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SP Health News: The Longer You Sit, the Shorter Your Life Span

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day before yesterday I wrote about what I am doing right now, standing up to blog and otherwise participate in SparkPeople. Some SparkFriends wondered what motivated me to do that.

Well, I had just read the, "The Longer You Sit, the Shorter Your Life Span; Study," from the SparkPeople Health News of July 22, 2o10. The article says,
"The more Americans engage in one of their favorite pastimes -- sitting around -- the shorter their average life span, a new study suggests. The effect remained even after researchers factored out obesity or the level of daily physical activity people were engaged in, according to a study of more than 120,000 American adults." You may want to read the whole article at the URL below.

Even before I read that article I was thinking about sitting. When I take care of Natalie I rarely sit. Now that her mother is on maternity leave, I have her fewer hours and I find myself sitting more often. In order to maintain my weight, I will need to cut back on calories if I don't balance out the extra sitting with more activity.

So for right now I'm pretty motivated to "take a stand," as my good SparkFriend WalkingAnnie called it. I need to do it to keep eating like I want, and I just might live longer in the bargain. Maybe you want to take a stand, too! -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAGIRL08 7/26/2010 9:17AM

    So true! Thanks for sharing!

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JOHAL52 7/25/2010 11:32PM

    I have an extra reason for taking a stand--though it's not one that I would normally publicize emoticon. My IBS has been flaring up again and so have my [ahem] haemerrhoids. Ugh. Yep, standing is more comfortable.

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MONTY68 7/25/2010 10:59PM

    Hi Marsha
Great blog and a good reminder for people to take a look at how much they do sit. Fortunately I can't sit long. even when I worked,I found a reason to leave my work and walk somewhere. Here I walk around about 10-15 minutes out of each hour. I still ike your idea of the high desk for the purpose of standing. I think with all the exercise that you do, that your sitting time is minimal, of course I understand that you are now working at a sitting job. I also know that if there is something that needs to be adjusted, you will find it
Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 7/25/2010 8:50PM

    I thought your blog timely as I sent the article out to the folks in the building. I have my watch set to get up every hour (good way to get my water).
emoticon for taking a stand!

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DWKINSEY 7/25/2010 5:27PM

    After having back surgery a couple of weeks ago, I have difficulty standing or sitting, so my best options are lying down and walking. I walk as much as I can around the house. I have heard that fidgeting and pacing actually burn calories and are much better than sitting. I am definitely one of those who can't sit still for very long even without back problems, and I like to pace while talking on the phone.
A funny thing happened when the occupational therapist came to my house the other day...all the upper body exercise equipment she pulled out I used with great ease...I guess those gloves in water exercise worked better than I thought...

Comment edited on: 7/25/2010 5:27:48 PM

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PO_PAZZA 7/25/2010 12:05PM

    Yes. I read an article about a health/nutrition researcher at some university who has no chairs in his office. His "desk" is tall enough that he can do everything standing up. I need to look around my house and see what I have that would allow me to compute upright.

Good point, Marcia. Thank you.


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DONNABRIGHT 7/25/2010 11:53AM


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TBRANCH2 7/25/2010 11:36AM

    well, I guess that I will live a short life because I cannot stand for any great length of time...I am doing better, however, on the walking. Good for you, though!! And good that you are having a little more time for yourself! I know that grands are great but, sometimes we just need a little more time for US!

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/25/2010 11:07AM

    I'll Take A Stand with you, Marsha! Great reminder! I'll have to go find the article!!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/25/2010 9:45AM

    As a whole, I sit more than stand because my job involves me on a computer. However, I do make the effort to get up and walk around and walk during lunch time.

Can't stand at my desk or at home when on the computer

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UUCEEJAY 7/25/2010 9:06AM

    Yes, I noticed that too. When I am babysitting, I rarely sit. Makes the word babysitting a bit of an oxymoron, doesn't it? I watched Cassidy all of last week and didn't do my usual workout but I didn't gain a pound. I think I was working out all day long. emoticon

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JHADZHIA 7/25/2010 7:38AM

    I get a sore butt and my joints get stiff sitting too long, but standing in one spot also bothers my joints, this why I have to get up and take moving breaks! The short fitness breaks throughout the day helps me and was one of the best ideas I saw on here.
I was wondering what was going to happen with Natalie when you were taking on longer work hours. You are going to miss her!!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/25/2010 5:56AM

    I read about this study too but in an English newspaper. I probably sit for too long most days, but at least my sitting time is considerably less than it used to be.

