SARAWALKS   46,140
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Managing stress & exercise for MORE consistent energy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Well! All this tracking & measuring is indeed enlightening, who would have thought it? emoticon

This AM I decided to check my body measurements (for the first time in over a month).
I know pants are looser but it's nice to see what the #s say!

Hips down 1 inch, thigh and upper arm down 1/2 inch! SWEET! emoticon

But the REAL discovery was the difference between September & October, stress and energy-wise.

My energy mostly stays between 3 & 4 (moderate to high). Sept saw 2 big drops into 2-3 range.

My stress peaked end of Aug-Sept. 4 times to high & energy drops came after, this is no surprise!

But October smoothed out very nicely! NO drops to 2 (low)!

October saw one stress peak and 3 low-stress days.

Now that could have been just a lighter work load - BUT this has been a fairly busy October! I took some time for me this week but up until then, it's been continuous.

I think it's no accident that during the month I established more specific cardio and ST goals AND actually met them, my energy levels were more consistent! emoticon

Also this month I consciously began to DEAL with stress, rather than REACT to it. I made work plans that included me and my welfare, rather than just gutting it out to get something done & then collapsing.

Collapsing really isn't in my program any more, unless it's my rest day! emoticon

How do I know this? I've actually worked in the cardio this week on a couple of days when it's been vastly inconvenient. AND I've dared to overdo it a couple of days, and have bounced back the next day pretty well!

I think you might say I am hooked, especially since this is all freeing me up to have more time for fun, and is allowing SPLURGES, like Indian food last night with my friend who is down from Canada. Plus we were up talking until nearly midnight, quaffing a bit of wine...but consequences, pas mal!

Plus we went dancing & it was so much more fun when the mirror showed a nearly svelte moi... emoticon

PLUS the sun is shining and it's time for a emoticon
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Happy Saturday! Happy November, nearly there!
emoticon emoticon emoticon to all my dear spark friends who have helped me learn these things & put them into practice! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MICKEYMAX 10/31/2010 9:19PM

    Way to go, keeping your stres sin check. :) Glad you are having a good time in your life too.

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CELLO23 10/31/2010 4:22AM

    Hey! That's magnificent! And I really liked what you said about energy - exercise making you stronger all round. It so works! You work off stress and get a tougher bod at the same time! emoticon emoticon

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CJWORDPLAY 10/30/2010 7:28PM

    You are so insightful. To actually experience this formula and discover it for yourself: Exercise = less stress + more energy. Wow! Even I can do that math!

Sure - I've heard people talk about this as a general diet rule. But you make it seem real. Makes it harder for me to ignore, doesn't it? Hmm. Think I'll see how it works for me. Thanks.

CJ emoticon emoticon

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ESLTEACHER1 10/30/2010 4:05PM

    Keeping track helps keep you on track! Good for you!!

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PLAYBLUES22 10/30/2010 11:52AM

    Sweetie, very nice job emoticon

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SUSANS111 10/30/2010 10:43AM

    You have Success!!!!
Less stress and more energy; the gift of exercise! emoticon

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CLAUDECF 10/30/2010 10:42AM

    I've always thought that measurements were just as important as weight.
And you're proving it. emoticon for all your achievements, these recent months! emoticon emoticon

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Wow! Leslie Sansone's faster boosted walks DO work!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I was amazed today, for the 2nd day in a row, to see that I had lost a pound...after going just a bit over my allowance for both of the previous days.
Happy, but amazed! emoticon

The only thing different was that I had done FOUR of the Leslie Sansone miles on a DVD that I hadn't used since the summer. I shared my old fave DVD with a friend, so had to switch, so I pulled out this one.

