UNIDENT   48,427
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Oranges are negative calories

Saturday, October 06, 2012

No, I'm not falling victim to the allure of the mythical 'negative calorie foods'...

But it almost seems like some fruits are! I like oranges. But I avoid them. I just hate all that work to get into them! You can bite right into a ready-to-go apple, bananas take but a second to peel, but oranges? Messy as heck to peel, and if you go with slicing you have to have a plate and sharp knife available.

They're just not worth the effort to fight to get into them.

Maybe all that effort really does add up - maybe they would be 'negative' by the time I got them in! :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARAGRAM 11/23/2014 10:29PM

    The knife cutting around the middle is the best way! It is so easy.

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DRAGONCHILDE 4/13/2013 8:29AM

    I actually enjoy peeling oranges; maybe it's a memory thing, thinking about my dad, since I use his method (a little triangular cut at the navel of the orange) but I even enjoy peeling off each little vein.

IF anything's a negative calorie food though, it probably would be an orange!

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SLIMMERKIWI 4/13/2013 5:11AM

    Oranges are EASY to get into. I can't peel them with my hands the usual way because they dry my fingers out too much and cause splits/cracks/bleeding. What I do is get a sharp knife and cut it just through the skin, right around the middle. Then I get a wide-handled teaspoon or dessert spoon, that has a slight curve to the handle, and push that into the cut as far as it comfortably goes (almost to the top) and slide it right around the orange, then repeat the other side. Then the orange skin comes off - two pieces and no mess :-)


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MARILYNROBERT 3/22/2013 3:21PM

    I love oranges but what a mess! emoticon

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KPILVER 3/5/2013 1:28AM

    I've been on a clementine kick lately! So easy to grab and go, and they are easy enough to peel at a traffic light in case I get hungry while I'm out and about. Could not do that with an orange.

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SNAFUKEN 1/27/2013 6:48PM

    Oranges are wonderful. emoticon
The peeling process is worth the effort IMO . emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 10/6/2012 2:24PM

    Have ever you tried a Clementine ? those will be coming into season soon. They are absolutely yummy AND easy to peel ! tangerines and tangelos aren't bad either.

Personally, I love grapefruits. but those are labor intensive ! LOL !!!


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GRACEFULIFE 10/6/2012 12:51PM

    If you cut _anything_ on a plate, you are murdering your knife edges. Good knives and cutting boards (preferably wood, slightly preferably end-grain) are where it's at. And touch up the knives as soon as they feel anything but very sharp!

With my preferred chef's knife I can probably slice an orange in 3 seconds. That isn't really all that much work. You could also try the mandarin/clementine, they are much easier to peel. Also if you search google for easy ways to peel an orange there are many sites with easier methods--much like is out there monkey style banana opening method.

Honestly, I find all the hassle eating around the apple core to not be worth it either. I only eat apples that have been cut.

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JADOMB 10/6/2012 10:42AM

    Have you seen the orange peeler? It's a plastic stick looking thing with a sharpened flat screwdriver tip on one end and a odd drag cutter on the other. You just run it around the orange a couple times and pull off large nice peels on most oranges.

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CAROL- 10/6/2012 8:01AM

    I'll second that! emoticon

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CCHEF1 10/6/2012 6:40AM

    I agree! I am just starting to use them more and in fact just had a smoothie using half of one. So energizing.

Great blog.

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RAPUNZEL53 10/6/2012 5:47AM

  I love oranges!

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MAGGIEVAN 10/6/2012 4:54AM

    Oranges are great. Peeling is easy, it is mind over matter.

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TCANNO 10/6/2012 4:49AM

    I have to agree with you on this one so you are not alone


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WILSON1926 10/6/2012 4:46AM


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The Great Stationary Cycling Experiment

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In yet another experiment borne of message board discussions, the question arose as to whether your body weight actually does make much difference in stationary cycling. One poster said that it does, because Spark gives significantly different burn rates for heavier people for the same workout. Others said that the resistance is entirely magnetic and your individual body weight is irrelevant.

So the experiment...

Using myself as an estimation, therefore pretty identical actual HRs during the two bouts, so the only variable is the weight plugged into the device...

10 mins stationary cycling at 18mph, with the weights of 250lbs and 120lbs plugged into the Bike and the HRM.

