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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Moderation. Middle of the road. Medium effort. Seems easy enough. Logical approach. Once upon a time it made perfect sense. I understood it and lived it. I preached it. I told everyone who asked it was the answer.

Fast forward a few years and now seems difficult and unfamiliar. I'm not exactly sure how it happened. I'm sure it was a lot of "Oh, I'll do better tomorrow". Enough excuses to put me back in the same place I started. At the bottom of a big hill. A steep, muddy, slippery hill.

The good news here is that the first paragraph is all true. The bad news is the second paragraph is also true. I can choose to be the girl who makes excuses, eats poorly, uses tomorrow as my fallback plan, and thinks the elevator is better that the stairs. I can also choose to be the girl from a few years ago. Everything is a choice.

I know how I felt when I was the girl in paragraph one and I know how I feel now. I know it is harder to do everything when I'm overweight. I know I carry myself with less confidence when I'm overweight. I know there is freedom in weight loss. I know that exercise makes me think clearly and sleep better. I also know I really don't like to exercise. I know that I generally do not like the process of working out. However, I can choose to focus on the fact that I feel graceful and coordinated when I exercise consistently. I can chose to say I don't have enough time in my day to exercise or I can chose to make the time and know that I will be productive.

I'm a little more than one week in. It was a really hard week. I stopped eating processed food and sugar and focused on lean protein, vegetables, fruit and grains. It truly was an hour by hour decision to stay on plan. I did it. I hated it. I'm glad it's over. That's the truth. The first week is really hard. I don't intend to be strict forever, but I needed to get over the hump. I managed to exercise twice. Not great, but better than nothing. My goal is to increase to four times a week. Do I feel graceful because I exercised this week? No. I have to earn that feeling. I'm far from a gazelle, but I know I can be one!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANDESIGN 1/12/2014 1:57PM

    Sometimes hour by hour is all the difference. We call it Touch & Go. I have been in the same boat - sort of a purgatory with semi-control, but I do feel I'm ramping up rather than spiraling down, so that's encouraging.

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No Hands Required

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Last week I could not cross my legs without an assist from my hands. Today, I'm sitting comfortably with my legs crossed. No hands needed!! So happy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHARLEYGIRL5 1/28/2013 11:18AM

    Love those reminders!!! These are the things that are fun to jot down, because we forget them so fast.

A month ago, when waking up from bed, I had to stand there for a second so my legs would work. OMG I'm in my forties acting like I'm in my eighties... Now that I'm eating and drinking water, I can jump out of bed like I should. (did I hijack and make this about me again? lol) sorry

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PUNZIE73 1/28/2013 9:50AM

    Isn't that the best!? Love it!

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NANCY361 1/11/2013 1:25AM


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JACKIE542 1/10/2013 9:05PM

    emoticon Great!

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OHSOSVELTE 1/10/2013 9:01PM

    That's it!! On your way to your stellar year!

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PARKERB2 1/10/2013 8:44PM

    way to go

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2013 A stellar year

Sunday, January 06, 2013

If itís in writing, itís real! I donít typically read my horoscope, but Yahoo had them posted last week and I read mine. It has been my experience that in many situations, if you believe something, you can make it happen. My horoscope started with: "2013 is nothing short of stellar for you, Pisces. By summer, you're ready for the grand water-trine influence as Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune all flow together in Water signs to make magic." --- I donít actually know what the influences of the planets mean, but I gather by summer, good things will happen. That fits perfectly with my timeline to get myself back to a healthy and active life -just in time for summer.

I found SP in 2009 and had great success over the first year, losing about 50lbs. by tracking my food and fitness. Like many others who have had success with WL, I thought I had it all figured out and did not need to keep tracking. I was aware that I was slowly gaining weight, but was not too concerned Ė I assumed I would be able to get back on track before things got too out of control. About half of the clothes that I bagged up to give away because they were too big, were still in the basement. Periodically, I would dive into those bags to find the next larger size. I wish the first time I did it had been the warning sign I needed. The warning sign came in December, when I had pulled out the biggest clothes and they were not fitting. I was pretty much back to where I started.

