoors to exercise. emoticon

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DEWACHA 9/15/2010 1:08PM

    Nice blog - Sara It has always been easier "miss just this one time." or I will do it later.

It only takes two weeks is a great mantra.... Followed closely by the one I have been using lately - "I can do ten more minutes"

I have actually been walking with my 1 lb weights - I think that helps with strength training as well?

YOU can do it! emoticon

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SARAWALKS 9/15/2010 12:08PM

    thanks, everyone! The idea of a mantra's a great one, CJ! Karen, I was just thinking that maybe I will add an 8 lb. weight to my little collection. I have 5s and 2.5s. I also have a stability ball coming in the mail... emoticon

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CJWORDPLAY 9/15/2010 11:59AM

    emoticon You've found another mantra! Along with emoticon "It's only a number" now we can chant emoticon "It only takes 2 weeks!". Now that I think about it - this one has a positive side, too. It only takes 2 weeks to really get that strength training working for you. emoticon

Thanks for the great - and timely - reminder, CJ

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KAREN42BOYS 9/15/2010 10:20AM

    i'm glad you've found a trigger to get you focusing on your cardio and strength training. there's lots of great strength training with no added weights that can be done at home, too!

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GLUMBUMBLE 9/15/2010 10:15AM

    At least you know now. emoticon I personally wouldn't believe everything the Trivia says though because one day it was saying that men and women need the exact same amount of calcium, and older people don't need any more calcium than their younger counterparts. I think everyone knows that's not true. I'm not sure where they get their facts sometimes. But I have heard that you do loose muscle mass fairly quickly if you're not working out. It's good though that you like to strength train. I've never liked exercise, but I do like 'activities' (sports, biking, etc.) I just have to get my husband to go along with me to make exercise a little more fun.

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Scale, you've got my number! Mano a mano from now on...

Friday, September 10, 2010


Yesterday I was pottering through old spark emails that went to a previous email address and found a WONDERFUL blog entry from Stepfanie Romine. I've often wished you could save blogs to favorites and I definitely wanted to save this one.

She was reporting on the work of a weight-loss scientist, Dr. Binks. Here is what he had to say about daily weighing in...

"'The research actually supports that people who weigh frequently, even each day, have better success over the long term.'"

WHOA, did I read that correctly? emoticon

Stepfanie continues:
"Dr. Binks first learned about daily weighing while working with Dr. Patrick M. O'Neil of the Medical University of South Carolina, a leading obesity researcher. There he discovered how to help people, to learn how to measure weight both frequently and appropriately.

'The reason that it's so controversial is that people beat themselves up about the number on the scale,' he says.

What he recommends is pulling out a piece of graph paper or using an online program and creating a longer-term view on paper. This way you will learn to stop reacting to the daily fluctuations, and instead pay attention to the overall trends. It's OK to notice the fluctuations but don't see each one as a success or failure. Just look at how the line trends over the course of each month.

If people are willing each morning to 'stand on the scale and put the dot on the graph, they might be a little more likely to make a healthy choice for breakfast or take a walk.'

In other words, once again, small steps add up.

He also says: 'There's a side that we never talk about, but when people have a really good number on the scale, it's sometimes seen as permission to go off the plan.' Attending to long-term trends on the graph eliminates this, too."

emoticon ACK! Somebody KNOWS THIS IS ME!

Stepfanie continues:
"Advocating such daily weigh-ins might have at times had some patients and colleagues wanting to 'run me outta town' but Dr. Binks says that this method can--and has--taken the power away from the scale for countless people he has worked with over the years."

TAKEN THE POWER AWAY? Hm, that must mean WE have the power... emoticon

"Weighing every week or two weeks and not knowing what number will appear is like playing Wheel of Fortune. Will it land on jackpot—a weight loss--or bankrupt—a weight gain?"

