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7-Week Personal Challenge DONE!

Sunday, January 16, 2011



Yesterday completed the personal challenge that I began on November 28. Though I only dropped 1/2 pound this week, I lost seven pounds overall, which puts me half-way to goal, and I'm happy that I'm again practicing better habits that will sustain optimal wellness.

My weight had begun creeping up uncontrollably -- er, I guess more accurately it was ME, eating uncontrollably and NOT moving -- and I was at 145 (I had seen the RED FLAG of *150 lbs.* over prior weeks, but -- small miracle -- the scale had decided to hover at 5 lbs. below that). Thank the goddess, something in me yelled "Enough!" and I rebbed up the focus and motivation to begin showing "the right stuff, thanks to all the resources of SparkPeople!


*Chris Downie, founder of SparkPeople, is not only brilliant, but SO accessible. Thank you Chris for the powerful network of resources and friends that is SparkPeople!*

There are layers of the same angst ("why bother?", "why does it even matter?") and self-deprecation ("I'm not worth it", "I can't do it") that have plagued me for years. So for me, the spiritual practices are just as important as the behavior modifications. Maintaining a meditation practice, a gratitude practice,
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_mes
sageboard_thread.asp?board=0x28721x387
62957

AND
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/messageb
oard.asp?imboard=31&imparent=22402812

and a focus on service and some fun are essential to my mental health. My home situation is *dicey* and frequently results in anxiety, which messes with my sense of well-being. But the practices and focus prevail in helping me through the difficult periods.


*Yoga asanas are nourishing on many levels.*

Under the fun focus I began the spring semester at university last week with seven units, two academically challenging Spanish classes and voice class. I'm not taking piano this semester, but the professor of last semester's class agreed to work with me informally if I find time to work on some pieces. And unfortunately the time for choir conflicts with one of my Spanish classes. I'm happy to be back in the *stream* of my Spanish major and I have the greatest admiration for the professor of my classes (the same for both classes luckily), as well as finding the course content fascinating.


*Spring 2010, the back right building is World Languages.*

The major ongoing challenge for me is to live a life of balance in all aspects, which means keeping current with classes in order to maintain the healthy practices in the area of eating and exercise that I've reignited, including most importantly, continuing to track food and exercise.



I continue to have curiosity about the shape of my life in these latter years of my life...it has taken on so many different shapes and textures up to now. My 69th birthday is coming up next month. It's mind-blowing to think that this will be the last year of my sixth decade on the planet this round! I feel vibrant and capable, though I am clearly aware of the deterioration of this mortal temple!


*Camille, the friend who started the prison project I volunteer for, during last year's celebration*

My upcoming trip to Ecuador at the end of this semester will be fun, interesting, and a joyful *homecoming* of sorts. I am looking at the possibility of living there at least part-time and I'm exploring this idea during the trip.


*Playing with my goddaughter Amrita outside the house in northern Ecuador*

As I finish the last blog of this challenge, I want to share an email I just received from Terri, a dear friend who lives in northern California, which underlines my feeling about the importance of friends as an essential component of a joyful life, so necessary for optimal wellness (SEIZE JOY is my mantra for 2011 -- www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3876218
):

"I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture
was on the mind-body connection -- the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

"Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality 'girlfriend time' helps us to create more serotonin -- a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.

"Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym. There's a tendency to think that when we are 'exercising' we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged-not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!"

YES! to The Sisterhood, to loving self-care, and to FUN!!!


*Sister-Friends! Silver-haired Diana is a wedding minister on Maui and the other four dear hearts live in the San Francisco Bay Area.*

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AZIMAT 1/28/2011 1:05PM

    Thanks for your constancy in sharing. You are a blessing!!!

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 1/22/2011 10:52AM

    Wonderful reading about you and how you think and view the world. Are we really in the later years of our lives? Each day when I learn something new or make a new friend is like youthfulness revisited. And congrats on completing your challenge. More challenges to come.

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BO42SOX 1/21/2011 8:41PM

    what a beautiful blog! emoticon emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 1/21/2011 5:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KAT7457 1/21/2011 4:55PM

    great blog and you are amazing. thanks for sharing.

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VXWALL1942 1/21/2011 2:14PM

    What a wonderful blog. Anxious to proceed in the path you have found. Hace lo que quiera - ahorra y manana tambien.

vicki

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 1/21/2011 2:08PM

    Great Blog! WTG on the weight loss!

Just like anything else in life that is important - we need to keep vigilant - we need to keep working at it.

You are doing great! Love the pictures - such a beautiful skirt!!

Love you,
Linda

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WKLYTTON 1/21/2011 1:58PM

    absolutely amazing post !!! Good job !

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KNITTABLES 1/21/2011 1:47PM

    What a great blog, thanks for sharing.