Iím back on SP to lose it again. Iím exercising again, and tracking my food. My endurance is not what it was; Iím slowing building my workouts. My eating habits were so crappy through the second half of 2012 Iím being strict with my food for now. This is not a long term approach, only my transition plan until I feel like I have better control. So far, so good, Iím on my way. I know Iím not able to exercise portion control easily at this point. By February, I expect to be more in control and not have certain food off limits.

Iím also making SP part my life again. When this worked for me, I was on SP daily. I was reading blogs and staying inspired. I didnít view it as a waste of time, but instead as part of my plan. Being on SP helped me stay focused. 2013 is going to be a great year, because Iím going to make it a great year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUNZIE73 1/28/2013 9:57AM

    I feel ya there! I too went off track thinking I didn't have to log onto SP and before I knew it, my skinty jeans weren't fitting. It's brave for you to post it, I was so embarrassed that I nearly got to where I wanted and BOOM, I lost sight of my vision. But I'm motivated again and it seems when I'm tracking and keeping note of where my SP friends are, my band of Spark Soldiers really keep me going and I strive to do better! Thanks for reminding me of that!


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SAPHRAEL 1/26/2013 9:56PM

    Nice, I'm a Pisces too :)

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JANDESIGN 1/8/2013 6:21AM

    Way to go, Suzanne!

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Training like a Sumo Wrestler

Friday, October 07, 2011

After an extended absence, Iím finally returning to Spark and happy to be here. The work project that kept me away is finally wrapped up and I can now move forward. It is not a complete surprise to me that I am returning with a gain on the scale, but Iím a little surprised by the number. My weight was up about 11 lbs when I left, but that gain has more than doubled to 23 lbs. For the record, a year ago my weight was down 52 lbs. - I had not actually reached my final goal weight, but I was in a good place.

The project I was working on involved very late work hours and few days off. Sleep was very limited at times and eating was often based on what was provided. Junk food was plentiful and frequently consumed in the late hours of the night. Many days I did not eat until late in the evening when dinner was served. If I got home at 10 p.m., I would eat again...and then go to bed. I was drinking a lot of Diet Coke because I needed the caffeine to stay awake. And of course there was the stress.

In just one month, I became the poster child for all the things you should avoid doing if you want to lose weight. The weight gain I see today is proof that many of those warning we see about things that will sabotage a diet are true. For example, as I increased my diet soda intake, I wanted more sweets. The more fried food/salty processed food I ate, the more I wanted. The more stress I felt, the more my stomach seemed to grow. As the amount of sleep I got reduced, the weight seemed to pile on faster. The more I seemed to eat most of my daily food around dinner time with late night snacks to follow (once one person pulled out snacks a crowd would form Ė like pigeons) the quicker my pants got tight. I joked that the situation was perfect to train like a Sumo Wrestler. Judge for yourself, but following is how a Sumo Wrestler gains weight (I googled):

1. Skip breakfast. By depriving their bodies of food after eight hours of sleep, their metabolic rates stay low.

2. Exercise on an empty stomach. If their bodies have no food, their metabolic thermostats are turned down even lower to conserve fuel.

3. Take a nap after eating. The Sumo secret for gaining weight is that, after eating, they sleep for at least four hours.

4. Eat late in the day. Going to bed with full stomachs means that their bodies must respond to the huge flood of nutrients with a rush of insulin, forcing their bodies to store some of it in the cells as fat instead of in the muscles and organs as nutrients.

5. Always eat with others in a social atmosphere.

To be clear, it has never been my goal to look like a Sumo Wrestler. With this in mind, effective immediately, I will do all that I can to avoid following the Sumo Wrestler plan.

My plan:

emoticonEating smart, including portion control and tons of vegetables Ė fruits too, but I tend to eat too many, so Iím assigning a limit of 2. My plan is to eat throughout the day, watch my calories and avoid eating just before bed. Protein with each meal is at the top of my list must dos. Iíve been through this and I know it is not realistic for me to think I will be perfect. My goal is to stick within my calorie range 6 out of 7 days of the week.

emoticonExercise: I ordered a new series from The Firm a month ago to use as soon as things at work calmed down. I will start using those DVDs today. It is a 30-day program. My plan is to follow the program as developed, but may add some additional cardio and Pilates. My joints are starting to feel old. It could be from running up and down hallways and stairwells in heels for weeks, but it could also be that I just need to be a kind to myself.

emoticonDrink 8-12 glasses of water a day. Iím still going to have Diet Coke, but I will bring the amount down to a reasonable level.

emoticonWeigh in at least once per week. I have moved a scale into the bathroom I use to force this to happen.

