VHALKYRIE   16,233
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VHALKYRIE's Recent Blog Entries

Semi Retiring From Spark

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I've been contemplating this for a while, but today I decided that it was time.

I'm not going to be actively blogging anymore. I'll still read and comment on other blogs and respond to mail, but I'm not going to be writing much.

The reasons are varied. One is because I've been struggling with topics to write about. I don't want to say that I've outgrown Spark, but I'm having difficulty seeing how it fits with my current lifestyle and objectives. Another is that I'm unplugging most other social media as well. It's triggering some anxieties, insecurities and non productive behavior.

I'll see you around, just maybe less frequently.

Best wishes, and good luck with your goals this summer.

~C

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 3/29/2013 7:25AM

    I am super late on this...by the time I have read it I see that you are blogging again...but you know what...Spark breaks are sometimes necessary and good...just know that when you are not here you are defiantly missed. You can always be like me and just blog a bunch of nonsense! emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 3/25/2013 2:15PM

    I'm not much of a blogger. I'll only blog when something interesting is going on in my life. which isn't often. I have a boring life. ;)

You know you're always welcome on my spark page !

emoticon

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FITGIRL15 3/25/2013 12:29PM

    Chica, I completely understand where you are coming from and wish nothing but the best for you in your future enveavors! Your comments will be a welcome treat if I will be so lucky :)

I have often thought about doing the same thing, for very similar reasons as yourself. Life requires balance! I am glad you know what it takes in your own life to acheive that!

emoticon Cya around!

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MRS.CARLY 3/24/2013 9:32PM

    Will miss you, but I completely understand where you are coming from!

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CATLADY52 3/24/2013 6:41PM

    It comes down to doing what is best for your own self. Your insights will be treasured but missed. We all grow in certain directions and change becomes inevitable. emoticon

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LADYIRISH317 3/24/2013 5:00PM

    Agree with all the other comments -- I will so miss your blogs and hope you'll comment on mine!

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WOUBBIE 3/24/2013 3:49PM

    We'll all miss your fascinating, well-thought-out blogs! I've considered backing off quite a bit on SP myself, but when I do I tend to blow the tracking and such as well, which is counter-productive.

Hope to see you around!

emoticon

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/24/2013 1:35PM

    Ditto what BEECHNUT13 said!

XOXO

Bon Voyage and stop by and let me know if you ever the worm bin up and running!!



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BEECHNUT13 3/24/2013 8:24AM

    Well, if you're not going to blog, I hope you write really long comments on mine! :) I am looking forward to growing to where you are!

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55WALKER 3/24/2013 7:14AM

    Totally understand this: I rarely log on any more and just happened to do it now and see this. You are one of the people I periodically check on. Wishing you the best. Things change; it's the nature of life.

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BERGBA7 3/24/2013 3:02AM

    Take care!
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GETSTRONGRRR 3/23/2013 10:40PM

    Bummer kiddo! I've always enjoyed your blogs.

Don't make it too permanent....take some time to re-group and prioritize....always a good thing to do

Check in when able!

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ARNETTELEE 3/23/2013 8:23PM

  Sorry to see you on "inactive" status. Best wishes for you in whatever you do!

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JOYOUS1917 3/23/2013 8:06PM

    I can really understand your position. I too have to go w/o the social media entirely.... the blogging w/ SP is "no more to add" as far as I am concerned really. It's kind of ditto day in and day out....also it is quite time consuming and an inhibiter to one's free time....So, really nice to have met you and for your honesty!

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STUDLEEJOE 3/23/2013 8:03PM

    Remember we are still here for us when you need us

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DMEYER4 3/23/2013 7:58PM

  you will be missed. good luck

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Fitness and Health Nut

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sometimes non scale victories are implicit and subtle acknowledgments from strangers.

Back in my obese days, I loathed the thought of exercise. You'd never catch me with a thighmaster or a Jane Fonda workout video! I swore that I'd never eat carrots and celery for lunch.

"Life is too short to eat rabbit food!" was my motto.