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SPARKLINGHOPE 1/21/2011 1:42PM

    I admire your essence and spark! Great blog!! Congrats on reaching your goal!!! :-)

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GIVEUP30 1/21/2011 12:56PM

    emoticonblog you are doing such a wonder thing God Bless

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MEWIEGELE 1/21/2011 12:51PM

    *applause* Love the form on that yoga pose- triangle pose I believe. Thanks for sharing!

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ARCHIMEDESII 1/21/2011 12:29PM

    What a fabulous blog !! While you may be halfway to your goal, you've made absolutely amazing progress !!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOOKBALL 1/21/2011 11:52AM

    Que bueno!

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TEENY_BIKINI 1/21/2011 9:58AM

    Your pictures are simply stunning and you are stunning as well.

I LOVE that blue dress.

You are just an amazing example of grace, beauty and womanhood.

You are amazing. Just keep being you - it is delightful.

emoticon

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DARKTHOR 1/19/2011 9:14PM

    Wonderful job getting control back from... well, from yourself! I am glad to hear that you are heading in a positive, fulfilling direction again. I'm glad to say that I am too! Let's make this a great year.

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MAEVE77 1/18/2011 4:25PM

    Maha, you are truly an inspiration to me. Congratulations on meeting your goal and for continuing to grow in mind and spirit. The trip to Ecuador and plan to live there part time sounds amazing.
Love and Blessings to you. emoticon emoticon

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JLWOF1 1/18/2011 3:50AM

    I loved your blog. Congrats on finishing your personal challenge and on your weight loss. I loved what you shared about women needing friendship. I lag in that area. After reading that, I need to make more of an effort! You're an awesome woman! Have a great semester!

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DDOORN 1/17/2011 4:26PM

    Women are certainly the stronger sex for all their sharing, relating, tending to their feelings...!

I think secretly (or maybe not so secretly...!) most men are HIGHLY envious of this and deeply feel the absence of this most important side to life and living.

Congrats on your re-Sparking 'Maha!

Don

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INSPIREBYNATURE 1/17/2011 11:42AM

    What an amazing blog!!! One of the best I've ever read! You are a remarkable woman!!!!!

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KAKIPOPUP 1/17/2011 8:49AM

    you are an inspiration - as you are about to enter your 8th decade - thank you for this blog - emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FRANCESCANAZ 1/17/2011 7:54AM

    Felicidades mi amiga! Que bueno estaras en Ecuador para ver tu otra familia linda! Estoy alegre. muy, muy alegre. Besos, Francesca

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FRACTALMYTH 1/17/2011 12:58AM

    WOOOHOOOO ! Yay for a successful (and ongoing) challenge :)

On a girly note... I love your blue skirt :D

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PENNYAN45 1/16/2011 9:47PM

    What a delight to read this blog!

First of all, your success with your recently completed challenge is inspiring. Congratulations on changing your momentum to the desired direction.

Also, I am very happy that your Spanish instruction this semester is so fulfilling for you, and that you are feeling on track again with your program.

And, I am not one bit surprised to hear that academia is recognizing the importance of women friends. I've always known that my good friends were crucial for my emotional health -- why not my physical health as well? I have been a big believer -- for a long time!!

Finally - how exciting that you will be returning to Ecuador after this semester ends. Wouldn't it be wonderful for you if that other home of yours became a place for you to live for part of the year.

Wishing it all for you!

Hugs,

PennyAn>





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SLASALLE 1/16/2011 8:57PM

    You continue to amaze and inspire me, my dear friend. I'm so happy that your Spanish classes are good ones this semester. We'll talk soon. It is quite an honor to be your friend!!

Stephanie
xoxoxo

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GOANNA2 1/16/2011 6:36PM

    emoticonAnother achievement.
You are an awesome lady Maha and thanks
for sharing the email about women's friendship.

Have fun this semester and I will definetely go next year. emoticon

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GETDONE 1/16/2011 6:16PM

    Congrats on your personal challenge achievement.
I have moved many times in my life and have missed out on the girlfriend gift. My sweet cousin who I admired and love dearly has passed.
So now I am like a child meeting many folks and finding laughter and things to ponder.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and successes as well as your lessons in life.

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SUNNY332 1/16/2011 4:45PM

    I loved seeing the photos. Congrats on having your personal challenge behind you. You did good. How is school?

Again - thanks for sharing. Do have a GREAT week. BTW - our soldier boy finally made it to Hawaii and spent yesterday at Wikki Beach. Bless his heart, it took him two days to get out of Atlanta. Oh well, sleet and snow are behind him for a while.

Take care. Sunny

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WALKINGANNIE 1/16/2011 3:11PM

    This blog was a real pleasure to experience Maha - and inspiring as usual. You often manage to appeal to a mixture of senses and to make connections with your words and images.

Big congratulations on meeting your personal challenge with such style.

Sister-friends are great!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/16/2011 2:09PM

    Congratulations to you on sticking with your challenge: you have such an interesting and rich life!!