HO HO Santa the Spark Wheel! Was I good or was I bad? Pressure!
emoticon emoticon

However, "Weighing daily and graphing it 'keeps you aware of the long-term impact your overall plan has on your longer-term goals and keeps you from going off the program.' emoticon

Morning is the logical time to do it, but weigh-ins can happen any time of day, as long as it's the same time each day.

'It helps you to teach yourself that the number is a variable, that it's not carved in stone,' he says. 'One day it's down, the next day it's going to spike up. It's a way to keep reminding yourself that it's just a number, one data point of the many you might track.'"

JUST A NUMBER. This should go on my mirror. I am such a slow learner.

I KNOW this. But I spent at least one whole year of my life hopping on the scale, being happy it went down, then pigging out. Go figure. I did master ignoring the variations for about a week, until I could see it go down several numbers. THEN I would pig out. Is anybody else this goofy? It's the big diet mentality, yeppers...

emoticon emoticon

"Even if a person sticks with the plan, daily numbers will rise and fall. Daily weighing proves that those fluctuations are normal, and by allowing a healthy weight range--say, a few pounds up or down--it allows someone to relax as long as it's within your typical ranges and the overall trend is downward.

If it's not trending down, then 'maybe it's time to start monitoring and measuring and tightening up your plan a little.'"

DAILY WEIGHING-IN ALLOWS ONE TO RELAX! Hm, what a concept. I have tried it for 3 days now. Sequence 143, 143, 141. 141 today. JUST A NUMBER, I say to Self. Self smiles... emoticon

Read more:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAREN42BOYS 9/10/2010 6:43PM

    sounds like this really provoked you in a good way!

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CLAUDECF 9/10/2010 6:20PM

    Well! We are all different, aren't we? emoticon I started losing weight when I gave up focusing on weight and diet and started focusing on exercise. I do own scales but it's up on a shelf in my small bathroom, and I don't get it down much. Just checked when getting back from a holiday if I have put on weight or not.
Still very interesting to read different opinions and suggestions. emoticon

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SARAWALKS 9/10/2010 2:50PM

    @MOMFAN - thanks for the tip!
@CALLIKIA - thanks for the friend add - and boy, can I relate to that! My weigh-in day is Wed. which was MUCH too soon after the weekend, yet I didn't want to change it because at least it held me back a bit. Now I will just be reasonable all the time emoticon - well, probably not, but I will remember "It's just a number!" & focus on the actual process. I guess different approaches help different people do that... emoticon

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CALLIKIA 9/10/2010 2:14PM

    I've been nervous to tell my SparkBuddies that I've started weighing in daily but I have to say that I've been doing it for months and while I don't just shrug off a gain, my pouting and ranting has gone from ALL DAY ANGER BINGES when I weighed in weekly, to a little growl at the scale and a "Whatever!" Within 2 minutes I've moved on because I know it's not the end of the world, I know it could go up or down any day, no matter what good I've done the day before. I have to agree (though I didn't consider it until you said it) that it takes the power away from the scale and brings it back to "just numbers" territory. (Oh, and I spent a LOT of time pigging out on Sundays, which I thought were just free days since I had a WHOLE WEEK to make up for that weigh-in day after weigh-in. *smacks forhead* Stupid!)

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MOMFAN 9/10/2010 1:46PM

    Select the add a link when you want to add a web page and it makes it clickable. You can always copy and paste it into a word document and save it.

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ALLYSNEWLIFE 9/10/2010 12:33PM

    Wow! Thanks for the info...I am a daily weigher myself and I have found that when I see the number go up I look at what I did and ate the day before. I think I'm going to start a graph on the computer for daily weighs in, kinda like the graph here on sparkpeople, even though I hate that red line!!

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CJWORDPLAY 9/10/2010 12:24PM

    Just a number. Now there's a mantra I need to repeat. And it works no matter when or how often I weigh in - It's just a number. Thanks for the very timely reminder.

It's just and number, It's just a number, It's just a number. . .

With all the times I've told myself that the scale is king - I wonder how many times I'll need to say this?)