Oh, how things have changed.

The other day I was in a shopping center. I stopped to browse a section of fitness videos that caught my eye. One of the store employees came up to me and said, "Looking for a new fitness DVD?" She was a young, pretty girl who herself was very fit. The way she asked the question was a snap judgment that I looked like someone who regularly enjoyed and had a collection of workout DVDs. We had a brief chat about the videos we liked, and our enthusiasm for fitness bands.

When I was in a kitchen shop, I browsed a selection of cast iron dutch ovens. The saleswoman and I talked about the things you could make in one. Somehow we got on the topic of bread baked in a dutch oven. She said, "I shouldn't eat so much bread because I need to lose a few pounds." She paused and then continued, "You don't have that problem, though." It caught me off guard. I responded, "Oh, we all have to watch what we eat." She smiled and nodded in agreement.

I still don't have a thighmaster, but I have a pilates bar. Jane Fonda workout videos have become Jillian Michaels instead. Carrots and celery aren't the only things I eat for lunch, but they are a part of lunch or a healthy snack.

"Life is too short to eat crap," is my new motto.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and all I can see are my flaws. While I don't base what I do on the opinions of others, it is nice that people who never knew me as overweight subconsciously acknowledge that I have transformed myself into what I wanted to be.

A fitness and health nut, and proud of it.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/24/2013 1:46PM

    emoticon

Although you are taking a semi-retirement break from Spark, these blogs will still be here to serve and others as a testament to how much one can change and what a radical difference it makes to all areas of your life!

XOXO



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GETSTRONGRRR 3/23/2013 2:57PM

    Good on you....it's never easy to see ourselves as others see us, our self-image is rooted in so many things from the past.

The real question becomes, what sorts of gadgets and videos will you have 20 years from now!

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BEECHNUT13 3/23/2013 2:01PM

    Wow, that's awesome! I'm one of those people that eats healthy food but still looks like she frequents McDonald's!!! Hahaha... well, I'll get there. :)

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THINRONNA 3/23/2013 11:49AM

    You are great! I love this blog. How wonderful to be getting such natural positive reinforcement from perfect strangers and how gracious of you to handle it so beautifully!

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Hoisting Sails

Friday, March 22, 2013

As I wrote in my last blog, I reached my goal weight and I've roughly maintained it within +/- 5lbs for about 1.5 years now. Yesterday I had my blood pressure taken and it was 115/56. Score! Low end of normal. Starting point was 138/86. The longer I stay at a healthy weight, the better my vitals become. The body heals if you give it proper care. I've slowly reversed the damage I caused. I achieved my primary objective of better health and lifestyle. But now what?

One reason why I'm baffled about what to do next is because I never thought I'd get here. 13 years ago I became obese with over 40% bodyfat. After years of yo-yo dieting and losing weight only to watch it rebound, at some point I mentally believed I would never reach goal weight. Maybe I was too old, or my metabolism too damaged.

Then 1.5 years ago, I finally connected all the pieces I need to finish the job. I went from size 8 to roughly a size 4/6. And I reached goal weight! There are seasonal fluctuations, so I give myself a +/- 5 lb margin. If my weight starts creeping up, I clean up my eating immediately. If I average my weight over a long period of time, it comes out to my goal weight of 125.

emoticon

I thought I would be happy enough. I chose that number because it was my college weight before I became obese. The thing is, my body doesn't quite match what I remember. I fit into my college jeans, so my size must be roughly the same. I swear that I had a flatter runway down my abs, though.

Is it skin stretching? Is it bloating? Is it a difference in body composition? I never took a body fat percentage reading before I gained weight.

While I've reached my goal weight, it's not the body shape I want. I can't set a weight goal because I have no idea what I will weigh with the body composition I want. I can't set a bodyfat % because that isn't clear either. Based on my current bodyfat % and weight, I have 92lbs of lean mass (muscle, organs and blood). If I weighed 115 with 20% bodyfat, I would have 92lbs of lean mass. If I weighed 135lbs with 20%, I would have 108lbs of lean mass. If I weighed 115 at my current composition, I'm not sure that would give me the shape I want either.

