BERKCHIK's SparkPeople Blog BERKCHIK's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Abstinence Lost...pregnancy gained I started attending OA April 1, 2013. After 6 mos of learning about the program and what abstinence meant, I tried it on for size. It worked. I enjoyed the program and loved, in particular, my groups in the East Bay of San Francisco. <BR> <BR> But I started a divorce during this time and decided to move to the midwest. One of my biggest fears in doing so, was that I would stop attending OA, and that the OA here would not be like the OA I'd experienced there. It turned out it wasn't the same.... Mon, 4 May 2015 10:04:53 EST OA - my experience & Abstinence Are you a member of OA? Have you ever tried it? Do you think it's crazy or wouldn't work for you? I did. It took 20 years, several failed attempts at joining, and urging by a good therapist, for me to finally give it a fair trial. Unbelievably to me, I'm a member still, 14-mos after giving it a go for real for the first time. <BR> <BR> One of the reasons I hesitated was that OA seemed more extreme than I was capable of--I mean, going to meetings every week, multiple times, following some r... Wed, 11 Jun 2014 01:08:40 EST pizza and numbness since my late 20s i've had a problem with numbness and tingling in my hands and feet, especially when i sleep. at the time it started i was only a little overweight. it tends to get severe when i eat binge foods. i'd wake up and parts of me would feel so dead that i feared damage to the limb, not knowing how long my circulation had been cut off, and i would pound on my body in an attempt to get circulation moving. it hasn't been that bad in more than a year, however. <BR> <BR> last night i h... Tue, 18 Mar 2014 12:00:46 EST an X addict there is something powerful about acknowledging addictive behavior and patterns. once one truly identifies as an addict, it is no longer possible to continue to say 'i can have a bit of X today at the celebration, picnic, dinner time, or whatever' -at least, once i identified as an addict and much later decided to try to live without X' as a part of my daily life, i still had urges and worse, opportunities and events that tempted (and still do tempt) me- but the difference is i KNOW that if i... Wed, 12 Mar 2014 03:40:23 EST Sabotage & Recovery Well I have been really good at sabotaging my results lately. I keep expecting my scale to jump down a couple of pounds and instead it is ouncing it's way up and down. And the fact is just when I should start to see results from days of good eating behavior, I'll end up having a big meal that day or a dessert and wouldn't you know it, the scale has hardly budged in weeks. <BR> <BR> Tonight I did it again. I was resolved all day to eat moderately, even lightly because I just knew that sweet m... Thu, 23 Jan 2014 23:28:33 EST Finally headed down the Scale Last month I posted about my old scale being off by SIX pounds (that is it made me think I was 6 pounds lighter than I am). My little ticker has been stuck at 193 because I didn't have the courage to update it to the true number. <BR> <BR> A month later (today) I finally hit just below the 193, so I thought it merited an update blog post. The weird thing is that I only lost like 3-ish pounds in the past month, and yet I'm delighted. It's better than nothing, and better than gaining. <BR> <B... Thu, 5 Dec 2013 16:39:23 EST Scale Blues My scale is off by 6 pounds...that is that it apparently reads 6 pounds lighter than I am. It has ever since I started on Spark 18mos ago, but I didn't realize it was wrong until now. <BR> <BR> The nuisance is that I just lost 7 pounds when I discovered that my scale was off by I was only down 1 pound from my starting number... and it means my true starting number is higher than I thought. It also means my starting weight last year on SP was higher than I thought. <BR> <BR> I thought... Tue, 5 Nov 2013 04:58:33 EST What it was like to give up It started with Thanksgiving and Pinterest last year. I finally discovered the photolicious site and was hooked. I loved gandering the organizing and creative ideas...but then I started to notice the FOOD. G-d, the recipes and the images of desserts became beyond intoxicating. <BR> <BR> I could barely remember or believe that the year before I spent much of it living a healthy lifestyle and dropping 40 pounds. I only had 30 more to go, and had hit the magic number 174...magic because it was ... Tue, 1 Oct 