Spark Stationary = stationary cycling,vigorous, greater-than 15mph

Calories burned at 250lbs:
Bike: 95
HRM: 97
Spark Stationary: 219

Calories burned at 120lbs
Bike: 84
HRM: 81
Spark Stationary: 83


The bike and the HRM reported similar but only slightly lower burn rates for the lighter person, given the same HR recorded over the durations. Spark, which doesn't ask for HR, indicated an incredibly significantly higher burn for the heavier person, and a burn more matching the other devices for the lighter person.

Notice that Spark's figure of 219 for 10 minutes of exercise for the obese person is 22 cals per minute - which is pretty much physically impossible. Exercise almost never gets above 14 cpm, and most exercise is 6-12cpm depending on intensity and your weight. Given cycling is a very low intensity lower-body-only activity, it's incredibly unlikely that it would realistically be anywhere near 22 cpm even for the most grossly overweight of individuals.


Spark erroneously takes your weight into consideration when calculating burn on a magnetic resistance device. Neither the device, nor my HRM, report that the burn would be significantly different for a heavier person, but Spark reports a phenominal difference - more than 2.5 times the burn.

Therefore I would STRONGLY caution AGAINST using Spark's estimates for any magnetic resistance workout, and instead use an HRM, or the machine reported figure, or seek an average from other online sources.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UNIDENT 4/14/2013 3:01PM


Spark have updated their calories burned calculation for the elliptical and it is much more reasonable and less dependent on your own body weight.

They say the exercycle update is coming, too...

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KPILVER 3/5/2013 1:31AM

    I often find myself entering less minutes than I actually spent on the eliptical machine into the tracker because sparks calorie estimate is higher than what the machine says I actually burned.

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GRACEFULIFE 10/6/2012 1:01PM

    Most of the burn calculators are wrong, hence I've been suggesting getting cardio calorie burn from a chest strap style HRM for many years.

There is a closer calculator out there that takes into account VO2max, which there are several ways to estimate. My HRM does it, and there are time trial methods for many endurance activities.

Cycling can be higher intensity depending on how you go about it. I agree that magnetic resistance units don't really create high intensity - I think I could pedal my rim-drive trainer on top resistance in top gear on my MTB forever. By the same token, I can easily entirely exhaust myself in 5 minutes or ~3 intervals on my spin bike (with felt pad friction mechanism). When I do so, it's also much more full-body because the core and arms become involved when I stand and sprint, or if I try to simulate pro riders' aero positions. But, yes, it still doesn't approach the XC ski machine or Air-Dyne (or even a Concept2 rower) for maximum muscle use.

None of which remotely approaches the intensity of a limit 5-set of squats or deadlifts.

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JADOMB 10/1/2012 12:01PM

    Thanks, I'm always learning more. Who says you can't teach and old dog new tricks. ;-)

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ROSINVN 9/24/2012 9:04AM

    Interesting. I have this dilemma too, as the spark count is one think, the machine count is another and I have a heart rate monitor and it gives me a third figure all highly different. Not sure which one to believe as i am on BP medicine that affects the heart rate which probably why the monitor gives me such very low cal burn readings, or maybe its true? who knows?

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HOLLY255255 9/23/2012 7:43AM


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NANCYANNE55 9/22/2012 7:35PM

    Very interesting! I wasn't aware that Sparks calculator took the individuals weight into consideration at all- I assumed it thought we all were 150 lb females. And even at that, I thought the calories burned was too high.

Thank you for taking the time to do this.

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Why goals suck

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Well, not so much. But anyway ...

Today's Spark Coach motivation is to ask myself, about my goals, "Why do you want to reach those goals so badly and how will they change your life?"

Um ... it won't.

Will I be happier if thinner? No. Happiness isn't about what size you are. If you're not happy now, getting thinner won't do it.

Will I stop being tormented for being fat? No. I'm not getting tormented.

Will my health improve? Probably - but immeasurably. I don't suffer any ill effects of weight now.

So how will it change my life if I achieve my goals? It won't. I'm still going to be the same happy, positive, caring, generous, loving and well-loved person that I am now and (hopefully) will always be.

This is why sometimes it's hard to keep those goals so in mind. It's not going to be life-changing. And I think that if you think it will, you'll be sorely disappointed when you get there.

