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September Review

Friday, October 01, 2010

September Results:
SparkPoints: 2692
Fitness Minutes: 2466 (41.1 hours)
Strength Training Gym Sessions: 9
Days Food Tracked (almost 100%): 25
Days Stayed within Calorie Range: 16
Calorie Differential Report: Not valid due to lack of 100% tracking

Official Better Sleep Challenge: Completed
Weight Range of morning weights for the Month: 127.2 - 131.0 (but skipped 2 weigh ins when I was feeling bloated)
Personal Longest Bike Ride Goal: achieved; 23 miles
Trivia: 91%
New fitness goals set with Wellness Coach: not achieved

(Discrepancies between results reported in WAYMO team yesterday and today's blog are because I did it from memory yesterday and looked it up today. I was out of calorie range many times more than I thought.)

Analysis: I did just fine in SparkPoints and trivia. If anything, I am spending too much time at the computer with Sparks.
I achieved all my minimum fitness goals, except meeting with the Wellness Coach. I put it off and then tried to schedule it at the last minute. Strength training 3x per week would be better than 2x. A little more cardio would be even better.
My attempts to improve my sleep were difficult, but I had some success. I went to bed earlier and more consistently than any month in my adult life. I counted being to bed on time if I made it by 10:35, but most nights I was there by 10pm. 27 good night's sleep; 3 insomnia. Both times in Sept that I really lost it and overate by a mile were middle-of-the-night-can't-sleep eating. Timing my exercise earlier is difficult, but may be worth it. Timing and controlling my evening snack (not snacks) is important for my sleep and weight.
I ate lots of healthy food and very little junk. Portion control was the issue. I want to do 100% tracking in part so that my reports will be valid. I took 3 days off of tracking when my new granddaughter was born. It was exciting and I had my 3 year old granddaughter 24 hours per day for 4 days, so I was out of routine. I didn't expect to do so badly. In the future, I am more committed to track even in exciting or challenging times.
September was my second month back to work. It is part time, but I find I am sitting far more than on days I don't work. I packed a healthy lunch every day but one and did okay on that day. General stress level is decidedly higher when working, at least at this job.
I honestly thought I had stayed in my calorie range many more days than I did. I'm going to put a lot of effort on that this next month. Although I admire those intuitive eaters a tremendous amount, for me I think it has to be tracking for the time being.

Overall, it was not a terrible month, but I can do better.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 10/2/2010 2:09PM

    You're a model of vigilance and perstistence Marsha. That's why you are so successful.

Thanks for sharing your review.

A few people have suggested to me that my increased appetite last month - which I attribute to a caffeine reduction - might be a seasonal impulse to eat in preparation fro winter. It's an interesting idea.

Wishing you a happy, healthy October.


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MONTY68 10/1/2010 6:26PM

    Marsha, Of course you continue to amaze me. This blog needs to be in the " Manual" on how to be successful. What great detail and really how dedicated you were to what you do. Just one of those things that creates success.

Thank you so much for sharing this.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JANEWATKINS 10/1/2010 5:39PM

    I'm so impressed that you do a month-end review. I think I will do the same. I'm excited about the Ocktoberfest Challenge for our group as I think if I write it down and make it public, I will be more inclined to stick with it. I now have my 2-1/2 year old grandson at my house permanently. OMG. What a change for us all. THANK GOD for preschool!

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KALIGIRL 10/1/2010 12:37PM

    Sounds like a super month to me.
I'm a little confused - did you back track to find out you were out of calorie range on those days you didn't track? Regardless, sounds like you've got a plan that works for you.

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JOYINKY 10/1/2010 11:16AM

    Managing maintenance is a challenge! You're doing great; it's part of the learning process to try to not be too rigid. To live comfortably and maintain a healthy weight. I too have to track my eating; think I always will. You are doing great!

