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For the next month...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I very much want to simply focus on creating an action plan for 2010 that will allow me to shed this last little bit of mental energy draining weight. I can't really say I'm unhappy with where I am at, but I do spend needless energy thinking about how satisfying it would be to have the scale say "a little" something different. I would like to see the 120's even if by only a pound, and I guess I have to give some thought to what it will take to make that happen. I am going to research some new sparkteams that might bring inspiration. I am also going to be purging the cupboards this month to get rid of the things I won't want in the house next year. And finally, I am going to minimize some of the clutter that's in my house. Another mental energy drain that leads to procrastination when I just feel overwhelmed with the piles and "junk" everywhere I look. Now to get the rest of the family on board will be the challenge!

To a fresh start in the new year!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I'm in exactly the same place....which is why I havebeen on SP less and am over a week behind in reading blogs but I am making tremendous progress in downsizing my life!!! Here's to a lighter 2010 in so many ways!!! Jackie!!!

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PAMELA984 12/5/2009 1:25PM

    What a great idea - planning ahead for a new year. I'm cleaning closets today and finding too many clothes that I have "outgrown" - and not in a good way. I have been back on track for a couple of weeks and the scale is rewarding me.

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In November 2009, I am grateful for a plethora...

Monday, November 09, 2009

1. I am grateful I have a place to come and blog at my leisure. When I am angry, when I am ecstatic, when I am heartbroken or elated, I can come to spark and share where I am keeping myself in my healthy column and away from the "sick" tally sheet. Thanks sparkguy!

2. I am grateful at least in this realm, I don't have to have all the answers right now. I have friends here who support me and know that I am doing the best I can and they do not judge.

3. I am grateful for the body that I have built over the past 10 years that can run a 5k and still get up and function the next day.

4. I am grateful that after years of practice, I have learned to hear what my body needs. My mind body connection has been strengthened through attentive listening and I know what I need most times.

5. I am grateful that when I hear my body ask for something, I recognize that I make a choice when I listen to it.

6. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a job to come to that satisfies my intellectual needs, and a rewarding personal life.

7. I am grateful that I am in a healthy place, where I can honor my needs not above others necessarily, but right up there as just as important and I don't need to sacrifice self anymore.

8. I am grateful for the restorative powers of chocolate!

9. I am grateful for those mornings that I can lay in bed and come awake at my bodies response to the dawn, and lay there after a big stretch knowing that I don't have to rush off to work! I LOVE a cozy lazy snuggle.

10. I am grateful for my coworkers who make coming to work so rewarding. They make my long workdays a real pleasure.

11. I am grateful that somedays things fall into place. Somedays someone says just the right thing at the right moment to give you exactly what you need. I am grateful for serendipity!

12. I am grateful I am an organized person!

13. I am grateful that there are many times I have had to learn the hard way. Those lessons are the ones I never forget!

14. I am grateful for change. As uncomfortable as it may be, without change, we'd have no butterflies!

15. I am grateful for moments that are fleeting and so precious we wish we could capture them in a bottle. The feelings that come with these moments as memorable as they are can only be shadows of the event when we look back, and yet I'm grateful!

16. I am grateful for the resources I have in my life to help guide the decisions I make EACH DAY!

17. I am grateful for PTO!!

18. I am grateful for my ability to adapt to technology!

19. I am grateful to be a life long learner!

20. I am grateful for my eyesight that allows me to watch my children grow, enjoy a good book and watch some eye candy when that book is made into a movie!

21. I am grateful for making it a priority to offer priority time to my kids. I chose not only to have kids, but to be a parent...there is a difference.

22. I am grateful that after a tough weekend of eating poorly, I now have the wisdom to learn from my mistakes quickly and with less guilt!

23. I am grateful that I can learn from my parents and offer my kids some of the same experiences as children without focusing on the bitterness.

24. I am grateful for TV to distract me while I workout!

25. I am grateful for the friends that I have that support me unconditionally!

26. I am grateful for Pecan Pie! Yum!

27. I am grateful for the interruption in routine that the holidays bring, a time to reflect and think about what's really important!

28. I grateful for payday!

29. I am grateful for the opportunity to make plans, think about options, and the power I have to make choices that I can live with!

30. I am grateful for recovery in all it's forms!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAHIBOMOM 1/22/2010 5:40PM

    Ditto!! You're an inspiration.....and, a true friend.

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YO~YOLANDA 11/10/2009 7:32PM

    I am Greatful for YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Race Won!!!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I don't even know where to start. You'd think it's not that big of a deal, but it so is. Today was my first 5k and I won. I didn't come in first. I didn't even place. The point is I finished. Not only did I finish, but I beat my own pie in the sky greatest expectations!