2013 14:28:13 EST Nobody's Perfect (Not even the Stars) If you ever get to thinking that you're oh so average---or, maybe you're like me & think you're well below that, then take a look at these stars with and without make-up. It's amazing what an equalizer the au naturale look can be. <BR> <BR> Okay, a few of them are even more lovely without the makeup and airbrushing, but the vast majority are so ordinary they could be my next door neighbor. Others look horrifically overdone in their glam shots, and improve without all the glitz. But regardles... Tue, 30 Apr 2013 03:17:45 EST Food Aphorism - April 25 If I didn't have a problem with food, I'd eat all the time. <BR> (adapted from Havelock Ellis' aphorism substituting food for alcohol) <BR> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 15:21:59 EST Message of Wisdom It doesn't matter whether you believe in Angels or in anything at all. If you enjoy the idea of hearing an affirming message, and maybe you once had and stopped using Wisdom or Angel Cards, or maybe you never had them. But for today, why not try one? <BR> <BR> <link><BR>-your-cards.php </link> <BR> <BR> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 14:41:16 EST still away my pause didn't last...they never do. but i have spark in the back of my thoughts always. i'll be back. until then, take care. Thu, 7 Feb 2013 12:56:23 EST Here for today Visiting SP again, even for a day, helped me. Writing the post helped. Receiving supportive comments helped. I cried. And cried. And even now I'm close to tears. Support is an immeasurable gift. <BR> <BR> I managed not to binge for the wasn't terribly difficult given how much I'd overstuffed myself just the night before. But regardless I made it through one day binge free. <BR> <BR> This morning, for the first time in a long time, I made a real breakfast. I'm not ready to commit to... Fri, 1 Feb 2013 14:53:55 EST Never More Scared I'm not sure I'm coming back right now. I wanted to come for a visit. I wanted to try to remember what I felt like, what it felt like to be on SP. I was in control of myself and it was getting pretty easy. Until I made a decision to let go and binge. It was a quick spiral, but it was slow, too. Over the course of weeks, I went from a healthy relationship to food to a slave-mind. At first I believed I could/would come back from the brink before I fell over it. But I passed that point. And it's... Thu, 31 Jan 2013 14:35:38 EST No Comments Needed Sometimes I just want to disappear. So I do. Sometimes I want to be here and be invisible. I haven't fully mastered that. I'm just feeling very private. I don't want to hear the usual fodder about what others think is right or even what's working for them. I just want to express myself for myself. I want to be okay with not being okay. I want this to be *my* spark page and my journey. Other times I want to share and I want feedback. But my mood changes and I don't want to have to explain it o... Wed, 14 Nov 2012 17:15:28 EST 6 Month Update - Half-way DONE, Girl! The 6-month update is really obligatory, or it should be. I can't help but reflect on the fact that it has been six whole months. This is by far the longest period of time I have ever engaged in a healthy lifestyle, and I couldn't be happier about it. <BR> <BR> I also, as it happens, am approaching the halfway mark of the weight-loss portion of my journey, at nearly 40 pounds down, since my ultimate goal is 80 pounds. I'm hoping to hit the big four-zero mark next week, if not before. <BR> ... Wed, 24 Oct 2012 01:47:22 EST Coconut Butter Vid & Pina Colada Smoothie <BR> I guess I am on a roll with the smoothie recipes. Today's came about by accident, sort of. I had decided to try my hand at making coconut butter in my vitamix...not cocoa butter, but coconut butter. Have you heard of it? Until a few weeks ago, I hadn't. <BR> <BR> It's essentially liquidized coconut meat, which I decided to try using some dried, unsweetened flakes (sweetened not only adds sugar but doesn't work well I've heard). Anyway, if you're lucky, you have a good food processor o... Wed, 17 Oct 2012 22:33:01 EST Fennel Apple Green Smoothie - Do YOU "do" Green Smoothies? Okay, so I JUST posted a smoothie post yesterday, and here I am doing it again. I know. I'm boring, but I can't help myself. I actually do post these for myself, because I want to remember the best recipes, should I ever take a plunge into the abyss (aka leave and forget SparkPeople for a