Do I speak from experience? Yeah, I've been there. I lost 40kg a few years ago, and slowly gained about half that back. I'd like to get back to where I was. I know what it was like at 75kg weight, I know how I felt, I know what my life was like then.

It was the same as now.

But less pizza.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOLLY255255 12/17/2012 8:19AM

    One thing my goals gave me was healthier hobbies. Instead of watching tv programs and movies, I am out running and cycling. I am the same person, no doubt, but I think I am spending my time on this earth in a more productive way.

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GRACEFULIFE 10/6/2012 1:11PM

    These are some good reasons I suggest for people to transition away from weight and the scale, and to some performance-oriented goals, whether it is to run a fast 5k, become skilled at a sport, or be able to perform a 2x body weight snatch.

The best scenario is to develop goals in an activity that is FUN. Because then the reason for training becomes to HAVE MOAR FUN, which is a goal that is at least somewhat motivational for most of us.

Getting caught up in the mentality that "I have to diet / watch my weight forever" is a self-imposed prison. To be truly successful, I think one must stop thinking about "maintenance' and start thinking about performance and fun. Most people talk about making this a lifestyle change... but then don't really suggest to people how to achieve it. As far as I'm concerned it shouldn't be dieting, or weight, as a lifestyle. Heck it shouldn't even necessarily be "fitness" as a lifestyle--there are too many types of fitness, too many ways to express it, and it's just a vague goal. "Performance at X" is motivational, measurable, progressive, and non-obsessive.

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JADOMB 8/20/2012 2:17PM

    It depends on the goals. All my goals will extend my life and make my last years more enjoyable. So they don't suck. Will they be lifechanging? Some will. They have already helped me attain more clarity and focus, in addition to being able to do much more and feel soooo good.

Even the time I spend on measuring, tracking, exercising, etc., are actually kinda fun and don't suck either. I'm loving what my goals have helped me attain.

There is that old saying that if you have no destination in mind, you have now way of charting out your journey. Goals are just short term destinations that helps one find the best routes on their journey.

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BETHIEBOOPS 8/19/2012 12:54PM

    Interesting thoughts- personally I am total against the idea that when you are thin/run an 8min mile/wear a size 2 you will be happy. Truth is, if you are unhappy you will be smaller version of your unhappy self.

But I think your goals will change your life. For instance, if you engross yourself at the gym, you will increase your social circle to health conscious people (if you didn't have this already it could be a huge life change). This would mean holidays aren't just about drinking at the pub and dancing on the bar, but about rock climbing, skiiing, marathon training etc.

it will mean a longer life for you. It will mean finding clothes that fit and suite your body. It will mean more than just getting thin.

When we deny ourselves so entirely to reach a goal we MUST believe that there is a greater payoff at the end of the road. If we do not believe in the large payoff- the changes will not stick. You wouldn't walk across flames for a Noddy badge, but maybe for self pride or bragging rights? You know what I mean? Pay off must be greater than the pain to get there or we just wouldn't do it.

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BUSYGRANNY5 8/19/2012 9:45AM

    I enjoyed your blog.. made me stop and look at my goals and why they are what they are...

Have a great day!

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RADIOTIKSPARK1 8/19/2012 8:31AM

    I think you are right for the most part. If someone's goal it 'lose weight so someone will love me', they are setting themselves up for a horrible crash and burn.

However, if the question was "Why do you want to reach those goals so badly and how will they change your life?" Consider a different kind of goal.

With the understanding that much of this is cosmetic, at least for those of us without any health problem, how about purely cosmetic goals/

Yesterday I had to buy a dress for a wedding. This sort of thing used to be a harrowing process because of my weight. Finding a dress that was both the right size and looked good on someone my size was always rough. When I started concentrating on my body and losing weight, I sincerely hoped (is that a goal?) that when I was significantly smaller I would be able to, well, wear any shape of clothes and be able to always find something in my size. I very much wanted that, it would both allow me to play with that aspect of aesthetics and would make life easier.

Yesterday showed me that I had actually achieved that goal. With the exception of clothing made for very busty ladies (something that I will never be!), I could pull off anything I tried on. My new size was always on the rack and I could tell that the clothing had been designed with my new body shape in mind.

There is nothing wrong with a goal of 'be able to wear whatever I want'. Heck, I see you are in NZ...I'll be back in NZ over Christmas and I have a totally superficial goal of wearing a type of swimsuit there that I have never been able to before...literally because the bottom part wouldn't stay on the vast parts of me that I was trying to stretch it over :) This does change a tangible aspect of one's life.