Sparking is a sedentary activity for me, and I guess for most of us, but it keeps me motivated to eat right and to move more. I try to limit my Spark sessions so that they are little and often but I can see merit in your suggestion. I'll give it a try.

We can't spend too much time sitting down on the job!

emoticon emoticon

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/25/2010 4:17AM

    My feet are so bad I need to sit as often I can to be able to manage through the day - something that would probably change if I scceeded in losing weight.

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BRIMINUS150 7/25/2010 1:19AM

    I sit way too much (like now!)

It's really cool you're making a goal of this. I agree, sitting for long periods isn't good; it makes us lazy and burns fewer calories.

I think my first step in standing more is to play my Wii more often instead of watching Taiwanese dramas on my computer! Playing Wii, the games pretty much require you to stand up. Love it emoticon

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Personal Best - Elliptical

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I really had a great workout today at the YMCA. I started with elliptical and I tried the interval selection for the first time. (Usually I do the manual, cardio, or weight loss program selection.) The interval program varies from resistance of 3 to 7. I use 26 as the stride length. I burned 220 calories in 30 minutes, which is an estimate using my age-61, gender-female, and weight-127. That estimate is more than 20 calories per 1/2 hour more than I usually rack up. I went on to complete 120 minutes on elliptical and stationary bike. I feel fantastic!!! -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JHADZHIA 7/25/2010 7:39AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Wow! You rock!!

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/24/2010 9:23PM

    emoticon you are the elliptical lady now!

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MEXGAL1 7/24/2010 9:12PM

    Wow, you go girl....keep up the good work.

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TBRANCH2 7/24/2010 7:24PM

    emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 7/24/2010 4:20PM

    Way to go Marsha. You are just so dedicated and inspiring!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARYMAC45 7/24/2010 3:43PM

    That is awesome. You are doing great.

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SLIMLILA 7/24/2010 3:32PM

    Wow, I have an elliptical at home and I don't know if it an do things like you suggest, I just step on it and see how long I can go.. but it says I only burn about 50 cal. in 1/2 hours, maybe I should watch the video that came with it and actually use some of the features it offers.,.
Thanks for the idea, I'll let you know!

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MONTY68 7/24/2010 2:44PM

    Wow Marsha
That is so awesome!!!!! what are you going to try next. You are such an amazing woman. You are an example to follow if someone wants to succeed on their journey.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WILD4STARS 7/24/2010 2:05PM


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A Different Perspective

Friday, July 23, 2010

I doubt you can tell, but there is something different about this blog than any other I've ever written. I am putting into practice something I've read about and makes sense to me. Perhaps you have been reading, too, about desks now available that can be raised and lowered to allow the worker to sit or stand. Since I'm increasing my office hours in the next couple weeks, that really interests me. My little nonprofit isn't going to buy some fancy piece of furniture, but I just may be able to figure out how to use the principle behind it to help me. At the moment I have my laptop on my dresser in the bedroom and I'm typing standing up!! Some days my longest sitting time is when I'm on SparkPeople. Well, now I realize, it doesn't have to be. To healthier Sparking!! -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAGIRL08 7/24/2010 9:54AM

    I hope that varying how you work at your computer helps you Marsha. Let us know how you do with it!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/24/2010 9:09AM

    Let us know if this is helping you. Are you doing it so that you burn more calories or because you have problems with your back?

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JHADZHIA 7/23/2010 11:45PM

    Great ideas Marsha! Standing bothers my back and joints, so I can't do that, but what I would love to do is to sit on a stability ball. Unfortunately, my desk is too high for me to reach my laptop sitting on it. If I can get rid of the love seat in the living room, I plan to set my little adjustable table up there so at least I can sit and read on my ball. Right now that table is where my phone and stuff is on beside my big easy chair.

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SLIMLILA 7/23/2010 10:49PM

the things we can do when we really think about it. and sometimes such little changes make bigdifferences..