time...only to return, of course!). <BR> <BR> Anyway, I'm not much of a green smoothie drinker, but I hope to be one day. I aspire and admire. But I just read a blog post from, and OMG! th... Tue, 16 Oct 2012 08:04:50 EST Banana Cornflakes Smoothie From time to time I can't help but tout my latest smoothie crush. Today is one of those days. And I know it's a little cold for some sparkers tastes to be still enjoying smoothies. But they are my morning breakfast of choice until further notice. <BR> <BR> If you like cornflakes, you may've had banana in your morning bowl of cornflakes before. I know I highly recommend it. But if you're a smoothie junkie, have you ever tried a little cornflakes in your banana-----smoothie? If not, I HIGHLY... Mon, 15 Oct 2012 16:13:13 EST Back Tracking but not backtracking A couple of weeks ago I wrote an entire post about how I was doing fine with my food though not tracking. And almost immediately upon hitting "publish" my doing fine became doing not so fine. <BR> <BR> I just found I was slipping a bit more than I'd like. And a few days later, admitted to myself I was tired of not losing weight as fast as I had been when I was tracking and more aware of my intake. <BR> <BR> Well, it's been a couple weeks since I started tracking again. I'm not tracking as ... Sat, 13 Oct 2012 03:49:10 EST To Binge or Not To Binge I've slipped a couple of times recently...indulging in some truly calorific junk. I do better the next day sometimes or for a couple of days but the bug has bitten. I feel infected with desire for all things sugary, breaded, creamy. <BR> <BR> This morning a blogger posted a photo of a doughnut (not on SP) and I haven't been able to get the desire out of my mind to run, Run, RUN to the nearest doughnut shop and get doughnuts---who knows how many. I doubt I could get just one. <BR> <BR> I'm... Mon, 8 Oct 2012 14:45:28 EST Banana Date Pecan Smoothie...Oh my! This is hands down the BEST smoothie I've ever had. It's an amazing blend of flavors, but what sends me into pleasure convulsions is the addition of the dates and nuts only seconds before the drink is finished blending, thus bestowing caramel-like, straw-sized, chewy date chunks and nut bites. Additionally, I add some maple flavor to authenticate this dessert-like but nutritious, smoothie cocktail. <BR> <BR> The recipe below makes a 20oz serving, and 475 calories, if you use as many dates as... Tue, 2 Oct 2012 17:08:54 EST I'm Full of It Sparking, and especially blogging, are double-edged swords of a sort. On the one hand sparking is motivating and inspiring and even practical with lots of tools and information, particularly the opportunity to share others journeys as detailed on their spark pages and blogs. <BR> <BR> On the other hand it's painful. It's difficult not to compare my achievements to those of my spark friends, and blogging is even more painful. I find an unconscious urge to come across as doing well, which I do... Fri, 28 Sep 2012 16:45:43 EST Food Tricks, Plans and Making it on My Own (with a little help from my Sparkfriends) I can't follow eating plans, but I admire those who can and I think it takes a strength to do so, but what I've learned is that I can eat healthfully on my own. Perfect?...not even close. But 10x better than my previous diet and better than many people's, I'd suspect. <BR> <BR> The effort I put in during the first 3 months...buying berries and vegetables, tracking calories and exercise, playing with alternative sweeteners, playing with eating less sweets (and it sometimes backfiring), cookin... Tue, 25 Sep 2012 14:27:45 EST Quick Update The month of August I maintained my weight. For what felt like weeks I didn't check it and feared it may've been going up. I was happy when I saw that wasn't the case, but I lost (and gained) 0 pounds for nearly 5 weeks. <BR> <BR> The less than great news is that I got out of the habit of food tracking, which I had been diligent about for 14 weeks. It showed in the results of not losing, and the idea of recommitting to tracking I'm finding difficult, though I am not certain it's necessary fo... Wed, 12 Sep 2012 18:25:10 EST Gentle Beginning Today I've been off track in a big way. I'm not sure what I'm doing right now...whether or not I'm back on track, but I started the day with a light tasting and nourishing-feeling smoothie. I'm trying to be gentle with myself. <BR> <BR> Hope you are well and being gentle with yourself, too. <BR> <BR> *Berry