Even if I hadn't created a new personal record (36:31 thank you very much!!), it would have been a win. I SOOO wanted to quit half way through. Then I wanted to quit 3/4 of the way. I didn't. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I finished! I beat my best training time by more than 5 minutes. In my wildest dreams, I just wanted to get under 40 minutes. I blew that goal out of the water! I did it!

It was SOOOO intimidating. There were all these experienced runners there that were talking to each other about the race last weekend, and the race next weekend (they're crazy because it was FREEZING last weekend, wet and rainy, and HELLO? It's November in Ohio, quite literally freezing weather now at 30-some degrees in the early morning). So I was feeling VERY much out of my league. But I kept hearing all my pirates telling me to run "my" race, that it didn't matter how I did, I won just for showing up. And I finally started to believe it!

I learned a LOT today!

1. What I was doing on my treadmill is jogging. What I did today was running. LOL!

2. You don't have to show up at the START of registration, no matter how eager you are, the race won't start until it starts!

3. The excitement when they say "GO!" can too easily go to your head. Everyone started out WAY fast, and I started out way too fast too, which means I struggled to control my breathing after the first 1/2 mile.

4. If I want to race outdoors, I have to train outdoors. I have been relying mostly on my treadmill and I didn't take into account the temperature. Oh, I was dressed fine, but huffing and puffing that cold air for so long left me feeling all day like I've got instantaneous bronchitis. (I sound a little like a seal as this racking deep cough has taken over all day since I finished the race).

5. It isn't worth it to push past comfort. Towards the end, I really pushed and ended up literally wheezing and having a hard time catching my breath when I finally started to cool down. I would have been better off taking the extra minute on my time to not induce that quasi-exercise induced asthma attack. (at least that's what I'm guessing it was as I never felt that panicked about shortness of breath and hope NEVER to experience it again).

6. In the long run (pun intended), it was so worth doing! Knowing that I stuck it out, that I finished was actually quite emotional when I finally did cross the finish line (which made it even harder to catch my breath). I didn't realize how much I had invested in this race, but I feel like there's more that I have to learn from it with a little distance from this chest pain.

Finally, saving the best for last, my darling husband of almost 15 years got up with me at 6:30 this morning, and as a surprise, he came with me. He registered for the race at the door, and stayed with me the whole time. There were several moments where I though I couldn't do it for another minute and I would reach out and just grab his elbow (I couldn't even talk for the huffing and puffing) and he would give me words of encouragement that had me going just a few more minutes and then just a few more. I am in love all over again!

I don't know that it's glamorous, but that's my first 5k. I'm sure there are more lessons to come, but I sure am grateful for the ones that I walked away with today! It's too soon to say if I liked it or not, or if I would do it again, but I'm glad I did it today. And that's enough.

Before I wrap this up, I have to thank EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU that were thinking of me today. When I needed it, don't think for a moment I didn't feel all your positive thoughts helping push me just a little further. I don't know that I would have sailed through this race quite so steadily without my pirates and especially a great big hug and thank you to my own inspiration: Thanks Jackie! (MISSJCISRUNNING, go ahead check out her page, she'll inspire you too!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNERCHICK007 11/11/2009 3:59PM

    Way to go Tracy!! What an accomplishment!! Keep it up girl!

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YO~YOLANDA 11/10/2009 8:48PM

    Tracy...It took me a few days to get over here...but I wanted to come and let you know how happy I am for you...How PROUD I am of you...and how Motivating you are to so many!!! You are a Mighty Inspiration!!! Thank you for sharing your Experience with us all...I have to say...your Lessons are some of the same that I leanred in my 1st (and only, so far) 5k...I have one more to add to your list...Something I learned during my experience...

When you are running (not jogging) your lil heart out...and you don't quite know what to are pushing yourself to keep on going...and at the same time wondering WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!?! Pondering the thought of slowing...or better yet perhaps stopping for a lil rest but Motivated onward by the thought of wanting to make your Goal...Heart pounding...throat hurting...legs barely co-operating...mind ARE at exhaustion...

Get the piture...

At this can see the finish line...the end is near...The numbers are there counting down...Only a little bit further...

At this crucial point...

You DO NOT want to smell the rank perfume of the sweetest little old stranger lady routing you on to your victory...You are so close to hurling...and you have got to keep on running just to escape the clutches of that sweet old lady perfume =D Bless her heart...

Here is the lesson...

