TAMARA6905   21,902
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EPIC Challenge Extra Credit Assignment

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

1. Why did you sign up for EPIC this leg? I was new to the team and I wanted to get involved and meet my teammates! Plus, anything that was going to hold me accountable for my actions was a definite plus.

2. How has EPIC helped you thus far? EPIC encourages me to work out on those days that I can't encourage myself. I am extremely competitive so I strive to get my full 7 points each week.

3. If you could change something about EPIC, what would it be (don't worry, my feelings won't be hurt and I want EVERYONE to be happy-- ideas are welcome)? This is really my first experience with EPIC so I can't really say I'd change anything. I like the system how it is, but if I think of anything I'll be sure to let you know!

4. Have you really dedicated yourself to this challenge, or have you been coasting by? (I want you to really dig down into the heart of this question and really examine your past couple of weeks) I have definitely dedicated myself to this challenge. It's my first team challenge and I didn't want to let myself or the team down. The whole point is to use it as another tool to help us reach our goals, so why anyone wouldn't give it all they've got is besides me.

5. How should we shake the challenge up in the next leg? Maybe there should be a subtraction in points for those who sign up and then don't participate like they should. This challenge is completely voluntary, so why sign up if you're not going to do it? I understand things happen, but communication is key! Instead of two large teams, what about a few smaller teams? Just thinking out oud....

6. What Improvement challenge would you like to see in the future? It will have to be something general since we're all at different fitness levels. Since we all have our different workouts that we do, we could start challenging ourselves to push harder. If you normally do 30 minutes of cardio, try increasing to 40 min this week, you normally walk a mile, try walking a mile and a half, etc. Sometimes we put limitations on ourselves without realizing we're doing it. If you know you have to keep moving forward, it keeps your motivation up!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRUE-NESS 5/18/2011 7:22AM

    Those are some great suggestions. I particularly like the idea of being broken up into smaller groups. The fact that the FFF'S keep beating the LLL's may have a lot to do with the folks involved. I know great care was taken to "even out" the teams and make it fair but I'm not sure it turned out that way...especially if the same people keep being assigned to the same team every time. I really don't care which team I'm on, honestly. I'm looking at it as a SA Team challenge as a whole and not as one group against another anyway. Assigning folks to different teams each time might shake things up in a positive way. Oh boy, I think I'm gonna have to copy and paste this into an email to Lillie. Sorry for taking up space in your blog. LOL Point was: great suggestion about breaking off into smaller teams. :-)

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ELEXEY 5/17/2011 10:40PM

    Wow, those are some awesome suggestions! And you have been doing such a fantastic job ever since you joined, I am very proud of you!!!

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TURTLE_MOM 5/17/2011 10:26PM

    Awesome - great ideas :)

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MELITOD 5/17/2011 9:27PM

    Yeah for you.. you are doing great for your first EPIC! Thanks for your suggestions.

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SBEAR5 5/17/2011 6:58PM

    Love your "tude" Tamara! and great suggestions! Thanks for doing the extra credit! emoticon

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MJ-SHE-BEAST 5/17/2011 5:30PM

    I love the enthusiasm of a dedicated "newbie"! You are doing so well and we are proud to have you with us. I hope you keep up the momentum you are building and I can't wait to see where this journey takes you! Great job!

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    Some great suggestions!!! I will have to see if any fit into EPIC!

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The Weekend Slipup

Monday, May 16, 2011

The weekends are quickly becoming my downfall! It seems by the time Saturday and Sunday come around I'm really tired of tracking and counting calories, but mainly it is being out and about. During the week I follow the same schedule everyday. I get up at the same time, eat breakfast, workout, have free time, eat lunch, workout, have free time, cook dinner....and the cycle repeats. I try to follow that same schedule on the weekends, but something always happens to throw a wrench in my plans.. Don't get me wrong, that's part of what I love about the carefree days of summer and I wouldn't trade my trip to Bubba's Big Deck (who doesn't love a good biker bar on the river with live music?) and Lone Star Float House and Grill yesterday for anything, but I can't seem to figure out how to fit the weekends into my new healthy lifestyle. It's so frustrating to feel like my whole week of hard work has been flushed down the drain. But I want to still be able to enjoy life with friends and family. If that means drinking beer while blues plays in the background and kids are splashing in the river, then I'll just have to figure out how to make it all work for me.

