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Biased Information In My Face

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our YMCA has recently changed to Precor equipment and updated the treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationery bikes. Each of them have a TV screen. Yesterday I really enjoyed my run while watching the Westminister Dog Show rerun. Today I did a 10 minute elliptical training warm up before doing my personal training strength session. I have tried the bikes, too.

On the old equipment you could watch the closed caption TVs, but they were in the background. Now they are right in your face and I have mixed feeling about them:

I shouldn't act like I don't watch TV at home, because I do. But I rarely sit and watch it. I'm cleaning house or exercising or Sparking while it is on. I rarely give it my full attention, and when my hubby is watching, he regularly records what he wants to see and then fast forwards through the commercials. So I haven't paid attention to commercials much recently until the new cardio equipment arrived at the gym.

Some of the commercials have me shaking my head. Two of the most flagrant were:

1. A Multi-grain Cheerios ad says that people who eat more whole grains weigh less, when their multi-grain cereal has a lot more sugar in it than the regular Cheerios. Regular Cheerios are 100 calories and 1 gram of sugar for a cup, if I remember right. Multigrain Cheerios are 3/4 of a cup for a serving and the same or more calories and several times the sugar.

2. Centrum vitamins advertise that their vitamins were used in a recently released study as if that is some big accomplishment. I remember reading here on SP that the study determined no benefit to taking the vitamins.

It makes me extra thankful that SparkPeople exists to give us unbiased information about products we use to improve our health and fitness. Thanks, SparkPeople!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGGYANNSCH 2/21/2013 10:16AM

    very good

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BRAVELUTE 2/17/2013 5:04PM

    Has anyone figured out how much we are paying to have all those commercials beamed into our homes through the cable and internet connections? To say nothing of my cell phone. I have 4 ads waiting for me in my go phone from a satellite provider. If I answer them, I have to pay for phone usage that day.

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KANOE10 2/17/2013 10:14AM

    Yes those ads are bad..promising the world without any effort. Yet they are mking tons of money. Thank heavens for Spark People.

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DR1939 2/16/2013 11:53AM

    That's why I love my DVR--no commercials, no nutty information.

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WATERMELLEN 2/16/2013 11:09AM

    Wow! I am a no-TV person (at my gym, leave the TV off and generally read on the elliptical or listent to iPod or both) but this is kinda disturbing.

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COCK-ROBIN 2/16/2013 7:36AM

    Very good! The diet scam is one of the biggest.

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BOILHAM 2/16/2013 6:42AM

    Love that you look between the lies to percieve the lies in commercials.

Not health related, but one of my favorites to hate are car commercials. There is just too much to list. But, one of the latest favorites is:

"Buy a new car and we will pay off your loan on your old car and lower your current car payments, if we can come to terms!" Well, duh. You can marry my daughter. I will give you the mortgage to my home, and all my personal property - "If we can come to terms". This commercial airs locally every day in Orlando, FL

And how about - "we guarantee payments as low as 150 dollars a month" Duh, again. How much do I have to put down? They might as well say "payments of 25 cents a month" Of course - it depends on the down payment - is the upspoken truth.

Thanks for the great blog.

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MIRAGE727 2/14/2013 11:41PM

    Interesting view, Marsha!

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POETLKNG2LOSE 2/14/2013 10:44PM

    So true you cannot believe everything they say omcommercials or in the news sometimes. It is all biased one way or another.

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JOYINKY 2/14/2013 8:46PM

    Let the buyer beware! Some of the ads are appalling!

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FROSTY99 2/14/2013 8:25PM

    I hardly ever watch a commercial-hate it when someone asks me about them-we watch mostly recorded shows!

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/14/2013 7:01PM

    1984 is here!

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FREELADY 2/14/2013 6:27PM

    Applause for being a discerning watcher! In the car I enjoy arguing out loud with the radio!

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LJCANNON 2/14/2013 6:00PM

    emoticon I am so used to 'Tuning Out' the wild Health Claims on Commercials that I barely notice them even when I am watching them with ear phones plugged in on the Exercise Machine ( My Gym also has some Precor Equipment).

emoticon The funniest thing is that I will go much longer than I plan to on the Treadmill or Bike in order to watch the end of a True Crime Mystery/Murder Story -- Something I seldom ever watch at home, LOL!!!