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CARRAND 1/16/2011 2:02PM

    Wonderful blog, and so interesting the information about the importance of girl friends. I don't have a lot of girl friends, never have, and I miss that. Mostly I'm just too busy. Fortunately my husband can talk about more than sports and politics, and I have a warm and wonderful sister. I'm retiring next year and will have time for a lot of things. I'm hoping it's not too late for some girlfriends.

You are a real inspiration to me.

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MAZZYR 1/16/2011 1:51PM

    Oh Maha, congratulations on your achievement. And, thank you for sharing this lovely blog.
emoticon

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LAFEMMEDELALUNE 1/16/2011 1:30PM

    I always *knew* there was something healthy going on when my "sister-friend" and I get together! We always feel better after hanging out. I will be sure to share the Stanford info with her. :)

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 1/16/2011 1:18PM

    Awesome...You will be starting your 7th decade in excellent health!

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CLAYKEEPER 1/16/2011 12:40PM

    Congratulations ! Another goal achieved..... How blessed are we to be truly alive and welcoming new insights, information and health to our years ? I love the quotes about 'sisterhood'. You really are an inspiration !....
annette

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GENKI_WARRIOR 1/16/2011 12:01PM

    I didn't know about this challenge (hmm--sounds like we need some nurturing girl-time)! Well, CONGRATS on all your dedication paying off.
As for your semester--have fun :D

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DAISY443 1/16/2011 11:59AM

    I found the comments about women friends to be particularly true. The caveat here is to find the women who feel the same way and can have that special relationship. I also find interesting that there are some men who can relate to women in that way. In my lifetime, I believe (outside of relatives) I have found ten to fifteen women and three to four men with whom I can interact in the healthy way described in your blog. That is not to say that casual friendship is not a good thing, but it is on an entirely different level.
Once again, you have given me a new perspective to ponder on (I refuse to say "upon which to ponder")!
Congratulations on the successful completion of your personal challenge!

Comment edited on: 1/16/2011 12:00:55 PM

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ABURRIS2 1/16/2011 11:43AM

    hug

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FLORIDASUN 1/16/2011 11:41AM

    How insightful...this information... although I've known deep down in my soul.. the truth about our girlfriends and their health value to our physcial well being all along.

Don't you think that's part of the reason we are so passionate about our sparking?

All of the healthy segments on nutrition are wonderfully helpful...but if you ask me..and I know you would.. if we were sipping a cup of green tea across from each other....it's the connection of woman to woman spirit that fills us up...in a way that food alone...never will!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

You my darling Maha are an inspiration from above...I truly adore you! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/16/2011 11:43:00 AM

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Despair

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm trying to play my part in this Theater of the Absurd that we call LIFE. As you can see, poet Billy Collins is doing his supremely well! Thanks to Joe Riley's Panhala...I couldn't resist ~~



Despair

So much gloom and doubt in our poetry -
flowers wilting on the table,
the self regarding itself in a watery mirror.

Dead leaves cover the ground,
the wind moans in the chimney,
and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.

I wonder what the ancient Chinese poets
would make of all this,
the shadows and empty cupboards?

Today, with the sun blazing in the trees,
my thoughts turn to the great
tenth-century celebrators of experience,

Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things
could hardly be restrained,
and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,
Ye-Hah.

~ Billy Collins ~
(Ballistics)
www.panhala.net/Archive/Despair.html

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOANNA2 1/22/2011 10:07PM

    I remember my grade 8 teacher .
He was a round, jolly man and he said
" If there were no skinny people, you couldn't call me fat".

There has to be an opposite in everything.
Thanks for sharing Maha.
emoticon

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MOOKBALL 1/19/2011 10:23AM

    Billy has a way with making us aware of the mundane.

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WATERMELLEN 1/16/2011 2:10PM

    . . . delight in the smallest things: yes.

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DOKEYOKEY 1/16/2011 10:08AM

    I just got a lesson in mindfulness from you and Carlie...I didn't even SEE the birds on the Buddha until she pointed them out.

Kathleen emoticon

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IAM1WEVRY1 1/15/2011 6:05PM

    'Despair' made me think of Mary Oliver's Wild Geese:

You do not have to be good
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, your, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
(from Dream Work copyright 1886, Atlantic Monthly Press)

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FRANCESCANAZ 1/15/2011 4:29PM

    Ye-HAH! emoticon

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2BMYOWN 1/15/2011 1:36PM

    Oh but cripes....ya gotta have BOTH the dark AND the joyous, or it wouldn't be life, would it???? I know everybody likes the sunny and joyous best....but ya can't learn in only the sunny without knowing what it was like in the dark, right? Just sayin'......! And I did the same flippin' thing Carli did, I thought, "Oh no, what's wrong with Maha?" LOLOLOLOL

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CARLI_MAE 1/15/2011 12:42PM

    I can't help myself ... I keep being distracted by those birds sitting on Buddha, and, well, SP won't let me use the word, so I have to say I'm thinking he's gonna start getting awfully dirty ... unless the birds are part of the statue, which is then making me think that I've never seen cardinals that big, if that's what they are ...
Oh well. I just came by because when I saw your title scroll past I thought something was wrong, since in the last one you were on loving and suddenly there is despairing going on (NOT) ...
emoticon

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JLWOF1 1/15/2011 10:33AM

    Wonderful, thanks for sharing!