On a side note, does everyone love the changes Spark made to the food tracker? It is SO MUCH EASIER to add food, whether you're searching for it or adding it from favorties. Now you can add multiple items at once! Finally!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XREDEEMED 5/17/2011 9:03AM

    I have long been struggling with weekends AND trips (visits to see family where you eat out a lot, or there are lots of desserts). I haven't figured out a way to make it work for me either. I am glad you posted this blog because reading everyone else's comments gave me a couple of ideas and I know I am not alone!!


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ELEXEY 5/17/2011 12:50AM

    One of the things I struggle with is my beer. I love beer, and not just your ordinary light blassie blah beers either, I like trying all different kinds of craft beers. I don't ever see me giving them up either, and I don't usually just have one and say "ok, I'm good." Nope! So I give myself one day where I get to have my beers (of course I do it at the beginning of the week because I wouldn't want to weigh myself at all in the 3 days following). This is a lifestyle, we have to incorporate those things we love about life into this, even if it's not the healthiest thing we can do, what's life without a little play once in a while. As long as it doesnt' become the norm and it's a special treat.

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TRUE-NESS 5/16/2011 8:51PM

    Yeah, weekends are tough. I love the suggestions Lillie made though. I'm gonna be taking those myself.

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    The best thing I have found to do on weekends it to either plan ahead, so you can plan in the junk you want OR go into each meal with the view of "2 better choices"..... so, if you order a burger, skip the mayo and don't get fries. You still get the burger, but you made 2 better choices by not getting the mayo or fries. It helps me a lot.

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MJ-SHE-BEAST 5/16/2011 4:05PM

    If you stay within range 5 days and go a "little" overboard on the weekends you should NOT really have any ill effects from it. If you go so far overboard that you gain weight, well...time to readjust! Just remember, life is for LIVING and for ENJOYING. Indulgences are fine in moderation and who wants to give up something they enjoy so much such as a couple beer while enjoying family and friends? We are doing this journey to a healthier lifestyle so that we can be around longer and enjoy life better...not so we can sit home and eat celery while getting our butts kicked by Jillian. We eat healthier and make healthier choices MOST of the time so that our extravagances don't become our downfalls. You are doing fine!

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QSULLIVAN 5/16/2011 1:49PM

    Someone else with weekend problems! I pack my lunch for work so I can usually stay on track but weekends are just that much harder. One thing I've been doing that helps is putting in the amount of alcohol I plan to drink into the tracker before I go out. It does two things: 1) make me truly aware of how much I'm going to drink - which usually lessens the amount and 2) gives me an idea of how much leeway I have with my cals, carbs, etc. so I can choose better food when I'm out. I agree with you - weekends are also about fun!

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MOREPOWER 5/16/2011 1:46PM

  I find weekends difficult as well. Perhaps you can "save" some calories for the weekend, increase exercise.

It was my birthday this past weekend. We went away for an overnight visit to a hotel/casino resort with a scrumptious prime rib buffet. I overate but it was my b day after all.

Hang in there. Play with your kids. Have fun.

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Oh the sweet taste of VICTORY!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

So I've been staying away from fast food since I joined Spark because I just didn't trust myself to choose the healthy menu items over my fatty favorites. I knew that eventually I wouldn't be able to avoid it and I hoped I was prepared to make the right decisions. I got my chance twice this week to see how I'd hold up under pressure.

Round 1 - Taco Bell (my FAVORITE and worst enemy)
I got the grilled chicken soft taco off their Fresco menu which I was pretty pleased with. It was tasty and the tortilla even seemed thinner than the regular ones they use. I ignored the beef supreme chalupa and nachos bel grande calling my name!

