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Finding my Focus

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Frosty February, Finding my Focus, Fabulous, Fresh, Fruitful, Forward-looking: I was going to title this post "The F Words" but I thought better of it. :-D

Now that the two challenges I was participating in are over, it's time for a new focus.

I've been slacking off on my tracking, and eating things that I almost never eat. Not sure what that's about! I'm dealing with a rather high level of uncertainty in other areas of life, and that sometimes causes snack attacks! But it's not a trend, just fits and spurts. This too will pass.

Exercise has been a little spotty, too. I'm exercising daily but I need to pick up the intensity a little. With the cold weather, I'd be happy to just hibernate, but I want to start getting in a few early morning workouts as time permits. I feel so good when I do a short AM indoor cardio session or outdoor run!

My studies are still in the forefront, but it now looks like my exams will be taking place in May and June instead of February-March. To make a long story short, I mistakenly thought that I could do my final practical project parallel to the exams. It turns out that the project has to be graded before I begin exams. No problem - I can still graduate in October, but this requires a shift in perspective and time frames. I think it's going to turn out for the best because I'll have more time to do a really practice-oriented project to include one or more actual teaching units, possibly at different locations. More on that later!

Happy FFFFFFFebruary!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CYCLINGSANDY 2/6/2012 3:32PM

    Shifting your focus for February is not a bad thing! emoticon

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    I just finished reading all your winter blogs. Oh, those unexpected things that come up--someone once told me to focus on God and not the situation. It works for me when I "can still my soul and know God" as you mention in one of your blogs.
Then that peace comes.

You look great--healthy, trim, and vibrant.

I love your background and the lovely color you choose. The perfect one for winter white.

I've added you to my prayer list and will pray for a calm mind,
peace, provision, and a successful completion of your school goals. If there is anything else you'd like for, please let me know. God Bless

P.S. You perfectly named the IGAD! I could relate!

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SJG1953 2/3/2012 12:46AM

    God has a way of making things work out for us even when they don't work out how we had planned. I had this happen to me just today. God was totally with me as I laid out a large portion of my life in an interview for a job. Imagine that! God is so very good!

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TRYINGHARD1948 2/1/2012 4:23PM

    Always a little disorienting when plans go awry. You will soon reboot and get back to your solid footing. Keep warm my friend, I ffffeel the chill. emoticon

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SPARTAN40 2/1/2012 1:03PM

    I find stress and uncertainty always tend to fuel cravings for me. Good luck finding your calm.

Another F word: Faith.

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DZINE4KING 2/1/2012 9:42AM

    Enjoyed your blog and all the "F" words! Ha! It sounds like you are going to be Focused through February! Great start!

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DDOORN 2/1/2012 8:46AM

    Another "F" that's been on my mind: fulfillment! Pursuing actions that are fulfilling! :-)


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CAROLYN0107 2/1/2012 5:46AM

    It is kind of nice to be between challenges. I have enough going on here to keep me busy and I'm still trying to do some exercise most days. Are you taking your classes in German or are you at an International School where you study in English?

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EJOY-EVELYN 2/1/2012 12:25AM

    I love all the f words as I've made my goals around a whole lot of them. I'm hoping we get a few wintry spells along our Great Lake so that we can escape with a little glee to the warm sunshine state. I'll be ready for the Plant City Strawberry Festival the last week in February.

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HOMEBUNNY 1/31/2012 8:29PM

    Way to stay with it! You have your focus on the goal & you will get there!!

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 1/31/2012 5:56PM

    You are one fine, fit, fabulous Firecracker! You will find your focus. It does seem strange to come off challenges and suddenly have energy that has to be focused somewhere. I am staying on the Post Your Progress thread to help keep myself accountable. I still have the 100 Day Challenge at the rec center to keep me going too. The weather has been unusually warm here, so the winter hibernation drive has not been as bad for me this year, but I know exactly how that feels. Hang in there, and you will get back into a rhythm. It is all in God's time, so buckle up and enjoy the ride! emoticon

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NEWNAC304 1/31/2012 5:51PM

    I'm sure you'll find your focus. I think it's probably better that the project be done before the exams. It sounds less stressful to me. Good luck in your studies!