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MONTY68 7/23/2010 10:01PM

    Hi Marsha
Some companies are installing them as they can put the computer on this new idea. Not sure how it is working, supposedly you can walk in place while being on the computer,
someone mentioned the ball, I read that somewhere the other day. something to look at. Maybe, you could suggest that someone might want to donate that type of desk for your office.
Great blog, thank you

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TBRANCH2 7/23/2010 8:27PM

    since I can't stand for long periods of time, I just continually am rolling my desk my legs a good workout...too bad it doesn't have it as an exercise for cardio!! hahahah
Keep up the good work, Marsha!!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/23/2010 5:27PM

    Congratulations on taking a stand Marsha!


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JUST_TRI_IT 7/23/2010 5:16PM

    Hmmm. You just made me stand up and put my laptop on the kitchen counter. Maybe that will take the kink out of my shoulders!

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DONNABRIGHT 7/23/2010 3:20PM

    Good thinking!

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/23/2010 3:08PM

    I have a stability ball chair (holds the ball in place & has casters, so you can roll around a little, and it has a back support) that is our 'desk chair' at home. The standing thing doesn't sound bad, either! Good for you, looking for ways to NOT be sedentary! Know the change back to more hours in the office will be hard, but I predict you'll adjust well - and find interesting lunch options, too! (Haven't commented on that yet, but understand the challenge.) Bet the hardest change will NOT being with your little sweetie as often. Trust it's a good change for you all! Know you'll be a blessing to the non-profit friends!

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RHONDAHONDA2 7/23/2010 2:57PM

    way to go keep up the great work you can do it

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    WTG! ... she says sitting on her ball typing....

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WILD4STARS 7/23/2010 2:42PM

    My laptop sits right on top of my stationary bicycle so I can pedal while surfing. Love it!

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Lunch Dilemma

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Starting Monday August 2nd, I'll be increasing my work hours and changing officially from a consultant to an employee. The nonprofit agency I work for does a lot of good and I'm proud to be associated with it. My thought today, though, is about how to manage lunches.

I work in a small town where there are few good choices at restaurants. There are a lot of veggies available in the southern cooking cafe next to our office. Unfortunately they are "seasoned" in such things as bacon grease. Biscuits and corn bread aren't whole grain by any stretch of the imagination and the meat choices tend to be meatloaf, fried fish,and pork chops that are far from lean. There's a barbecue restaurant, two pizza places and a couple Mexican eateries. The only chain is McDonald's. So, eating out is not particularly appealing and healthy choices are almost nonexistent. There are restaurants in the town 10 miles north with much better choices, but driving 20 extra miles on a lunch hour isn't very good.

I have taken my lunches many times - salad, leftovers, beans/rice, etc. I can do it again. It is not a perfect solution. I really miss getting out of the office. A lot of times I need to de-stress. Sometimes I just need to catch my breath and rest my brain. When the weather is nice, I have gone to the park to picnic and walk. I will again in October, but now it's too hot and humid. I have chugged/gobbled lunch and then relaxed at the library. My agency is too small to have a breakroom or good space for eating. I don't like eating a meal at my desk. I find when I relax at a meal and really enjoy it it is much more satisfying.

I must admit I lost most of my 80 pounds while working full time at this agency. So there is no reason for me to gain now because I'll be working there. I have improved my eating since being home more, especially reducing sodium. I'm just going to have to give it some thought, make plans, and keep my commitment to healthy eating, no matter what.

Any of your suggestions, though, would be welcome. -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VTORIA3 7/31/2010 3:13PM

    It can be so difficult to eat healthy when there are few choices in the vicinity. Even with McDs, their "healthy" choices are so high in sodium. You are determined and I know you will not let your new environment challenges sabotage you. The lunch pail will become your best friend, I suspect. Keep up the fantastic work!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/23/2010 5:13PM

    You've already had some good advice here Marsha - and past experience show that you will manage.

Is there any space inside your work building where you could walk or sit with your MP3 player during the lunch break to switch off and create some space?

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/23/2010 12:05PM

    Sounds like packing a lunch is NOT the problem but where to eat it is the dilema. Park when not humid sure works, how about pulling your car under a tree and putting on the AC for a bit to cool the car and eat there (I have done this).