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DRB13_1 2/14/2013 5:52PM

    how observant! sometimes i record a show to watch while on my elliptical, and forward through the ads, too. On FB, when they put up an ad, I often click it off and put the reason as "misleading" - especially all those folks who try to use Dr. Oz's name without being authorized.
Best of all for me is to put on my favorite Pandora music station and move to the beat. emoticon Helps me go farther than I would have otherwise.

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AQUAGIRL08 2/14/2013 5:34PM

    I agree! It is so sad when we have to question everything all the time. What ever happened to honesty and integrity?

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IAMWINNING 2/14/2013 5:24PM

    emoticon Biased information all over the place - Dr. Oz is another great source of it. I don't watch him either.

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PMFISH 2/14/2013 4:46PM

    Believe little that you see on TV, it is all about the dollar and they want yours!

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MEADSBAY 2/14/2013 4:44PM

    I'm not a huge tv watcher, either (I use dvr for the news and a few fave shows) but I do like it at the gym as it makes an hour fly by- I channel surf while changing up the intensity on whatever equipment I'm on that day.
Commercials are ridiculous!

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AMARILYNH 2/14/2013 3:48PM

    Commercials are VERY annoying!!

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KJELLYBEAN15 2/14/2013 3:31PM

    I don't think I could actually get a good workout if there was a tv in my face. I might glance at the tv way across the room from time to time but it's nice to not have those distractions. My workout time is for me and and my sweat.

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BOOKAPHILE 2/14/2013 3:15PM

    Can you turn it off??! If not, that would be reason for ME to reconsider my membership in that particular gym. I'd rather read or listen to music while working out on an elliptical or treadmill.

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_LINDA 2/14/2013 3:09PM

    I don't watch TV except at my Mom's then my step dad's favorite is the news or America's Funniest Videos (which I don't mind) but I am usually Sparking or reading instead of watching. Machines with TV's will never happen in the public facilities I frequent, and thats a good thing. I prefer rousing workout music myself. I have always heard how Cheerios really was the best choice for a cereal, its my brother's favorite and the only healthy thing he eats. I liked the sugar drenched shreddies myself, and at leat loved frozen blueberries on them -they made the milk freeze which was neat. I will certainly never pay any attention to advertising and as for research articles -always look to see who helped to fund them..You must look at most things with a jaded eye these days. And it always seems they keep changing their minds about whats good and what isn't as well.
Way to go with the exercise and enjoy the new machines!

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JILLITA55 2/14/2013 2:40PM

    Going to the gym is great. Now you can watch TV. It will make the time go faster. You won't be bored. You are going to end happy and feel well with exercise you did. COngrats!

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    Watching a show makes my time go by faster while on the treadmill.

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CONTENTCHRIS 2/14/2013 2:22PM

    Vitamins can sometimes help with a lacking here or there but I agree a daily regiment is not needed as they preach for sure. So true on the commercials ..The people making them most times know very little about the products.

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    You are so right. You have to be cautious of information in commercials.

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NATPLUMMER 2/14/2013 2:18PM

    It's nice that you can watch the show you want to watch rather than having to endure what somebody has already selected on the big gym TV.
Biased....that's advertising for you.

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Bonus Blog: Cropped Pictures

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Here's a picture of our next door neighbor's African tortoise. They have raised it from about the size of a tennis ball:

Here's Gwen trying to get a better look at the tortoise:

Here's our dog, Kahlua, walking around our little orange tree that has the most blossoms this year:

I'm just playing to learn more about the camera, the editing program, and pictures in blogs. But I do think these pictures are kind of cool! Kids and animals -- yeah!!

Flowers that had to be cropped in order to post:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONTENTCHRIS 2/14/2013 11:56AM

    Nice pics! emoticon

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MEXGAL1 2/14/2013 10:20AM

    You are doing great with your camera. I love looking at photos so that we can get to know each other better.
Happy Valentine's Day!

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KANOE10 2/14/2013 7:52AM

    Nice pictures.

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    Looks like you are figuring it out!!!!