Aha, I remembered it. Miles 1 and 5 were Leslie alone, miles 2-4 were with a group of people, some of whom I found irritating to watch, for various reasons. Also, it had involved wide-stance knee lifts in a sequence of 1s, 2s and then 4s. This was tough for me at the time - my abs weren't very strong - and the speed of the walks challenged me too. I remember only doing 1 mile at a time, certainly no more than 2. emoticon

This time, how different! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this DVD! Each mile begins at a speed which is close to a warm-up speed - you can get going gently. 5 minutes in, the speed bumps up to a nice fast pace. 2 minutes from the end, a "boosted walk" (read "jog") begins (although you don't have to do that, Leslie cautions). In the course of this jog, you do kicks and knee lifts while jogging. This was what wore me out before! But now that my abs are stronger, I kind of enjoy it! If I activate abs, it's easy - if I'm being lazy there, then my legs get tired. Interesting!

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Mile 3 is the most demanding & it's also the most irritating to me, since it features Nicole, whose overdone grin & overdone movements really got to me at first. (AND Britney, who throws herself around much more than Leslie does. Sheesh.) Miles 2 & 4 have groups that are easier for me to watch. There is some giggly commentary but again, worse on mile 3.

I did miles 1-4 yesterday, miles 1&2, 4&5 today. The second combo was a bit easier - I was more tired today. But guess what, the interview with Nicole at the end made me like her better. She's lost 100+ pounds & she talks about how she did it bit by bit, without perfectionism, without extreme measures - how she discovered a new life. And rediscovered her athletic self, which had gotten lost in her unhealthy lifestyle. Pretty cool, Sparkies! emoticon

AND I THINK that the pace and jogging of these 4 miles has helped kick me into weight loss again! Maybe I shouldn't say emoticon too soon. I'll see what tomorrow brings. But I'm going to stick with this routine for a bit & see where it takes me.

In other news, on the Pilates front - today I finally did Coach Nicole's 12 minute Pilates abs workout without modifying anything. emoticon

I am pretty darned excited about that!
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Gives me hope that I can continue to lose a few pounds before I head into the holiday season...and also hope that the jogging indoors will keep me somewhat fit for the outdoor variety, while the weather is bad.

Gotta say, I highly recommend this DVD. But if you are a Leslie beginner, the other one I reviewed would be a better choice - where she's wearing the red & black hoodie. I think it definitely got me ready to enjoy this one!

And after all, enjoying this journey is what it's all about!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAWALKS 10/28/2010 11:39AM

    Thanks, Esther and Susan! Esther, I think you are used to much more, but when the schedule grabs you & it's hard to make the gym, these are a great solution! Susan, for the winter, they are going to SAVE me...
I'm not taking the weight loss for granted...but I know this is bumping me up a level! emoticon

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CALLIKIA 10/28/2010 11:28AM

    Hrm...I may have to look into that! Leslie was about all I used to lose 100 pounds the first time and it was great!

Glad to hear you're seeing results again! :)

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SARAWALKS 10/28/2010 8:10AM

    @Claude - Oh yes, I DO remember those days! Never fear, you will be back in the fast lane soon! It's going to happen! emoticon

@Cello - it certainly does beat the gym faff! (love that word faff!) She mixes in lots of accessible info about how the body works, which is good for nerds like me who get tired of the rah rah rah. And her rah rah is at a nice level! emoticon

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CLAUDECF 10/28/2010 5:34AM

    I am so jealous! I so wish I could go back to my Leslie Sansone DVDs but no fast walking for me at the moment!
You've definitely come a long way baby! Remember when one mile was plenty?
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Not to mention emoticon

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CELLO23 10/28/2010 5:14AM

    Grand stuff! It really brings it home that you've progressed so much. I don't know Leslie's DVDs but it must be so hard to get the right mix of cheerleading and motivating that won't pall after the first three times. emoticonThis walking at home sounds a great alternative to the faff of going to the gym. emoticon Another idea to investigate...:)

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SUSANS111 10/27/2010 9:34PM

    Sounds like a good possibility for the winter as I look for things to do inside. Yipee!!!! congratulations on losing pounds. emoticon

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SARAWALKS 10/27/2010 9:20PM

    Hi, Goingto! I love her approach, she really knows her stuff, and her nice voice and gentle encouragement are tops! She paces these workouts very well too. emoticon Leslie!