With the rest of your time, I would walk up and down the aisles of drug store or whatever stores you can.

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WILD4STARS 7/23/2010 9:46AM

    I totally understand the part about needing to get out of the office to eat. Maybe you could go to one of the pizza places, or McDonald's, get a salad, bring your own dressing and a sandwich and eat at the restaurant. You are buying something from their establishment so they shouldn't mind you taking up a table. Yet, you are bringing part of your meal from home.

If one of the restaurants is a locally owned, rather than a chain, you may even ask them if you could special order something, PLUS bring some of your own food.

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KALIGIRL 7/23/2010 8:40AM

    I always pack my 'lunch' and leave the office. Weather permitting, I walk at lunch, which works well since I now graze (6 small meals) throughout the day. If your work environment allows you to eat @ your desk, you might give it a try.

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MONTY68 7/23/2010 1:41AM

    Hi Marsha
When I started my program, I packed a lunch the night before. I had never done that. we I had a microwave, so I had some options to what I packed. But I could not leave the office. It is nice if you could get out, it does give a better sense of relaxing. You have received some good suggestions, and I am sure you will find the right answer for you. Watch McD's salads, some are very high in calories from what I have heard.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon

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XENA1956 7/23/2010 1:05AM

    I think that was the biggest problem I had when my husband and I visited the southern area states last year. I ordered steam veggies at a place and they came cover in what I think was butter or not. I asked the waitress what was on the steam veggies and she said some kind of bacon/butter mix. I was shocked because it didn't list that on the menu. She was like "honey that's how they always are served". I saw you lost most of your weight while working at your new job so I don't see a problem. Get out and take walks when you can and continue to bring you own food. You can get healthy salads at McD's from what I have been told. Maybe you can ask the people at that restaurant to just steam some veggies for you w/o the seasoning?
Never hurts to ask.

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SYLVIALYNN2 7/22/2010 11:18PM

    Congratulations on your new job. I substitute teach and do not always know if I will be working or not. The best way to know what is in your food is to make it yourself. That said, one of the things I do, is to prepare as much of my lunch as possible the night before. I precook a Smart Ones or Healthy Choice the night before and put it in the fridge to cool. Make a small salad of lettuce and grape tomatoes. I cut up an apple and put in a baggie (I don't mind if it gets a little brown but it rarely does when I add a squirt of lemon juice). I also pack celery sticks and carrots for a snack. I fill a drink container with home brewed unsweet tea.

In the morning, I transfer the "TV dinner" into a smaller container that fits in my lunch bag. I do not mind eating it cold or at room temperature. I add the tea, apple, veggies, salad and a yogurt for desert. I am good to go. If you want to get away, take your lunch to McDonald's and purchase a small iced tea and a small salad. If anyone asks or says anything, say you have food allergies and have to be careful of what you eat. As long as I purchase something, I have never had anyone say anything.

If you have a long ride home, pack something to eat for a snack just before you go home or on your way home (apple, banana, extra half sandwich, cheese). That way you are not tempted to stop on the way home for a fast food and are not hungry when you walk in the door.

Sounds like a good opportunity for you. You can do it. Some folks prepare ahead on the weekend. The main thing is planning and preparing foods you like so you are not tempted to eat something less healthy.

Looking forward to a future blog letting us know how you resolve your lunch problem.

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JHADZHIA 7/22/2010 11:13PM

    The most important statement here is 'I lost most of my 80 pounds while working full time at this agency' So what has changed? Going back to the same place, doing the same things, only this time, you don't have to lose weight just maintain the status quo. You would be happier with your own food, so take a lunch as much as possible. As it is a small town, couldn't you ask to have your food prepared in a healthy manner? I like the idea of a quick lunch, then a get out and walk break for some fresh air best.
Good luck with it!! You can figure it out! You didn't get this far by being stuck in a rut!