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VISUALLYRICS 1/31/2012 5:41PM

    I too love AM indoor cardio session or outdoor runs! emoticon
Uncertainty has also been my culprit ....I like to be "On the Jazz" ....love to have the edge on fitness...it is so refreshing to have that Energy!
I am sure you will find your spot to be! emoticon

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CTEMPLE 1/31/2012 4:30PM

    Sounds better that way, less stressful. In winter because one wants to hibernate and eat heavy food, in summer because it's too hot to exercise. That is my life, never the right time for exercise. But I know you like at at least dear M!
I'm sure you will be able to do all the readjustment in time to face the challenges. Are you going back to the US when you graduate and settle?

Comment edited on: 1/31/2012 4:31:23 PM

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EBLOOMING 1/31/2012 4:08PM

    Catchy title...with the f..... words.
Time is everything...when it comes to exams. I pray that your healthy lifestyle will contribute to a successful result!!! God Bless!! Thanks for the blog. Elaine emoticonIn advance....Finding my Focus, Fabulous, Fresh, Fruitful,Fantastic!!!

Comment edited on: 1/31/2012 4:10:12 PM

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It's a Wrap

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Winter %5 Challenge ended yesterday. I ended up with a 2 pound overall loss. I lost and gained and lost and gained and lost that same 2 pounds over the 8 weeks of the challenge. But I've decided it's gone for good now!

It was fun getting to know the new Firecrackers and hanging out with the returnees from the Summer challenge. Shout out to you fine folks!

I probably will skip the next challenge because of my studies and an upcoming stay in the States. I wouldn't want to make the commitment to the team and then not be able to check in regularly. But I'll be keeping in touch on blogs, pages, and status reports.

During the challenge, my church had our annual week of prayer and fasting. This was a very special time for me. Without going into a lot of detail, with the Lord's help, I was able to break through some fear issues. I also gave up diet cola for over 10 days. I won't say I'll never drink it again, but it was getting to be an addiction and I'm glad to have that broken. I used to fast one day a week and I plan to start that habit again.

In fact, the past 8 weeks have really been a time of returning to some healthy habits rather than starting new ones. I'm doing my 10 pieces of paperwork each day and keeping my sink shiny :), thirty minutes of exercise a day goes without saying and my ST has been pretty consistent, too. Now that the challenge is over, I plan to go back to Monday weigh-ins, a habit that just seems to work better for me than Saturdays.

I also completed the Spark January Jumpstart challenge - really wasn't anything new for me except that one of the requirements was to do a certain Spark video every day. I "discovered" a few new ones that I really like (9-minute arm sculpting, and 9-minute total lower body workout). I'll be incorporating those exercises into my routine. Anything that helps make ST more fun and that brings results - and a trophy - is good by me!

Have a good new week,everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTAGIRL45 1/30/2012 8:59PM

    Congratulations on the 2% loss and completing the January Jumpstart. I will miss you on the Spring Challenge, but I will be sure to check in on how you're doing.

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SPARTAN40 1/30/2012 5:50PM

    Sounds fantastic. I'm really impressed.

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NEWNAC304 1/30/2012 10:03AM

    I'm going to miss you on the next challenge but understand that life gets in the way. I hope we're able to stay in touch.

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    Awesome job all the way around! I think my favorite part of that was " . . . With the Lord's help. . . Overcame fears"! Those are the special moments of life when you know you have reached another level with the Lord! Great job on the contest and good luck in the next couple of months with all you have going on! What part of the States are you coming to??

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EJOY-EVELYN 1/29/2012 9:46PM

    Success, no matter how slow, is still success. WooHoo! The longer we live healthy habits, the more ingrained they become. I'm happy to be beginning Week 28 of maintenance and within the month, will likely be one of your neighbors, preparing for the next challenge.

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REDRUNNERMOM713 1/29/2012 9:31PM

    It's been great getting to know your Michelle! Great job on the 2lb loss and getting back to habits you know work for you. emoticon

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DDOORN 1/29/2012 9:01PM

    Good for you!

Used to fast a day each week too...hmm...might be worth dusting that off again! :-)


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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 1/29/2012 7:34PM

    Congratulations on completing the challenges!

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RURAL3 1/29/2012 6:43PM

    emoticon You did good Michelle. Keep up the good work.

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RUNNERRACHEL 1/29/2012 6:40PM

    emoticon on completing the challenge! I liked many of the videos too.

emoticon on your breakthrough during your fast!

emoticon on losing 2 pounds and giving up soda for 10 days.

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ABETTERSOUL 1/29/2012 6:00PM

    Michelle, emoticon Glad that you conquered, started again and have made some new habits. I need to conquer some of my bad habits that I keep returning to. I also agree...I like a shiny sink too.