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SUNNY332 1/15/2011 8:24AM

    Loved it.

Have a GREAT weekend.

Sunny

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DRAGONFLY7149 1/15/2011 5:43AM

    Have seen this before and every time it makes me smile...thanks for surfacing it again! emoticon

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SLASALLE 1/14/2011 10:28PM

    Would you please come teach a class in poetry at my home, please? Truly, I think you missed your calling, my friend. You're an awesome teacher. OK, well, maybe it's just ANOTHER one of your callings!!! With love xoxoxo

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PENNYAN45 1/14/2011 8:52PM

    What a treat!! Thanks!

emoticon emoticon

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VEEJAY3 1/14/2011 8:43PM

    I love, love, love, love, LOVE Billy Collins!!!

Thanks for the treat here.



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MARCHMAID 1/14/2011 8:38PM

    just right at the right time for me

thanks

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ROBINSNEWNEST 1/14/2011 4:31PM

    Yes! emoticon

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ONECOOKIETWO 1/14/2011 4:00PM

    I love Wa Hoo and Yee Hah!
They got married and gave birth to:
emoticon

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PEACEFULONE 1/14/2011 3:18PM

    Love it!

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KALIGIRL 1/14/2011 1:33PM

    Ye-Hah

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KAT573 1/14/2011 11:58AM

    WHOO-HOO! emoticon

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INSPIREBYNATURE 1/14/2011 11:39AM

    Gosh these pics you post are awesome!

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CLAYKEEPER 1/14/2011 10:55AM

    Bullseye ! Great post... there is so much to celebrate in life. I'm following you, you're the leader !.... annette

emoticon

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FRACTALMYTH 1/14/2011 10:33AM

    I liked it too! YEEEEEHAAAAAAAA :D

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DAISY443 1/14/2011 10:32AM

    Thank you for not resisting, but you are making me think way too much! Exercise for the brain on a blustery winter day!

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MISS_VIV 1/14/2011 10:32AM

    I am CERTAIN you are not experiencing despair in your personal life. Thank you for posting this.

"Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things
could hardly be restrained,
and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,
Ye-Hah."

Hugs





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Loving

Thursday, January 13, 2011



You know quite well, deep within you,

that there is only a single magic,

a single power, a single salvation...

and that is called loving.

~ Herman Hesse ~

peacefullpresence.blogspot.com/

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILDHONEYPIE1 1/19/2011 10:49PM

    emoticon wonderful.

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DDOORN 1/17/2011 4:17PM

    How your verse & pic stir the heart so...!

Don

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CINDYC53 1/17/2011 12:19PM

    LOVELY! Thanks for that start to my day.

emoticon

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FLORIDASUN 1/16/2011 11:32AM

    There's no other reason to walk this plane, other than to learn to love, and be loved in return. At least that's MY take on this journey...and you darling Maha have it down pat! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY332 1/14/2011 9:39AM

    Absolutely Beautiful!

No futher words required.

Hugs, Sunny

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MARCHMAID 1/14/2011 4:48AM

    Just what Obama tried to say. : ) Calming to see this after writing my less peaceful blog.

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GBOOMER 1/14/2011 4:35AM

    emoticon I love love.

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DAISY443 1/14/2011 4:19AM

    Beautiful! The picture and the words.....

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FRACTALMYTH 1/14/2011 2:10AM

    So SWEET! :D

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PEACEFULONE 1/14/2011 2:00AM

    Adorable photo.
Perfect poem.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/14/2011 2:02:39 AM

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DARKTHOR 1/14/2011 12:48AM

    Awwwww!

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INSPIREBYNATURE 1/13/2011 11:41PM

    Oh my goodness that is the most precious picture ever!!!

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ROBINSNEWNEST 1/13/2011 11:15PM

    YES. to all of it...

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CARLI_MAE 1/13/2011 11:08PM

    Another awwwwwwwwwww ...

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KAT573 1/13/2011 11:02PM

    and the journey to reach that loving is the hard work of compassion and forgiveness!

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SLASALLE 1/13/2011 10:55PM

    aaaawwwwwwww ... that's lots of warm fuzzies!!! Thanks ...

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GOANNA2 1/13/2011 10:05PM

    Beautiful Maha, thank you. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/13/2011 9:48PM

    Loving -- and lovely -- and thank you!!

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PENNYAN45 1/13/2011 9:35PM

    True words, a beautiful sentiment, and a heart-warming image!

Thanks for this.

emoticon

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CARRAND 1/13/2011 9:26PM

    Wonderful!

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MISS_VIV 1/13/2011 8:51PM

    sweet...............

Big Hugs

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KALIGIRL 1/13/2011 8:48PM

    So true...

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Week 7 of 7-WEEK PERSONAL CHALLENGE -- Woo Hoo!