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_LINDA 2/14/2013 1:04AM

    Gorgeous!!! You can never go wrong with cute kids, dogs and flowers -and I certainly can never get enough of seeing them :)) Thank you for your perseverance on dealing with Sparks uploads (never a fun time) and learning how to use your camera so you can share them with us!!

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PMFISH 2/13/2013 11:49PM

    Thanks for sharing! Have fun with your new camera.

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MJREIMERS 2/13/2013 11:18PM

    Beautiful! Have fun figuring out all the features on your camera. It can be frustrating, but well worth the effort! I can't wait to see more!

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TRAVELGRRL 2/13/2013 10:03PM

    I love your new background picture and think you look fabulous! WTG

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WATERMELLEN 2/13/2013 9:50PM

    Kahlua is lovely!! (I've been enjoying Kahlua flavoured coffee . . . . great stuff in the Keurig capsules!!)

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JOYINKY 2/13/2013 9:26PM

    Fun! Glad you are enjoying your camera; I love pictures! Taking them ,sharing them and seeing others! Looking forward to more.

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KANDOLAKER 2/13/2013 8:28PM

    How interesting!! Glad you are having fun with your new camera. Thanks for sharing.

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MIRAGE727 2/13/2013 8:14PM

    Very nice! I know you've wanted a camera for a while now, Marsha! Have fun!

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FREELADY 2/13/2013 7:15PM

    Really lovely! Thanks for letting me see!

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CINDYW1102 2/13/2013 7:14PM

    Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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FROSTY99 2/13/2013 6:41PM

    Looking good-thanks for sharing your pics.

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CATLADY52 2/13/2013 5:16PM

    You're doing fine so far! emoticon

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Putting the Scale in Perspective

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just when I decided my weight is my top fitness priority for now, my scale decides to mess around and play with me! Earlier this week it seemed to be functioning. It said 128.2 yesterday, the day before 129.6, and the day before that -- when I'd had a little slip so expected an increase -- it was at 130, and the day before that 128.2, before that several days at 127.something, and one at 126.6. I had a good day yesterday and really expected to be 127.X, but I got on the scale and saw:

I couldn't believe that, so I stepped off and back on a few seconds later:

I knew that could not be right, so I hopped on again:

Now let me say that in the past four years I don't think I've ever weighed 3 times in one day, let alone in one minute. I don't think it is a good thing to weigh repeatedly, but perhaps I need a new scale! Or I could go back to my old scale that seems to be reliable, but you can only tell the weight within about two pounds. Really, that is close enough. The more I think about that option, the better I like it.

During the time I lost the most weight I stayed off the scale except for a weekly official weigh in. I found that as long as I stayed focused on my lowest weigh in of each month I saw progress and did not get de-motivated. In maintenance I have done better during times when I weigh daily, though. Now I am confidently maintaining an 80 pound weight loss; haven't been over 132 pounds for some time. However, I want to get back to maintaining an 86 pound loss at 126 pounds. So I've got to be sensible about the scale and not let it get me down. Especially with shananigans like this morning!!

That said, let's look at some other things in my life. Here are some more of the flower pictures. The first one is a 35 year old azalea bush in our front yard:

younger dwarf azalea bush in the back yard:

pink azaleas in the back yard:

more azaleas in the back yard:

The close ups seem to load, but the pictures of the whole bush don't, at least not without cropping. Hmmm. So I don't have a picture of the darkest shade azalea that SP likes yet.

Here is Natalie on the trapeze:

Here's Gwen in the swing, pretending to take a picture of me taking a picture:

My lunch today, a red bell pepper and reduced fat cheese omlet and some grapes:

So maybe as I look around and find the meaningful things in my life (my flowers, my grandkids, my food???) I will gain some perspective on the scale. Oh, I ran 6.25 miles this morning, just running as my body told me it wanted to run. I spent 80 minutes, but 10 minutes was a slow warm up and 10 were a slow cool down. Love to run!!

Wishing you all great perspective and great days!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 2/16/2013 11:43AM

    Did you change the batteries, as suggested? That would be my bet, too.

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BOOKAPHILE 2/14/2013 11:59AM

    I have a "love it / frustrated with it" relationship with my scale. It doesn't immediately reward me for good behavior or immediately punish me for "bad" behavior as I think it should. I wouldn't be without one.