Other expectations I have for myself:

emoticonSleep! Having been deprived of sleep for the last several weeks, I can easily see what happens when Iím not getting enough. This one is hard for me, but I'm going to try to get on a schedule.

emoticonStay positive and laugh! There are very few things I could point to about the last month or so that were great, but there is one thing that stands out. While ďtrappedĒ with my co-workers around-the-clock and sleep deprived we would find some of the most ridiculous things hysterically funny, resulting in fits of laughter so frequent and common, we could not look at each other, tears would flow and we would have to separate. Even some of the more quiet and reserved individuals could not stop themselves. These moments carried us through. A good attitude is always a key to success. Laughing helps you get there.

emoticonStay active, limit couch time. Avoid naps after eating. Cut ties with Sumo Wrestler friends.

emoticonTrack food (all of it!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOREBECCA00 10/7/2011 8:01PM

    emoticon BACK! The Sumo comparison had me emoticon.

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BECKY3774 10/7/2011 5:00PM

    I'm glad that you're back and ready to go. Those sound like some really crazy schedules, which make it all the harder to stick to any form of routine. I think that the most important thing is that you're back. emoticon

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    Love, Love, LOVE that you're back on SP! Now I will use the site more instead of relying on my apps to track food....even though they have been a lifesaver, it's not the same as the interaction we get on the site.

You crack me up with the Sumo Wrestler stuff!

You'll get that weight off in no time....and I'll be here with lots of this:

Congrats on all you accomplished at work. Those were some crazy hours and I would have dissolved into The Ugly Cry, early and often. You just kept going and kicked butt.

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3RDBABYWEIGHT 10/7/2011 12:15PM


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You ruined it - or did you?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Where do I begin? Ah, Iíll start where I screwed up. Letís seeÖoh, well, that was a series of mistakes. Ok, Iíll start with the biggest one: 2010 Holidays Ė I deliberately ate whatever my heart desired because ĎI want to enjoy the holidays. I told myself and anyone who questioned the volume of food I shoveled in my mouth ĎI know how to get the weight offí. The 50 lbs I lost became 40 thanks to that great decision.

So did I really know how to get the weight off. Sure. Did I? No. Fast forward a couple of months, work is really busy, there is a lot of snow and comfort foods seem just perfect for my mood. I can always get back on track tomorrow. Right. Iím working out, but not enough to make a difference. I got back to 45 lbs, but then slipped back to 40. I could do better. I spend most of March and early April working really hard just before vacation. I got back to 45 lbs again. One week on vacation and Iím at 37 lbs lost. I pull things together again and Iím back to 43 lbs lost in a few weeks.

In May I decide workouts in the morning that involve too much jumping and running are too difficult, but Iím great on mornings with strength training and circuit training. I take a look at the calorie burn and decide I will focus on strength training and use Jillian and Bobís various circuit programs for my cardio (i.e. cardio with ST). I decide to listen to the message that women will not bulk rather than following my long-standing fear that I will. I steadily increase the weights. The treadmill starts to collect dust and the Turbo Fire workouts stay neatly in their package. Five to six days a week through the end of June I lifting weights with circuit training. My eating is decent. Iím firming up. I see the muscles in my legs, Iíve got ďbig gunsĒ (thank you DH, but telling me that I could be a female body builder was not a compliment - but I do agree it is better than flabby), even my forearms look betterÖ but my pants and blouses are getting snug. What is going on! I get on the scale. GASP! Iíve gained! 33 lbs is all I can claim.

Lessons learned:
#1 -- I DO NOT have this all figured out
#2 -- Constantly going over my calorie range means I will not lose weight Ė even if I workout frequently
#3 -- Some girls just bulk. Youíre one of them. Strength training is very important, but keep it to 2-3 days a week
#4 -- Like it or not, those jarring workouts are necessary for success. They have to be done on weekdays before work.
#5 -- Stop buying candy. Even when you think you can work it into your calorie range, you donít. You just want moreÖand then you want something salty.
#6 -- When your pants start to feel tight, they are! They were not just washed, and even if they were, the used to fit post wash just fine.