Round 2 - Chik -fil-a
I got the grilled chicken sandwich on a wheat bun and allowed myself to "splurge" a little and get the waffle fries. Again, it was pretty tasty and I was very satisfied since they don't skimp on the chicken! No fried chicken sandwich or nuggets for me. I was a little torn, but I stuck to my guns and was happy I did.

I stayed in calorie range for both days, so I'm pretty pleased with myself. Will I be able to make those same decisions every time? I don't know. What I do know is that doing it the first time was the hard part. Now I've done it and I know I can do it again. I kind of had an "aha" moment because I asked myself: Is 10 minutes of pleasure worth all the guilt I'll feel afterwards if I don't make a healthy choice? No! I don't think I ever realized how much guilt I was carrying around with me always eating fatty, unhealthy food. I always had an excuse why it was ok. I needed to celebrate, I needed to make myself feel better, I'll do better next time, I'm starting a diet next week.... After years of those silly excuses, enough is enough. I just can't allow myself to continue destroying my body. It's the only one I have and with so much life in front of me I need to start taking care of it.

Have a great weekend guys! Get out there and enjoy this beautiful day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MJ-SHE-BEAST 5/14/2011 8:36PM

    Girl, I love this! Doesn't it feel so empowering to go to the "bad" places and be "good"? I get all smug and happy feeling when I do this, and rightfully so! I'm proud of you!

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TRUE-NESS 5/14/2011 5:03PM

    Celebrating the victory WITH you! emoticon

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SHEILA376 5/14/2011 4:14PM

    Nachos Bel Grande is my favorite too... I have been staying away from Taco Bell. It's a weakness. I actually don't bring any money with me when I leave the house. If I do it's just enough to get me whatever it is that I need.

Great job making the healthier choices. I'm glad you liked them.

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ELEXEY 5/14/2011 2:26PM

    "I'm going to start my diet next week so I should enjoy this week" was always my favorite. Fantastic job choosing the healthier options when I know that those two menus in particular are pretty daunting. And, yes, that grilled chicken sandwich does happen to be pretty tasty and not a whole lot of calories either. Keep it up, you're really doing great!

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My Own Worst Enemy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So my new workout schedule started today! Cardio workout 1 of 2 complete! I can't physically do a straight 60 minute workout right now (and really give it my all) so I'm breaking them up into 30 minute sets. I was already kinda trying to talk myself out of two workouts as soon as I woke up this morning. Does anyone else have that problem? As soon as I start working out I feel great and I'm so proud of myself for doing it, so why is it such a struggle?

I got a special treat today when I noticed that I wasn't struggling quite as much with my push ups, I was able to keep going a little further w/out having to take a break, and I wasn't thinking about how much time I had left! I just kept thinking, "You're doing it! No more jiggle, no more getting winded walking up stairs, no more worrying about how uncomfortable I'll be sitting in desks at school, etc."

Now I have to keep up that energy and enthusiasm for workout 2 of 2 later this afternoon. Anyone, have any motivational ideas that might help? I posted signs on my bathroom mirror, pantry door, and fridge, which helps with non-hunger eating. But I haven't really found anything to motivate me to work out besides knowing that I have to and that I don't want to let my EPIC teammates down. The wifey is great, always encouraging me to keep going, not to give up, and give myself time to see changes, but it's almost not enough. I don't know, I just feel like I'm always sabotaging my own success. I don't work, so I have all summer to really devote to working out, eating right, and establishing good, strong habits before school starts again in August. Why is it such a struggle to take advantage of this opportunity? 60 minutes, 4 days a week....come on! I can do this. I just need to stop feeling so lazy!