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    How exciting! I'm so glad for you. I have various workouts of hers but not those. Thanks for sharing what they're like too.:)

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SARAWALKS 10/27/2010 9:07PM

    Thanks for stopping by, Bollinger and Walkwitme! emoticon

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BOLLINGER25 10/27/2010 9:01PM

    I know exactly what you mean about that DVD. Nicole kinda gets to me a little too. But I like the DVD and it's easy to use it for the amount of time you have. Keep walking and good luck with your goals!

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SARAWALKS 10/27/2010 8:57PM

    He he, CJ - yes, I guess it does! Plus I don't want to have to buy any more DVDs, so I'm going to use the ones I have. That makes me also frugal (not, of course, cheap! tee hee)! emoticon

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CJWORDPLAY 10/27/2010 8:54PM

    I'm happy you have strengthened into this workout. You feel so good about the work you've done to prepare for it and succeed. Of course, dropping some pounds along the way is certainly nice too. I love what you say about enjoying it. That does make all the difference. Going back and trying it again makes you "persistent"? emoticon


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WALKWITME 10/27/2010 8:38PM


keep on walking

I'm a walk-a-holic outdoors

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Focus on solutions...

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm going to quote here from a Dean Anderson article that I just read on sparkpeople...the link is at the bottom if you'd like to read the whole thing!

I wasn't really in the mood to read anything helpful, I just wanted some spark points. Funny how that often leads to discoveries!

And as it happens, this advice applies. I've been having a generally overloaded time at work -- mostly just the time of year, with more planning to do than usual, and the usual items (Advent, Christmas) looming far closer than I would prefer! And of course unexpected little things like personnel problems popping up to be dealt with - time-consuming and sometimes unresolvable, but you gotta try...

So the temptation is to bitch, complain, procrastinate, and retreat. Been trying not to do that stuff. Soooo eating looks awfully good and so does skimping on my cardio. Plus there have been some lovely distracting social events! emoticon

But, truth be told, I want to get back to focus here. Focus on what will enable me to do what needs to be done, perhaps in less time & with less strain.

Dean Anderson's tips for focusing on solutions, plus how I need to apply those tips:

* You focus on things that go well more often than things that don't.

Hm. I often do this quite well, when it comes to encouraging others & helping them get past their errors. How about my errors? I think I'll try focusing on what I have done right today rather than the pile that remains to be done...

* You focus on concrete ways that things can be different and how to make those changes right now. (You’re not thinking about how bleak things may look.)

OK. My computer issues get in the way of everything else & hang over me like Damocles' sword. emoticon
I WILL do the d__n computer cleanup today and tomorrow, with time I gained from canceling tonight's rehearsal. I will quit procrastinating about it and JUST DO IT. emoticon
Then when the computer lady comes on Wed., I will be in good shape for her to be as productive as possible, in the least amount of time. emoticon

* You believe there are good reasons why you do things that cause problems, and that you can find alternative solutions that don’t have the undesirable side effects. Having problems doesn't mean something is wrong with you—just that you’ve outgrown a particular solution and are ready to find a new one.

Trying to eat the whole elephant of jobs to be done at one time -- leads to a lot of my stress. I have the elephant in my head, even if I am not currently engaged in devouring him. So...focus on one part of him, and JUST EAT HIM.

emoticon NOW. Not tomorrow, or after I have a snack, or after I take a nap, or after I go for a walk, or after I fiddle around with something else. NOW. THEN have my snack, or nap, or walk, or whatever.

* You take action so that your odds of beating your problem today are pretty good.