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HAPPYSOUL91 10/1/2010 10:59AM

    You did a good analysis of your month, in fact I am going to start to look at items the same way. Thx for posting this reminder

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DONNABRIGHT 10/1/2010 10:28AM

    Gosh, I wish I could be as dedicated as you are but I still struggle daily!

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BESTSUSIEYET 10/1/2010 9:58AM

    Not Terrible?? I think it's GREAT! And I love the new photo with both grandkids (and your hubby?)! Keep on inspiring us!!

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Don't Hold On

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I'm making a concerted effort to read my SparkPeople articles more thoroughly and apply them to my program. In the video article above it stresses not holding onto the treadmill when walking or running. I don't think it ever was a habit of mine to hold on, but I just did it from time to time. Yesterday I made a point to get a good treadmill workout and not lessen the intensity by holding on. Every little Spark tip employed helps!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONTY68 9/30/2010 6:51PM

    Hi Marsha
i had read that article couple months ago, and said something to different people at our gym. The article also refers to balance and actually feels that holding on causes unbalance. I don't totally agree with that, knowing people my age and older, it doesn't take much to lose balance. I see it all the time here and I am taking a balancing class, to reprogram the brain into better balance. I do agree with the idea of getting less results from holding on and for healthier people , it makes sense to get the most efficient workout.
So I also agree with how you see it for yourself, we always should try to do the best in all we are doing for better health and you certainly look at all possibilities when doing something. That is one reason why you have been so successful.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Good advice.

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KALIGIRL 9/30/2010 2:12PM

    Letting go of lots of things works!

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JOYINKY 9/30/2010 2:07PM

    Alas, for the small amount of difference it makes I think I'll continue to rest my hands on the bar; don't really "hang on". It's a small part of my overall fitness activity and since I listen to books at the time and may not be fully attentive; I'd rather stand (walk?) on the side of safety. When not listening to a book I do walk with a good arm swing. Thanks for the video link! Joy

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GATOR12 9/30/2010 1:11PM

    I know at Fitness Center I NEVER hold on. I guess because I have "witnesses"????? But it make sense that we help our balance and have more of a workout!!

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HAWKEYERANT 9/30/2010 11:13AM

    I hold on with one arm the whole time -- yikes! It makes me feel grounded... but guess it's not a good thing.

Thanks for sharing!

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BESTSUSIEYET 9/30/2010 9:59AM

    I usually hold on -- think I started to focus on heart rate, but I really need to get out of the habit! Once or twice during the workout to see if my heart rate is up -- that should be plenty. Like you said, Marsha -- all these articles are only helpful if we actually put the knowledge into action! Live Healthy - Don't Just Read About Healthy Living!!

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DONNABRIGHT 9/30/2010 8:26AM


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Perfect Pushups

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reference Spark article:

To do perfect pushups, according to this article, you need to build up to lifting 80% of your body weight. I don't lift near that much weight at the gym. I was not aspiring to lift that much weight. Now I'm not sure. Before I started going to the gym, I did four months of SparkPeople generated strength training here at home. I did planks and some push ups. It was not easy, but I completed some, even a few from my toes.

It kind of made me smile that I could do some now, because I never could do them in high school. I'd try, but I couldn't even begin to get off the floor. I remember trying to do cartwheels in gym class, too. The teacher would clap out "hand, hand, foot, foot; hand, hand, foot, foot" as each girl cartwheeled down the floor. For me she'd clap, "hand, HEAD!" and each time I could not hold up my body weight, my head would hit the floor, and I'd fall. Ouch!

