INSH8P's SparkPeople Blog INSH8P's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Lifelong Learning - The Ph.D. of life Shared experience is at the heart of social networking. I enjoy the SparkPeople community mix of vetted wellness information and the posts of everyday participants. If you're with SP for weight loss and nutrition, as I was when first joining, you might chuckle to ask yourself: Why chase around the same few pounds? The thing is, I really wanted to lose xx amount of pounds, and I thought that was all there was to the process. In the meantime, I've gone through (*) changing family responsibiliti... Thu, 7 Sep 2017 02:50:20 EST My own path to wellness A health psychologist employed by a provincial health group spoke on a radio phone-in show. The latest research: only 95% will successfully maintain the weight lost through “quick” methods. Also: more individuals who might be currently considered in a risk category might be better served if they are encouraged to maintain current weight, instead of losing. <BR> OK, I get it. But what I get even more is that this psychologist, who not only shares the research, but also is still in practice, se... Mon, 31 Jul 2017 13:37:53 EST I didn't apply for it - I already have it: credit It's one thing when you can see and feel the changes of lifestyle changes in very obvious ways: better sleep, compliments from kids, family, acquaintances. So what do I do, what did I do when the positive feedback stopped? I went to a source that is problematic for many people: I looked for a credit instrument. Interesting - I didn't fill out foms, and I didn't shop around at different financial institutions. I went to my personal better business bureau - in my own thinking about myself - and... Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:15:39 EST Look behind you Step trackers have no distinct personalities - they are a tool, at the service of the situation or the person who chooses to use them. The one that I use most often is a model with which I've made my peace - how to wear it, when / how to recharge it, replacing the attachments, sync options. What has made using the step tracker so different for me in the last six months? <BR> <BR> I was invited to some virtual walking step challenges; it was a consistent group of participants. We all do our w... Sat, 7 Jan 2017 04:37:09 EST The Small Things Count Yes, it's that time of year again. The resolutions, the crowded exercise spaces, the news stands filled with articles and picture spreads of weight loss and lifestyle changes. <BR> And what about the rest of us? Well, it's the everyday, small changes that really make for lasting impact. <BR> What has worked for me? "Choose this, not that". This is a successful picture book (for adults!) series based on food choices. The author, David Zinckenzko (sorry, I didn't check the spelling), had the ti... Wed, 4 Jan 2017 06:10:33 EST Does it matter? People come and go in any community, so it isn't strange to see change in the SparkPeople community. What I found interesting about some of those changes is that, your voice and your writing style doesn't have to be professional - it just has to be you, it has to be real. <BR> Does it matter what motivates you to stay connected to your lifestyle goals? Not really... Just stay connected. Being there and being aware is both satisfying and refreshing. We all have our individual ways of sharing a... Sat, 10 Dec 2016 01:05:30 EST Thanksgiving - any day <img src=""> <BR> Any day is a day to be grateful for whatever it is that you do. It is beyond what talents you have, or how you spend your time. There is a higher power that allows all of us to show hope and compassion to living beings. And that is why, for me, Thanksgiving is "any day". Sat, 15 Oct 2016 06:28:22 EST Stories for Inspiration - the last 10 pounds The SparkPeople highlight on the Daily Login wheel that I saw on Tuesday March 15 was "Inspirational stories of weight loss." As important as those accounts, there are other stories that may be just as relevant and helpful when the fruit juice in the fridge is calling your name (when I'm trying to stick with non-caloric liquids after the last meal of the day. <BR> <em>274</em> -- <em>478</em> OR <em>474</em> <BR> A fitness presenter described, in detail, that person's experience ... Tue, 15 Mar 2016 09:01:21 EST Less stress - More joy It takes a firm foundation to adapt with grace. <BR> -- +++ -- <BR> When your basic habits of wellness and self-care are in place, you don't really notice how you adapt to the tough times. So the "less stress" is more about how you respond to the things that aren't of your own making. A change in your job assignment; going through renovations where you live / work / play; health status impacts diet / activity choices. <BR> I have taken on some different responsibilities, and I started to not... Sun, 14 Jun 2015 05:52:35 EST Let it pour Recently I was told about the death of an avocational colleague. We had known of each other, and we shared mutual respect. At the last extended talk we shared, I recall going in detail about what I respected in that person, and asking this individual to accept what I had to say, even though it seemed in such detail. I was a bit nervous to do that, but I really wanted to share. And I'm glad that I did. <BR> <BR> In your lifestyle journey, remind yourself of every good choice, every