ZELLAZM   92,388
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Hey, Firecrackers!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Summer 5% Challenge:


I wasn't sure I was going to sign up this time around, because of travel plans, but I decided to got for it. The team enthusiasm and accountability have really helped me in the past and, although I didn't lost my 5% last time like I did last summer, I know that being on the team really helped keep me from gaining during these past few super-stressful months.

My goal is to get down to 63.5 kilos by the start of the challenge - I'm about two pounds away. That means that losing 5% during the challenge will take me almost all the way down to 60, the top of my goal range. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Anyway, come along for the ride. I'm a Firecracker, but I'm sure you'll have fun on any of the teams.
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In other news, my eyeballs are starting to mold to the shape of my laptop screen, but I am making progress on the paper. I have 26 hours to finish!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Good luck with your 5% challenge over the summer!

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NDTEACHER1 6/7/2012 5:01PM

    You can do it, my friend!

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CAROLYN0107 6/7/2012 1:13PM

    Would love to join the Firecrackers again but .... I can't walk yet. Perhaps in the Fall I'll be able to join in again.
Go Firecrackers! emoticon

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JOANNKW 6/7/2012 1:08PM

    Zella, I'm glad you decided to join - Woohoo to being able to see the top of your range! I did a little math and am in about the same spot - lose that 5% and I'll be able to almost be there!

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HAKAPES 6/7/2012 10:34AM

    That 26h sounds a lot to spend in front of the screen!
I hope you don't need your laptop to freeze to prevent molding of your eyes...

I signed up for the summer challenge, too. This extra accountability and team spirit do make a difference!

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I don't really have time to be here...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

...but I thought I'd check in. It's going to be a push to get this paper done. I have a hefty teaching schedule the next couple of days, so won't have much time to write, just to continue to read and gather my notes. I do have the outline set up and the bibliography is formatted, and the first three pages are written. The intro is always a bear and I think I've got that nailed. Keep those prayers coming, folks!

Having to discipline myself in the study area has caused me to be more disciplined in others, like EATING. I'm always amazed at how that works, although I've seen it happen again and again. Duh. Need to REMEMBER these things! I'm starting my third week of daily tracking with only a few smallish calorie overages in the past two. Looking forward to the pay-off on the scale tomorrow. You ought to be hearing a big "Woohoo" from this direction at around 7AM at GMT plus 1.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EJOY-EVELYN 6/7/2012 12:40AM

    Be well, dear! Continue to focus where you need to focus. Tracking has been my best friend.

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    It's amazing how doing better in one area "spreads" to the others!

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GINILEE4 6/4/2012 7:13PM


So great that you are back on track. Hope the weigh in goes really well,


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ABETTERSOUL 6/3/2012 9:45PM

    Will be praying for you! I am sure you will do very well.

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JOANNKW 6/3/2012 7:51PM

    You are doing great! Prayers are continuing!

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M77355 6/3/2012 6:03PM

    INCOMING!!!!!!! prayers!

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CAROLYN0107 6/3/2012 4:35PM

    Great that you are tracking your food! emoticon You should see results on the scale!

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FRANNIEDID 6/3/2012 4:17PM

    I think I am as excited about your progress as you are. Keep it up, it is so inspiring for the rest of us!

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VISUALLYRICS 6/3/2012 4:06PM

    Prayers are ...on the way to you....Michelle.
I know what a relief it will be when you are finished! emoticon
emoticon to you for having an Overall very Motivating and Disciplined Lifestyle.
Great reminders!

emoticon Laura

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All is Vanity

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

After my last blog...especially after reading some of the comments, I wanted to be sure that I didn't come across as gloating over being a size 6 and aiming for a size 4. We're all where we are in our Spark journey and everyone is doing their best to reach a healthy goal weight (right?) regardless of what number that might be for you.

But I would be dishonest to say that I'm totally immune to "vanity sizing." I won't pay MORE for a pair of jeans just because they are 2's - but I did buy a pair a few years back and I'm looking forward to getting back into them. All the while, I'm realizing that they are probably the equivalent of the junior 9/10's I used to wear when I was the same weight back in school.

I'm always struck by the crazy sizing when I'm home in the States. (I do most of my clothes shopping there because it's so much cheaper than here in Germany and they have super thrift stores in the town where I live.)