At my age, in overall good shape, but with a few old injuries (not referring to above-mentioned head that seemed to suffer no permanent damage), I wonder how much I should try to lift. Perhaps I should do more research on this matter.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONTY68 9/28/2010 10:34PM

    Hi Marsha
Did you say that we should be able to lift 80% of our weight? Does that mean when we are doing a push-up we are lifting that much?
I really admire you, you really do have it put together. I really don't do push ups well, never could and I won't say I never will. But it isn't my favorite. I like the wall push ups I stand at the railing on my catwalk and can do a lot. This blog is just another example why you are so successful. I don't know what or how much weight we should be lifting, I do know , when I asked the coach to take a picture of me lifting 85 pounds (the weight I released) , She said no, I am not ready. I guess the amount lifted would depend on how it is to be lifted. If you find an article or something let me know. Mean while maybe I should try harder on push-ups.
Thank you for sharing this, You are such an inspiration to me and I am sure anyone that reads your blogs.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 9/28/2010 9:17PM

    I think it's a great goal particularly since you (like me) had very little arm strength. I'm only @ 10 pound weights (not even 10%), but like the definition (and elimination of the some of the flabby underskin).

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JOHAL52 9/28/2010 6:08PM

    Thanks SO much for this blog Marsha! I did 2 sets of 12 wall push-ups today and I am going to follow the advice in that article and build up to more.

Thanks again!

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WALKINGANNIE 9/28/2010 3:17PM

    emoticon Marsha emoticon

You really are an inspiration.

I pleased to manage a modified plank and hold it - from a very weak starting point - but you are demonstrating that strength leads to more strength.

I'll be interested in your research.

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PARKERB2 9/28/2010 2:33PM

    I can't do a push up. Can do the wall ones though. I can do a plank for about 30 seconds, with the hope to build up to 1 minute and progress from there. Congrats for doing your exercises well.

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PEGGYANNSCH 9/28/2010 2:32PM

    If I get on the floor I would have a hard time to get up

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SCREWIE 9/28/2010 1:30PM

    That "hand, HEAD!" made me chuckle :D

Well done for those pushups, I still can't do them (I do the wall pushups instead).

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HAPPYSOUL91 9/28/2010 10:01AM

    Great job, if I get on the floor, I won't get up. However, I sure am cheering you on to kep doing this!!!

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JHADZHIA 9/28/2010 9:56AM

    You are doing really great to be able to do those planks! Pushups from toes?? Wow!! Who says you can't do anything, and what does age have to do with anything anyway? Its just a number. You can be fit at any age. Its your choice! You are just amazing!! Keep up the great work!!

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BESTSUSIEYET 9/28/2010 9:15AM

    I'm pleased to be able to do 20+ incline pushups at a time, using my kitchen counter top (or the Smith machine bar at the gym) as the hand hold ... I'm increasing my strength, and I'm not going to feel badly that I can't do 'perfect pushups' on the floor!! My goal is strength that helps me in my daily life. I don't anticipate ever being challenged to lift 80% of my body weight in pushup position "or else." My legs are strong, too, so getting up off the floor isn't a challenge. I think I'll keep doing what I'm doing. emoticon (see the smile on this girl's face as she races through her day?!)

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JOYINKY 9/28/2010 8:24AM

    Push-ups are a struggle for me; I've weight trained for years but no, I don't lift 80% of my body weight either. Plank and variations are not a problem. Still, I'm feeling pretty good; I can do a lot of things I couldn't do when I was younger. More flexible and better balance since doing yoga. More endurance from aerobic walking and working out at the gym. Still have fitness goals towork toward; but that's what it's about--setting and reaching new goals. It's never too late!

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WOTABOUTTHIS 9/28/2010 4:32AM

    Isn't it amazing to discover things that you are capable of doing now, that you were unable to do in years past? Go you!!

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Grateful for Gratitude

Monday, September 27, 2010

I just read the Spark article:
ss_articles.asp?id=1541 It enumerates the benefits of gratitude and four steps to developing more gratitude in your life.

I am truly blessed in so many ways. Many times gratitude comes to me without effort. The article helped me realize there are a few situations in my life that could use more gratitude. I'm going to work on it. - Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 9/28/2010 3:40PM

    Gratitude is something that SP has helped me to develop.

I now love small tastes of 'treat' foods and drinks - dark chocolate, strong coffee and red wine - that I spend time on savouring, appreciating and being grateful for.