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SKEPHART827 7/22/2010 9:43PM

    Luckily, I lost my full time job a year and a half ago so lunches are no longer a problem. I eat all my meals at home now or I bring food with me when I go anywhere. When I did work full time, I usually brought my lunch and ate at my desk. It is much better than going to a restaurant or fast food place to eat. Even though there are restaurants with "good choices", you never know what additives are in their food. I recently found out that Subway has high fructose corn syrup in a lot of their food. It doesn't add many calories but "HFCS" is horrible stuff.
If there is any way to either take a walk or do some sort of exercise during your break, it would be great. Maybe you could bring in an exercise band or even some small hand weights. Good luck.

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WATERMELLEN 7/22/2010 9:07PM

    I take my lunch every day: huge salad of greens and bright chopped mixed vegetables plus lean protein source and low cal dressing; then large chopped mixed fresh fruits to follow (lunch is my major meal of the day). I've been eating like this at lunch for a very long time -- 8 years -- and never get tired of it because of the variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, often 15 or more at each meal. We have a kitchen and a small fridge with a microwave at work -- and have to admit, I generally catch up on professional reading/work place issues with colleagues over lunch. But if you need to get away and it's too hot for the park/no mall etc. -- how about taking a short drive to a scenic spot in your car (with airconditioning??) Maybe a book?

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/22/2010 8:13PM

    I take my lunch, it works for me. Advice? Don't let yourself get bored. And that resolve to keep eating healthy... essential! Just like my "I will not give up my 10 minute break walks!"

Good luck, you have a lot of maintainers rooting for you! emoticon

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GATOR12 7/22/2010 8:10PM

    I like the idea of going to park at times. And of making sure you have things on hand that are portable and healthy. Is there a micro available? You said no space for break room. For a change maybe a mcD's salad, no Subway?? That's one of dh & my favorite place to eat. Obviously you don't live close enough to go home. Does any other lady live close enough that sometimes you could go to their house?? I guess maybe there aren't enough employees to discuss other options w/them. Is there any other place, like small mall or somewhere you could take your meal in and watch people?? Just some randoms tho'ts. Good luck. These challenges in our lives cause us to dig deep for answers!

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Another SparkPeople Feature I Just Found

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I was considering resetting the SparkPeople articles because I was having trouble finding articles I hadn't read. But, I knew I had not read them all and I wanted to find the ones I hadn't read. Today I found out how.

Go to the Healthy Lifestyle menu bar and click on Healthy Lifestyle Home. Then click on Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness, Motivation (I'm not sure if it works with Videos and SparkDiet) from the six selections. Then in the third column there will be a list of articles grouped in topics. If you have read them, they are checked. If not, they aren't. You can select them from that location. You can also click on "More _(topic)_______" and you will get a big list of articles with and without the checks.

Now I hope to read them all before I reset them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 7/25/2010 4:20AM

    I reset now and then because I love reading good articles over and over... and there are some articles that I will never care to read - like how to eat when your prgnant or specific problems for mens health.

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JHADZHIA 7/22/2010 11:15PM

    I had asked Sparks about this problem a long time ago and they got back to me about this, so I was able to reset the articles only after I had read them all. It took me a year and two months to get the whole works!! Now if only I could remember what I read so I could do better at trivia LOL.

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PENNYAN45 7/21/2010 11:14PM

    This is helpful. There is so much on this site - it can be difficult to navigate.
Thank you.

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WALKINGANNIE 7/21/2010 3:42PM

    Thanks Marsha. There are so many different ways to use SP. Discoveries like this are a great help.


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EILEENV3 7/21/2010 1:42PM

    Thank you for sharing!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/21/2010 1:39PM

    Thx for the information, I have reset but I always read 3 articles/day, so tend to backtrack.

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DAISYBELL6 7/21/2010 1:12PM

    Thank you so much for figuring that out! They should make that one of the Insider tips!

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DONNABRIGHT 7/21/2010 12:56PM


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KALIGIRL 7/21/2010 12:44PM

    I've done the same.
emoticon for sharing.

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MERALO 7/21/2010 12:30PM

    I keep discovering new little tricks...I love this site...

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MONTY68 7/21/2010 12:27PM

    Hi Marsha

Isn't that a great discovery. It makes it so much easier finding articles we have read. Also it does show some as a new idea. I have been doing this for about 3 months and I am so glad that you made a blog on it
Thank you for sharing

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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