Spectator or Participator...Please, Do NOT waer strong smelling perfumes to a race such as this...Perfume should NEVER waft farther than a 2ft radius...or you could end someones chances of finishing their race, right then and there... =D

When you are Giving it your All...and I mean Truely fighting a fight...all it takes is the smell of Strong perfume to bring a person to their knees just before the Finish line. =D


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GRAPHICKAT 11/9/2009 12:02PM

    Awesome job Tracy! Can't wait to do my first 5k.

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JEM0622 11/9/2009 9:32AM

    Congrats! Now when is the next race? As Jackie can is a catchy habit! emoticon I saw a shirt the other day and it is so true 'If You Can Run a Mile You Can Run a Marathon'. So so true. Enjoy the glow! ~julie

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SSDOWNS 11/8/2009 5:41PM

    Woo Hoo way to go girl. I am so Proud of you.
That is wonderful.
You are a winner!!!! emoticon emoticon

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JSTBKOZ 11/8/2009 3:28PM

    Tracy you rock. I love that you tried and beat your goal. Amazing success. emoticon

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CAHIBOMOM 11/8/2009 11:24AM

    Tracy - YOU ROCK WOMAN!!! What a wonderful success story - a -personal triumph!! An inspiration... With my mug of rum held high, you deserve a pirate salute of the best kind. Congrats!

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PAMELA984 11/8/2009 6:31AM

    Kudos to you, my friend! How awesome is it that you followed through - signed up - actually ran - actually finished - AND beat your personal best time? You are awesome!

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BIENEGOLD 11/7/2009 8:48PM

    Congratulations! I'm thinking about doing my first 5k either on 12/12 or 12/19 and I'm excited/intimidated!

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    Tracy...You are a WINNER!!! I never had a doubt in my mind that you would smash your own expectation!!! You worked hard, stayed diligent and kicked ass when you needed to...those are the characteristics of an athlete!!! I am soooo proud of you!!! Jackie!!!

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LW8843 11/7/2009 8:27PM

    Congratulations! What a great feeling it must have been to finish.

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Ignorance is NOT bliss...

Monday, October 05, 2009

I was in a situation today where a group of people were sadly discussing the unexpected passing of a fellow employee over the weekend. Preliminarily, it looks as if he may have had a fatal heart attack. He was late 50-ish, early 60's from all accounts, and this loss was TOTALLY unexpected. He was well loved, had a family, and brought joy to his colleagues. And he was obese.

I then proceeded to watch all those same individuals having the conversation load their plates with potato salad, corned beef, bacon, fatty ham, artery clogging cheeses, and enough ounces of other assorted lunch meats on each sandwich to feed several people.

I couldn't help thinking about all the nitrates, the high sodium, the sugars added in processing, the high fat content and all the other concerns that I had as each obese person at this event continued to pile their plates. Interestingly, not ONE of them added the lettuce garnish or tomato to their sandwiches.

It was an ironic moment watching each of these individuals contribute to their own poor health with the decisions they were making at just one meal,...with an audience. It was as if they were oblivious to the consequences of putting those kinds of foods in your body on a regular basis. Taking their own health and longevity in their own hands...and mouth, over lunch.

Wow. I can't help but deduce that as a rule, people just don't connect actions with consequences!

I thought back to a moment this very morning (the same day) that had me taken aback and reflecting on the image I present. One of my co-workers came in this morning with a bag of bagels and offered both myself and a colleague of mine (also health conscious) her bagels should we ever have the urge or have forgotten our lunches. She added, "...not that you guys eat a whole one, but you can always split one and each eat half."

I am happy today that I can at least model for others the behaviors I hope the people of this country can all someday adopt. I am sad for obesity in America today as it has apparently claimed one more life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_THEA_ 10/8/2009 8:21AM

    It's a very sad thing. I'll bet that after the conversation and the poor choice of lunch at least one went outside for a smoke too. I see it all the time. People seem to think that "it can't happen to me" and can happen to anyone. My dad had a stroke a year ago on Valentine's day and that was a real aha moment for me. Why is it that we get so frustrated when things are outside of our control, however, we (society) as a whole, are not willing to take the bull by the horns and change what we can? my moment of revelation, I decided that I was NOT going to continue to let myself consistently make bad choices, I would consistently exercise, and I was not going to put myself at risk for health problems.

On the other hand, though, I still see my mother, my sister, my father-in-law, and a long list of friends and co-workers who engage in my pre-revelation behavior. With all of my excitement about the major life changes I had made, I tried to convert them to my school of thought...and the excuses started to roll. I heard everything..."I only eat one meal a day", "I never had a problem", "I only smoke 5 cigarettes a day" and so on, and so on. But the underlying theme here was "not me...can't happen to me..." we've all seen, YES it can happen to me, and you...any of us. But I'll tell you all something right here and right WON'T happen to ME because of something I can control!