I don't have a reference point, so I don't know where to point my compass. I'll just have to hoist my sails and see where the wind takes me.



How did you pick your goal weight? If you reached it, was your body shape what you expected it to be?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 3/23/2013 6:53AM

    emoticon I just wrote a book on your latest blog and then read this one! Now I am going to just say Hi because I think I unwittingly answered your questions a minute ago...but as to how I originally chose 126...it was also my college weight when I was running track and in shape.

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FITGIRL15 3/22/2013 5:38PM

    I didn't have a goal weight (when I started, at 155lbs) I only had a diet/fitness PLAN in place. I let my body tell me when it was DONE! (My weight loss stalled eventually and I didn't modify anything to ramp the weight loss back up... but I was already very happy with my new body, that landed at 128 lbs!)

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CATLADY52 3/22/2013 5:01PM

    I picked a number that was more than the lowest weight I had been at and I almost reached it last summer. Since then I've put on 10 pounds. Last year I felt good and was wearing size 10 jeans (Levis). emoticon appears to be the best way for me to lose.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/22/2013 8:37AM

    Keep me up to date on the direction you take and what the lay of the land looks like!

I will be there with you eventually!

Have a great day and keep ...

-::-
)) -::-
. .))
((. .. Spreading the Spark!-::-
-::- ((.*






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GETSTRONGRRR 3/22/2013 8:03AM

    Arrghhh matey, git yerself some weights, or we'll make ye walk the plank!

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Why Isn't My Stomach More Flat?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This past week I've had a return of an old anxiety.

Why isn't my stomach more flat?

These are my non-scale accomplishments:

-I've come a long way since my 160lbs obese days. The muffin top and side rolls are gone. So relative to then, it is flatter.

- I'm stronger and more capable. When we moved from a 3rd floor apartment to our house, little ole 5' me was hauling 25lb boxes full of books down those stairs like an iron woman.

- I no longer have a fear of stairs or walking farther than I need to. Yesterday I had to go to the county courthouse, and I accidentally climbed a flight of stairs to the wrong entrance. After I finished my business there, I decided to take a stroll around downtown Savannah. I took a few wrong turns, but it was no big deal. Back when I was overweight, I would have freaked out because my feet would be screaming.

- My blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and triglycerides are no longer borderline metabolic syndrome.

- I am back to my college weight before I became overweight. I fit into my old college pants.

- Even if BMI is flawed, I am in the normal range, which is a psychological lift.

And yet, why isn't my stomach more flat?

I swear my stomach was flatter at this weight before.

I don't think it was because of more 'muscle' when I was 24. Believe me, I was a wimp. My younger self could not keep up with me today. I am stronger and more fit at 38 then I was at 28 by a long mile.

Yes, I know it's genetics and we can't spot train. I'm just ranting at my body. I poke and pinch my stomach and yell, "Why can't I carry the weight in all the right places? Why are you still here? Go away, you!"

It's hard for me to decide how I should structure my goals. After focusing more on my diet this week, I have dropped another pound. But weight is meaningless. I've reached my goal weight. I don't know what weight I would be if I had the body composition I wanted. How do I set a goal if I don't know where it is supposed to be?

After all the problems I had being overweight, I realize this is the equivalent of a dietary first world problem. My old self would moan at me that she would love to have 'my' problems versus her shin splints, low foot arches, and knee pain.

When I wrote my blog a few days ago about being happy enough with my current progress, something changed. Suddenly I wasn't happy with it anymore.

I've achieved my primary goal of better health, but what I want now is better body composition.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOUBBIE 3/23/2013 10:13PM

    I'm reposting this from Koshie1's blog here:

http://www.sparkpeople
.com/mypage_public_journal_indi
vidual.asp?blog_id=5297250#comm
ents

Someone else linked to this article in another blog and I think it bears repeated reading. I feel like I got more out of the experience on the second go-round, knowing in advance a couple of the things she was saying.