It's just a number!!! emoticon

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SPRINGHAZE 9/10/2010 11:47AM

    This has inspired me to buy a scale. Seriously. I have been using the Wii Fit scale for all this time! So. lame.

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SARAWALKS 9/10/2010 11:30AM

    Paula, I completely agree! Derailment is never good...and one person's revelation can be another's waterloo, so to speak! You go, girl, you are doing great! emoticon emoticon

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 9/10/2010 11:24AM

    Thanks for this perspective. I've found daily weigh ins completely derail me, so I've stuck with my weekly. I guess we have to find something that works for us (most of the time) and just stick with it!

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SUSANS111 9/10/2010 10:57AM

    Great way to look at the scale! Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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MELISSAISAFOX 9/10/2010 10:44AM

    This is extremely interesting. I have always wanted to weigh myself daily however I feel that I get discouraged when the weight goes up and I weigh myself at work so the number is never the same based on the clothes I wear. But the concept is extremely interesting. Now I want to run to the store and buy a scale for home to try the theory.

Thanks again for posting!

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Temptation patterns!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Do you track your stress/energy levels from day to day? emoticon

The very idea of doing this makes me groan, but maybe that's a reason to do it...something I have avoided thinking too much about as I charge on in denial mode.

I also used to weigh myself every day. Pre-sparkpeople, this was just a recipe for discouragement and yo-yo-ing.
emoticon emoticon

But now I am wondering if a daily weigh-in would be a useful tool. I could see if there is any correlation between daily weight and daily stress/energy. Maybe it would reveal something useful about my temptation pattern.

The very idea of a temptation pattern! but why not, there are patterns in everything else!

I think we need a Sherlock Holmes emoticon here... emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAWALKS 9/8/2010 12:59PM

    It may stress me out too, Connie! We shall see. In the past, I have never tried to be aware of the patterns when it gets crazy...but I'm beginning to think that I need to be. I think maybe it's different when you have need to just be good to yourself. Not that I am planning to be nasty to myself (much too self-indulgent for that!) but I will just observe & try to be more conscious...
emoticon emoticon

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BOOKLOVER60 9/8/2010 12:52PM

    I started tracking stress/energy when I first joined SP, but I stopped when I got TOO STRESSED! emoticon emoticon

My energy patterns are not typical because I have fibromyalgia, but I do keep a little paper-and-pen journal of how I slept, what was going on in my life (in 3 words or so), whether I was able to exercise that day, and how much or little energy I had. This little record is useful to me in a lot of ways. Sometimes it just makes me proud that I got through a whole week of exercise and good sleep. I think a lot of people w/ fibro feel kind of guilty about their bad days...I know I do, being a very Type A person.

I find it very difficult to think about my "patterns" when I'm going through an unusually stressful or difficult time. It's kind of like being in a huge storm of some kind: I just want to try to ride it out and stay on my feet, and I know it won't last forever. emoticon

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SARAWALKS 9/8/2010 10:07AM

    Oh, thank you, Deb! It is not just that stress, it's the stress of planning for 3 choirs and an autumn of hymns for 5 organists/16 cantors. But it's true that I have been thinking of maintaining rather than progressing - even though I am doing that Sept. challenge, I think maybe it's not quite real to me.
An attitude adjustment! emoticon
Have a great day! emoticon

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DEWACHA 9/8/2010 9:49AM

    You are soooooo close to your goal weight - I can imagine that is stressful all by itself. Sometimes when you are so close to attaining a goal it is easier to set a new one to challenge yourself rather than letting the number be the all consuming. "Success is a journey not a destination"
I agree with you -it would be interesting to chart days based on stress, weight and energy - I am sure there would be a pattern. And if we knew the pattern - what better way to counter any destructive patterns.

You inspire me! Thanks for being a Spark! emoticon

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Well, I'm not very happy with myself - I didn't resist temptation this weekend - but I did at least try to count up accurately how I gave in to it. Saturday night and Monday night both involved goodly amounts of food and drink. Even though everything was healthy, fresh-made, etc., STILL more calories than I should have consumed. Oops, there is that "should" word. OK, I "could" have chosen to eat less of them.