Spark on my friends! Let your light shine brighter than the brightest star!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TAMARA6905 5/11/2011 4:42PM

    Successfully completed both work outs! Something changed from when I woke up this morning to when I wrote this blog. Maybe it was because I felt so good after workout 1 I wanted more. Maybe I got tired of my own self-sabotaging BS. Whatever it was I was EXCITED for workout 2! It might also be blogs I've read and conversations I've had with other Sparkers over the past couple of days (a lot of peope seem to be in a slump), but I felt very enthusiastic and almost giddy! I like that this is my new life: eating healthy, controlling portions, watching calories, and exercising; instead of being lazy all day, eating constantly, craving and thinking about the next time I'll get fast food! A relationship like that is just unhealthy!

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MJ-SHE-BEAST 5/11/2011 3:12PM

    How about looking at a picture of a reward you want to give yourself? For some people this works and for others it works to hang up a picture of yourself at your very worst and use it to motivate you to do better for yourself. When I first started on Spark there was a lady who said she went to one of the virtual model sites and designed a model of herself 50 pounds heavier than she actually was and printed it and used it as motivation to keep moving the other way on the scale.

I agree with Lillie about maybe cutting back on the intensity so that you can build on it after you are able to do a full hour. I'm finding I have had to cut back at the gym from what I was doing back when I went to the gym regularly. I'm putting in the time but at an easier pace until it becomes easy enough for me to increase the level. Let us know what you find to be working for you! You can do this! emoticon

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TURTLE_MOM 5/11/2011 3:02PM

    wow - you are doing great! I'm getting back to exercise slowly and I'm not back to 60 minutes again! Lillie's suggestions are great too. Also, there isn't anything wrong with 30 minutes a day if you put all your effort into it! You keep working it and you will see the results you are looking for.

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    If it were me, I would be slowing down the intensity of the hour and just trying to do it all at once. I have a VERY hard time getting myself to exercise twice in one day, personally, so sticking it out through a full hour is better for me. In fact, I am trying to work my hip back up to doing an hour on the elliptical again.... taking it slowly for now.

If you really want to break it up, hmmm.... I would say workout before breakfast and then again before lunch----- I tend to say, "ok Lil, you can have lunch after you workout" and it helps me get moving because ya know... I like to eat. haha.

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New Schedule Starts Tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

SO I decided to re-vamp my workout plan today. I need to take advantage of how much free time I have and increase my cardio to 60 minutes a day. Also I decided to start doing strength training 3 days a week using some resistance bands that I forgot I had!

I made cesar dressing yesterday and was pleasantly surprised at how well it came out. I want to try making it again when I can make the real version with anchovies and all. Going to try my hand at spicing up brown rice tonight for dinner. I'm a little scared it might come out cardboard-ish, but I have a plan!

I should have down cardio on Monday, but I was having a lazy day so I feel guilty, but I'm fully prepared to make up for it tomorrow! I hope everyone is having a great week! WE CAN DO IT!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    mmmmmmmmmmm.... riiiiice. I love rice and I LOVE my rice cooker. Haha.

That exercise plan sounds awesome.... stick to it but listen to your body and if it needs time off.... give it time off! Take it from me and my injuries.... time off is better than the injury.

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SBEAR5 5/10/2011 9:40PM

    Sixty min of cardio and 3 days of ST is going to make you a healthy, slim woman! :) Good Luck girl, sounds like a great plan!

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TAMARA6905 5/10/2011 8:56PM

    The brown rice actually came out really well. I cooked it in a combo chicken broth and water, then added spinach, tomatoes, scallions, and a little grated parmesan cheese. It was soo yummy, but I think next time I'll use cherry tomatoes. They tend to hold their shape a little better and have better flavor. All in all I was pleasantly surprised!

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MJ-SHE-BEAST 5/10/2011 7:52PM

    Tamara, you DO sound like you have a plan! I had to experiment a bit with the brown rice but now I love it so much better than plain white...I think you will, too! It's amazing what things like chopped green onions, garlic, or low sodium soup broth can do for brown rice. There are so many different healthy foods you can add to it.
I like Caesar salad but have never been a fan of anchovies. That said, I haven't tried them since I was a child so who knows? Maybe I will get brave and try them again.
Glad you aren't too down about Monday. We just put it behind us and move forward. Great job!

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