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Day 91 Update: Tough Year and New Beginnings

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hi Everyone

Today is Day 91 of the new 10 (or more) fitness minutes streak! I’ll write more about this soon, but this is a key milestone. In my past attempts at longer streaks, I have found that the true magic starts to kick in somewhere between Day 90 to Day 180 (so, from 3-6 months). It will be interesting to see what happens this time.

Today I want to share the history of this new streak. This has been a very tough year for multiple reasons. Probably the most stressful reason is that my Mom was very sick for most of this year. At first, the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. Finally, they realized that the arteries leading to her intestines were blocked. This is such a complex surgery that she had to be transferred to Stanford Hospital. Unfortunately, the surgery didn’t work at first and she ended up in the Intensive Care Unit for about a month. This was one of those series of steps where everything just keeps getting worse. At one point, I got a call from my brother saying to get to the hospital ASAP because she might not make it (she did). Then, one of the toughest days was watching the last hours of her roommate in the ICU when the priest and family were there to say the last rites prayer (fortunately my Mom was unconscious/asleep at that time). Thankfully, after about 3 months in the hospital, Mom is now home and recovering well and even recently got to walk her dog for the first time – WooHoo!

Obviously, this was incredibly stressful and I was starting to feel the physical and mental impact. I knew that despite the challenges of this situation, it was time to once again put the SparkPeople philosophy of taking small steps one at a time into action. So, the first step I took was to simply start walking faster from my car to the hospital and then to her room. I noticed that this small action once again made me start feeling more in control of the situation and my destiny. At the time, I had started several 10 minute (or more) fitness streaks in 2014, but had fallen off each time.

But, I kept at it and Didn’t. Give. Up.

Because after all, I know this works since I came up with this strategy and it's been the root cause of all the major goals I've reached in life :).

Looking at my records just now, it looks like this current streak is the 8th one I’ve had in 2014. Most lasted less than 10 days.

On April 14, I started again and this one has now stuck for 91 days. The important note about this type of streak is that it’s NOT extreme in terms of the amount of fitness. Looking back, there are about 10 days of the 91 that have 10-20 minutes. And many of those are simple exercises at home like pushups, crunches, lunges, etc.

This type of streak is much harder mentally than it is physically – which is one big reason why the hurdle is only 10 minutes and not something like 30-60 minutes. It really teaches you the importance of consistency so that you don’t fall off the wagon. When people wonder if this type of streak is “extreme”, I ask them how many days in a row they’ve brushed their teeth :).

The reason I shared some of the details of my Mom’s hospital stay and that I “failed” 7 times this year before try 8 really took off is just to show that anyone can do this and it really can change your life (more on that soon).
For those who haven’t read my book from back in 2010 (thanks to our members it became a New York Times Best Seller!), I’ll be writing much more about all of this soon and launching a new challenge based on this.

Thanks a bunch for reading and for your support. We can all continue reaching goals together one at a time!

Ok, time to go get some final fitness minutes of the day with my boys.

Chris (SparkGuy)

PS Congrats to all the Germany fans out there on an incredible win today in the World Cup – and great tournament to Argentina as well.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    817 days ago
  • GMARIE9999
    First, I'm glad to hear your mom pulled through and I hope she's doing wonderfully! Although I'm just reading this blog post, it is really encouraging. I've tried to incorporate few different 10-minute only goal streaks into my life since the beginning of the year. It's been tough continuing a few of them, but I HAVE been doing my exercise 10-minutes each day. Your blog post really encouraged me to keep at it. Although I may have failed on a few others goals, today is a new day to START THAT STREAK!
    1173 days ago
    I have looked up to you and the other members of the Spark team for many years. It is so helpful to me to hear that life sometimes gets in the way of your goals too. Thank you for sharing.
    1181 days ago
    Hope your mother is still doing well. emoticon
    1222 days ago
    Glad to hear your mom is doing wel. Congratulations on your diligence with your goals
    1238 days ago
    Chris I am so glad your mother is still with you. Recently I had a couple of visits to hospitals and one evening they thought I was dying so called in my friends. One elder from my church sat 5 hours at my bedside praying for me. I'm not 100% yet but God is good and I will improve even at my 85 years.
    1257 days ago
    Thanks for writing this personal blog. I'm glad your mother came through well and is recovering her health. Your willingness to share this story just confirms that we all have similar challenges in life and struggle with making good choices while under stress--even Spark Guy. Thanks again, Chris!
    1268 days ago
    I truly enjoyed reading your blog. It's been a long time since I logged in on sparkpeople due to tragedy of losing a sister, health problems that have stricken me, but I was feeling better today the pain has eased up enough for me to move around and get some things done.