I hope you get yours figured out so that it delivers a reliable weight!

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    I like BB's scale idea. My weight fluctuates a few pounds up and down all the time so I try to use it only as a gauge. I don't want to get wrapped up in those numbers. Honestly, I have not weighed myself in a couple of weeks. I think it's time for a check, if I dare.

Thanks for sharing the flower photos! I only see snow outside in my yard and I look forward to seeing flowers again. Flowers and children's smiles, PRICELESS!

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KANOE10 2/14/2013 7:50AM

    I would change your batteries..If that does not work, then get a new scale. Great job of maintaining your loss. I love your flowers and your little girl.

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_LINDA 2/14/2013 12:55AM

    Absolutely stunning flowers you have!! Such pretty granddaughters :) Maintaining n 80 lb weight loss! Running pain free with no injuries!! Yes, I would say your life is good :) Enjoy!
I am with those that say low battery on the scale. I have been told to replace all electronics batteries once a year regardless of what the indicator for it says. I sometimes forget and that is maybe why the electronics don't behave at times.

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WATERMELLEN 2/13/2013 9:48PM

    Super blog: super pictures, super attitude.

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JOYINKY 2/13/2013 9:35PM

    Love the pictures; your flowers are beautiful--your granddaughters too! :)
I've never been a fan of the scale; rarely made me feel good so I lived without one for years weighing only at the gym. Before that I was obsessed with it; yes weighing multiple times a day. That was many years ago when I was doing unhealthy things to control my weight. I'm so glad we've both come a long way. Keep health as your priority and the rest will be fine. emoticon

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LOVESTOWALK49 2/13/2013 5:53PM

    I do the same as Brooklyn Born. I know that it can fluctuate from what I eat or how I exercise. A heavy meal, not necessarily calories, bulk can put me up five pounds for a day or so. Good luck with the scale. Maybe you should feel good about staying under 130 and not try to go lower. Health, including mental health, is more important than a number on a scale.

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KJELLYBEAN15 2/13/2013 4:10PM

    Try resetting your scale. Turn it on, let it calibrate but dont weigh and let it turn itself back off. Do this 3 times. Once that is done restart it and see what it gives you. If you are uncertain if it's correct take a handweight and place on there. At least that way you will know exactly what it should be.

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MEXGAL1 2/13/2013 3:57PM

    Totally beautiful flowers and beautiful granddaughters!
Totally weird about the scale...that would throw me off a bit. I would want one I could trust.
But do keep things in prespective......think about your health and how good you feel. It is so much more about the health for us.
You are doing just great, I believe.
Take care and enjoy the rest of your day.

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STRIVERONE 2/13/2013 3:38PM

    If a new battery doesn't help, I'd chuck the scale. I, and more importantly, my wife have been very happy with the Omron HBF 500 for the last three years. We test it occasionally with a 45# kettlebell and it never deviates. It will do a lot more than give your weight, but I have no idea how accurate all the other calculations are.

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-AMANDA79- 2/13/2013 3:01PM

    I've been guilty of putting too much emphasis on the scale. It is hard.

I haven't made an omelet in a while. I need to!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/13/2013 2:55PM

    My scale does that just before I get the "low battery" message or in the old non digital days if I moved it slightly on the floor.

I weigh every morning and consider the low number for the week my "official" weight. Since any day could be a blip up, I never take a chance on a once a week weigh in since that might be the blip day day. Once a month would be taking too big a chance on weight gain creep.

Beautiful pictures once again.

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NATPLUMMER 2/13/2013 2:42PM

    Yay for perspective!

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My Orchid is Blooming! and the Scale is Looking Better!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Scale was at 128.2 this morn, a whole lot better than the 129.6 yesterday or the 130.0 the day before, after the night of the slip. I do think that if I could give up those occasional slips I would weigh just what I want to weigh. However, focusing on what I need NOT to do has never worked for me; focusing on the positive things I do has real power. So I'm focusing on staying within my calorie range. That's a pretty positive way to do it. So far I've made it to a 14 day streak and this time, once again, I'm out to break that personal record.

