LARKSONGRUTH's SparkPeople Blog LARKSONGRUTH's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community My Fitbit is here My new fitbit arrived today, and I am excited to get it started. I'm hoping that it will encourage me to be more active again and make recording my fitness easier for me. It is part of my resolution to get into better shape this year through better sleep habits, nutritious eating, dieting to lose weight, and more exercise. Wish me luck and a good dose of determination and dedication to make it work. Fri, 3 Jan 2014 00:16:27 EST Recounting Positives I am thinking about some of the positives in my life tonight. I have now been at my job for one year. During that time I completed the first two classes in the TESOL certification program and have only a ten hour project left to go to complete my certification (TESOL is Teachers of English as a Second or Other Language). I was the chairman for my class reunion, and I feel good about the direction that several significant relationships in my life are taking. <BR> <BR> A week ago, when I show... Sun, 29 Dec 2013 03:14:22 EST I am starting to feel the Spark Spirit again. I am finding that just visiting the Spark website a few times this week--reading articles, seeing familiar names and faces, thinking about fitness--all has be feeling more motivated again. I really do want to get back on the bandwagon and be more fit and healthy. Thanks everybody for your inspiration. Sun, 29 Dec 2013 02:21:13 EST I signed up for Weight Watchers today I signed up for a three month stint on Weight Watchers today because I want to learn their tracking system, hoping that it is a bit easier than tracking calories. I still want to be part of the social network on Spark, but I hope this will help me diet more easily. i am excited about their simply filling program, and I may start moving towards that. Fri, 20 Dec 2013 02:01:09 EST Trying to get back into Spark at my heaviest weight ever. I am having all sorts of emotions right now. I am feeling embarrassed and ashamed because I am returning at my heaviest weight ever. I have been having a bit of a healthy crisis now that left me at 184. I need to get back onto spark and I feel like the first step is admitting that I gained back all the weight I lost plus about 10 points, get into the swing again and try to get started. I am worried about not having enough time because I wasn't working when I did spark before and now I am. One... Mon, 16 Dec 2013 23:48:13 EST Interested in the maintenance first idea. I was very interested to read Becky Hand's blog about a study where women learned to maintain weight before they lost weight and had better success in losing and maintaining their weight loss. It gave me hope because I seem to need to have long periods of weight maintenance interspersed with shorter periods of weight loss. Sat, 13 Apr 2013 21:37:26 EST Participated in a 5K run/walk today. The nursing students at the local university (Southern Utah University) sponsored a run/walk today. It was called the St. Patty's Day recovery fun run. it was a fundraiser for their service missions to Mexico. It was the first official 5K I have ever entered, except for a church sponsored on last year that was a bit disorganized. I got 44:47, which I felt pretty good about since I haven't been training very well this winter. It was about 2 minutes off my personal best. I would like to shave 5... Sat, 23 Mar 2013 23:47:40 EST Loving my new job and loosing weight! I guess the extra activity associated with getting around campus and the fact that food is not always a few steps away is working for me. I've lost 5 pounds since I started my new job--plus I really enjoy what I'm doing. This is also proof perfect that loosing the scales for a week or two is a good idea. I think I've checked twice in the past month with exciting results each time. Sat, 16 Feb 2013 11:29:55 EST I'm delighted to have a new job I am going to be teaching writing in the local university's ESL program. I am delighted. Thu, 17 Jan 2013 00:28:04 EST Resolution time again Although I was excited to see my weight down to 166.8 around Thanksgiving time, I am not surprised to be starting at 172 again. This is still 3 pounds below my original starting point, so I know that Spark People has helped me hold the line and make healthier choices over all. New Year's is always a time to recommit, and I have now been on Spark People for about 16 months. I find that it has helped me to make healthier choices. I have really worked on exercise and fitness over the past 16 mon... Wed, 2 Jan 2013 14:14:12 EST Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has something to celebrate and is finding joy at this season. Tue, 11 Dec 2012 21:54:40 EST Creating New Walking Routes I'm getting settled into my new home. I am creating new walking routes to replace my old, familiar, but far away ones. My dog is drawn into neighborhoods with bright Christmas lights, which is fine with me. It has been fun seeing the Christmas lights, but the neighborhood has much less regular street lighting then my old home near