So I went looking for an article about the phenomenon:


It sure makes shopping more complicated, but I think that's what the marketers want. The more complicated they make it, the more time you'll spend on their websites or in their stores. The research says that the longer you're there, the more you'll buy. Good to be aware!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Definitely did not come off that way to me. As for being whatever healthy size God made you . . . amen to that, and to having goals for that!, be it 2, 4, 6, or 16. I'm a 2X right now, that's down from 4X. So have a long, long way to go.

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NEWLIBRARIAN 6/1/2012 3:52PM

    Oh yes Vanity sizing. My daughter would have been a size 5 a few years ago and now she's a zero.
Keep on working toward that goal.

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NDTEACHER1 5/30/2012 6:19PM

    Don't give it a second thought, be proud you are the size you are. I heard the sizes are much different than years ago, that a size today may have been several sizes more 20 or more years ago. Do you have any good German websites I can buy clothes and shoes from? My aunt used to get catalogs from Germany in her beauty Salon. They had the cutest shoes! I am a bit of a Shoeaholic:) My son and daughter inherited the disease:)

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JOANNKW 5/30/2012 12:10PM

    Zella, I didn't see it as gloating - just the size you can be. I have noticed the silly shrinking sizes for years. I forgot that I had a a skirt from Chicos (my mom got it and it was too big for her) It was a 0 or a 2 or something silly like that. I really wish they would standardize clothing sizes. One of the brands at Target does something similar to the Levi's approach - they have a fit 1, 2, 3 or 4 size and I have found that helpful - when I can remember which one I liked (I think it was 3 or 4) Of course, since I am now playing in 140ville, who knows!

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RUNNINGOMA 5/30/2012 9:09AM

    Now that is exactly the kind of thing I have thought about, the industry changing sizes.

But I think you had another key for me. When I was a 9/10 that was probably the jr. size, and from there I went overweight, had babies, etc. Back at the 9/10 stage, I didn't care about fashion that much and size was just a number. I paid no attention since I was thin.

And, I noticed I stick to the same brands (Kohls is one huge favorite store) because I know what I will likely need for a size.

Oh, and I don't think you are vain - who wouldn't want to get back into clothes they formerly wore (well, not the too big ones!)

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/29/2012 7:46PM

    I really wish women's clothing was as standardized as men's clothing it. It's amazing how much it's changed in our lifetime.

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ABETTERSOUL 5/29/2012 3:25PM

    I just want to feel energetic and full of vitality and strength. Lately I have felt very unhealthy, but I haven't been working out as much and been eating too many sugary foods. Need to get refocused and back on track. emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 5/29/2012 2:21PM

    I am proud of you for throwing yourself into Life and giving your emoticon ..in all things whether it's Nordic walking, teaching, reaching out to a student, going the extra mile for a stranger or trying to read everybody's blogs at SP...LOL!! You are such a special sister in Christ to me, Michelle!
So, if you find yourself enjoying a size 6 but want to aim for a 4 - I say, Brava! Go for it!! ...and enjoy the journey. When I was a size 8 and one day I saw I fit into a 6...I celebrated it! It was a surprise to me...I love those freebie specials along the journey.
And if you don't mind much, I'll tag along cuz I so enjoy our friendship and learn so much from you. emoticon

love ya! ~ Laura

Comment edited on: 5/29/2012 2:23:35 PM

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 5/29/2012 1:44PM

    I didn't think you were gloating. We all have our own body shapes and sizes, and making the best of what you have to live an active and healthy life is the real goal. I could never get into a size 4 unless I was tragically ill. But I would love to see a 10 in my future! I look at that number as where I think I would be if my body was fit and I was in MY best shape.

Carry on, my friend!

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1CRAZYDOG 5/29/2012 12:16PM

    You're exactly right . . . we all have our "setpoint" for weight and size . . . our rather our BODIES do. Doesn't matter what the heck the # is. What matters is looking, feeling and being healthy and with energy. If you have that, you're where you need to be.