I am lucky to be alive, lucky to be getting fitter and very grateful for the changes in my life over the last year when things could have gone in a very different direction.

And, I'm grateful for SparkFriends like you.

KALIGIRL did a 42-day series of blogs on gratitude. I'm not sure if you would have seen them.


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WILD4STARS 9/27/2010 8:38PM

    I've gotten a bit away from gratitude lately. Thanks for putting it back out there.

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JOYINKY 9/27/2010 7:19PM

    Working on a gratitude list has helped me through a lot of rough times over the years. Yes, cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude!

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/27/2010 6:41PM

    And a couple huge sources of gratitude grace your background. You do seem to have that attitude... blessings often become blessings just by being recognized as such!

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FANORONHA_14 9/27/2010 6:40PM

    emoticonYou are emoticon emoticon
Never Give Up!
Life is Good
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4-5

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TEXASFILLY 9/27/2010 6:35PM

    One of my favorite hymns is entitled, "Count Your Blessings~" name them one by one. You are blessed indeed with a thankful heart. Thank you for sharing and may you be blessed even more. *hugs* All the best, Bonnie~Blue

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MONTY68 9/27/2010 6:26PM

    Hi Marsha
great blog. It is so easy not to take time each day, to acknowledge those things we are Grateful for. One of my teams actually is doing a gratitude challenge this week. Thank you for sharing this and giving us a reminder. I appreciate it.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Help, Please, With Introducing Newbies to SparkPeople

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Several people at work are very interested in what I have done to lose weight and keep it off. After several discussions with my boss, we've decided to go ahead and set up a SparkTeam at work.

One staff member started last week following the SparkPeople meal plans. I don't think she's used much else on the site, but I can already look at her and see that her stomach has disappeared! I'm so excited that it is working for her already. Hope I can help support her and other staff members through any bumps along the way.

Another staff member has looked at the site extensively, but is feeling overwhelmed by everything on the site. A third member just got her screen name.

When I first came to SparkPeople, I was over 55 pounds below my all time high and I'd just lost 35+ pounds on Weight Watchers and was a healthy BMI of 25. I actually signed up for maintenance, but found with SparkPeople I could lose more and have lost another 25-30 pounds (depending on the day) and am now around BMI 20.2. So my experience was not typical.

Does anyone have suggestions for how best to introduce people to the site? I don't think any of the people I am working with have seen the part of the site that has FastBreak goals and tells about setting up streaks. Seems to me that should be part of the beginning.

Any help you can offer will be appreciated. -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VTORIA3 9/29/2010 5:40AM

    A team for your work is really great, Marsha, what a cool idea. It took me a several months to get used to spark, and I had formerly belonged to a similar site I paid for, so the concept was not totally new except for the spark pages and how all the interactions worked. I reached out to several super nice sparkers who helped me along the way, but for someone who is shy that might be harder. It would take a burden off of your shoulders if you could introduce a couple of us to your team to lighten your load. Please be sure to give them them my spark name, or if your team is not private, I can visit it for references to their spark pages or e-mail addresses and say hello and offer some support. Best of luck to your new team members!!!

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WALKINGANNIE 9/25/2010 3:31PM

    It's great that you have started a new team Marsha. That really IS spreading the Spark!

I found that following the action links on the Spark Points page gave me the best overview of all the features:


Following the links shows a good range of what's available and collecting a few points might encourage them?

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WILDHAIR3 9/25/2010 3:02PM


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MERALO 9/25/2010 2:23PM

    My experience: I mastered the nurtition and fitness trackers first...after that I fumbled with the rest until I became comfortable. It's VERY overwhleming in the beginning, there's just so much...if they start with the tutorial videos, they can learn a little more every day

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AQUAGIRL08 9/25/2010 12:40PM

    Perhaps you can arrange to get everyone together as WILD4STARS has suggested and show them the "FastBreak" tools. Or....You could schedule a meeting every few weeks and show them whatever they'd like to see. Remember, they are more than welcome to come and walk with the Polk County Team on our twice a month walks.