positive s... Tue, 9 Jun 2015 05:58:09 EST Recognize the cycle Recognize the cycle. They say that "forewarned" is "forearmed". And stress at work is one of those elements of the cycle. It doesn't seem fair that multiple projects are due around the same time. But it does happen. And once you have seen it occur in your work, and you know that it will happen again, maybe there is a different way to look at the situation, a perspective that will place you more as the tour operator instead of a helpless victim. The tour operator knows the landscape and potent... Sun, 16 Nov 2014 19:37:01 EST Signs of the Times How do you know that you are making progress? <BR> One way that I can tell is the freedom and joy that I feel in practicing yoga. When practice is calm, steady, and continuous, I am in a zone that celebrates the balance of effort / ease, challenge / reflection, heat / cooling. The practice is not really about the poses -- it is a dedication to the lives and efforts of those who brought yoga practice to individuals beyond their families, far away from their backgrounds. It is a tribute to the ... Fri, 27 Dec 2013 08:59:21 EST What's your tune? There's music in the air... what's your tune? <BR> Whether you live alone or in a family unit, you can choose, as an individual, how you will interact with those with whom you have contact. The power of choice is a privilege that humankind has, even in the most troubling circumstances. <BR> In the lifestyle / wellness goals, I shift my focus at this time of year, because I ask myself to do things beyond my comfort level - in time, in the stress of the unknown, in responding to others who are ... Sat, 7 Dec 2013 07:15:49 EST Kick Start to Goals What does it take to get the motivational juices flowing? Sometimes all it takes is seeing someone and realizing: "That's what will happen to me unless I am pro-active about lifestyle choices." I saw someone, with the accompanying: "Do you mind if I sit down while I'm _________? I'm getting too winded to keep standing." That's what an extra 80 pounds will do to you. It was all over that person's body. Face, arms, body core, legs, just everywhere. I knew who was supposed to be in front of me. ... Sun, 27 Oct 2013 06:09:27 EST H.A.L.T. - not just for 12 step programs H.A.L.T. an acronym for too hungry, too angry, too lonely, too tired, signs that you are at risk of slipping into lack of self-control. I don't why that came so strongly in mind recently. But I recognized that the larger significance was to look at the concepts behind those words. <BR> Too hungry <BR> Have you nurtured yourself with nutrition, including water and balanced food choices? <BR> Too angry <BR> Are you paying attention to how you respond to your world, to the things that "just come... Thu, 10 Oct 2013 06:05:36 EST Activity Tracking - More than a device Spark Activity Tracker <BR> No one likes to hear that they are doing less than what they believed. But so far, that is my experience with the Spark Activity Tracker in comparison to using FitBit. <BR> <BR> Having your expectations challenged is a shock; I certainly don't want someone or something to say: "You're not really working as hard as you think." Rather than take it personally, I realize that I have to "get over it"; I have to recognize that the Spark Activity Tracker is the new basel... Mon, 30 Sep 2013 06:24:16 EST Not over yet Don't I wish that habits could change, overnight. But I guess that's why they are habits. Each link in the chain is forged through repetition. Choose (or observe) what gets repeated in your experience -- and that is the habit you get. <BR> <BR> In my case, one of the habits was bad posture using a computer. I had access to a monitor in a better position, but chose not to use it. There was a persistent hum -- so I figured, there's something wrong with the monitor. Duh, no! When I plugged in t... Fri, 26 Jul 2013 07:57:47 EST Facing the day - moments of reflection There are so many ways to get side-tracked from the lifestyle and wellness goals I make. And the variety of the distractions seems endless. What I find most surprising is the way that I have to go into my day with specific ideas in my head to meet the visual distractions that I know will be competing for my time, my wallet, and my intentions. <BR> <BR> What passes for news and entertainment is packed with ads for food, product and promises of "a better life". A better life by whose definitio... Thu, 25 Jul 2013 04:39:29 EST Moving in stillness Morning glow of sunrise. Walking into the practice space. A smiling face greets you. We stand. We breathe. We move. Primary series practice has begun. For the next 75 minutes we breathe, move and ponder without words, but in understood shared experience. Sun salutations to prepare the body, mind and spirit. Standing series to establish a base of power, endurance and resilience. Seated postures to challenge the hips and low back. More than poses, this practice steadies the mind, and demands a ... Mon, 22 Jul 2013 09:14:26 EST Pick me up before yoga Water and 8-15 whole almonds Sat, 13 Jul 2013 08:02:17 EST The cost of privilege So much that we take for granted: lucidity, mobility, overall health, family, friends, shelter. For those who happen to read this post, you may be facing challenges in one of these areas. I recognize in myself that I have a large dose of "pay it forward" to offer to