the university. It will be dark nights after Christmas! I'm trying to adjust to an early walking schedule, but these short winter days are creating havoc with my wa... Thu, 6 Dec 2012 14:05:07 EST We are moving this week My mother has been working on a real estate deal since April and everything finally came together last week. We have spent this week moving. It feels good. The house is much better for my dad, who is in a wheelchair, and will be lovely as it comes together. The sad part is that I have to find a new home for my cats since my mother is allergic. Things will work out. Sat, 3 Nov 2012 01:33:53 EST Sending out Sparks This little blog is just to wish everyone a great and sparky weekend! My thoughts are especially with those who are facing stormy weather in the coming days. May you be blessed with safety, courage, and comfort. Sat, 27 Oct 2012 18:07:32 EST "The Future is as Bright as Your Faith" "The future is as bright as your faith." This is a quote from our church president, Thomas S. Monson. Sometimes in our present society, it is hard to look forward and see things getting better. There are plenty of things that seem to be going wrong and seem beyond our control to change. But there are a great many things that we can control about our destiny and our life. <BR> <BR> If we are seeking to be happy and bring joy to others; if we are working hard; if we are growing and learning; i... Mon, 15 Oct 2012 13:51:46 EST Workout Shake Up This is another Spark Coach challenge. I am going to shake up my work outs by doing twenty hours of Callenetics in the next 10 weeks (December 12). I have used these videos before (Callenetics and SuperCallenetics) with really good results, but it has been probably 6 months. So this will be a good Shake Up. <BR> <BR> I am also doing the 5K Walk/Run training program to prepare for the Halloween Trot. I did this once before too. I am glad that I can see myself well a head of where I started l... Wed, 3 Oct 2012 10:24:44 EST A wonderful place to live, a wonderful day to be alive We had been watching the leaves on the mountain turn for days--a patchwork quilt of scarlets, greens, and golds. This is such a beautiful time of year, but it can be so fleeting. A heavy frost and a stiff wind can end all that glory almost over night--leaving the grey, bare trees of later fall. <BR> <BR> Saturday, I really wanted to make our yearly trip up the mountain to enjoy the autumn leaves, but at first my mother wasn't having any of it. She had things to do and places to be. Finally... Mon, 1 Oct 2012 15:32:55 EST Exercise motivators Spark coach gave some really great tips today about what to do when you don't feel like exercising. (Coach Nicole's program) Here is a very brief synopsis; <BR> <BR> 3 for today: <BR> <BR> 1. Get dressed to exercise: put on your workout clothes <BR> 2. Put on some upbeat, motivational music to get you moving <BR> 3. Just do it--get started, even if it is just for 5 or 10 minutes <BR> <BR> 3 for the long haul <BR> <BR> 1. Schedule workouts like appointments and don't allow yourself to miss... Sat, 29 Sep 2012 13:44:29 EST N.E.A.T. ideas Last week Coach Nicole did a program in SparkCoach about a concept called Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). This is about raising your base metabolism by being more active when you are not exercising. By doing small things like parking a bit farther away from the entrance and walking to a store, standing when you would usually sit to watch T.V. or work, pacing, anything that would make you more active--even fidgeting more can actually help. Also things like using some sort of small... Thu, 27 Sep 2012 11:21:40 EST Celebrating September I love September, the season of Indian summer. The days have become shorter. Now it is dark soon after 8:00. The shorter days bring with them a welcome coolness after the heat of the summer. These earlier evenings are perfect for neighborhood night games for a few more weekends when it’s not a school night. Leaves are kissed by the cool nights and begin to turn brilliant shades: Reds, golds, oranges. We look to the mountains for their stunning displays. The birds begin to gather into flocks. ... Mon, 17 Sep 2012 03:41:50 EST Hurray! I found my motivation to lose weight again! It has been a while since I really wanted to lose weight. I think it happened when I got down to my 10 pound weight loss mark. I was so excited. But then I found that those last 5 pounds came back almost like I'd never lost them at all. What happened? I'm not sure, but I couldn't seem to find the gumption to get back on that horse and ride again. <BR> <BR> Well, tonight a funny picture of knees that is the icon for a Spark Team called "The Knees" changed all that for me. Suddenly I remember... Mon, 10 Sep 2012 02:20:41 EST Moi? Le Sabateur? Mamma? Le Sabateur? Entertaining family is a big deal at our house. It always has been. My mother has always had a huge commitment to making sure there is plenty of healthy food at every meal, but there are also plenty of treats--often based on fresh fruits, peanut butter, whole grain--but