AMANDANCES's SparkPeople Blog AMANDANCES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Lost weight over Christmas! First of all, I have to thank my sister-in-law for giving me a Fitbit Charge HR for an early Christmas present because even though I had the Spark tracker and a Jawbone UP, I had no "friends" to compete with, I had to be close to my computer to synchronize my day, and essentially I quickly lost interest in getting the 10,000 steps. Something about the Fitbit is that I have a lot of Facebook friends on, and we challenge each other, and I can follow my progress just by looking at the tracker on... Mon, 2 Jan 2017 12:41:44 EST Settling in to my new reality So it's almost the end of 2016 and I'm halfway through graduate school now. The Little Bear is FIVE YEARS OLD (!!!!!) and is as silly as ever. He's crazy smart and VERY active, so he keeps me on my toes. <BR> <BR> When I lost my job in 2015, I made the decision to go back to school full-time and it was probably the best decision I ever made. (I say that now, before I have to start paying the loans back.) But really, I've learned a lot, managed to develop good habits and better time managemen... Mon, 28 Nov 2016 18:26:39 EST A new chapter in my life So I started today with a bang -- or an air horn, actually. I ran the Day One Race (5k) -- a race that each year I never do and always regret not doing. Well this year I did it! <BR> <BR> Time wasn't great - just 38:17 - because I walked about half of it, but I don't care. I started the new year out the way I wanted to, on my terms. <BR> <BR> *** <BR> <BR> So in exactly one week, I'm packing up the car and heading off to Murray Kentucky to start my first MFA residency. Being back in school... Fri, 1 Jan 2016 12:38:51 EST Life Lessons From Potty-Training a Three-Year-Old Little Bear is struggling with the potty. <BR> <BR> He tends to wait too long, and then he goes in his pull-up and doesn't get a sticker. It's a very depressing thing to watch, from a parent's perspective, because he tries so hard most of the time. <BR> <BR> There are dozens of theories and "tricks" other parents recommend. One that I'm ashamed to say we tried was "shaming," where we told him only little babies peed in their diapers. Needless to say, that didn't help. It might have actuall... Thu, 15 Jan 2015 10:05:01 EST I'm getting a treadmill Do I need a beginner treadmill that goes over 10 mph? I am so lost on these and have NO idea which one to get. Any thoughts? Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:36:28 EST 15K and being back on the wagon I actually missed my Spark friends during the time when I was gone, but I got used to using the phone app rather than the website, and there isn't a lot of interaction on that app. I hope you all are doing well and staying positive. <BR> <BR> There are so many things I want to say to everyone, but since this feeds into Google, I won't. Lots of changes going on. For the first time in YEARS I'm not actively teaching or performing. I don't exactly know what to feel, but I think I'm okay with it... Mon, 8 Sep 2014 08:25:43 EST First day of MANY! It was an interesting summer, to say the least. Little Bear and I planted tomatoes and green beans, and it took a while but we're seeing the "fruits" of our labors now. Daddy learned how to make roasted tomato appetizers, and we grilled squash a few times. Bear now eats corn on the cob, although I have to "start it" for him by taking a bite out of the center. :) <BR> <BR> In July I had to stop teaching dance because of, as usual, studio troubles, and it looks like I may not be going back to ... Mon, 1 Sep 2014 19:27:34 EST Been busy!!! So yeah, it's been a while. Things have been slightly crazy, especially since I've kicked up the writing so much. I feel like I don't have time for everything I need to do. Yeah, I sound like my mom. <BR> <BR> For the past 8-9 months I've lost a little and then gained a little. It drives me crazy. I know what I need to do to stay energized and keep the weight off, and it's called EXERCISE! I make all kinds of excuses why I'm not doing it (being tired is the main excuse) then I realize I'm ti... Wed, 14 May 2014 10:04:56 EST Little Bear's First Hair Cut - pics Once there lived a Little Bear <BR> He had some crazy, CRAZY hair! <BR> His Mommy thought it looked just fine <BR> But he did resemble Professor Einstein. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> His curls were so boingy <BR> All spiraling down. <BR> He looked like a lion <BR> With his big fuzzy crown <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So he called up the stylist <BR> And he said, "Could ... Fri, 7 Mar 2014 11:02:18 EST March 1 - First Trail Run! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> (What this photo shows is me coming across the finish line, 4th from last, but still finishing. What it does not show is all the MUD!) <BR> <BR> <BR> February was a bad month. Little exercise, little motivation, little anything for me. We had snow and freezing rain just about every day, and I couldn't bother myself to care about doing much of anything. I spent most of my free time visiting my Mom in the rehab hos... Thu, 6 Mar 2014 10:29:44 EST Six Weeks of Giving Up LAZY! I'm setting a Lenten goal of getting off my duff and being ACTIVE for the next 6 weeks (and hopefully by then I'll have made a habit of it, and it will be nice enough I can actually run and walk outside again.) I have been slacking SO MUCH lately, and I know part of it is because my thyroid is all out of whack, but I can offset that with coffee. I'm also scared to move on the new job issue, but I'm even more scared of being stuck where I am. <BR> <BR> So today is day one of my regimen and I ... Wed, 5 Mar 2014 11:28:12 EST The Continuing Adventures of the Bear Family Nobody every tells you that your vocabulary will change, once you become a parent. <BR> <BR> Beyond the obvious "Clean up your language!" if you're a cusser, or "Enunciate more" if you slur your words, new parents don't really get much advice on what to say or what not to say around their children. <BR> <BR> There are, however, a few rules regarding toddlers and speech I'd like to share with you: <BR> <BR> 1. Assume anything you say at home will be broadcast to complete strangers in the g... Tue, 25 Feb 2014 09:51:10 EST So, yeah. It's been difficult. I won't lie. I've been lurking. Yes, I gained back some of my weight. I knew I would, because I was slacking so much and eating a lot of junk. And drinking way too much! (Seriously, 500 calories of my daily totals were in alcohol!) <BR> <BR> And yes, I know why. Frustration, depression, the job situation. This "day job" thing has finally reached the point where I can no longer be there without feeling so bad about myself that I just want to jump off a cliff. The only solution (after ponderin... Mon, 24 Feb 2014 10:33:10 EST Should I keep my activity tracker? The great debate. Right after the first of the year, I received my Spark Activity Tracker. I was super excited about it, because I loved the idea of the little "light show" to help me track my fitness through the day, and I wanted something that would track my mileage when I went wandering. <BR> <BR> I'm still inside my 30-day return, and I'm trying to decide if I want to keep it. I'm reviewing the pros and cons of it, and my major issues with it. <BR> <BR> <BR> 1. PLACEMENT OF DEVICE <BR> <BR> The SPAT as... Tue, 14 Jan 2014 09:57:53 EST Five words or less Ready for major life changes! Thu, 9 Jan 2014 15:07:09 EST I hurt myself running :( So much for new week resolutions -- we lost our internet for 2 days, so I didn't get to spark at all! WAAAHHH!! <BR> <BR> In other news: <BR> <BR> Well I figured being off for almost 8 weeks would have been enough time to heal, but now I feel worse than ever. Sigh. <BR> <BR> In October, when I did the half-marathon, by the end of the race, my right hip was aching and ready to have the race OVER! It hurt for a day or two, and I limped around because I wasn't sure what needed stretching, but... Thu, 2 Jan 2014 11:24:04 EST RESET! The last few months have been so much fun, and busy busy! I am learning to manage my time a little better, so they haven't been as crazy as usual, but I've neglected Spark, my Spark friends, and fitness in general. <BR> <BR> So like everyone else on the planet, I'm making New Week Resolutions! These happen to coincide with the New Year, which is an added bonus! <BR> <BR> I bought the Spark Activity Tracker, so my first resolution is to use it to keep me motivated to run/walk/dance/exercis... Mon, 30 Dec 2013 10:21:10 EST When it rains, it floods my office. I went to my office this morning and found the carpet soaked. Now instead of spending the morning working on the back