Hm, elephant taste pretty good, mon... emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAWALKS 10/25/2010 5:41PM

    OH yeees, those lists - munch munch munch - thank YOU, Susan, and I'm glad it helped! emoticon

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SUSANS111 10/25/2010 5:24PM

    Great analogy. I've heard it before, but today I really needed the reminder. Ahhh...deep breath....relax.... We can handle our lists if we just take it one 'bite' at a time.
Keep up the great work, and thanks for the inspiration!

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SARAWALKS 10/25/2010 3:36PM

    @Jami - "somewhat less obvious than it probably should be" - a very good way to put it!
@CJ - "rather than stewing about what is looming" - absolutely. I don't really enjoy stewing but from the way I act sometimes, you would think I did!

Results so far - the cleanup is turning out to be not nearly as bad as I had feared. Isn't that just the way with elephants though? They sort of melt once you start eating them...

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BECOMINGJAMI 10/25/2010 2:22PM

    Thanks for the link! I'm checking it out as we speak - and what a great (if somewhat less obvious than it probably should be) mindset! And in the end, it's easier to keep momentum when you're oriented towards your goals, because you'll feel so much better for having overcome them rather than letting the elephant eat at you, yeah?

...that sounded really unpleasant.

Keep it up!

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L-OSTER8 10/25/2010 1:42PM

  It Seems That You Have The Right Idea!

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CJWORDPLAY 10/25/2010 1:41PM

    Thanks for this very timely blog. I so admire how you take the general ideas from an article and apply them to the specifics in your life. And you are speaking to my life as well -- same concept -- different details. There are things I can do NOW rather than stewing about what is looming up in the future. So I guess I better get to it - right?

emoticon CJ

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"If you're not going forward, you're going backward!" - source unknown

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I've been meditating on this truism/proverb/cliché as I approach my goal weight. Actually, I hit my first goal (140 lbs.) a while ago, and made the mistake of slipping into a "maintenance" mindset. I considered NOT continuing to reach 135. Bad mistake. At least, for me! I began to gain. emoticon

Then it occurred to me that I don't think that way in ANY other aspect of my life. Or at least, I try not to!

I'm a musician, primarily a singer, but also a keyboard player (I say that since I don't play at a performance classical level, but I do comp pretty well for contemporary Christian songs with our praise band and I can play 4-part open score to rehearse my choirs). emoticon

A couple of years ago, I got bored. The choirs were doing well, or at least as well as I thought they could do. The music program was "successful," lots of compliments, few complaints. I was singing well, or at least well enough to do what I need to do. I began to be interested in developing skills in other areas, and I slipped into the "maintenance" mindset when it came to my job. I never actually "phoned it in," in the sense of being mentally & emotionally absent while performing...but I did slip WAY back on mental & physical preparation.

I wish I could say that the emoticon made me do it, but truly it was my own laziness & lack of perception that seduced me. And truly, "success" can be a huge trap. You know your work could be better, but as long as the compliments keep coming...

Then someone quoted that little truism, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. emoticon

DUH! No wonder I am bored. I have quit finding ways to go forward at work!

It also hit me, "I am 3 years from retirement. Do I want to mark time until then, or do I want to discover new heights, both spiritual and musical, in everything I do from now on out?" emoticon

NO-BRAINER. Only one choice possible here. Around that time I started renewing my spiritual life with more discipline. Then along came Leslie Sansone DVDs and my fitness life got more lively. Then along came Sparkpeople, and the big D of Discipline became something attractive to me, rather than a wearisome Duty. emoticon

Where is my musical life now? I've given a presentation on my life in music and faith. All the choirs are growing, both in performance ability and in size and commitment. I am keeping up with my paperwork, God help me, and finding that this does reap rewards in more peaceful free time for me and better organization when we perform.
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All because I quit maintaining. And started going forward.