I'm with Betty on this. I was fat and I was thin and I was fat again and then fatter. The fattest years of my life coincide with when I had my children, so they're consequently the happiest years of my life!

I had, fortunately, learned by then that people didn't love me particularly more when I was thin and didn't love me particularly less when I was fat. If someone says you need to be thin for them to love you, they will NEVER love YOU.

There are certainly drawbacks to being overweight, and aesthetic values are surely also a consideration. But most peoples' self-value comes from within, and pity the poor souls' whose doesn't!

I will never admire my body aesthetically, and neither will anyone else much - not even if I achieved the perfect body composition, not even if I had plastic surgery or implants. Very few people can have "the whole package". I have brains and compassion and humor and resilience, some minor talents and the blessings of the Almighty in terms of family and friends. I can look at beautiful bodies and admire them the same way I admire objects in my house that please my eye. But my house does not have to be perfect on the outside to make me happy. I live on the inside of it, now, don't I?

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MYOWNHERO 3/23/2013 11:02AM

    Yup, my baby basket looks a bit "used"...oh well. Look at all your other great improvements. Older women are interesting!

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KAYOTIC 3/23/2013 10:45AM

    You really do a great job of honing in on your goals, diet and exercise, so it sounds like you want to take it up a notch, and shoot for body recomp rather than weight loss.

Have you looked at Leigh Peele or Tom Venuto's websites? They have some great info on body recomp (backed by science) and have really helped me get to my current level (I've dropped 14 lbs recently, and about 5% body fat, and really look lean, I know this because people at the gym are commenting on my arms constantly now, this never used to happen!).

The main thing I changed was my diet. And from reading your blogs, my diet and your's are pretty similar, in that you cook a lot of your food and eat pretty clean. (If that has fallen by the wayside with your move, it may be why you are noticing the squishiness more now....just a thought!)

Anyway, good luck with your quest! I'm almost 50, so I'm a bit older than you, and I say if I can to it you can too!

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THINRONNA 3/23/2013 6:50AM

    I have the exact same problem! Exact. I had managed to reach my goal weight of 126 and was so dismayed when I saw how much fat was still centered on my mid section. I was highly focused on planks, crunches and back exercises so it was really frustrating to see that. I kept lowering my goal to reduce the belly fat and that is why my ticker is set at 116. That is where the belly fat is finally gone. I am now back up to much closer to my original goal and I do seem to be able to maintain at the weight much better than at 116 and I am certainly healthy and look pretty good in clothes but when it comes to summer clothes, swim suits or nakedness ...there it is ...belly fat! So frustrating! Here is the worst part (and you probably aren't going to want to hear this)...since having children my belly body shape has actually changed as well...as in my actual frame. My stomach (even at 116) simply bows outward a bit now...adding to the "belly issue". Then there is the skin...that without surgery (that I will never have) kind of sags in the belly too...partly from having kids and partly from being overweight before. So there is that. As long as I am complaining I will also say that in losing the weight needed to get rid of the belly fat...my boobs had to go and get smaller first! Heck my feet even got smaller! No fair!!!!!! So new shoes and new bras before new bikinis!

Ok...now I have turned your rant in to my rant! So sorry. I can relate to your dilemma though. The question is can I be happy at a healthy weight without wanting a little bit more? I am not so sure. I am kind of OK with it but I do remember how in shape and awesome I did feel when I was completely toned, running on a regular basis and weighed 116...that was the year I went to Italy...I think I would kike to shoot for that again.

I think that there is nothing wrong with trying for a more ideal situation as long as it is not unrealistic or that we don't think it will "solve all our problems". Know what I mean? I also think there is something to be said for finding happiness in where we are and the process of achievement as well.