As a final aside, I think people do interact with me differently now. I could go into extensive detail, but it is noticeable. There are some negative aspects of it (I've had to smack people down for talking bad about other people's weight to me since I am now seen as 'skinny'; that has never happened before. Yuck), but for the most part it is positive and I like it.

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BUBBLEJ1 8/18/2012 11:32PM

    Interesting perspective. I always like reading your view on things, it really gets me thinking!

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MPLANE37 8/18/2012 10:24PM

    In my experience, goals never suck. That includes my fat loss. I look at myself in the mirror, and wow. I fall in love with myself instantly. I become happier. It helps. I don't really crave any food. I am not deprived at all.

Even when I struggle to reach my too-high-for-my-talent-goal, I still notice that I get better at it. That too makes me happier.

Comment edited on: 8/18/2012 10:25:33 PM

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DRAGONCHILDE 8/18/2012 9:12PM

    I think a lot of people have the idea that losing weight will somehow magically fix all the things that are wrong with our lives. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that our weight doesn't have as great an impact as we want it to. Skinny people have issues with bosses, trouble getting hired, relationships, and such just the same as fat people do.

It's a lot easier to blame getting passed on the promotion on your waistline than to admit you suck at multitasking, or the person who got qualified really was a better choice than you.

My goals are not related to my weight, actually. I thought about this the other day; suppose I never lost a single pound again? Suppose I stayed this weight for the rest of my life?

I'd be okay with that. I'm not where I want to be, but honestly, I'm in better shape than I've been since college. I have NEVER been able to lift weights like I do now. I've never been as devoted to being *healthy* as I am now.

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NANCYANNE55 8/18/2012 8:46PM

    LOL! Well, my goals WERE life changing- losing the weight changed me entirely: I've made a career out of fitness.

I guess it's all according the the individual.

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Dr Oz

Saturday, June 09, 2012

So I was surfing the on-screen TV guide the other day and happened to notice that we actually get Dr Oz in this country. Since he's referenced so often on the message boards, I thought I'd check it out.

My assumption was that this was some sort of either talk show like Oprah or health based show. That assumption was blown away in about 30 seconds! LOL

The episode was something like "5 meals to reshape 5 body types in 5 days".

This entire show is choreographed and delivered EXACTLY like an infomercial. That's all it is. It's not daytime television - it's a late night infomercial dressed up!

The presentation was enough to make me want to turn off, but I sat through it. He gave the meals (with supplements - who is funding this guy?) for 4 body types and said he'd come back to the 5th. Then it was a push for raspberry ketones with a visiting "weight loss expert". Seriously? If that's the best credit you can give this person, it's probably not someone we ought to be listening to. I could call myself a "weight loss expert". Next how to dress for your body type - okay, not scammy, but frankly I thought some of the poor girls looked much fatter in their 'after' outfits. Lastly there was the only 5 makeup products you need. And then the show ended ... where was that 5th body type? Guess there's no miracle meal/supplement if you're fat "all over".

Ultimately ... this was obviously just a sheer infomercial product pushing show all the way through. There was nothing here that was remotely about you and your health first, it was 100% a commercial.

I can't believe ANYONE takes any advice from this show! Having seen it now, it's so much worse than I imagined from the message board comments!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

YELLOWDAHLIA 7/7/2012 6:50PM

    Great blog!
You are so right, it's a hour long infomercial.

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UNIDENT 6/13/2012 2:54AM

    I love basil. And I don't suffer from anxiety ...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm ;)

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BUBBLEJ1 6/13/2012 1:56AM

    Basil! Is that all I need?! Whew, my problems are solved!

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    Yeahhh.. I guess people are just so hopeful for some type of quick fix that they'll buy into the obvious infomercial that is Dr. Oz.

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OBIESMOM2 6/12/2012 5:01PM

    I've never watched Dr. Oz (actually I don't even know what he looks like).

I will admit to occasionally watching Dr. Phil even though he drives me up a wall. I do like his 'how's that workin' for ya?' and use it often.

after I worked in the convention industry (where we got yelled at A LOT by exhibitors) I couldn't tolerate much talk TV. People start talking over each other and I can't take it.

what's really funny to me is that Springer was once mayor of Cincinnati!