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CTEMPLE 1/29/2012 4:22PM

    Excellent news all round dear M. One feels so much better when back to good habits.
I hope you feel like going to visit your dad, I have trouble with that.
Congratulations on your achievement, that challenge is quite demanding!

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VISUALLYRICS 1/29/2012 4:10PM

    Happy Dance for you, Michelle! emoticon

emoticon for New Habits and good old ones revived.

I like a shiny sink too.... emoticon

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Ralph, etc.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Another new habit? I used to have a personal paper-taming challenge to deal with at least 10 pieces of paper each day. Since I'm once again buried in paper clutter, and today was to be my productive day, I thought it would be a good day to restart that mini-challenge. So I plugged in Ralph the Paper Shredder and got rid of a nice little pile of white, red and yellow pages.

I did have a pretty good day productivity-wise and didn't let IGAD get hold of me. I also got in quite a bit of exercise (80 minutes) in 10 and 20-minute bits through the day. I had intended to leave the car at home again, but a friend called and asked me to help her with transporting some things to her new apartment. But I walked to and from the post office and then, this evening, to the prayer meeting at church.

We've got snow! First real snowfall of the winter in January - can you believe it? Usually we have the first snow in November. Last year we had a major blizzard on Christmas Day. Have you ever gone for a walk in the snow at night and noticed how the shadows of the snowflakes seem to be running to and fro on the sidewalk when you're walking past a streetlight? I'm 60 years old and this is the first time I remember noticing that. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

Looking forward to getting out in the snow for a hike or a pole-walk tomorrow, and getting in some mega-airmiles for the very short trip for the 5% Challenge. Go Firecrackers!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 1/23/2012 10:11AM

    Great to tame the paper devils! :-)

Our snow was awfully late this year too...just this past weekend was our first "shovel-able" snow! Now we've got a soggy week of rain 30s & 40s...thx goodness for Spinning class & Swing Dance to break the monotony!


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    I visited some of your blogs and enjoyed the IGAD Syndrome, which was new to me, semantically only.

Repeating "do it now" all day long really does work; there comes a tipping point when a switch is thrown subconsciously or something, and you become Action Annie.

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EJOY-EVELYN 1/21/2012 10:06AM

    Thanks for stopping by my SparkPage today. Seems I fill a paper grocery sack every few weeks just with junk mail and magazines leaving me with a stack of address labels and personal for shredding a job I just attacked other day! It builds up so fast. I so can relate.

Its a bit funny how Chicago and Milwaukee have had more snow than the Lake Superior region (I keep expecting that lake-effect snow we normally get). We had a light sprinkling the other day that simply highlighted the golden grass that remained from fall. I have to run to our woodsy state parks to enjoy the icy waterfalls and a little more snow on the ground. Have a great week!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 1/21/2012 9:06AM

    Fresh snow can be a wonderful thing.
We haven't had much this year. Last year we got a pile Sept. 17th.
I like your named paper shredder!

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CTEMPLE 1/20/2012 10:58PM

    Great on the letting go of paper, I did some but not all of it! I suspect it's never all of it.

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JAXMOMMY 1/20/2012 10:54PM

    The walk in the snow sounds lovely! Grab those air miles Firecracker!

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NDTEACHER1 1/20/2012 7:48PM

    What is IGAD? My ancestors were from Germany. My father didn't know how to speak English when he went to school but the teacher would not allow them to speak it in school so he and others learned to speak English quickly and fluently. Something to be said of the old way of doing things;)

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MTULLY 1/20/2012 7:45PM

    Enjoy your walk in the snow. What a great way to get in more exercise.

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SHARON10002 1/20/2012 4:57PM

    Nothing beats walking on a snowy evening under a full moon. It's one of my life's most memorable moments. Good for you cleaning out your paper clutter. It seems I no sooner clean mine out, and it's piled up again.
I could do without all the ads, junk mail, bills. . . emoticon

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HAKAPES 1/20/2012 4:56PM

    Must be great with the snow, skiing, snowballs!
Great for the 80 min exercise!

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MAMASUDS 1/20/2012 4:00PM

    Enjoy the snow! Send some our way when you get tired of it. We are basking in rain, rain and more rain. Planned on Nordic Walking tomorrow, but I will have to find a pathed path or get swallowed in the mud!
Congratulations on getting so much done. I think I should move the paper shredder into the hallway. Throwing paper away is so much more fun when you can shred it!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 1/20/2012 3:44PM

    YAY for the productive day and the fitness minutes!! I've actually never walked in the snow at night, but I'll have to try that the next time we get snow! I do love how peacefully quiet it always is at night when it's snowing. Firecrackers RULE!