Have a great day everyone...and repeat after me..."there are a lot of things in life that I can't I will control what I exercising...and eating healthy...and not increasing my risks for disease by making poor choices!"
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    You hit it right on the head....they don't make the connection between what they eat and how they always baffles me!!! At this point I am happy that DH is finally getting it...we can't save the world but we can be an example of better behavior and positive results!!! Jackie!!!

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PAMELA984 10/6/2009 6:56AM

    We see this repeated every single day - and sometimes it is even us! Modeling good behavior is the best approach

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COOLGIRL68 10/5/2009 10:08PM

    You are an amazing role model. Keep on promoting great health.

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Eating on a REALLY tight budget: ANSWERS!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

One of my fellow pirates asked a good question. How do you eat well on a tight budget. I mean really tight. Have you ever faced this scenario? Sadly, I have. NUMEROUS times in my life. Usually for a few months to even a couple years, but it's ALWAYS scary. I'm in that position again now and feel much more confident this time after YEARS of practice! I think a LOT of us are in that boat so I thought I would share what I've learned in case any one tip can save someone a few dollars! With a family of five it feels like I spend a king's ransom each month and w/DH out of work since July we've had to get back to basics.

#1 I have actually changed which grocery store I use. There are some really deep discount local chain stores that ONLY carry generic and their prices are ALWAYS lower than the regular grocery and then they have SALES on top of that! I shop there first, using their sales flier to plan the week's menu. After that, I go to the close out grocery with some brand names (with labels upside down,etc.) Finally, I will go to the regular grocery for what I can't get anywhere else.

#2 I don't bother with coupons as the name brand with the coupon is often more than the generic of the same. Or you buy things you wouldn't have if you didn't HAVE the coupon! Think about it!

#3 I buy BIG quanitities of the staples (all the way on the bottom shelf) as they are cheaper in the long run and last longer (several lbs. of rice, pasta in a jumbo bag, beans by the bushel, etc.)

#4 I stopped buying chicken breasts and instead buy whole frozen chickens when they are on sale. With a little work, they make 3 meals. Out of 2 chickens (remember this is a family of 5 with 3 males) the breasts make one meal, the dark meat makes a casserole, then the carcass I use for soup! You'd be surprised how much meat there still is after 2 meals! Just be sure to get rid of ALL the skin before you even cook it!

#5 The few times I use beef, I always make meatballs or meatloaf, not burgers. I can add quite a bit of grain which adds fiber cheap and stretches the meat much further.

#6 Frozen veggies are my preference, so I always look for the sale on these and stock up. But the discount rack for veggies is a great place to find cheap fresh veggies to be used right away. You can also find slightly bruised, super ripe fruits and use them for smoothies, very filling and yummo!! Cheap too if you buy the BIG "jug o' yogurt" instead of individual cups.

#7 There is usually a discount bread section too, and thanks to the miracle of toasting, "day old" just doesn't matter!

I hope these tips help some. I have had YEARS (and multiple time periods where there wasn't another option) to learn some REALLY creative ways to save and I hope they can help you, too. I'm sure you want to know you are getting the biggest bang for your buck! It is SOOO important to get the most out of a limited grocery budget. I'll try to think what else I do too, but I kind of tried to go by food group and now I've run dry...

I would LOVE to hear what others do! Thanks for ANY contribution!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TNEAL94 10/5/2009 12:49PM

    Awesome ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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DEE797 10/4/2009 11:29AM

    Thanks for posting these tips on stretching your food and dollars. During these trying times for many of us, these will definitely come in handy.

Much success on your journey!


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LW8843 10/4/2009 11:27AM

    This is a great idea and a great blog. You have some really good tips. Although, for me, going to 3 different stores would be really hard since I have a toddler and a new born. But I love som of the other idea's.

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PAMELA984 10/4/2009 11:27AM

    Great thoughts!

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PEGGYO 10/4/2009 10:27AM

    I buy the boneless chicken breast when they are on sale and one pound can be cut up into a lot of small pieces and sauted with lots of veggies even some canned ones water chestnuts. I make a big batch of rice or noodles and mix it all together. I also add some canned pineapple or mandarn oranges.
If I have a few nuts I throw them in too.
I also make refrigerator soup. Leftover veggies, meatloaf, chicken noodels or rice even mashed potatoes along with a big can of crushed or diced tomatoes and lots of cans of water.

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MESDEY 10/4/2009 10:24AM

  Hey, thanks for putting all the tips out there for everyone as it can be tough stretching the pennies to put good food on the table. Have a great day!

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