Saturday, January 08, 2011



Tomorrow I begin the last week of my personal *get-it-together Maha* challenge. It has been an interesting ride, journeying across these seven weeks since November 28 when I finally said "ENOUGH -- I've got to get OFF this slippery slope!" Here is my first blog, and I've done progress blogs each week since then:
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3809798


The ramifications of this carelessness in physical, mental, and spiritual wellness were too great to ignore any longer. Over the prior two years, I had slowly been getting sloppier in my habits in four key areas -- food portions, exercise, tracking, and meditation. The ultimate result was a nearly 20-pound gain over my healthy weight, a pervasive angst, and yucky self-esteem stuff.

I started my personal challenge at 145 lbs., but I didn't begin to shed any pounds until I.Started.Tracking (DUH!) in Week Three. I weighed in at 138.7 yesterday and I KNOW that the key to success in the weight loss is 1) mindful eating (monitored by tracking) and 2) consistent exercise and in working through the angst/funk, 1) consistency in my meditation practice and 2) receiving the support of SparkFriends. Of course my ongoing success has been good for my self-esteem.

I will continue to work on balancing the carb/fat/protein/fiber ratios and on increasing my iron intake. I found an excellent article on good and bad carbs that I shared with my pal WALKINGANNIE, who blogged about it today:
www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/
carbohydrates


I do not subscribe to protein-loading and I am not generally concerned about eating a diet heavy in carbs. I think we *OD* on protein in this culture (I discussed this last week www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3880328
) and I think we're *afraid* of carbs. My challenge is to continue to refine (pun intended) the types of carbs I take in. My overall goal in terms of diet (and the way I primarily eat now) is to eat unprocessed, organic whole foods, heavy in fruits, vegetables, select dairy and eggs, and a variety of whole grains, legumes, beans, and soy products with minimal processing, i.e., tofu, tempeh, edamame and dried soy beans. I do not eat meat analogs or TVP, examples of highly processed and in most cases GMO-soy bean products.

The university spring semester begins Jan 13, the beginning of my fourth since deciding to pick up a degree in Spanish, with a music minor. It is going to be a constant effort to maintain the momentum I have achieved in body*mind*spirit health over these seven eventful weeks. But I'm encouraged with my success thus far and I hope the benefits the I've already accrued will motivate me to remain consistent. AND my summer adventure, after finishing the semester, is two+ months in beloved Ecuador. YES!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I'm also participating in the Calorie Differential Challenge this week:
tinyurl.com/25538kk
AND
tinyurl.com/25v3obj

7 DAYS, SUN JAN 9

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ Kathy Smith 20-minute Cardio Blaster -- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

6 DAYS, MON JAN 10

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ 20 minutes minimum of cardio -- BUST
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

5 DAYS, TUES JAN 11

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ Strength training -- DONE
~ 175 sit-ups -- DONE
~ 34 minutes ARC cardio -- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

4 DAYS, WED JAN 12

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ 40 minutes KathySmith CardioBlaster -- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

3 DAYS, THURS JAN 13

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ Strength training -- DONE
~ 175 sit-ups -- DONE
~ 40 minutes KathySmith CardioBlaster -- DONE
~ 5 minutes of hatha yoga -- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

2 DAYS, FRI JAN 14

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ 75 minutes Trek ride -- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

1 DAY, SAT JAN 15

~ 30 minutes of meditation --
~ 1.3 hr. hatha yoga
~ Strength training --
~ 175 sit-ups --
~ 20 minutes minimum of cardio --
~ Tracked food and exercise --
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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
-- Winston Churchill
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COSMIC_ENERGY 1/15/2011 10:38AM

    You continue to inspire me!

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LAGREBE 1/15/2011 8:23AM

    What a great blog! Very motivating! When you go to Ecuador do you go by yourself? Visit family? Teach? Help? In other words how do you go there? (I don't mean the "by plane" part.

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DARKTHOR 1/12/2011 10:25AM

    Wonderfully done! Remember this level of dedication and mindfulness will serve you well during the coming school semester. Stay strong, you make your own future, as much as the universe allows at least!

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GOANNA2 1/11/2011 6:50AM

    You are awesome Maha! emoticon
Tahnks for asking about the floods. Our whole state is submerged almost and the floods keep moving south and our area is so far ok but there are warnings for us too.

I am praying for all the people who have lost everything.
Good luck with University. I am thinking of deferring for a year... emoticon

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KALIGIRL 1/10/2011 1:07PM

    Wow!
What an accomplishment - you rock!
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2WHEELEDSHARON 1/9/2011 9:50PM

    Thanks for sharing the great resources.
Enjoy your lovely-sounding process!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 1/9/2011 8:20PM

    Congratulations on your success so far. You are doing a great job of getting "back on track" as you say.

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WALKINGANNIE 1/9/2011 5:40PM

    Thanks for this excellent blog Maha. You are making awesome progress and have definitely identified keys to success. I'm grateful for your info on carbs and am coming to similar conclusions to yours.