    As I continue to read your blog I find it very enjoyable and I will look forward to reading more.

    So glad your mother is done good. Many BLESSINGS to you and your family.

    Thank you .

    1269 days ago
  • NWFL59
    1292 days ago
    Thank you for showing us that consistency and determination are key. Glad your mom is good...

    1307 days ago
    Nice! Glad your mom is doing well. Thanks for your inspiration.
    1324 days ago
    I hope your mom has gotten stronger and feeling much better. Prayers for her continued recovery.

    Thank you for sharing.
    1324 days ago
    1326 days ago
    The thing that makes Sparkpeople great is exactly the spirit you put in this blog. You are honest. No super slick salesman approach - you put yourself out there. SH&# in life happens and we still need to try to dig deep and keep with the journey.

    So happy your mother is improving and alive. Thank you for setting the pace for the life long jog here at spark. Blessings to you and your family.
    1326 days ago
    I recently broke my ankle in a slip and fall. Having gone from running 15-20+ miles a week, ocean swimming, and playing underwater hockey to sitting with my leg in a cast has been a real challenge. However I am now able to move around without much pain, and this blog has been a real motivating starting point for me.

    This morning I managed to get my (very inexpensive, indoor) wheel chair down my driveway across the rocks, sand, and grass to the sand road and 1/2 block away to the uneven, tilted asphalt sidewalk. I did just over .6 of a mile in 15 minutes, and will go outside later for a lap around the yard (an acre) on crutches.

    I am also working in some stretching and chair exercises (thanks, Nicole), broken up into 15-20 minute segments over 3 times today. Can't do too much more than that as jarring the ankle too much results in swelling and some discomfort late in the evening.

    Thanks SparkGuy!
    1334 days ago
  • CHRIST68
    Thank you for the reminder that we all have setbacks and have to begin again. For the longest time I have been struggling with the fact that I never seem to get past the 2-3 week mark with any healthy goal I set for myself It feels really good to get that far but all of a sudden, I stop! Whether it is on sparkpeople or just on paper, I keep hitting the same brick wall! I keep coming back and being reminded that I am not the only one battling myself. Thank you for that!
    1335 days ago
    So happy your mom is getting better and that you are on a streak. I thank you for thinking up the 10 min-day streak idea to begin with. I'm on Day 604 and it has made such a difference in my life. Keep it up!!
    1336 days ago
    Life sure does throw some hard balls our way and like you I find it much more difficult when it is someone I love, who is suffering. Feeling helpless is really the worst. But we hang on and pray a lot.

    I'm so glad that your Mom is improving and that means you are too! There are more people that care about you than you could ever have imagined. Stay strong and remember you have a very big sounding board whenever you need it. emoticon

    Looking forward to the challenge emoticon
    1337 days ago
    Wow Chris you sure have been through a lot, thanks for sharing with us!
    I am so glad your mom is feeling so much better now. I just recently re-joined your team and am so glad I did, because to commit for 10 mins is really attainable. You are truly our inspiration! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1338 days ago
    I believe there is a Chinese proverb about .....falling down 7 times and getting up 8?! You are an inspiration and coming at a good time for me. I have been so inconsistent over the past year. Breaking it down to a 10 minute commitment a day may make the difference with getting back to my former fit self.

    1338 days ago
    glad your mom got better.
    2014 looked the same for me. not as serious and not in the hospital, but kept having to break my streaks cause i'm having one medical issue after another. (i lost both my parents two years ago so i'm no longer busy with them, but i haven't quite recovered from the stress.) want to get back to the hundreds of days that you started me on way back when.
    1338 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/24/2014 10:42:47 PM
    so glad to hear ur mom is getting along good now prayers for her strength
    1338 days ago
  • B-NANA
    I joke that the ONLY thing I do every day consistently IS brush my teeth.
    Just a comment about your mom. Wondering if she smokes, because my mom had to make an emergency trip to the hospital. She had been having longtime problems with bowel movements and had to drink a bottle of mineral oil to help it pass. The doctors did surgery to see what was wrong and reported to me that her intestines were all black "necrotic" . He asked if she smoked, I told him yes, and he said that was the cause. I had a few minutes to be with her after she awoke, before she passed away. She had had problems for years and it was never diagnosed. Glad your mom got good care. Smoking doesn't always kill lung tissue.
    Glad to be on your team. Thanks for encouraging us all to live a healthier life.
    1338 days ago

    Thank you for letting me see the human side of you! I knew it was there, but I didn't know where it started and where business began. Thanks for the lesson, and we'll spark on TOGETHER THROUGH THIS CHALLENGE!!!