I'm starting over with basic goals. I've gotten away from things that I have learned. I looking at this like I'm new to SP. Goals:
1. Log into SP once a day. Using the app is great, but I really need to read what others are doing to stay focused.
2. Calorie range: Iím going to try to get there at least 5 days this week.
3. Protein at each meal
4. 3 fruits and 5 vegetables a day
5. Limit the number of meals from a box to 4 per week
6. Exercise: 5 days this week Ė minimum; three of the days need to be just cardio.
7. Water: Keep filling up that bottle

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PELESJEWEL 7/26/2011 3:47PM

    Sadly I can relate to #6 emoticon actually I can relate to all of it and am right there with you in my own sort of way. Started last week by turning up the exercise and this week choosing better food and cooking. Next week I'll start looking at the calories again. It's a cycle, that much I know. I've also noticed I actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT CHANGING the #6 much quicker than before and not resentfully either. This is a huge HANDS UP for me in the positive behavior change department! emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/26/2011 3:48:48 PM

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MELIEO 7/25/2011 9:16PM

    Sounds like a good plan to me. :0)

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    Hello, sunshine!
emoticon emoticon emoticon
I'm proud of you.
And I just wanna say that, dang, who knew the workouts would bulk you up and make you heavier? The thing is, you WERE doing something...and it was something you have by no means been "wheels off in the ditch." Maybe you clipped a mailbox or two, but you're good.
I have to echo the person who said you were one of their first SP friends and how much you've helped her. Cause that's my story, too. Remember when I used to send you Sparkmail every day to ask you how things worked on the site? LOL Now look at us. Buddies for almost a year!

Mandy, coming soon.

This isn't a sprint. It's the mother of all marathons. I'm glad you're my running buddy.


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GERRYD8784 7/24/2011 9:04PM

    Good plan! I know the feeling -- "I can lose weight later, I've done it before, so it's OK to indulge now" It's always a "special occasion". But I too need to keep coming back to basics. I'm doing it now, and it does work, if only I stick with it. Good luck to you emoticon

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GOREBECCA00 7/24/2011 8:04PM


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FROGGY80916 7/24/2011 7:45PM

    Great blog! I have had a tremendous back slide as well, mainly due to stress overload, and like you I came back to Spark as if I was new. Some tools and habits I implemented, on weekends (mainly Sunday) I prepare meals and partial meals to avoid "eating on the run or from a box". For instance, I precook brown rice for meals, clean all fruits and veggies for meals and put in grab and go containers, prepare herbal teas to use through out the week (I drink 2-3x daily, along with water), always have my work out clothes laid out for the week, and pre plan meals for the week. Also, I put my workouts in my planner as appointments, and hold myself to them.

Remember, keep your head up, and this is a process, enjoy the journey! And anytime you need a pick up, I am here! emoticon

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BECKY3774 7/24/2011 7:40PM

    First off, when I joined spark, you were the FIRST person to contact me, and I hold that close to my heart. I have faith in you, and deep down, so do you. Look at how awesome you are by admitting what has been going on. It would've been so easy to just omit the truth, and we would've never known the difference. That's what says that you're in this for the long haul. So you didn't follow your plan everyday all day for the last however keep coming back. That's what makes us all winners, and winners we are! We didn't gain the weight quickly, and we won't lose it quickly. We gained it because we have a problem choosing the healthier foods when our brains want the "GOOD" stuff. We gained it because we don't measure things, and we don't fully follow portion control all the time. So what does that mean? It means, no matter how many times we trip up in finding our way to a healthy life, all we have to remember is to keep getting back up. Keep coming to Spark. Keep giving it the best you've got!!!! emoticonYou have been so awesome with me, and I will NEVER forget hold your head up high, and keep on keepin' on!!! emoticon

By the way, we do both live in Michigan, right? We can always get together and workout, and help each other through the tough times.....I'm game if you are!!

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