Hm. Could it be that this is the key to fitness/health/weight control as well? Ever forward? Won't I become anorexic? emoticon

I don't think so. I think that envisioning continuous progress in this new Sparky life will only result in good things. Perhaps the very word "maintenance" implies a static state, whereas this Sparky life is extremely dynamic! Perhaps this way of thinking is part of why only 5-10% of those who lose weight, keep it off. (Thanks to CATHERINEL66's blog for that statistic, and to JOHNTJ1 whose comment made me notice it!)

So here's to all the Sparkers who are going forward, at whatever speed. Fast is not essential, slow can be marvelous. emoticon

Let's stay out of the maintenance trap and keep that forward movement going!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANNEMAC5 10/21/2010 3:56AM

    This blog was just at the right time for me. I have just reached my goal weight and am trying to get my head round maintaining. I have a fear of accepting all the compliments and then slipping back. I need to make forward goals and keep up with SP, NO MAINTENANCE TRAP FOR ME. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHIPPEE 10/20/2010 9:26PM

    Great blog, Sara.
I so relate to what you're saying. I don't mind going slowly as long as I'm going.
In the meantime, I'm joining you in re-energizing my efforts. This is a lifestyle and I'm committed to sticking with it. Thanks for your wonderful insights and ability to motivate! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/20/2010 9:32:18 PM

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SUSANS111 10/20/2010 3:34PM

    Really, forward is the only option we have. The clock only turns one way.
We're all figuring out a whole new way of life, changing some bad habits to good ones, and hopefully not letting the important things slide. Balance is the goal, but sure can be elusive at times. You can do it! We all can! Let's keep helping each other meet our goals as we continue moving forward.

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CLAUDECF 10/20/2010 2:19PM

    Well, here again, I beg to differ, maintenance is hard enough for me, so I'll stick to that if I can. Not going backwards is my main concern. But then, I can appreciate your desire to go forward, so go for it, girl! emoticon emoticon

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SARAWALKS 10/20/2010 1:13PM

    Thanks, CJ and Cello! I've been thinking this for a while but when I saw Catherine's blog, what I needed to say was there. Being surrounded by song IS fantastic, Cello, and the group takes everyone in it to heights they cannot attain on their own. This becomes more & more meaningful to me as I am less invested in my own solo will go on even as I and my voice begin to show their age. I worked with my elders choir today and they just amazed me, and themselves... emoticon

Love this emoticon! emoticon

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CJWORDPLAY 10/20/2010 1:00PM

    Your insight is awesome. You have articulated so clearly what has been only at a sensed level in my life. We need to be moving to feel alive. YES!

And you have used your own standard to define what progress is for you. I call that wisdom!

Thank you for this blog. You have given me lots to meditate on.

CJ emoticon

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CELLO23 10/20/2010 12:52PM

    This is really interesting, Sarawalks. emoticon I have hit my first goal and have been a bit complacent and decided to bask in maintenance for a while. Earned it, right? And it's a good start etc etc. But I can see the danger - it means that under all this, the punishment-reward cycle is still lurking. emoticon There's still an element of fighting for it...

So, it's not like the other learning/growing areas of my life yet (with me it's writing emoticon ). I couldn't imagine repeating the same stuff year after year - would go nuts! Doing is always learning. (Love the phrase 'phoning it in'!)

Anyway, thanks to you I think I'll now come down from the comfy fence, put the new number into my progress bar, and replace the bouncy icon with a more kick-ass one. emoticon Otherwise I can see I'm not 100% committed.

PS Your music sounds lovely! emoticon I did choral singing in my student years (not v well, I have to say) and the feeling of being surrounded by song is fabulous. emoticon


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The Weight...NOT The Band, but The Vest...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Well, that's it! My extra 10 lbs. Looks better than it did when it was part of my body, in June of this year! Kind of a violent blue, but at least the one I got didn't smell funny, like some of the vests sold through Amazon...