Looking at all of your achievements above and the difference in you and your life is amazing and you should never never forget where you have come from and all you have accomplished! The rest...what ever that is...just becomes part of your story.
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KELPIE57 3/22/2013 12:26PM

    Let us know if you find an answer, and chin up! You are doing great

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VHALKYRIE 3/22/2013 11:33AM

    Great thoughts about the dairy/wheat bloating! I am already very low grain. This week I only had a small amount of stuffing that went with my pork chops. It's possible even this small amount had an effect, but given the pinchiness on my stomach, I'm guessing that my body composition isn't what I want it to be. :)

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HELEN_BRU 3/22/2013 7:57AM

    I agree with the gluten (bread) cause.

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KICK-SS 3/22/2013 1:53AM

    I would love to walk around downtown Savannah, I've only seen it in pictures and on TV - looks like a beautiful place!

but, I live about 3,000 miles away or so, I don't think it will be happening any time soon!



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YOUNGNSMYLIE 3/21/2013 10:47PM

    I agree with a few posters here that what you eat, if you have even a small sensitivity to it, could be causing the tummy trouble spot. I noticed a significant (aka huge) difference in the flatness of my stomach when I cut out gluten. Same weight, different tummy flatness. I had a week where I tried (foolishly) to add gluten back into my diet, and my stomach felt and looked bloated.

Keep working hard and experimenting and the answer will come to you!

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GETSTRONGRRR 3/21/2013 7:09PM

    It's a tough problem. I noticed a definite flattening of my stomach when I ditched the carbs. But the factor I didn't control was ST. I have found that by doing some of the foundational lifts (squats, deadlifts, etc) that i engage my core, back, and leg muscles quite a bit. As a matter of fact, I haven't done sit-ups in a while, yet have had almost no lower back pains in forever.

Overall, I'm a fan of ST mixed with cardio....and proper nutrition of course....is there no end to all the things we need to do to maintain our well-being!?!?!

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WOUBBIE 3/21/2013 10:57AM

    LOL! No one much notices my weight loss and body compostition changes, because I take off weight first from the last place that it ever gets added, my bust. It's one reason why I never post how many inches I've lost. It's just too depressing. Honestly, with my frame and height I probably would only need to lose about another 25 pounds to look great if I could just migrate that fat northward.



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FITGIRL15 3/21/2013 10:35AM

    I often ask that question too... diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to a flat stomach for me. I honestly do think that dairy and wheat are bloating, and will give your tummy a rounder appearance, but yet show no added pounds on the scale (air doesn't weigh anything wether it's inside your tummy or outside it!)

But I do feel way tighther when I'm doing lots of core work. (PS... it also helps that I've never had a baby! lol)

Good Luck figuring out what you need to do! And do remember to share the info emoticon

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BEECHNUT13 3/21/2013 9:37AM

    Check out the blog about Staci on Nerd Fitness - she was in the same situation as you. Ok, now I'm off to work!

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1935MARY 3/21/2013 9:22AM

    Congrats on meeting your goal and to better health. But we are creatures of not being satisfied . Have you tried doing exercise on toning your stomach muscles? Try researching it on internet. May someone will read your blog that has better answers for you. I have not reached my goal, but I know what you are talking about. My problem is my stomach has gone down , that is the bottom portion, but under my breast , well some ,but still larger then the other. I don't know if it , or when it will catch up. Maybe went I lose more weight and exercise more. Good luck and I hope you find the answers.

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What My Vegan Friend and I Have in Common

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I have a dear friend who is vegan. She and I used to have lunch at a vegetarian/vegan cafe in Seattle where I would happily eat a vegan meal with her, even though I am an unabashed omnivore. This wasn't your normal vegetarian/vegan cafe, though - it was gourmet. Seriously. People in the PacNW can do veggie dishes right. Instead of weird tofu concoctions designed to be meat substitutes, they use -- vegetables! If I ever were to be vegetarian, Seattle would have been the easiest place to do it.

I have dabbled with vegetarianism and flexitarianism in the past. I lack the conviction to hold to it, though. My vegan friend is dearly devoted to the cause that she will never do harm to an animal. I have a more cycle of life philosophy. Big fish eats little fish until it dies and is consumed by organisms of decay. I believe more in the ethical raising and slaughter of animals.