story for a character in my most recent book, I'm rearranging furniture so they bring in the wet vac. <BR> <BR> Got on the scale this morning and found I was slightly over my expectations, but not as bad as I had imagined. Doing a dance class 6 days a week is probably not going to be enough activity for me to burn off what I'm now eating (and drinking). I probably need to ad... Mon, 16 Dec 2013 10:36:40 EST LOVING this dance class! So I'm taking a class that's basically Dance Stylings and loving it. It's about 75 percent ballet work, with drills designed to help all out dance genres, and 25 percent jazz/hip-hop stuff that I'm not THAT familiar with but am really enjoying. <BR> <BR> It's making my back feel better, my legs stronger, and giving me some "me" time away from a family that's driving me nuts because they're cooped up all day long. I'm tracking the 60-minute class, but I don't think I'm burning quite what Spa... Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:30:21 EST I've missed this place! Wow, November was cray-cray-crazy, but I loved it. I wrote another book, Little Bear successfully learned 12 colors and now knows how to mix blue and yellow fingerpaint to make green, I didn't run AT ALL, managed to tick off family because I wanted to cook for Thanksgiving, did a bunch of mystery shopping, decided I wanted an iPhone but don't want to pay for a smart phone, finished up my classes for the year, got my mom hooked on a new mystery series, decided to just pretty much limit myself ... Mon, 9 Dec 2013 11:07:08 EST FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Well, in my age category) What has two feet, a runny nose, a shiny new medal, and just won first place in a 5k for her age category? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> AMANDANCES!!! <BR> <BR> <BR> YIPPEEEEEE!!!!! <BR> <BR> So here's how it all went down: <BR> <BR> Yesterday was FREEZING. Okay, not technically, but it was DARN cold. I had two hours of class on Friday, a full day scheduled (including a wedding performance) on Saturday, and a bunch of shops to do... Sun, 27 Oct 2013 18:42:31 EST Cold weather fitness planning There was frost on my windshield this morning, which made me ever so happy I wasn’t getting up early to run. To think that just a few short weeks ago I was complaining about how hot it was! From August to October is the difference between night and day. Literally. It was dark when I went to work. <BR> <BR> Little Bear is running another kids dash tomorrow. I’m not really “pushing” him to be interested in running, but I want him to know that exercise and fitness is an important part of our l... Fri, 25 Oct 2013 10:29:32 EST Lost so much weight my pants fell off! Well I have the single greatest excuse EVER for why I didn't run yesterday: my pants kept falling off! <BR> <BR> My mom loaned me the earphone set from her ipod shuffle so I could listen to my interval training podcasts and work on building speed in my running. Yesterday wasn't TECHNICALLY a scheduled running day, but I missed it on Tuesday, and it wasn't too horribly cold out, so I thought why not? <BR> <BR> Walking (briskly) to my timing spot, I start the stopwatch and began my "warm-up"... Thu, 24 Oct 2013 08:44:26 EST SOUP SEASON!!! Theater Show!! And 20 pounds = everything! When I went out to warm up my car this morning, I could see the trees in the distance swaying against gray clouds. It's still dark when I get up, and will be even darker once we switch to daylight saving time (groan) but it was light enough to see what looked like snow clouds looming in the lower atmosphere. <BR> <BR> I could go for some snow right now :) It doesn't do much for my joints and hips, but there's something kind of nice about cold weather -- as long as you are out in it by choic... Wed, 23 Oct 2013 09:31:06 EST I've stopped feeling sorry for myself. To every thing there is a season, amirite? <BR> <BR> This is the season for me to stop feeling sorry for myself about whatever evils I perceive to have befallen me, and to take responsibility for my own happiness. So here are my final thoughts on mean people. <BR> <BR> Regarding Work: <BR> My day job I should have quit 15 years ago. I knew that with every passing year, but it's more and more obvious every day. I cannot view this as wasted time, but merely an extended educational opportunit... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:14:26 EST "If one person smiles at me..." “Dr. Jerome Motto, who has been part of two failed suicide barrier coalitions, is now retired and living in San Mateo. When I visited him there, we spent three hours talking about the bridge. Motto had a patient who committed suicide from the Golden Gate in 1963, but the jump that affected him most occurred in the seventies. “I went to this guy’s apartment afterward with the assistant medical examiner,” he told me. “The guy was in his thirties, lived alone, pretty bare apartment. He’d written... Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:29:36 EST Stress your way to weight loss :) I can't believe it, but somehow I've lost a pound. I seriously hope it's not a pound of muscle. I would have thought with all the crazy restaurant shops, the fall festival food, and not tracking my food I'd weigh at least 5 pounds more than last month, but lo and behold, I get on the scale and it tells me I'm down a little over a pound. Woot! <BR> <BR> So here's the thing -- this scale is not great. I mean, it's fine for noticing loss, but it's old and creaky, and I think it measure me slig... Mon, 14 Oct 2013 08:49:54 EST My Disease: The Lazy It's been a busy couple of weeks, but that is my life and therefore it is not a valid excuse. I have been taking it easy this week because my foot and hip are still a little sore from the race, and I haven't really taken the time to stretch it all out. I know, I know. <BR> <BR> So next weekend is the Indy show, and my schedule is NUTS all week. On Tuesday I'm out of town in St. Louis all day, and then we leave for Indy Friday morning. Monday I have about 3 hours of mystery shopping jobs to ... Fri, 11 Oct 2013 09:46:33 EST Race Recap: My First Half-Marathon Wow. Just wow. WOW! Did you get that? – WOW! <BR> <BR> For the uninitiated a Half-Marathon is 13.1 miles. Exactly half the distance of a proper Marathon, but just as hard to train for, in my opinion. <BR> <BR> Friday: Packet pickup. <BR> This is one of my favorite parts of racing – the packet pickup. I know, sounds weird. But racing is a solitary venture, and for me, this is the first time I ever really get to interact with anybody else who is participating. This pick-up had a tiny little ... Mon, 7 Oct 2013 00:12:48 EST HALF MARATHON -- DONE!!!!! This is brief 'cause I'm exhausted and going to bed early. <BR> <BR> I DID IT!!!!!! <BR> <BR> I ran my first half-marathon and finished with a 2 hour 28 minute time!!! <BR> <BR> This is for all my Spark fiends, who believed in me and encouraged me: THANK YOU!!! This wasn't just my achievement -- we did it together!! <BR> <em>381</em> <BR> <BR> THANK YOU ALL!!!! Sat, 5 Oct 2013 23:13:45 EST Friday musings... Visualization for today: Imagine looking back on your calendar and realizing that you've exercised every day for an entire month. <BR> <BR> Wow -- that would be nice to accomplish. I think that will be my goal for next week (and on.) <BR> <BR> I am entirely too busy and I'm cutting back. I'm tired of running around scrambling for work, or running from job to job. I'm also tired of not getting PAID for jobs -- I think a client from last month has decided to stiff me, since "the check is in ... Fri, 4 Oct 2013 09:20:56 EST OMG - I'm running a half marathon in TWO DAYS!!!! :O I guess it's just now hitting me: I will be running 13 miles in a couple of days. <BR> <BR> Whoa. <BR> <BR> Things here have been busy, but less chaotic than usual, although I've been neglected Spark and my training for a couple of reasons: <BR> <BR> 1. I am most certainly losing my "day job" and although I actually understand being let go, the way they are going about it is frankly VERY crappy and underhanded. It's one thing to be told "We just don't have the workload to keep you employed... Thu, 3 Oct 2013 09:09:38 EST Race for the Cure -- and my best 5K time yet! Saturday was September 28, which was my Mom's birthday, and also our city's annual Race for the Cure, for breast cancer. Mom agreed to go with, because she's up early anyway and kind of gets a kick out of watching me cross the finish line. <BR> <BR> Now, I live in a basically medium-sized city, a little bigger than a small town because we're spread out over a large distance, but it's not like Chicago or even Indianapolis. But something about my little burg attracts people to this Race, becau... Wed, 2 Oct 2013 