Almond Banana Smoothie* <BR> <BR> Strawberries (5) <BR> Banana (1 small) <BR> Dates (3 small) <BR> Almond Butter - Raw (1T) <BR> Almond Milk - Homemade <BR> Flax Seed Oil (2t) <BR> Ice - 8-1... Fri, 10 Aug 2012 16:00:38 EST 90 Days on SparkPeople 90 DAYS for Me... <BR> It's been 90 days and 24 pounds for me with SparkPeople. In 13 weeks, I've walked every single day for an average of 1.5 miles a day, with only 2 exceptions..that's 88 walks in 90 days. I've gone from regular binges to being seriously interested in my own health and to cooking most meals instead of nuking or fast fooding them. I am committed and excited for the next 25 and then the following and final 25 pounds to come off. I can't wait. But I'm enjoying the journey. <... Tue, 24 Jul 2012 15:01:34 EST I'm Back. Never Left, But Was Gone Hey Guys, <BR> <BR> The last couple of weeks have been pretty tough for me on this journey. I had some personal things going on but don't we all...but the real reason is that I had definitely bitten off more than I could chew in terms of making too many changes at once. <BR> <BR> It backfired in what felt like a pretty big way. First, my weight stalled. And that coupled with feeling deprived from having given up dairy and nearly cut out wheat and most "real" sweets, was just too much. I s... Tue, 17 Jul 2012 15:28:04 EST The Truth about Omega 3 and Saturated Fats Maybe you're up on the latest in health news, or maybe like me (until recently) you aren't. This article is for those who still believe saturated fat is bad and omega 3s are the whole picture (unfortunately they have an ugly cousin named omega 6). <BR> <BR> The article below (from is a great one that talks about why saturated fat is not bad...and instead refined/starchy carbs (and high omega 6 oils) are the real culprit...not only that..but fat doesn't make you fat. refined carbs... Sat, 14 Jul 2012 04:45:26 EST Nut Soak - Why??? This is the BEST explanation I've ever heard for why we should soak nuts before eating them. This guy is kooky but he's got a lot of great information...oh, and he's a little bit gorgeous if you like the blonde, toned, well-built, surfer type. I first was introduced to one of his videos on the raw food message boards (his fava bean video). Actually, you can't see him up close in the nut video, so I'll include a link to the fava bean vid, also --so you can get a gander at this cute kook. He's ... Sun, 8 Jul 2012 04:22:53 EST Reverse Disease & Injury Damage Eating for Vitality - Reversing Disease - TED Talk from a doctor who designed her diet in order to remit/cure her MS. She was wheelchair bound. Be forewarned, it's 17mins long, but it could change your life! It felt not a minute longer than 10 to me ;-) <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> This next one is only a few minutes, but just ridiculously inspiring and I watched it not less than a dozen times the first day a SparkFriend had it on her th... Fri, 6 Jul 2012 02:21:24 EST Pity and the Process(ed) I've been religiously working my program, but I didn't so much with the losing weight this last weigh in, and today I'm up 1.5 pounds. <BR> <BR> I appreciate NSVs and other measures of success, but ultimately I want to see this weight gradually decreasing. <BR> <BR> The past couple of weeks, I've been trying to transition to a vegan (or mostly vegan) diet, and it scares me, so I've wanted to try vegan cookies and ricecream and things like that to let me know I will still be able to have so... Wed, 4 Jul 2012 13:23:51 EST Eating...Books & Thoughts on changing my diet I've been listening to lots of audible audio books about diet...not "diet" books, but rather audio books on healthy eating. These motivate me, keep me focused on my body and provide great entertainment on my daily walks. My last three reads were <BR> <BR> Why We Get Fat (Gary Taubes) -Favors Animal Protein Low carb eating <BR> In Defense of Food (M Pollan) -Favors whole foods, plant-based diet <BR> Wheat Belly (William Davis) -Favors NO grains, especially wheat <BR> <BR> Here's My Average D... Thu, 28 Jun 2012 02:57:35 EST up & down, like day & night Life in a body is a very strange experience. Yesterday I was incredibly down, and apart from focusing on "bad" things...not *new* bad things, either, just the same old bad things as usual--I couldn't figure out why. <BR> <BR> I didn't want to move out of bed, let alone *DO* anything. Eventually, though, I did. I started with a l-o-n-g bath/shower (I like