We had a potluck once when we worked together, and I thought I would do my research to make something that she would be able to eat. I've heard vegetarians and vegans complain that potlucks often exclude them. I went to FoodGawker and put in the search term "raw food vegan". I was kind of taken aback that almost all the recipes were a dessert or soy disguised as meat substitute. It was very hard to find a recipe that was just vegetables or fruit.

When I was talking with her recently, it occurred to me that I am mostly a raw food omnivore, especially if I eat sushi. Cooking meat is required because of modern processing contamination, but our biology is capable of digesting meat raw. I prefer to eat whole veggies and fruit. I don't buy a lot of low-carb substitutes for wheat products or desserts. I've dabbled with it in the past, and was unsatisfied with the results. If I want pasta, bread or a dessert, then I'll go for a small amount of the real thing.

My raw food vegan friend and I seem to be on the diametrically opposed scale, but we have a lot more in common than you would think. My friend doesn't eat a lot of grains. Why? Because a raw 'whole grain' is indigestible to us, and some are toxic. Grains have to be broken down, milled, and cooked in order to be digestible. Some raw food vegans eat sprouted grains because the natural process of sprouting removes the toxins so they are safe to eat. We agree grains are not as essential as we have been told.

We both believe you can't go wrong eating more vegetables. No doubt fruit is good for you, but I go easy on them. In a world where oversized, honey sweet apples are the norm, I opt for the very small, tart ones.

We agree soy cheese is disgusting. Just...no.

We differ greatly on the protein. To be honest, I'm not sure where she gets her protein from (I'm guessing nuts and seeds), but it's not a condition of our friendship. I respect and support her space, and she respects mine. We aren't missionaries out to 'save' the other person from the error of her ways.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BTVMADS 3/20/2013 8:12PM

    There's just one well-loved Vegan resto here in Chattanooga (although you can find vegetarian options all over, if you avoid the bbq and fried chicken joints), and people LOVE it! But ALL of their menu options involve meat replacements (either soy or seitan), fake cheeses, or grains -- so I just haven't gone there, despite the rave reviews. I can't think of anything that is more directly antithetical to a paleo lifestyle.

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FITGIRL15 3/20/2013 1:42PM

    I have started drinking vegan protein powder because it's the only type that doesn't give me a swollen throat! (allergic reaction) And I love them! And they are helping me lose weight! WIN-WIN!

But normally, I don't eat Vegan. Frankly, it scares me a little! emoticon

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KAYOTIC 3/20/2013 9:58AM

    There is a nice Vegetarian/Vegan diner here in Reno that makes great food, we used to go there more often (probably during the summer we will go again, it's our sometime post mountain biking place). I know what you mean about using real food rather than the soy "fake meat" substitutes. What's the point of a soy hot dog? Just eat something real!



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BEECHNUT13 3/19/2013 10:16PM

    Soy cheese is sadomasochism.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/19/2013 6:38PM

    Great blog!

I am a "live and let live" kind of gal. Food dogma can be as touchy as religious dogma so my mantra is: find what works for you!!

Also, Tempeh and quinoa have have a fair amount of protein and are vegan friendly. Nuts and nut butters too as you mentioned.


..*) ♥.*)
(. .♥ (. .♥ (.*`* ♥☆.*`*♥☆
;.*
`*♥☆ Spread the Spark!!

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HELEN_BRU 3/19/2013 5:24PM

    Your blog was interesting. I eat vegetarian more often now than I used to. And I feel good afterwards.

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THINRONNA 3/19/2013 4:08PM

    Nice blog! I like that you both can respect each others choices and not try to change one another or prove each other wrong. You have a good and healthy friendship! Love it!

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TWINKIEQUEEN 3/19/2013 12:26PM

    as a recent vegan i am glad to hear neither you or your friend are on the missionary trail to convert the other.....i am not raw food, but am working on it......my favorite? raw beet "burgers" yum! you make me want to visit seattle becuz there is nothing vegan here unless i make it myself lol
thank you for your blog....it was good to read it

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