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Oh, to be 4 again

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Size 4 that is. It may have something to do with the fact that I've gotten out the summer clothes and am still the same size I was last year, but my motivation to lose has really increased lately. I remember thinking then that I would need some new khakis next year because the 6's would certainly be too big by summer 2012. And they're not. They fit just fine.
Somehow, this has caused me to be more diligent in my tracking and in staying within my ranges. I love the 5% challenges, but all the focus on air miles of exercise sometimes overshadows the importance --- for me, personally -- of keeping my eating under control. It helps that I'm loving the summer fruits - strawberries, watermelon, honeydew, etc. - and choosing those as snacks instead of higher-calorie choices. Did I say I love summer?
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On the master's degree front, I'm in the middle of researching my final paper. You are probably all getting tired of hearing me talk about "final this" and "final that". And I'm getting tired of hearing myself say it, too! I'm ready to be done! However, my topic is interesting --- challenging at the same time. I've got plenty of material. Researching is fun for me - I love chasing down rabbit trails! So, as usual, my difficulty is narrowing down the topic and being selective in my use of resources.

Tomorrow is a German holiday - Pentecost Monday - so I'll spend the day in the library. My study break will be lunch with one of my professors who is here from the States. She's been teaching at the Bible school this past week. It's a course that I took from her a few years ago and we've become friends since then. She's extended her stay a few days to get some R&R. Fun!

That's all for now! Keep those good thoughts and prayers coming!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANNIEDID 6/2/2012 11:08AM

    I love that you are making progress with your degree and you are not letting the size thing discourage you! I am making progress on the food front. With mom in the house in addition to my adult children and granddaughter I have let stress be an excuse for eating! I do love summer fruits, cherries are my favorite!!!

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RUNNINGOMA 5/29/2012 11:12AM

    Hmmm, I'm just saying, "oh, to be 10 again". I don't remember EVER being less than a 9, and I was totally thin then!
I have actually done better in the last couple months just challenging myself. I've lost more this month than ever just being focused on eating right and meeting my goals for exercise.
I'm glad you are enjoying your topic. Have fun with it and with your friend!

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JOANNKW 5/28/2012 3:34PM

    Heck, I don't think I want to be true size 6 (although I owned a pr of 6 pants and a skirt that was a 4 - many years ago - however, they weren't 'real' sizes - i am just too tall to look good in a 4! As for the 5% challenge - I found the emphasis on exercise to be surprising - since I wanted to lose weight (and did) I liked it, but I do much better at weight loss when I am not focusing on the exercise as much. Sad but true. So I am still waffling on the next challenge, since I hate to not really help the group. I noticed our group really was up in the standings on the weight loss, after not being up on the actual air miles - so I figured that was good.

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NDTEACHER1 5/28/2012 12:34PM

    I never get tired of hearing about your academic progress, it is fantastic! A size 4, I wish I was even close to that, but I too came to a decision to get back on track and do what worked before I started to fall apart with weight loss. Take care.

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/28/2012 7:21AM

    You will wonder what to do with yourself when all the papers are in and the study is over. All the best.

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HAKAPES 5/28/2012 2:19AM

    Go for it! Fruis and veggies are on top of my list, too. I noticed, since I do regular exercise, my hunger goes much more for fresh things.

And I guess you know the drill: weight loss is 70% nutrition, and 30% exercise.

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JERSEYGIRL24 5/28/2012 12:20AM


I've also been lurking and reading your blogs, even if I don't always comment on them. I am not going to participate in the 5% challenge this summer (unless I have a last minute change of heart, which is possible). We will have to have a big virtual party for you when you finish your paper.

Size 6, huh??? What I wouldn't give to be there. I am also looking forward to summer fruits. I love watermelon.

Glad that Monday is a holiday for you across the pond. Enjoy the day,



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VISUALLYRICS 5/27/2012 7:45PM

    OOhhh! How nice your day sounds. Enjoy your lunch with a friend and your holiday tomorrow... emoticon
I never get tired of reading your blogs....you always inspire me.
I really love summer fruits too...esp watermelon these last few days.

emoticon emoticon emoticon ~ Laura

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RUNNERRACHEL 5/27/2012 7:41PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon I love summer too! (I'm a teacher so you would expect it, right?) Have a great day studying and a great lunch with your professor!
Glad your final paper is coming along and that you're enjoying chasing rabbit trails! emoticon

Have a great Sunday!