Yesterday's SparkCoach challenge was to go a day without soda. There was a time that would have been really tough. But I realized yesterday I have had only 1 glass of soda in the last 34 days. After my 14 days with no intense sweets, I have had a few sweet items, mostly raisins, but I have not had a dessert other than fruit. I have averaged less than one packet of Splenda or Sweet n Low or equivalent per day. I intend to continue to keep my sugar and artificial sweetener intake very low.

Yesterday when Gwen and I went outside -- Surprise! -- my orchid that is suppose to bloom the last week in March (it did that for over a decade), bloomed this week because we've had such a warm winter. Here's pictures I took yesterday for proof:

Lantana, a native Florida plant, the butterflies love:

Gwen appreciates the lantana:

Azaleas haven't quit blooming for months and months:

Ooops! The azalea pictures are too big for the site, but we have pink, dark pink, and purple azaleas blooming now.

Gerber daisy:

Will we have oranges in a few months? Orange tree in blossom:

The faithful bougainvilla still has some blooms:

Oooops. That picture won't load. And I tried several other flower pictures, too. Oh, well, that's enough flowers for today. You can see we've had a really warm winter and are still enjoying the flowers in the yard.

Have a great healthy day, everyone!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAGIRL08 2/13/2013 9:04PM

    Looks like you're having fun with the camera you got for Christmas! I love to take pictures of flowers too. Some day I'd like to get a microscope camera to take some of those cool pictures of the world at a cellular level. Of course the camera is most likely 100K so maybe in my next life! LOL

Congratulations on your "2" coming back where it belongs! I knew you could do it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CINDYW1102 2/13/2013 7:17PM

    We HAVE had a crazy Florida winter...very warm for the second year in a row. This weekend it will be getting cold again, and I will have to move my orchid & jade plant inside. I've only had to do that once this roses bloomed again last week because they are so confused! None of my trees have lost all their leaves!
We are blessed not to have to deal with the snow that much of the remainder of the country gets, but I do like some cool days every now and then! emoticon

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PEGGYANNSCH 2/13/2013 11:02AM


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    How beautiful...I can hardly wait for spring here!!!!!

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_LINDA 2/12/2013 11:51PM

    Wow! Well done with the scale, and especially laying off the artificial sweeteners -that is huge for you! With good behavior like that, the scale will be showing numbers you like!!
Incredible flower photos!! The one with Gwen is so sweet!! Can't wrap my brain around flowers blooming in med February -sure am living in the wrong place lol!!
Sorry your others didn't load -so very familiar with that frustration! Thanks for putting in the effort to load the ones you did. I certainly will never get tired of enjoying photos -do share more when you can!
Keep up the great work!! You are doing it!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/12/2013 8:04PM

    Florida... flowers... yep! Love the pictures... and I knew that scale would be back where it belonged... emoticon

emoticon for keeping your focus and determination.

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WATERMELLEN 2/12/2013 7:57PM

    Congrats on the streak! Love your flowers. Like little Gwen, I have noticed them with huge pleasure since I was very small.

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FROSTY99 2/12/2013 7:29PM

    Beautiful flowers-thanks for sharing the pics and your little one is a doll!!


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MIRAGE727 2/12/2013 2:40PM

    Pretty flowers! Great photo of Gwen! Stay focused, Marsha!

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BOOKAPHILE 2/12/2013 12:29PM

    Very nice scale number! I don't like the bouncing around my scale does on its way down. Oh well, at least it DOES go down...

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NATPLUMMER 2/12/2013 12:13PM


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MEXGAL1 2/12/2013 12:04PM

    Beautiful flowers Marsha! We are lucky here as well in Mexico and have flowers all the time. I sure would miss that if we did move. your orchid plant is simply beautiful!

I love that you focus on the positive things that work for you. I too am into that.

Have a terrific day.

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JOYINKY 2/12/2013 10:37AM

    Wonderful flowers! Thanks for sharing. You plan for success and it shows! WTG!

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DONNABRIGHT 2/12/2013 10:30AM

    Beautiful pictures.

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GABY1948 2/12/2013 10:17AM

    What gorgeous flowers you have! Too bad the others would not load.

I don't drink soda either haven't had any in 3 years now.

Your scale progress is wonderful...I am finally feeliing like I am back on track too! A BIG emoticon for both of us!