those unseen people who have used their talents to level the playing field. <BR> <BR> In anticipation of the International Day for the Elimination of Racism (March 21), I will be devoting quiet time to acknowledge those who sacri... Wed, 20 Mar 2013 16:54:11 EST There's a Little Green I once heard a song called: There's a Little Green in everything | Winter is over, welcome the Spring. (Music K-8) Everything in my Atlantic Canada area was beginning to look spring-like: most of the front and back lawns were free of snow; you could walk without thinking: "When will I slip?" Then 18 hours of a clinging, wet snow fell, clouding the air with an eerie haze. And 10 cm (4 in) more is expected on Tuesday, a day before the official start of Spring 2013. What does that say about the ... Sat, 16 Mar 2013 15:02:48 EST Ashtanga Intermediate - baby steps Practicing a set series of yoga poses can be both liberating and frustrating. Liberating, because all you have to do is "do". In a class during which the teacher calls out the poses to be done, led class, you know what is coming so you can focus entirely on the breathing and the present state of mind-body. You "live" the pose in the context of being part of a yoga community of fellow practitioners. Frustrating to practice a set series of yoga poses because you have to set how quickly you will... Tue, 12 Mar 2013 07:09:40 EST What is too much for an app I read and listen with a chuckle when people talk about the price of apps for their smart phones and portable devices. Some of us have come through an age when basic utility software for computing devices cost in the hundreds of dollars. I smile broadly when people talk about the cost of a SparkPeople app that provides you will months of feedback, and constantly updated food lists (via SparkPeople members) -- all for one priee (as long as you have some form of Internet connectivity - WiFi, ce... Tue, 15 Jan 2013 04:40:11 EST Motivation - What's the ideal? The snow is lightly falling; it is just past dusk, and the holiday lights are twinkling in the neighborhood. The smell of turkey, stuffing is in the air. The gingerbread dessert, apple pie, and pumpkin pie aromas waft from kitchen to dining room and on to the bedrooms. The December holidays as remembered by a child. You don't separate and define each of these contributions to the holiday atmosphere; together, they create the environment that says: Celebrate! <BR> <BR> In my lifestyle journey... Sun, 13 Jan 2013 06:49:29 EST What am I getting? I had the chance to chat, face-to-face with four people, in the last four days. In the first conversation, it came across that this dear friend wanted to talk, wanted someone with whom to bounce off some ideas in a safe, confidential setting. At that moment, I had to shift gears in the conversation. There was something more happening here than I had expected. My friend was expecting, through my silence, to give her an open door to pour out the most intense and personal feelings about the subj... Wed, 9 Jan 2013 20:50:55 EST Blogging in private Sometimes I think about doing a blog entry, but I just don't feel that I want what I have to say to be available on the Internet, which is what a public blog is about. <BR> <BR> There was a time in SparkPeople when you got the same recognition (SparkPoints) for making an entry in the Planner or making an entry in a Blog. That disappeared about a year ago. But I was thinking about this issue when posting blogs was a topic in an article on Maintenance in SparkCoach. <BR> <BR> I dug deep insid... Tue, 8 Jan 2013 05:31:31 EST Cooking - your own prep I like the idea of being in charge of one's own meals. I just don't like the prep or the clean up. I don't even mind the actual cooking. Part of the prep anxiety is wondering if everything will be ready "just in time". That lack of control that happens as you are trying to make everything click together. When you get it "just so", then you stop worrying, and you accept the process for what it is: a flow that has its own sense of time. <BR> <BR> The clean-up is also anxiety producing for me. ... Thu, 28 Jun 2012 13:41:12 EST Give me seventy: minutes of breath without talking It is early morning, and the body barely feels like moving. But I arrive at the studio, and the practice begins. There is background music; we know the practice sequence; because it is "led" practice, we stay with the breath; and we move from pose to pose, sensing when to change, visually checking every once in a while, but mainly, staying with the breath. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 27 Jun 2012 08:17:38 EST What to wear when there's nothing to wear? Do you know what I mean? Even when the tag says a certain size, some clothing just doesn't fit the new you. I mean that seriously... <BR> Now that I strength train, my arms bulge too much to fit some of the dress-up long sleeved blouses that I used for suits and work attire. This started happening about four years ago. At the time, the personal trainer laughed: "So you want to stop training because you have visible muscle?" That's what some people talk about when they say they don't want musc... Mon, 25 Jun 2012 13:57:20 EST Give back: Spread the Spark Being a member of SparkPeople has changed a lot about how I regard physical wellness and lifestyle. And when I think about how the information on the site is vetted by acknowledged