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DONNABRIGHT 9/25/2010 12:37PM

    Looks like you have lots of good suggestions already! My motto is baby steps in the beginning.

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JOYINKY 9/25/2010 12:17PM

    I, like you, came for maintenance and support in a healthy lifestyle. I started Jan. 2010 and I am still discovering new things on the site. It is kind of overwhelming at first. Knowing why you are interested (goals) helps. I had my nutrition where I wanted it but was struggling with maintenance because I was not active enough. So, I started tracking my activity here and that's helped a lot! Has gotten me to the low end of my goal range; comfortably. The friends I connected with through the groups that interested me have been invaluable. I keep my groups and friends in a managable number for me to stay connected; that's helped me a lot. Also, it's hard to be supportive of people who keep everything "private". I don't want to "friend" everyone! If people want support, they need to be available. My thoughts, take what you like and leave the rest. Kudos to you for wanting to do this with them; can't do it for them, they have to want to walk the walk. emoticon

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GATOR12 9/25/2010 11:51AM

    I agree that learning as you go, seems to be the best way. The fitness and nutrition logs and finding a community group that is active, supportive and welcoming is next. People can get as involved, time wise, as they desire. Hope it helps a little. I try to use Start Page and SparkPoint pages as main references.

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MONTY68 9/25/2010 10:43AM

    Hi Marsha
One of the places I would send a new person, would be at the top of our points page there is a bar. Under healthy lifestyles click on video's , on the right side something called site tutorials how to use Spark. Suggest they just start with the top one on "start page" and review all of them.


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KALIGIRL 9/25/2010 10:32AM

    Not much in the way of help I'm afraid as I stumbled around for a couple years...
I think the Community Teams that are formed by date have forums for answering questions, so you could emulate those?
Good luck and thanks for taking this on!

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JHADZHIA 9/25/2010 10:07AM

    The bottom line is people come to this site to lose weight. Learning to use the Fitness and Nutrition Trackers should be the first priority. Although one person had the great idea to use the Spark points listing as an easy way to navigate the site as you have everything there listed conveniently in one spot.

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HAPPYSOUL91 9/25/2010 9:36AM

    It is overwhelming but if they are determined to rid themselves of the pounds then they will plow through.

Start at the start page, maybe then join 1 challenge besides what you are doing at work

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EDUCGRAD 9/25/2010 9:28AM

    It is great that others are interested,I've had a few people at work sign up,but haven't really used it.I think maybe if they can get plugged into a team that may help as you need a lot of support.the motivation is hard for most as they need someone a workout buddy to exercise with them to get them started,to keep them on track.they also have to see that it is worth the time.1 parent was impressed by my weight loss,but said she liked to eat to much which I find is very common.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/25/2010 9:23AM

    Not sure I have much to offer in the way of advice, but this was my experience, and what I tell "new" people I refer to the site.

When I first came I was referred by a Live Journal person, and I was in maintenance. I was blown away and kind of OD'd on the features for a weekend, then I determined it was more than I could handle (with everything else I was doing) and became inactive for a loooong time.

Not to despair, when I was ready, I came back, weeded things out, gradually made some good spark friends, and moved on.

So, what I tell newbies that I refer is to take it easy, explore but just use what they find useful at first, as the whole experience can be a little overwhelming!

And I'm so thrilled that people are asking... I've been passing out Spark cards myself when people ask what I've done!

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WILD4STARS 9/25/2010 9:18AM

    Maybe have a "Spark Break" at work and let everyone follow you as you show them the things on Spark that worked for you. The Streaks, the Fast Breaks, etc. I have introduced Spark to several people. Some have embraced it fully, others have played around a bit and just dropped out. Though Spark does help create motivation, make some things easier and more fun, there still has to be a pretty good level of commitment. Spark can't create that.

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