still packing plenty of calories. At our house, food says love, and eating is a form of celebration. <BR> <BR> When it is just me and my mother and dad around, we eat more simply most of the time--still as often as not, Mom w... Fri, 7 Sep 2012 15:54:11 EST My most common excuses not to workout Today is another blogging assignment from Spark Coach to blog about our most common workout excuses and counter them. <BR> <BR> I guess I have three most common excuses: I don't have time, I'm too tired or not feeling up to it today, or I'm bored with doing the same thing everyday. I also have one trap I have to be careful to avoid and that is only doing cardio. I love to walk, and that is easy for me to do, but the strengthening exercises are also important. <BR> <BR> It is really easy to... Sun, 26 Aug 2012 12:33:08 EST 10 Healthy Snacks The SparkCoach action plan today was to plan 10 healthy snacks between 100-150 calories and post the list on your refrigerator. This is my list: <BR> <BR> 1. 20 Almonds (139 calories) <BR> <BR> 2. 1 medium banana (109 calories) <BR> <BR> 3. 5 cups healthy pop 94% fat-free popcorn (100 calories) Keep leftover popcorn in an airtight container so it won’t go stale <BR> <BR> 4. 1 medium apple, cut in slices (81 calories) and one chocolate chip cookie (59 calories) (Total 140 calories) <BR> <... Sat, 25 Aug 2012 14:28:16 EST Sparkiversary Reflections I made it through one year with SparkPeople, and although I'm not the star weight-loss member, I know that I am in a better place today because I have joined SparkPeople then I would be without you all. <BR> <BR> *I have made some great friends in the SparkPeople community. <BR> <BR> *My world has become a broader place as I have learned about my friends far and near and learned about things and people that I might never have otherwise experienced in my little Utah hamlet. (Don't you think... Thu, 23 Aug 2012 01:21:50 EST Quick Meal Plans Today's spark coach topic was on planning quick, healthy meals. This is a good thing to keep in mind, so I am going to put three quick meal ideas together. These are meals that I would have to put together on a day I needed to grab something fast for lunch of dinner. <BR> <BR> Tuna sandwich on wheat bread <BR> Carrot sticks <BR> an orange, apple or banana <BR> glass of milk <BR> <BR> Cottage cheese <BR> Tortilla chips <BR> apple slices or other fruit <BR> Glass of tomato juice <BR> <BR> Gr... Sun, 19 Aug 2012 01:09:41 EST Refocusing I found that cutting back on my weight loss goal a bit, and reminding myself that my motivation is better health--starting with a "healthy BMI" at 159 lbs, really helped me to feel more committed and less daunted at the task. <BR> <BR> Right now I think I am emphasizing exercise, good sleep, and stress management. Plus I want to stay connected to spark until I am not feeling like my life is in crisis anymore, because I believe it is a good anchor. I think that these things will give me the m... Fri, 17 Aug 2012 00:51:58 EST Re-thinking my weight goal. I have been wondering why I have lost so much motivation to lose weight lately. Aside from the stressful factors which have been part of my life with moving and hunting for a job, I think that the single most important factor is that I am not that dissatisfied with how I look and feel. I'm okay with myself when I look in the mirror, and I feel a lot better since I have started the regular exercise thing. <BR> <BR> So the question has become, why should I lose weight. The answer seems to me t... Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:28:05 EST Ready to work through the situation again Being passed up for two jobs I thought would be a perfect fit kind of sent me into crisis and it got pretty scary for a while. During this time I kept up on my walking, and checked in every day. The weight gain was discouraging, but I am ready to work on that again remembering that slow and steady wins the race. I was still eating nutritious foods and holding it back better than I would have without Spark people. I decided I did need to go into get some counseling. I am also starting to focus... Thu, 5 Jul 2012 14:21:08 EST Chapter 5: A positive force I thought this would be one of the easiest chapters for me to write on. I was surprised that it has been quite difficult. I was raised in a family where volunteer work and community service have been a way of life. I have really got a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment in being involved in service in my church and community. <BR> <BR> After writing a blog about being out of work for two years, I realized that it has now actually been three years (since July 1, 2009). Sparkpeople has helped m... Thu, 28 Jun 2012 02:36:26 EST Having trouble finding work I'm really having trouble finding work. After losing my job two years ago, I went back to get some additional schooling. It took about a year. So far, it looks like it had absolutely no effect. I am starting to feel really weighed down by the feelings of rejection of not getting a job after applying for so many. My weight is going back