experts in their fields of wellness... that is quite impressive. So, I have paid lots of money in the past to take in this kind of information. What do I do to say "thanks" for what SparkPeople has done for me? <BR> <BR> Today I took the first step. I was part of a SparkRally. No members of SparkPeople, as least n... Sat, 23 Jun 2012 12:18:19 EST Time to ask for support I never realized that it is helpful to "keep the home fires burning". For me, that expression means that you re-establish your connection with significant others on a regular basis, at least daily. If I feel out of my comfort zone working in the kitchen, for whatever reason, I am losing control of the one aspect of lifestyle change that has the greatest impact on waist management - food preparation and portion control. I really rely on grab and go foods, and the ones that I prepare are ones t... Fri, 22 Jun 2012 05:45:23 EST Need a reason - volunteer Those who are available to volunteer get constant calls for their services: chaperone a field trip, monitor a day or display, supervise youth to provide more adult oversight. So what's the pay off (if you need one)? Being of service to your community; a change of pace; a way to measure the effectiveness of your activity program. <BR> What? I thought that was what you did when you signed up for a 5K, asked for pledges to support a cause and then moved the distance (walk ___ distance) (bike to ... Thu, 21 Jun 2012 07:16:01 EST Wallet and weight loss Do I eat to work - or work to eat? Sometimes I wonder, because there was a time that I had regular part-time consulting contract work. I had a regular full time job in the district where I lived, and then I put in commuting and the contract work away from the home area, twice a week. During that time, now that I look at the patterns of weight, I gained 15-20 pounds. Why? Because of the take out food, and using food (the wrong types) to stay awake during the commute. <BR> <em>433</em> -- <e... Tue, 19 Jun 2012 08:23:33 EST Yoga is good for ... The refrigerator (/freezer) wasn't holding temperature correctly. You pull out the instructions and the recommendation: clean the grills, clean around the condenser tubes. As soon as the bottom grill came off, the challenge began: find a variation on a twist in Balasana (Child's pose, Wisdom pose), and keep the breath steady. To see what you are doing, place the flashlight "just so". To keep the metal retractable measuring tape steady, I needed patience, endurance and minute controlled moveme... Mon, 18 Jun 2012 12:24:57 EST Friends helping friends Yesterday I went to practice yoga. I am recovering from a type of mishap, so I am still working to be mindful of what works and doesn't. I did my own practice, while receiving some guidance from the teacher present. After I finished, I was supposed to sub teach for a colleague - but no one arrived. Still I stayed. Just as I was thinking of leaving, someone came to the studio with whom I usually practice. Things had been pretty rough for my practice partner (the night before). When that person... Sun, 17 Jun 2012 06:49:32 EST Patience to Heal - Patience to Grow Being stiff puts you at risk for injury. So when it happens, you can either stop completely, or modify and work around. I chose to do the work around, and also to take more time to find out how to avoid the conditions that set up the injury. <BR> <BR> There is an expression: "Make haste slowly". It seems that you need to balance the goal with the way to achieve it. Recognizing where the body is, at the present moment, is a constant work in progress. Emotions of pride, seeking approval, confo... Fri, 15 Jun 2012 07:55:13 EST Wisdom to Rest Food preparation, in shape, living to work, working to live -- we do it. When do we not "do it"? That is where prayer, meditation, rest fill the gaps. There is a certain fear in being still. What is being left undone? The same feeling that you get when you are doing activity as exercise, and you feel compelled to be listening to music for distraction, or to talk with someone as you workout. It's that feeling which sometimes masks an overall fear of doing this something "alone". Once you are a... Thu, 14 Jun 2012 05:44:01 EST Glide past discouragement The specialty training for one of the fitness activities included this comment: "Injury and accident is possible." What I didn't realize is how you can minimize the risk to suit your readiness for "the next step". When the movement is just right, you are flying, you are gliding with momentum -- everything about the activity at that moment is effortless. <BR> <BR> When I get things "right" in lifestyle, I feel like David Allen's description of the GTD (Getting Things Done) paradigm: floating ... Mon, 11 Jun 2012 22:45:17 EST Children get it Young people naturally "get it" when it comes to activity. They will run errands, one at a time, and don't get worried about doing several things at once. They love to be with their friends, no matter what their shape or size. Given a choice among close to the source foods, presented with care, young people will eat heartily (and their hearts will thank them for that). Minimize screen time, and youth will dance, act, hang out, walk about (let's just give them a physically safe environment to ... Fri, 8 Jun 2012 17:38:47 EST Strategies get you through Not every day will work like clockwork. There are times when I