09:26:41 EST GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! (HAHAHA! I can hear that in the voice of the Brazilian soccer commentator. ) <BR> <BR> <em>248</em> <BR> <BR> So friends, I am OVER THE MOON today for a lot of reasons, not least of which being: I hit my goal weight today! Actually, maybe slightly under. When I saw the scale read close to 139, I started to freak out because I thought it actually said 149 and I was trying to figure out how I'd gained all the weight back. But it was just my coffee-starved brain playing tricks on me. I was... Mon, 23 Sep 2013 09:15:37 EST Full Honey-Bear Moon -- and Plateau Busting - Day 1 Yesterday was the ONLY day this week that it's been muggy and hot, but I had a run scheduled and I was for darn tootin' NOT going to miss it. It wasn't as much fun as usual because of the heat, but at least I got in 3 miles, although a fair bit of that was walking. Once I can get back to a regular running schedule (especially as it cools outside) I think I'll spend less time having to walk. <BR> <BR> One bit of annoyance -- my darn iPod shuffle isn't cooperating. The headphone controllers re... Fri, 20 Sep 2013 10:15:57 EST I graduated! :) Today was my 90th day with SparkCoach, so I've officially finished the "4-stage" program. I feel like I should be wearing a cap and gown ... <BR> <BR> <em>58</em> <BR> <BR> I decided to go ahead and move on to the Plateau Busting program because I do think I want to lose a little more weight, but more importantly I want to ensure that the good fitness habits I STARTED with are maintained. And you know lately that's been sorta slack city in my 'hood. <BR> <BR> Major issues lately: <BR> ... Thu, 19 Sep 2013 09:57:49 EST Looking Back: Challenges and Successes Today's SparkCoach program was a great one. It's the one called "Looking Back and Staying On Track" and if you've already done it, I recommend reading it again, maybe even weekly. <BR> <BR> ... <BR> <BR> So yesterday .... sigh. Mondays are the days when I get my life in order, usually. I spent two hours returning phone calls and reaffirming the contracts and appointments for this week, another hour probably arranging my schedule of private lessons, mystery shops, and story hours and music c... Tue, 17 Sep 2013 10:26:35 EST I blew off working out Friday for this: <img src=""> <BR> <BR> and this: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> See that look? That's sheer joy. And that's worth more than anything. Mon, 16 Sep 2013 16:52:09 EST Personal: another plateau, more pain. Grr -- this blog is just me whining, so Friends might want to skip this one. <BR> <BR> Rather than calling it a plateau, I'm going to call it a streak. That's a little more positive. I've maintained this weight streak for a month now, and it's getting old. <BR> <BR> It's my own fault -- it's not like I don't KNOW what's causing it (not tracking food, not working out enough -- I can't count dance as workout because that just isn't working. I guess my body already expects that and doesn't con... Mon, 16 Sep 2013 09:34:45 EST "Take Cookie Grandma NOW" That was the order in the house last night. We obeyed. <BR> <BR> Backstory: <BR> <BR> When I was little my Mom baked CONSTANTLY. She wasn't much of a cook, but her pies, cakes, desserts, cookies, candies, etc were to die for. It's amazing the whole family wasn't terribly overweight, but I guess when you're surrounded by all the Delicious (and you know as soon as it's gone she'll make more) you learn to pace yourself. Anyway ... <BR> <BR> "Scratch" was the rule at our house. But we lived i... Fri, 13 Sep 2013 09:26:24 EST I made this! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> (The background images are courtesy of Little Bear. Those are his favorite "finga paintings.") <BR> <BR> So this is my first actually finished sweater that I've knit by hand, and I finally sewed the last buttons on last night. (I'm not crazy about the way this hangs. It's supposed to be cropped, but I don't care for that. It makes me look fat. I'll probably never button it, but oh well.) <BR> <BR> Little Bear w... Thu, 12 Sep 2013 10:42:40 EST A day in the life of a dancer... The alarm is set for 5:00, because my intention was to get up early and run before I go to the office. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> Yeah, okay so that didn't happen. I hit the snooze more times than I can count. <BR> <BR> Anyway, I do my morning yoga, make my coffee, drop the bacon in the coffee to flavor it, and eat my break-fast. Head to the office around 7, where I do Spark stuff, putz around with an article I'm supposed... Wed, 11 Sep 2013 09:57:18 EST 13 weeks ago ... Falling. I checked my training log last night. This begins week 13 of the incredible journey I started, mostly on a whim, to see how far and/or how fast my two feet could carry me. In less than a month I will return to the road to run 13 miles -- my first Half-Marathon. <BR> <BR> "Running is controlled falling." That's one of my favorite quotes from ultramarathoner Scott Jurek. He meant it not only literally -- you literally are falling forward on each step -- but also figuratively as well. You find... Mon, 9 Sep 2013 09:31:30 EST I ran a 15K !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It's official: I can do anything. <BR> <BR> I was not looking forward to the race yesterday, I'll admit. I was more than a little annoyed that I was going to miss a dance workshop for it, I hadn't been making the distance suggested by my training runs, and frankly I had given up on the idea of distance running altogether -- preferring the "safety" of a shorter race that could be completed in a half hour or so. <BR... Sun, 8 Sep 2013 10:38:36 EST I want you to dance. A lot of us on SparkPeople have "presents" that we plan to award ourselves when we meet certain fitness goals. Some of us even list those presents and goals on our pages, and keep track of when each mini-goal was met. Some people plan on awarding themselves a new outfit when they reach "goal" weight. I have the same plan, but I want you to consider something, just for a second. <BR> <BR> Every day is a chance to feel pretty. (Or handsome -- guys can relate too!) And no matter how far into yo... Thu, 5 Sep 2013 09:57:28 EST What it's like to actually dine in the dining room: nice :) I'll save the tap dance update for a moment, but I have to confess to being something of a slacker lately -- but with good intentions. I wanted to get my house cleaned up for fall. <BR> <BR> Over the long weekend I DID do a little dancing and knitting, and Monday we took Little Bear to the park to feed the ducks leftover bread, but I finally had to beg my Mom to come over and help because my entire goal for the weekend was to get my Dining Room turned into an actual dining room -- and I was ... Wed, 4 Sep 2013 10:15:59 EST What has been overcome: Today's Coach assignment was to blog about the "all or nothing" attitude and how I can overcome that. I'd like to reflect on what exactly I actually have overcome so far, thanks to Spark. <BR> <BR> 1. FEAR OF FOOD: There are no "bad foods" that I need to eliminate completely in order to be healthy and successful. Sure, I have some trigger foods that tempt me to overeat, so I either don't keep them around or I buy or make smaller portions of them. Or I factor in those calories for the day and... Tue, 3 Sep 2013 10:39:09 EST Losing Weight is Like Learning to Drive a Stick Today's Coaching session addressed the idea that each of us is an experiment of one. <BR> Isn't THAT the truth! What works for you may not work for me, and vice versa, so you can't rely on what worked for your friends and family members. You have to experiment with your own self. Experiments are fun, so I experiment with my own program a lot. I'm putting on my lab coat now, to review and re-evaluate what I've been doing the last 6 weeks. <BR> <BR> My weight loss progress reminds of a kid lea... Fri, 30 Aug 2013 09:32:40 EST My weight loss was just a dream! :( I've basically stopped having these, but shortly after my son was born I would have a nightmare where I would "wake up" one morning to find that my pregnancy and my son's birth were both just dreams I had while I was asleep. These were VERY disturbing and I would wake up crying. Then I'd have to go in to check on my little guy, to make sure he was REAL. <BR> <BR> (We tried to have a baby for a VERY long time, in the neighborhood of eight years. Neither of us had health insurance that covered... Thu, 29 Aug 2013 09:32:45 EST "Oh Dear," said Pooh. "It all comes of liking honey so much..." -- attempt 2 <BR> Let's try this again. <BR> <BR> He's actually saying "back on" because he wants the music back on. Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:45:40 EST