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DRAGONCHILDE 6/12/2012 4:44PM

    Oh wait. Looks like there's more coming up. So far, he's hawked three herbal supplements to fix everything from anxiety to stress.

Look guys, just eat basil! No more anxiety! And all natural is better because there's no side effects?

I hate this guy.

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DRAGONCHILDE 6/12/2012 4:35PM

    Hodgson Mill gluten free brown rice flax seed pasta. That's the magic weight loss food (among others) I expect will pop up in diet and nutrition. You'll lose 14 lbs a year eating it! Woohoo!

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DRAGONCHILDE 6/12/2012 3:53PM

    You know, I'm starting to see the signs of what's on Dr. Oz. Anytime you go to the Nutrition forum, and find not one, but two or three comments from newer members about some random supplement or diet... it means that was the subject on Dr. Oz. I'm about to test the theory, and watch it in 10 minutes on my station, and see what happens.

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-CORAL- 6/12/2012 3:27PM

    I have never seen Dr. Oz and had no idea what the fuss was about. Looks like I'm not missing out!

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JADOMB 6/12/2012 11:09AM

    And here I thought I was the only one that thought he was anymore than just a barker with great hair. Like too many of these guys, the women watch them cuz they are cute. LOL It is getting more difficult to sort through all the info that is now available and figure out which is fact and which is fiction. Searching Google is getting to be more and more like panning for gold. One has to be very careful searching through the mud to find the little flakes of gold.

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RABBLERRABBIT 6/12/2012 9:11AM

    From heart transplant surgeon (he's a source in the book "Stiff") to carnival barker. Maybe it's like watching Jerry Springer. He does get a scary lot of face-time with the general public, but no one takes Jerry seriously either. About 10 years ago he was fun to watch and easy to dance to and his book was HUGE - too bad he followed the money.

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UNIDENT 6/9/2012 11:34PM

    Thanks Jess. Dang - it's pretty scary that genuinely licenced medical/psychiatric practitioners can sell out like that! Makes you doubt any information you get from anyone ... even Becky Hand. A good reminder that you should take EVERY source as potentially invalid and check out the references and the industry opinion of that source before accepting advice from it (which is what rescues our beloved Becky!).

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BUBBLEJ1 6/9/2012 10:08PM

    From memory he is a heart surgeon... He mentions it on his show.

And yes, Dr Phil is a qualified shrink. Although he no longer carries a license because what he does doesn't count as practicing.

Yes, I do watch too much crappy TV when I am home sick.

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UNIDENT 6/9/2012 10:02PM

    He actually IS an MD? I just figured it was "Dr" in the same way "Dr" Phil is - purely a pseudonym for TV.

Oh god ... someone's going to tell me Dr Phil is actually a qualified shrink, aren't they?

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BUBBLEJ1 6/9/2012 8:13PM

    Sometimes I'll watch it if it is on and I am home, and I end up changing the channel within minutes. You're right, it is just a big, hour long infomercial.

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DRAGONCHILDE 6/9/2012 8:05PM

    I hate Dr. Oz. You're very much right: his show is just a big infomercial, and he's just a paid spokesperson. Whatever credibility he might have had once upon a time he's thoroughly lost. He isn't a responsible medical professional, and his license should be revoked.

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NANCYANNE55 6/9/2012 7:06PM

    I can't watch it for the exact same reasons.

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I need pictures of me

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sigh. The only up to date images I have of me are at run events and ... well ... let's just say they're not flattering!

It's time to be honest - that spark page photo of me is a few years and few kg's ago. There's a lot more of me to love again. I need to be honest about that and update with a real photo of the actual recent me.

But what I've got to choose from? Ugh!!!

Need to go out and take some new photos. NOT while exercising though!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRAGONCHILDE 3/21/2012 9:06PM

    And look... I took one today with my Mac's webcam. LOL.

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DRAGONCHILDE 3/20/2012 7:35PM

    I keep saying the same thing. I mean, I have that one after picture I took a few days ago, but it's fuzzy, crappy, and I'm not sitting around in my bra on this site all day.

I'm always the one behind the camera, so it's tough to get pictures that aren't grainy and in my nasty bathroom. And have a cell phone in my face.

Comment edited on: 3/20/2012 7:35:58 PM

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