have to think: "How did you do that?" The results of those brainstormings are the strategies that get you through rough patches of lifestyle change. How do you make a lunch that works? Sandwich with protein; fruit with yogourt or other dairy product; raw veggies; drink. Two ice packs, two lunch containers. That's the formula that works, but sometimes it is easy to forget it in the hub bub of new challenges. When I think of the lun... Thu, 7 Jun 2012 06:02:07 EST The Green Gym The machines look just like the standard gym. There is no other whirr. The scenery is magnificent. The sound of a waterfall infused with birdsong. So what's missing? <BR> The machines don't provide graduated resistance; I never got warmer for the cardio machines; the resistance machines are at a fixed angle, so you can't change gravity's effect on the body weight. What could you do? Bring along your own ankle / wrist weights. Wear a weighted vest. Not to knock the Outdoor Gym. It soothed my s... Wed, 6 Jun 2012 06:25:54 EST Enjoying what I do You've heard the person who only talks about what they can't do. I choose to keep my thinking occupied with what I can do. It's not that I avoid doing new activities; I want to keep the Spark going that moves me in the direction of meaningful goals, reasons for living, and having the strength to give what I can that doesn't cost money. <BR> <BR> Even when I have to say "No" for someone or some organization's request for assistance of time, at least I can be honest with myself. Because I enjo... Mon, 4 Jun 2012 21:29:36 EST Variety is the spice of life I've heard the phrase "variety is the spice of life" many times before. Here's a new spin on it. Spices and herbs are calorie free -- variety in life often costs a change of attitude and a willingness to change how or what we do. Spices and herbs may not retain their color or texture in a recipe, but the total effect is wonderful. Variety may not be seen by others -- but our bodies feel the difference, and work harder to step up to the new demand. <BR> <em>338</em> B I N G O !! <em>209</em>... Sun, 3 Jun 2012 01:13:01 EST Change it up The Daily Spark has quite a range of topics and responses to issues that come up in establishing and maintaining healthy lifestyle. What I noticed recently is the way that some topics, in a social networking space, bring out comments that are deeply personal, comments that I wouldn't expect from people I have never met face-to-face. <BR> Back in April 2012 there was a post about "being different". Comments to the post ranged from past bullying, losing one's circle of friends to changes in hea... Sun, 3 Jun 2012 00:07:18 EST Just in time - weeding Our garden is at the height of color at the end of May, early June. Tulips have gone; iris, lupins, day lilies share center stage, vying for top honors in color, growth, and breadth. Another player or group of actors tries to slip in: weeds. Yes, they exist. Yes, they can be minimized -- only if.... You catch them just in time. <BR> <em>12</em> Wait until the curly weeds have completely integrated with the lush green stalks of iris and day lilies, and you find yourself having to follow the ... Fri, 1 Jun 2012 05:10:27 EST Peeling the onion I never really liked onions, mainly because my preference to avoid them was taken advantage of when I was a child. Whether it was onions or black pepper (and now, I enjoy black pepper), I was tormented by an adult relative for my choice. <BR> <em>198</em> -- Fortunately, that phase is over with. But there is something about onions that is really useful when dealing with the changes that occur in the learning process. Learning by your emotions, learning by your body, learning by the book, le... Thu, 31 May 2012 21:52:30 EST Facing the Inner Critic In my experience, the cornerstone of success in maintenance has been a flexible approach to a consistent dose of physical activity. OK, how can you be consistent and flexible? I’ll share what I mean by examples from several recent media experts, and then with my own examples. <BR> <BR> One expert implies that, if you don’t walk 30 minutes a day, you can’t move on to fulfill the rest of the recommended program advocated by this medical physician. Because of when my day begins and ends, and m... Mon, 30 Jan 2012 06:22:45 EST Support for loss A member of the mind / body fitness group in which I teach and practice had a recent loss of an adult family member. This person returned to the group for the first time in many weeks. Today our extended family of support will conduct a class (by donation) to honor that life and to contribute to a local post-secondary school. <BR> <BR> That person's sense of struggle was very much "on the sleeve" at that first class back. This made me reflect: "How much of our own struggles do we allow to su... Sun, 29 Jan 2012 06:28:25 EST Creativity - daring to be different Whether it is lifestyle or earning a living or the process of maturing to be able to earn and live independently - creativity plays a large role in the satisfaction one can get from giving to one's self as well as to others. <BR> SparkPeople *the community* *this site* has a powerful role in motivating its members to trust different ways to gauge success, to try new foods, to be open to subtle changes in movement and posture. As a result, SparkPeople members have a better success rate, becaus... Sat, 28 Jan 2012 22:10:37 EST