    Be blessed,

    - Nancy Jean -
    1338 days ago
    1338 days ago
    I'll be looking forward to your blogs! emoticon
    1338 days ago
  • GRACED777
    Thank you for sharing how we can walk through adversity. If we can't learn this, everything will unravel at some point--if not today or tomorrow, maybe in ten years!

    I'm glad things are getting better for your mom and will pray. Very good blog post!
    1339 days ago
    So glad your mom is recovering! Thanks for sharing. We all have battles to conquer. It is good to know about someone else's battles. It tells us that we are not alone. Also that some of our battles are not as important as we perceive.
    1339 days ago
    Thanks so much for sharing!!
    1340 days ago
    This blog brought me hope. Thank you.
    1340 days ago
    I often refer my chronic pain patients to Spark People. This post will be a treat--affirming of self-determination in the face of real-life adversity, and I plan to read it to my next pain management class.

    Thanks for the
    1340 days ago
  • NEWSUE45
    Thank you for sharing this personal story with us. My team, Small Steps to Success is based upon your goal of 10 minutes of exercise. I too have had streaks and your story prompted me to begin one today! Prayers to you and your family and I am so glad to hear your mother is doing better.
    1342 days ago
    You are blessed. I lost my mom a few weeks ago. I had to make the decision to take her off of life support and she struggled for 2 days with 'air hunger'-trying to breath on her own, before she passed. Horrible for her even though they kept her drugged with pain meds and tranquilizers, it was still awful. She would drift in and out of
    consciousness. It was heart breaking. I was with her every moment. I still have bad dreams.
    I'm glad your mom is ok now.
    Your ability to restart over and over inspiring. Thank you for letting us know that even when you are at the top, it isn't always easy.

    1343 days ago
    I would love to be part of such a streak....
    Stoked that your mum is recovering...her little dog will love having her back home....
    1344 days ago
    I'm glad to hear your mom is doing better. Bless you for inspiring all of us Sparkies!
    1344 days ago
    1344 days ago
  • MISSLISA1973
    Thank you so much for sharing. I think this is just the inspiration I needed today!

    It is good to hear that your mother is doing so much better and even able to walk the dog. What a wonderful joy for your whole family. emoticon
    1344 days ago
    Interesting blog, kept my interest though the whole thing. Thanks for sharing.
    1344 days ago
    Great job on the streak!!!

    Your web sight, & my spark family along with prayers are what helped turn my depression around after experiencing 7 deaths in 8 years.

    We can do this!!!

    We can get fitter. One day @ a time. One step @ a time. One prayer @ a time.


    PS. Right here on sparkes~ trying to become merely fat (not obese) I've walked my way out of an antibiotic resistant infection, severely sick lungs, & Cancer, & 9 surgeries over 14 months. (Still obese:(
    1345 days ago
    I am glad to hear that your Mom is ok
    1345 days ago
    I'm sorry you and your family had to go through this but very glad your mom is home and doing well.

    It's so important that you shared this because it shows we can come back after problems due to stress or illness.

    Thank you.
    1345 days ago
    I am glad your mom's ordeal is over and she is doing well!
    1345 days ago
    Thanks for sharing that it is tough for you as well. So glad to hear your mother is doing better!
    1345 days ago
    Just lost my mom on July 3rd after a long illness. I am hoping to get back to eating better and tracking soon.
    1345 days ago
    Hi Chris,

    Very heartfelt and inspiring story, will keep your mom in prayer for full recovery of her health and well-being. I am subscribed to your blog and spreading the spark, looking forward to having fun and joining the challenge!


    emoticon emoticon
    1345 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing Chris, this post was extremely meaningful and helpful for me. I have struggled for 8 years since losing my Mom (SO glad your Mom is doing better!) and have not been able to get myself on track. Today I signed up for a trial of SparkCoach and am hopeful it might get and keep me on track again. I also can relate very deeply to the "failed" streak efforts but today am beginning again with the "10 minute method" and will take baby-steps to keep my streak alive. Thank you for all you've done to inspire me and so many others...we LOVE your spark! emoticon
    1345 days ago
  • LINDAC107
    Loved this blog, Chris! You're inspiring me, 10 minutes at a time. Best wishes to you, your Mom and your family! emoticon
    1346 days ago
    1346 days ago
    Your reminders are welcomed.

    Thank you for sharing the personal side. Walking the dog is something people usually do without thinking. How gorgeous to read it as triumph.
    1346 days ago
    Oh Chris! I had tears in my eyes hearing about your Mom. Having been through some tough times with my Dad and my husband both very ill and neither one being expected to live at the same time, in different hospitals, I can relate to the stress big time! Both recovered, thank God, although I have since lost my Dad. But those calls to come and say goodbye! Awful!

    You continue to help and inspire so many people! I hope that your streak continues!


    1346 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.