The prospect of summer in Ecuador is a powerful motivator for optimum health and I'm sure that this will spur you on as well.

All the best for the new semester my friend.

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SLASALLE 1/9/2011 5:20PM

    Look at you go!!! You've got the momentum, but it will pick up again with school, I know. With great focus, it can be done. You are VERY capable of great focus.

Woooo Hoooo is right!!!

xoxoxo

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SUNNY332 1/9/2011 4:20PM

    emoticon Keep up the great work and best wishes as you return to your studies.

Sunny

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JUSTBIRDY 1/9/2011 10:48AM

    emoticon

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DAISY443 1/9/2011 4:09AM

    Ambitious but attainable goals! Admirable!

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INSPIREBYNATURE 1/9/2011 2:12AM

    Proud of you!

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CLAYKEEPER 1/9/2011 12:21AM

    Hooray... keep up the good work ! You will be SO ready for Ecuador .... emoticon

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2BMYOWN 1/8/2011 10:28PM

    I just have one thing to say about all this...... emoticon

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DDOORN 1/8/2011 9:35PM

    Looking and sounding super!

Keep this train a-rollin'! :-)

Don

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CARRAND 1/8/2011 8:22PM

    Congratulations on your success. It's always inspiring to see someone set goals and meet them! I like your food goals to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grain products and legumes. I think the whole planet needs to eat that way eventually. Americans typically eat too much protein. I still eat meat and fish, but I'm trying to eat less of it, and more good carbs. It's a journey, and I'm not there yet.

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CINDYC53 1/8/2011 8:19PM

    Great blog!! I'm working on many of the same goals, so this was especially meaningful to me. Good for you, getting off the slippery slope (a metaphor I love)!

I'm back in college, too - at 57 - studying to be a physical therapist assistant. Semester 2 begins on Jan. 18th. (I spent last year taking program pre-requisites like Anatomy & Physio...) I start 1 day a week clinicals this month, too, and I'm still working. AND my new grandson will be born by month's end. I keep thinking about all the planning it will require to stay on track, but I'm determined. Stress is so much less when I feel organized in the areas of life I have some control over - like the food I eat and the amount of exercise I get. And then I sleep better, too!

Isn't it exciting to be breaking new barriers at this stage in life? I feel more alive with each challenge I take on. You're an inspiration to me!

Your comments about non-meat products were interesting. I am trying to get away from soy -- and those processed products we have enjoyed in the past. They were a fun substitute for meat, but the film "Food Inc." opened my eyes to GMOs. We're moving more toward organic dairy products now. And developing a taste for tempeh :-)


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BRIGHTSPARK7 1/8/2011 8:10PM

    Thank you for modeling transparency of process, Mahalakshmi -- inspiring as always.
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EOSTAR_45 1/8/2011 8:08PM

    You are right, we do overload on the proteins here and carbs has become a dirty word. The key lies in what type of carbs and being vigilant on portion control--for me anyways.

So emoticon for your success. And Keep on a truckin'

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PENNYAN45 1/8/2011 8:05PM

    WOO HOO!! You have made terrific progress!!

And I am so happy to see you succeed in meeting your goals -- on all levels!!

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FRACTALMYTH 1/8/2011 7:59PM

    Yay for success :D and good luck with the upcoming uni work!

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KAT573 1/8/2011 7:34PM

    KUDOS to YOU, lady! Mindful eating of correct portions is key for me too, and making sure I am as close to the earth also has become key. I am very proud for you and look forward to continuing our onward and upward journey this year!
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MAKING IT HAPPEN CHALLENGE over...NOT!

Sunday, January 02, 2011



My goal during this personal 34-day challenge has been to build lasting healthy habits, specifically~~

~ do daily sadhana (spiritual practice)
~ do cardio minimum of 5X/wk. and strength training minimum of 3X/wk. and track my exercise
~ eat more consciously and track my food
~ move toward my goal weight of 128 pounds

I feel that I achieved a modest success. Just the facts, m'am: Last week I continued moving down, though a mere 140.9 to 140.2...and I'll TAKE IT, all things considered! I did achieve meditation practice 7/7 (though I was severely distracted during yesterday's sitting). I completed cardio only 4/7, but I did manage to get in the three days of strength training. So, a little over a one-half pound loss is just fine. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3862640


I began this challenge on November 28, 2010 with 34 days until 2011. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3809798

I was slow getting started, remaining at my starting weight of 145 for the first two weeks (at least I didn't go up any higher) mostly because, although I did begin exercising, I resisted beginning tracking food consumption until week three.
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3839553


Here is my ongoing WOW Formula, to remind me of the essentials:
(CE+CM=WOW)
Consistent Movement + Conscious Eating = Whee!!! Optimal Wellness
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Some musings as I end the original challenge and enter a new year --

@ Here is my Weekly Progress Nutrients report --

Selected Nutrients for the week Dec 26 - Jan 1:

Calories: 1,200 - 1,550
1,503/ 1,419/ 1,571/ 1,468/ 1,569/ 1,710/ 1,449

Fat: 32 - 56
56/ 55/ 49/ 43/ 46/ 53/ 43

Carbohydrates: 163 - 236
208/ 197/ 234/ 217/ 236/ 246/ 225

Protein: 60 - 127
56/ 48/ 56/ 68/ 61/ 83/ 63

Fiber, total dietary: 25 - 45
31/ 32/ 30/ 28/ 32/ 36/ 43

Calcium, Ca: 100 - 150
154/ 112/ 141/ 152/ 162/ 118/ 117

Sodium, Na: 500 - 2,300
918/ 1,582/ 1,210/ 734/ 1,772/ 1,543/ 638

Iron, Fe: 100 - 150
30/ 29/ 23/ 81/ 38/ 39/ 48

~ The Nutrition Tracker is my (old) new best friend, a very powerful resource, and the bottom-line reason for my small success. It is giving me information like learning to focus on complex carbs, and moving away from sources of simple carbs, like the box of Barbara's Cinnamon Crunch Shredded Oats that I used as a snack and just finished: 1 cup has 230 calories, 43 carbs, and 15 grams of sugar and was responsible for going over my calories on New Year's Eve, when I snacked on a cup at 4:30am of that sleepless night! Mind you it could be worse -- Barbara's Bakery ingredients are organic and very *clean* and 1 cup also has 3 grams of fat, 220 mg. of sodium, 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Balance. Moderation.

~ Protein deficiency?
www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nu
trient&dbid=92#deficiencysymptoms

It is my personal position that we as a culture consume far more protein than we need. I'm learning, as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, the best sources of protein and amping up there. In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences set 46 grams of daily protein for adult females and as long as I hit the 50 grams mark, I'm happy.

Some information on complete protein and how and when to combine:
www.answerfitness.com/518/what-is-a-
complete-protein/


Some information on protein and carbohydrate ratios in the diet:
www.everydayhealth.com/new-year-new-
you/pump-up-your-diet-eat-for-energy.a
spx?xid=nl_EverydayHealthHealthyLiving
_20110106


~ Iron deficiency?
www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=di
et&dbid=6

"Although vegetarian diets do tend to be lower in iron than meat-based diets, vegetarians do not have a higher rate of iron deficiency anemia than meat eaters. This may be explained by the fact that the iron found in vegetarian diets (in vegetables and unrefined grains) is often accompanied, in the food or in the meal, by large amounts of vitamin C, which increases the absorption of the mineral."

I am going to evaluate my low iron intake and develop nutritional strategies to remedy this.
www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nu
trient&dbid=70


Ellen (WATERMELLEN) is also challenged by low iron in her diet, and among other helpful suggestions she left on my SPage, she said, "It's a bit about food combining -- avoiding calcium, Vitamin E and zinc with iron-rich food sources" and she also spoke to the Vitamin C combining. She recommended this article as well:
veg.ca/content/view/211/110/

Some good information on BOTH protein AND iron:
www.storknet.com/ip/nutritional_heal
th/basic/vegetarian_tips.html


@ I know exercise is critical to my over-all good health and I am happy to be in this supportive SparkCommunity with friends and resources to help me to continue chipping away at achieving consistency in this area.

@ Attaining consistency in my meditation practice is very important to my overall development of body*mind*spirit health and I am happy with the direction I'm going, although I would like to also achieve consistency in the time-of-day that I sit. I also hope to add some daily asana practice and pranayama (breathing practices) eventually.

@ Postponing of online SparkTime will always be difficult and I am aware that this will be an ongoing exercise in mindfulness and honoring priorities for me.
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I have decided to extend my formal personal challenge for two more weeks. The spring semester begins the second week of January and I want to continue "practicing" good habits as I'm set to jump back into academia. And SOOOOOOOOOOO...

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14 DAYS, Sun Jan 2

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ 20 minutes minimum of cardio -- BUST
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE
SOS: This is the longest break in cardio since I started the challenge in November -- the third consecutive day without aerobic activity. Gotta' get "alternate systems" activated. This cold weather and lack of adequately functioning alternatives needs remedying!

13 DAYS, Mon Jan 3

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ Strength training -- DONE
~ 175 sit-ups -- DONE
~ 60-minutes ride on Trek-- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

12 DAYS, Tues Jane 4

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ 60-minute ride on Trek-- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

11 DAYS, Wed Jan 5

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ Strength training -- DONE
~ 175 sit-ups -- DONE
~ 70-minute ride on Trek-- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

10 DAYS, Thurs Jan 6

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ 65-minute ride on Trek -- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

9 DAYS, Fri Jan 7

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ Strength training -- DONE
~ 175 sit-ups -- DONE
~ 65-minute ride on Trek -- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE

8 DAYS, Sat Jan 8

~ 30 minutes of meditation -- DONE
~ 75 minutes of yoga -- DONE
~ 65-minute ride on Trek -- DONE
~ Tracked food and exercise -- DONE
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The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress, the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLASALLE 1/7/2011 6:14PM

    OK - So as you know, I'm kinda behind in my Sparking, necessitated by my needed attention elsewhere - and I'm OK with that. But you posted this 5 days ago!!! How could I miss it?