And I THINK I like it! emoticon

Thanks to the message boards, I found out that it won't increase my calorie burn very much. I heard from some serious lifters and some serious runners and one very serious hiker...all quite helpful...and probably none of them knew that I am a 65-year-old former couch potato/dancer manqué...or they would have said, "just don't bother!" But they were all very nice, and helpful.

I just tried it on my favorite walk, which is 1.53 miles and involves going up one fairly steep hill. I did the circuit once without the vest, running a few intervals - it timed out at 23 minutes (14' per mile), which at my 141 lb. weight, burned 112 calories, according to, a very helpful site. Interesting that this site thinks I burned more calories than sparkpeople's calculator!

Then I put on the vest and did it again. Whoof. Right away I could feel my leg muscles working harder, and soon I found that I had to be more mindful of "tight tummy" in order for my lower back not to twinge a bit. My posture is good so I was not tempted to round my back, and the vest's design actually helps you not to do that.

The sweat factor was constant - not usually the case when I walk. I was able to keep my pace up to my usual level however. The hill was the hardest, my legs were fussing at me, but I made it without stopping.

Breathing became more mindful as well. I think walking in this item is going to be a good thing, even if for reasons other than calorie burn.

Same walk, time 25 min. (16' per mile), at 151 lbs. = 120 calories.

I'm still going to focus on more running intervals - but this will work nicely as a supplement to that, especially on abs focus day. Carrying my backpack of groceries ought to be easier after doing this!

So on the whole, I'm glad I bought it!

That's not me -- not yet, anyway! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAWALKS 10/18/2010 12:01PM

    Interesting how the sizes fall in centimeters! I think I would go with the smaller one, since it would be very frustrating to have feet not reach the ground. You can always inflate to the max...
I think you will LOVE might even SIT on it... emoticon emoticon

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CLAUDECF 10/18/2010 10:34AM

    How could I forget that you sat on your stability ball? emoticon
I cannot decide what size to buy. They say 45cm diameter from 1mbla bla to 1m65 and 55cm from 1m65! So which one do I choose. I'm exactly 1m65! In between? emoticon

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SARAWALKS 10/18/2010 9:26AM

    @claudecf - you will always be the Gadget Queen! Especially the Queen of Electronic Gadgets. QEG! emoticon

Yes, I have a Swiss ball (otherwise known as stability ball, I think they are the same thing). It is known also as my desk "chair." I emoticon it!

It is threatening rain here...but still a bit too cold to dig...however I'm going to have to try it anyway! If the dirt gets wet, it will be another 2-3 days before I can try again. emoticon

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CLAUDECF 10/18/2010 8:57AM

    As I am currently wearing my 73 kilos without trying to shed any of them, as you know, I'll pass on the vest. You certainly are more dedicated than I am, but I must admit, you are almost (I said almost) more of a gadget girl than I am. Still, I'm considering a Swiss ball my size. Do you have one? emoticon

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SARAWALKS 10/17/2010 10:15AM

    Yes, it boggles the mind. emoticon I do think the feeling of weight was less when they were distributed all over my body...

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CELLO23 10/17/2010 6:33AM

    Never heard of this! Intriguing. What really struck me was the definite physical effect you noticed of those extra ten pounds, and the thought you used to (like me) be carrying them ALL THE TIME! emoticon Really brings it home. emoticon

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SARAWALKS 10/16/2010 5:05PM

    emoticon If you read the Amazon reviews of this item, you'll discover that I was TERRIBLY lucky to get one that didn't smell of some kind of weird chemical...
I am NO scientist, but I guess I'm motivated in this one particular area to dig out these little factoids! emoticon emoticon

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CJWORDPLAY 10/16/2010 4:56PM

    You are such a scientist - I like your with and without experiment. And it makes me feel even better about the 20+ pounds I am NOT wearing anymore. emoticon

P.S. I agree with your choice of the one that doesn't smell funny. I usually have to work out in my stuff before it starts smelling "funny". (sorry about that - couldn't resist)


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