to run the shower while I lay in the tub with the stopper in...weird?), then I finally got dressed. It was 4pm. But by 5pm I was walking th... Sun, 17 Jun 2012 18:32:34 EST Two Days of Eating Out On Wendesday I was feeling down. I've been more down than usual for a couple of weeks, but on Wed I had a therapy appt, and afterwards I felt drained, sad, tired, and completely emotionally wrought. I came home and noticed that I wanted to use food for comfort. I had eaten already but I wanted SO badly to keep eating until I felt numb and could tune out my feelings and just sleep. I stopped myself but the feeling didn't go away. <BR> <BR> Later that afternoon, I decided I'd go to the movies.... Fri, 15 Jun 2012 14:28:44 EST Cottage Pancakes (Savory) *No Flour* Last week I blogged a bit about my own story...and how I came to find SP. I did it for catharsis. Now I'm moving on! I have some cottage cheese that needs using and so I googled cottage cheese recipes. Now, I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds amazing and can be adapted for a sweet pancake...but what really peeked my curiosity was the fact that there is NO flour in this recipe. Can you say healthy? I'll post an update when I've made the apparently delish cakes myself. <BR> <BR> Ingredient... Sun, 10 Jun 2012 19:30:12 EST Me, or a bit of my story We all have stories. We all have pain. And many of us here ended up at the weights we are or have been at because we coped with food. What follows is a bit of my story. I'm not great at sharing it. I leave lots of meat, so to speak, off the story. Here's the thing, though. I don't say what I say to be dramatic, and I take full responsibility for my actions and where they've lead me. But they did have a beginning, and there are experiences that have veered my direction. Now that I'm all grown... Thu, 31 May 2012 17:31:01 EST Plateau-land Last Monday I was down 11 pounds; it was -13 by Thurs, but up to a -12 on Sat and every day since. Today is my weigh in day but I've decided to wait. Because I feel like this plateau is gonna end! Technically I'm still a pound lighter than last Tuesday, but damn it! I want more..err--or is it less :) <BR> <BR> I was so excited, because every day or so I was dropping another pound it seemed. I knew it wouldn't last but I hoped to 1) hold on to the lowest number, at least, and 2) lose again wi... Tue, 29 May 2012 16:10:34 EST One Month Check-In On April 24, 2012 I started with Spark People (I started watching my eating the day prior to finding SP, so I recorded my nutrition for 4/23, too). Since then I've lost 13 pounds. Now that number is brand new as of today...and my weigh-in isn't until Monday (update, I meant Tues), at which time I don't expect it to have gone any lower, though I hope it at least holds! <BR> <BR> I'M DOING THIS SANS ANY "DIET" - JUST ME & SPARK PEOPLE <BR> I can hardly believe that just by tracking & being con... Thu, 24 May 2012 21:48:27 EST Coping Rant, or Not Using Food Hurts! You know, Spark People is hands down the best weight loss tool, inspiration, motivation, resource, plan, guide and guru I've ever had the good luck to meet (inasmuch as you can "meet" a site). <BR> <BR> I enjoy it immensely, and obsess over it, even though it isn't necessarily *fun* all the time. The points and the community just keep my attention. It's genius. <BR> <BR> But the shiny newness had to wear off at some point. And while I'm not giving up, not even close...I still have to admit ... Sun, 20 May 2012 21:01:31 EST Another Lesson Learned You may have come to expect the following statement from me: " I messed up. Again." But I learn a heck of a lot every time I do. <BR> <BR> My feminine cycle started a couple of days ago, and my cravings have been ridiculous (for chocolate...the real stuff only). My usual tactics weren't quite working. The cravings seemed to be following me from one day to the next, waiting to be satisfied. So after a couple days of torture I premeditatedly decided to make today a cheat day. A day where by I ... Sat, 19 May 2012 03:27:42 EST Easy Hummus By request...a recipe-ish for hummus. Hummus is one of the easiest dishes to prepare. There's no cooking involved (there could be, but it's optional) and no real measurements needed; everything is "to taste." <BR> <BR> Chick Peas....(Garbanzo Beans) cook yourself or buy 1 can <BR> Lemon juice..