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60+ Pages Down

Saturday, May 19, 2012

...and another 15 to go! This morning, I finally sent off my final project report to my mentor and to my evaluating prof. It hasn't really sunk in that it's DONE. Of course, it's only one step in the finals process for my master's. On Monday, I get the topic for the final 15-page paper. I then have two weeks to research and write. Written and oral finals are on June 18 and 19. Thanks to all who have sent their encouragement, who have prayed and are praying...there have been some times of discouragement and I believe it's God's power working through prayer that has carried me through.
One reason for the further delay is that my original mentor, a fellow missionary here in Germany, had to go back to the States on emergency leave. His mother was diagnosed with a serious form of brain cancer. In the midst of all that, I didn't feel I could burden him with the paper, and spent some time finding another mentor who could review the project report. Because the report is in English, this limited my alternatives. My "new" mentor is a missionary educator and dear friend in Zambia. She has already reported that she has the report downloaded and will be reading and giving me feedback on it by the end of the week. Don't you just love the possibilities that the Internet affords us?!!
So, now I'm looking around at all the things that haven't gotten done while I've been focused on the work. Where to begin!? First, a quick walk to the Post Office and back to return a skirt that didn't fit. That got me out in the sunshine and fresh air and inspired me to call a df to go Nordic walking this afternoon. Got the exercise thing COVERED today!
emoticon (----add poles)
My eating has been off the chart this past few days and I'm going to give myself the grace of staying off the scale until I'm back on track. The week ahead at the language school is looking to be my all-time busiest so I need to do some pre-cooking and planning so the upwards trend doesn't continue!
I have some 28 blog posts from Spark buddies to read and respond to! There's a big soccer match (Bayern München vs. Chelsea) on TV this evening so I'll get to that while I watch. I've missed hearing your news and updates.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 5/21/2012 2:00PM

    Whew! That's a whole lotta paperwork going down! Thx for the reminder...with cycling season upon us, my poles are getting a tad dusty...lol!


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FRANNIEDID 5/21/2012 10:17AM

    Congratulations Michelle, you inspire me! Not too long now and you will be finished and have a Masters! You should be so proud of yourself!

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AEO_SUNSHINE 5/20/2012 5:42PM

    You are an inspiration - studying is hard to do and you seem to be juggling more than that one ball - you seem to keep them all up in the air!

Don't forget to walk - it is a way to relax and clear the thoughts from the brain if only for a brief time - destressing is good.

Congrats on finishing you paper - hope the 15 page subject is one that you will enjoy working on.

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JOANNKW 5/19/2012 9:39PM

    Great job! I'm keeping you in my prayers. I do agree with you about the internet. What a blessing it often is.

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RUNNINGOMA 5/19/2012 4:46PM

    I bet you are somewhat relieved. We will just pray you through the next part of your project. Way to go on getting that exercise done! Great stress reliever!

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RUNNERRACHEL 5/19/2012 4:16PM

    Great job on getting those 60 pages done! Wow! You are very fortunate that you were able to find someone to help you while your mentor was away. Good job staying active and giving yourself a break from weighing in. Keep up the great work!

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JANETELIZABETH1 5/19/2012 2:03PM

    You are making good progress... PTL you were able to find a new mentor at such short notice. Praying for your (other) mentor's mom and their strength to be able to get through.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/19/2012 9:59AM

    How awesome that your new mentor is able to pick up and help you with your paper over the internet. It seems like things are moving along!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 5/19/2012 9:42AM

You have to be feeling pretty good right now!
Good job.

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VISUALLYRICS 5/19/2012 9:37AM

    emoticon Michelle on such Progress!! ...what a blessing that God provided a new mentor.... He is an AWESOME God!
Way To Go on your Nordic walking today.... looks like you're making it a Fit & Fab weekend!
...as for the nutrition/scales thingy.....I love your attitude about that! Thank YOU for allowing me to learn from you & your journey! You are the emoticon

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CAROLYN0107 5/19/2012 9:27AM

    emoticon on getting the 60 page paper done, and finding another mentor. I trust you'll like your topic for the 15 page paper. What will you be doing after graduation?
I'm awaiting May 29th total knee replacement surgery and then I am supposed to be up walking the next day, 12 weeks after having broken my knee/leg and wrist. Ten days to go!!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 5/19/2012 9:25AM

    Congrats on getting that huge project sent off for review! I can't imagine having to do something that monsterous. Your final will be here before you know it! Keep up the great work!

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