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VISUALLYRICS 1/20/2012 3:39PM

    Snow in Germany and 80 degrees here in Texas!!
Can you Believe it?!! emoticon ...we are enjoying this gorgeous day - even if it IS "Winter"! LOL!!

Thank you for being a good friend today...what a blessing I am sure you are!

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IGAD Syndrome

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"I've got all day" syndrome - the situation that arises when you have a whole day to get things done but end up frittering it away because, after all, you've got all day!

I have the day free tomorrow, except for a prayer meeting in the evening, and I want it to be a productive one. I'm going to make a list before bed and a time plan, with plenty of breaks and fun stuff to keep things flowing. Will let y'all know how it goes.

This is a habit thing, too - or maybe better to say it's a breaking-the-procrastination habit thing.

P.S. Thanks for all the sympathy on my blog yesterday - one thing I'll miss is that visits to the gym were the greatest way to make productive use of my "extra" time in the city. I sometimes have early morning lessons and then nothing till evening with hours in between. Will be planning for some creative, active, no cost ways to spend that time in the future.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

M77355 1/27/2012 10:45AM

    OMGosh, I understand! I IGAD'd yesterday ... caught myself at 2:50 and turned into a tornado til 7pm. Won't do That again so better get off the Mac now!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 1/20/2012 3:41PM

    I have to admit I have IGAD syndrome on the weekends I don't have my son. Mostly on Sunday's it seems. Before I know it, it's about 6:00 Sunday evening and I haven't done much anything productive all day. I always have big plans, but get side-tracked. Glad there's finally a name for it instead of just piddling! emoticon

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MAGSDAN 1/20/2012 10:45AM

    I am sorry about the gym--I know how much I would miss my Curves or zumba classes.
I've never told you how I love the background you have chosen~~it's gorgeous!
I am glad you have a list--it helps to be organized. Sometimes I'd like to have a day just to fritter away! (once in a while) you know, to 'smell the roses' and not just in passing by.

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 1/20/2012 8:19AM

    I'm so glad I read this first thin in the morning on my day off. I really want today to be procutive day too, and I think I am going to go make that list right now!

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KALISWALKER 1/20/2012 1:24AM

    That's what it is! "I've got all day" syndrome too! I focus better too with a list. I know you will do well with your home gym, you already have the exercise habit.

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ROSENJ1965 1/19/2012 9:00PM

    LOVE IT! I have a bad case of IGAD and even IGAW (week) most of the time. I definitely need to work on it and I like your approach. Hopefully I'll pick up some ideas to apply to my own IDAG(W...M...Y).

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ANGORA4 1/19/2012 7:47PM

    Planning ahead, sounds like a good idea to me!

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JAXMOMMY 1/19/2012 6:40PM

    The added beauty of a list is that you feel accomplished when you can cross something off of it! I love that you named the syndrome we all tend to get when we have "free" time! Try to find a park and do some fun child-like things! Swing, push the merry-go-round, do some pull ups on the monkey bar! And you can always walk, walk, walk! You'll find something fun and active to do I am sure!

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ABETTERSOUL 1/19/2012 3:41PM

    I make lists also...helps me to stay focused and not "fritter" away time.

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VISUALLYRICS 1/19/2012 3:34PM

    I love that word..... fritter! emoticon
What a great plan!! - make a list & follow through to ENJOY the whole day!!!

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NEWNAC304 1/19/2012 3:29PM

    I have that same problem! I always have plans to accomplish big things and then waste a lot of time.

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CYCLINGSANDY 1/19/2012 3:25PM

    Oh My! I did not know anyone else had the same syndrome I do. I tend to fritter my weekends and then they are gone way too fast.
Maybe a list will help me too. I hope you have a productive day tomorrow.

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Home Gym

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Today was kind of a sad day. It was my last trip to my gym. I've cancelled my membership, mostly for financial reasons. I believe I will either be back when I get my tuition bills paid, or that the Lord has an even better plan.

It was ironic in a way because today was the first time in ages that I've seen someone I know at the gym. If there's anything at all that I've missed there, it's making casual friends like we tend to do at the gym in the US. People are pretty focused - come in, work out, and leave. I seldom even see the same people there! Today, however, I saw a former colleague who I hadn't seen in a couple of years. I actually recommended the place to her a long time ago. We didn't have much time to catch up but I won't be seeing her there again --- at least for awhile!