You are doing SO WELL - keep up the great work. You're a huge example of knowing what you want to do, setting up the steps to get there, and doing it!!!

Wooooo Hoooo!

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GOANNA2 1/6/2011 5:40PM

    Hello Maha. You are sure one busy lady and I wish you
success when you hit the books again...
From one booklover to another, happy reading and have fun. emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 1/5/2011 10:10PM

    Wow! Somehow I got left out of your blog notifications...!

It's wonderful to catch up with you...had wondered how things got so "quiet!" :-)

Have heard it said from a number of sources that protein is over-rated and that we don't need as much as many say we do.

I am "getting there" step by step. First came the re-dedication to daily cardio, then came the re-dedication to daily nutrition tracking. Next? To bite the bullet and get back to weekly weigh-ins.

MUST make time, be vigilant for "seizing joy" and "remaking" myself...!

It's great to read your words again...! Congrats on doing so well with yourself!!

Don

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/5/2011 9:53PM

    LOL I think we do not eat ENOUGH protein. Or at least enough LEAN protein... I did best when I was getting about 45% protein, 45% carbs, 10% fat (120-140g per day). I think the SP estimates are far far too low for people trying to lose weight and specifically body fat.

Ironically, most of my protein IS either plant based or ovo-lacto. Because other than fish and lean poultry breast, the rest of the sources come with just too much fat.

Here's a whole blog post I wrote just about protein... LOL
http://www.sparkpeople.com/m
ypage_public_journal_individual
.asp?blog_id=2536501

I also am a big fan of strength training. Like a minimum of 2x/week and much better 3x. And that means low reps (8-12) to fatigue with the heaviest weights I can lift and still get at least 8 reps per set. If I can do more than 12 it's time to bump up the weight.

There's a team I like a lot called "High Intensity Thinkers" that you might like. We talk about macronutrient ratios, training regimes, etc. and it's all based on the scientific literature.
http://teams.sparkpeople.com/hi
tsquad

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ABURRIS2 1/4/2011 1:56PM

    Your plan sounds well thought out. Good for you!

Thanks for the wake up call regarding iron intake! I hadn't been tracking that and now I see my daily level is very low. I suspect my manually entered foods, which didn't necessarily include iron, explain some of that lack but not all. Hmmm....more work to be done.

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INSPIREBYNATURE 1/2/2011 11:11PM

    Oh you will make it happen! love this!

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TKADEEPBREATH 1/2/2011 8:32PM

    Oh I love that ... . full effort is full victory. That is so true. It's so "freeing". The food tracker is just the best . . . I agree with a whole emoticon!!

Have a great first week of 2011!!!

Blessings, Jan

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 1/2/2011 7:10PM

    I'm glad you have become friends with the nutrition tracker. I have found I eat so much better when using it. I look at it as a great resource for information...not as a diet...but as valuable information.

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WALKINGANNIE 1/2/2011 7:04PM

    I just love your WOW equation. Reading that was just what I needed today - and a movement down in weight in the holiday season is AWESOME!

The nutrition tracker is one of my best SparkFriends too - it just reflects things back to me as they are and isn't judgemental but lets me find my own conclusions .......

Thanks as ever for being such an inspiration Maha.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2011 and an enjoyable semester.

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FRACTALMYTH 1/2/2011 6:39PM

    Going so well! Tracking makes SUCH a difference doesn't it? I resisted too - I even took a few days off in revolt for Christmas - but I was happy to be back again too.

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SUNNY332 1/2/2011 6:10PM

    Awe - going back to school. You will do great. Best wishes on this new journey. BTW - what are you studying?

Take care and have a GREAT week.

Sunny

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2WHEELEDSHARON 1/2/2011 1:27PM

    I love it! Beautiful blog.
Best wishes with school, sounds like you'll do just great!

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DAISY443 1/2/2011 1:19PM

    "Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory." This statement creates an epiphany moment for me. Wish someone had said this to me 50 some years ago. I have spent all this time thinking that, if a goal was not attained, I was not successful.
In the future, I will try to put out "full effort" and be able to realize that it is "full victory".
Your goals are admirable and, with your attitude, should result in the desired success.
emoticon, too!

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CARRAND 1/2/2011 1:18PM

    You have such a good plan and it's really paying off.
Best wishes for a happy and successful New Year!

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WATERMELLEN 1/2/2011 1:10PM

    I'm not a total vegetarian but do eat very little meat and like you have to watch the iron intake carefully (although as you say, the Vitamin C in a fruit and veggie focused diet does help quite a bit to make the most of what we do take in . . . ).

I certainly agree that a movement down in weight over the holiday season is cause for celebration!!

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