So why didn't I? Compensations...
My body was tired from LOTS of heavy gardening work on Saturday and Sunday. And the tasks out there are still not done...but I must leave them for a few days because work planning has to take priority. It hurts me to see plants sitting waiting to be planted...but if I get out there, I will be too tired again to do what I MUST do this week. So there we are.

On the other hand, two corners of the garden with the worst soil are completely transformed - peat moss is mixed with soil and clay, those plants are in and watered and looking good! So a lot HAS happened.

Come to think of it, that garden is a lot like me. The worst bulges of me are so much less in evidence, and even though I had two self-indulgent evenings, my jeans still fit! Weigh-in tomorrow will hurt my pride...but I gotta remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

And when I think about it, I realize that I WAS more deliberate in my eating this last weekend...more mindful. Sunday was a temperate day, so it didn't turn into a binge. Today I feel good about sticking to my calorie limit...

Let's keep running - even at a slower pace! Go, little turtle, as one of my spark friends likes to say! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAUDECF 9/9/2010 5:44PM

    Quite a good analysis! Don't forget to... NOT be too tough on yourself emoticon

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CHIPPEE 9/8/2010 8:25PM

    Been going through some similar stuff myself. Just need to remind ourselves HOW we want to be kind to ourselves. Is it really more food and/or drink than usual? (Maybe it is occasionally.) Or is it really committing to take care of ourselves? That's the real way.
I feel like I've learned how to be on "maintenance" over the summer which is actually very encouraging. Now, I'm cracking down again. Hopefully this little turtle will be continuing on her way again along with you. That's what SparkFriends are for! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/8/2010 8:26:30 PM

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SARAWALKS 9/8/2010 8:40AM

    Ok, I weighed in. 143. 1.5 more pounds. Moving on...renewed determination...thanks for all the support! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TIMELESSCRONE 9/7/2010 10:41PM

    I love your analysis! That's what it's about. Recognizing where we stumbled and why. That's the first step to developing strategies to overcome the same challenges the next time.

Could vs should is a good step too!

That your jeans still fit is a plus! Weigh in and move on!


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MOMFAN 9/7/2010 7:17PM

    Becoming mindful is a huge step!

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SARAWALKS 9/7/2010 11:50AM

    Oh, thanks, friends! CJ, there certainly was a little journey there. I talked myself out of feeling down about it! I still have a bit of a roller coaster on the weekend but 'tis true that I'm getting more aware of it. Next step may be to calm it down a bit...
Susan, the garden is piles of dirt in many places - with some things planted - and pots of things to be put in different places all over the patio! I'm thinking if I hang in today and get a good bit of other work done, I may go out tonight and do a bit...
That will be my reward!
emoticon emoticon

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CJWORDPLAY 9/7/2010 11:46AM

    Sara, I liked that you started out observing what has happened and then asked yourself an important question: "What is going on here?" Look at where that question took you: First to some possible reasons why you acted the way you did, and then to re-evaluating what took place, and then to being hopeful about what you can do. Wow! in just a few paragraphs you made an incredible journey.

And your garden - you are working at it with so much love I'm sure it is becoming - like you - what it has longed to be.

Blessings to you, CJ emoticon

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SUSANS111 9/7/2010 10:49AM

    Good job focusing on what you did right!! You are so right about 'should', all it does is make feel defeated and guilty. I bet your garden looks beautiful. Have a productive work week so you can enjoy another garden filled weekend! emoticon emoticon

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RJANE40 9/7/2010 7:55AM

    At least you countered the food with lots of calories burned with your gardening. And at least you figured out how much over you went--I am convinced that being conscious of these things are at least half the battle!

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YICHE12 9/7/2010 7:46AM

    Nice blog! You're on the right track. emoticon

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