In the meantime, I'll be working out at home indoors and continuing with runs/walk/polewalks outdoors as the weather permits. I've got all I need - mat, dumbbells, stretchie bands, DVDs, and the right clothes for outdoor winter exercise...and of course Spark People!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

M77355 1/27/2012 10:55AM

    I'm sorry that you will miss your gym time but I believe you have the right idea ... the Lord has an even better idea ahead and can now make it apparent to you. Wonderful experiences could be just around the corner?

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RUNNINGOMA 1/20/2012 4:05AM

    I've wanted to join a gym, but for the same reasons, I don't. But, I too have the DVD's weights, good running shoes, etc. Just have to push myself. Plus, what I enjoy the most is walking and running outside. I sometimes say I wear my gym membership on my feet. emoticon

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CYCLINGSANDY 1/19/2012 3:31PM

    I had my gym in the states, but not since I moved here. I have found out that I workout better from home. I had so many more excuses not to go back out to my gym once I came home from school. Hopefully, you will discover the same thing.

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TRYINGHARD1948 1/19/2012 12:06PM

    I'm sure you will be okay Michelle. You have all the right attributes, self discipline, will power and equipment. Hope the finances improve soon.

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DDOORN 1/19/2012 10:57AM

    Ouch! Sorry to hear you've had to give up the membership. I know we struggle with that expense and (knock on wood) continue to afford it...barely! But you know there really IS much that can be done at home on our own. After all, that was my path for a number of years before finally joining the fitness center last Feb. So if I had to I could go back to that.


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HOMEBUNNY 1/19/2012 9:42AM

    Sorry to hear about your gym membership. But you seem to do quite well getting your cardio in by pole walking, walking to & from places, etc. I know you will do well!!

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JAXMOMMY 1/18/2012 10:35PM

    I am sorry you had to give up the gym membership, but I still hav mine and during the winter prefer staying home to do my ST and my cardio! I still go out for a few classes, but love my home gym! I have all the tools you do and enjoy them! I do not do the Nordic walking, but sounds like fun! Make it worth your while! Find some friends to trade DVDs with occasionally to switch it up and just have fun!

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MARYDSAN 1/18/2012 9:12PM

    I'm sorry about your membership. Mine here is the village health center, and because I am elderly, I get a very nice discount making my membership half what it was at my city pool in the States.
I know you do Nordic walking. Are there groups there that do that together? There are here, but my language skills aren't up to par yet. I do converse with those who are willing at the pool, but others don't even nod.
I have enough things here to do workouts in my LR, just need to push myself to use them.
Poles and pool are the only exercise that I feel normal doing.
I love your attitude-gambatte (do your best, hang in there)

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REDRUNNERMOM713 1/18/2012 8:53PM

    I'm so sorry you won't be going to the gym anymore, but maybe you will find a workout you do at home that you love more then anything you did at the gym! It's good to change things up. I can't wait to hear how the different workouts go for you.

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RUNNERRACHEL 1/18/2012 7:54PM

    Yeah I gave up my gym membership recently.

It can be quite convenient to workout at home. It's nice to do outdoor workouts too.

I used to think I needed my expensive membership in order to stay motivated--classes, fancy equipment, etc. but I find that I have all the motivation from SP and can get in great workouts that way.

You already have all you need--so that is going to workout nicely!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MTNGRL 1/18/2012 7:11PM

    I do all my workouts at home. I really miss the social atmosphere at the gym but because of $$ and distance I don't belong. Making the best of the situation means you won't be using that as an excuse and you will continue to be healthy and fit!

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HAKAPES 1/18/2012 6:43PM

    Sometimes we have to find new ways to do things we like to do!
Maybe you discover even better opportunities for your exercise?

An article to inspire your workout:

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 1/18/2012 6:23PM

    Michelle, that is a real disappointment, but it sounds like you are making the best of the situation. And you certainly do have all the equipment you need to keep up your progress at home. Maybe there are some walking clubs in your area that might fit into your schedule. That way you could get the exercise and the companionship for free. Hang in there, and know that your SparkFriends are with you in spirit! emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 1/18/2012 6:16PM

    Oh Michelle! emoticon for having s Rock Star attitude! I am certain you will continue to Progress. My gym membership is up in March...I am praying about that as well..... know how you feel.

I'll be in prayer for you too... emoticon & emoticon ~ Laura

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ABETTERSOUL 1/18/2012 5:53PM

    emoticon emoticon

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