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KJELLYBEAN15 2/12/2013 9:48AM

    Love the garden. Nice to be surrounded with such beauty.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/12/2013 9:10AM

    Nice to see a downward trend on the scale as a reward for doing the right things. I don't drink soda either. I think I can count my yearly consumption on one hand.
Beautiful pictures. We'll have to wait a month or so to see nature's pretty colors.

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DLDROST 2/12/2013 9:09AM


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ELP1210 2/12/2013 9:00AM

  Thank you for sharing the flower photos! I love Spring!

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Monday, February 11, 2013

I want to lose several more pounds. I want my body fat percentage to go down; lose fat and gain muscle. I want to continue running, place in the 5K on March 9th, and complete the half marathon on November 9th. Yes, I want it all!!

It has been pointed out to me (thanks, Live2Run4Life) that gaining muscle, running performance, and losing weight are not really compatible. To gain muscle you almost always have to gain some weight. Losing weight is not best for athletic performance.

So, I've had to think about priorities. I started exercising regularly because I wanted to lose weight and I increased my cardio because I wanted to maintain my weight loss. I started running (after several years of regular cardio) because I just felt so good that I wanted to!

So, after more than 5 decades of being overweight/obese, my priorities are clear. Managing my weight and improving my eating behaviors are my top priorities. Body composition and running are secondary priorities.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGGYANNSCH 2/12/2013 11:25AM

    emoticon emoticon

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AQUAGIRL08 2/11/2013 8:02PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 2/11/2013 8:02PM

    Priorities indeed: it always helps to pull 'em out now and again and take another look!

You know what you want and what's most important to you!

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/11/2013 7:38PM

    I read this before I left for work but didn't have time to reply then. What I was going to say was "Good for you, knowing what YOU want and going for it!"

For me, it's not about the scale, it's about the activity and the ability to *do* what I want to in life. I figure the scale will take care of itself, and it has, "beyond my wildest dreams". Thing is, focus needs to be readjusted, goals need to be re-examined... from time to time, for all of us.

Message the same... Good for YOU, knowing what is prime, your maintenance. I predict that with this focus, the activity will fall into place, right where you need it to be!

emoticon Oh, and I was going to say, in response to your comment on my blog... after my first half? I in no way had any thought I'd ever try a full. Who knows what you'll think three years from now? Karnac isn't saying!

Spark on! emoticon

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MIRAGE727 2/11/2013 3:37PM

    I do believe you have to look at your BMI as well. It's not all about the weight otherwise, I would stay at a suggested 162 with a 21.98 BMI. I'm only 22.1 now!
Marsha, you do what you have to be feel good. Just stay healthy!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/11/2013 2:39PM

    You've got your goals and priorities well in hand.
One question: Do you live in an area of real speedy senior citizens?
I only know one who can match your 5K PR. (and it's not me)
Around here you would place all the time.

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CONTENTCHRIS 2/11/2013 1:34PM

    emoticon You inspire me!

I am going to get on my treadmill right now and get my cardio on!

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GABY1948 2/11/2013 12:58PM

    emoticon that you figured it matter what you decided to do, I know you could do it!

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NATPLUMMER 2/11/2013 11:08AM

    I'm glad you've got your priorities straight :-)

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MEXGAL1 2/11/2013 10:18AM

    good for you to look at all of this and make such a great choice in priorities.
Good for you!
Have a terrific week.

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-AMANDA79- 2/11/2013 9:42AM

    Competing goals are no fun! Glad you've chose one to go with.


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JOYINKY 2/11/2013 9:11AM

    Healthy and Happy work for me.

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KJELLYBEAN15 2/11/2013 8:50AM

    Don't worry about where the "charts" say you should be at. Focus on being the healthiest you can be for what you want out of your body. And you are amazing exactly where you are.

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STRIVERONE 2/11/2013 8:20AM

    The goal for most of us is to achieve the best physical and mental health we are capable of. Workouts, competition, proper nutrition, and even putting it all out there in our blogs and on the message boards are just tools to that end. So you have the right idea. I only have your picture to go by, but I think you might need an objective assessment of your health right now before you move your focus to weight.

Comment edited on: 2/11/2013 8:52:25 AM

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BRASKIN 2/11/2013 7:52AM


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