(I prefer juice from freshly squeezed. Use plenty!) <BR> Garlic...........pressed or finely chopped (I use several cloves) <BR> Olive much or as little as you like, more = nicer texture) <... Fri, 18 May 2012 14:41:06 EST Five Incentives to Homemake Treats! ALYNNSELLNER asked what kinds of "sweets" I make, since I mentioned that I avoid store bought treats and snacks. Well, I'll start off by saying why I avoid commercial snacks and treats (even Skinny Cow!) because, <BR> <BR> 1) I abuse them since many snacks are addictive and come with 6 or 8 in a box; (chips, cookies, even granola bars & protein bars) <BR> <BR> 2) everything comes in heaps of unsustainable plastic packaging, made worse by the craze of individual sizing (seductive, though, is... Thu, 17 May 2012 13:34:34 EST Six Side-benefits to Sparking (for just 3 weeks) 3-weeks and 9-pounds down. Sounds small, but the benefits are already huge: <BR> <BR> 1) I'm no longer hungry all the time! Sure my stomach may be a smidge smaller, but I'm not hungry, in part, because I don't deprive myself. I eat enough to get full (mini-meals & snacks didn't cut it). I didn't learn to eat more until the 3rd week or so... <BR> <BR> 2) I don't have the same intense cravings for sweets I started with 3 weeks ago. But when I do, I satisfy them. Finding alternatives I liked t... Tue, 15 May 2012 02:24:09 EST SparkPeople Freshman Update 1 I've been on my journey for almost nearly 3 weeks. I am down by about 8 pounds, and I feel so much better than I have (in my body) for a very long time. <BR> <BR> But I am hyperaware of my body, too. Hunger *frequently*, I've lost the puffiness my body had gained in its final 10 pounds skin was pushed to its max, my breasts and gut & all the parts around them were very tight...and I knew that that meant that my body was stretching to accomodate all this weight. My feet hurt--I... Sat, 12 May 2012 14:12:57 EST PB&J Smoothie <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I had to share this easy, quick, and no-clean up concocted recipe that has been assuaging my hankering for ice cream lately. Just downed one and photographed it now! <BR> <BR> 1/2 Banana (1/2 or whole, medium, whole if small) <BR> 1/3c Milk (1% or other) <BR> 3-4oz Ice (crushed) <BR> 2t Peanut Butter (optional, but yum! and only about 66 cals worth) <BR> 3-6 ... Thu, 10 May 2012 16:38:13 EST Back on Top I'm back on top of things today. Yesterday was hard all the way up until about 11pm, which is when my mind finally let me relax about food. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't as obsessed as I had been the day before and I stayed pretty much on program (went over but only by like 50 cals), but it was HARD. I kept fantasizing about just breaking my program and forgetting it...returning to eating whatever I wanted. <BR> <BR> The ironic thing is that now that I'm eating better, my appetite for *yummy... Tue, 8 May 2012 18:45:30 EST The Honeymoon is Over So I messed up yesterday. The 3rd day in my 1st two weeks that I've gone off the rails. The difference between the first two times and the 3rd, is that I felt driven, consumed, possessed by thoughts of eating. I could think of nothing else. All day. And no matter how much I ate, I wanted more. By 3:30 I had eaten 90% of my daily calorie budget. And I knew I would eat a full dinner and wasn't sure I wouldn't snack beforehand. By 9pm, I was 300 calories over my max. And then I decided to contin... Mon, 7 May 2012 15:23:08 EST Before Photos (are here!) Well, I bit the bullet. It wasn't easy but I took some photos and came to grips with posting them. I tried to post a range of photos, because even though all are from the past week, in some I look bigger than others. I don't want to distort my image as being huge, but also don't want to minimize it by posting only the "better" photos. <BR> <BR> There's one that's, oh my god, a real eye opener. I didn't have the heart to put it on the cover of my spark page, but it's in the photos to remind m... Sat, 5 May 2012 17:11:40 EST Here I Go Again... I've been doing great since my last post. Got right back on track Sunday even though it was difficult. Did 3.5 miles with a local SP friend (cool, eh!) on Monday at the Marina, and have just done well all around. <BR> <BR> Until today. I did pretty great till 4pm. My husband is giving up wine and insists he needs icecream to replace it, at least for now. Well, naturally I can't completely abstain from the stuff, so I've at least bought the low-fat version. Well, I just had a bit. And then a ... Wed, 2 May 2012 20:02:21 EST