up, and I am loosing ground. Part of this is I have been eating fast food for a couple of days while traveling up to get my daughter and seeing family. Part is... Sat, 23 Jun 2012 02:49:00 EST Driver's license pictures--Reality check Today I had to renew my driver's license. During the four years since I last renewed, I had ballooned up 20 pounds. Thanks to SparkPeople, when this new picture was taken, I had lost ten, so I was only up 10 pounds from the last time. Thanks Heavens! I could see those extra ten pounds in my face, which I didn't realize before. It gave me motivation to work through the slacking off--"I'm doing pretty good." "I'm really not that bad" phase I've been going through. That is true to some degree. B... Wed, 13 Jun 2012 20:02:52 EST I'm working on the tame your sweet tooth challenge I was planning to keep this in the journal on the planning page, and most of the entries I probably will, but today I was assessing my sweet tooth, and I decided to copy it into my blog. I am going to record my feelings about sweets and how often I give into my sweet tooth at least three times a week for the next four weeks; then I will call it good. I found that I had read most of the articles suggested in the challenge previously, but I finished reading through the list today. <BR> <BR> Sw... Wed, 23 May 2012 01:25:27 EST The Accidental Arabesque Today when I was bending over to feed the cats, I noticed one of my feet coming gently off the floor, and kind of as a counterbalance, gracefully arcing up behind me. I was amazed at what a natural, graceful movement this was and how high and straight my leg went up behind me, and how easy it was to keep my balance! After this unintentional movement, I had to try this again and again, intentionally, on either leg. I was so happy to feel how easily and naturally I could move. <BR> <BR> I kno... Fri, 11 May 2012 01:19:56 EST New Low weight today! I weighed in at 164.2 today, which is a new low weight for me. So what is improving for me? The spring weather is making it possible for me to get out and walk more. I have been averaging 10 miles a week this month. I have also been working on getting better, consistent sleep, and I don't seem to be craving chocolate as much (that doesn't mean I'm not eating it quite regularly--just not as much.) <BR> <BR> The new range I am in to loose the next 5 pounds really excites me because when I reac... Mon, 7 May 2012 11:22:42 EST Chapter 4: Fire Staying motivated can be one of the most difficult parts of setting and reaching goals. I really enjoyed the positive outlook of this chapter. It was really good to realize that self-discipline does not mean beating yourself into submission, but more about learning to work with yourself in a positive way. I think I will just name a few concepts and things that I really liked about this chapter. <BR> <BR> The Personal Leadership Arsenal: <BR> *Get organized <BR> *Prioritize <BR> * Stretch you... Sat, 21 Apr 2012 12:46:52 EST I hit my 10 pound milestone today! I'm very happy to report that I hit my 10 pound milestone today! This will give me a new marker to work on maintaining and moving beyond! Yes, now I am here, I do look and feel better, but I can see the need for the next 10 pounds to come off! The warmer weather is making a big difference for me to get back outside and get more active again. I'm looking forward to seeing great things this summer. I'm hoping to see those next 10 pounds come off by my SparkVersary the end of August. Mon, 16 Apr 2012 14:29:14 EST Shifting gears for a steady, maintainable pace. I loved this article: <BR> <BR> A Solution-Focused Approach to Weight Loss <BR> Ask the Right Questions, Find the Right Answers <BR> -- By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert <BR> <link><BR>ion_articles.asp?id=685 </link> <BR> <BR> I am about 7 1/2 months into my SparkPeople experience, and I have been noticing a need to shift gears a bit. It is starting to feel like a marathon, and like a marathon, you can only keep up that sprint mode for so... Sat, 14 Apr 2012 01:18:55 EST Spark Chapter 3: Fitness I'm glad that this chapter reminded me that fitness is made of several parts--not just exercise. I'm grateful that I learned good principles of nutrition early from my mother. I grew up loving fruits and vegetables and not feeling a meal was complete unless it had servings from every food group (In those days it was four: Fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and other proteins, and breads and grains). I've seen changes in how this is presented, but learning to love a wide variety of fruits and ... Fri, 13 Apr 2012 02:13:49 EST Received Coach Nicole's new video in the mail this weekend I am excited to have Coach Nicole's new video in the mail this week. I really like the 10-minutes-when-you-can philosophy of exercise and I am also looking forward to trying a wide variety of things like the video promised, and to having the three different levels of intensity to choose from. I want to get one hour of my exercise from that this week. Mon, 9 Apr 2012 00:01:10 EST Spark Chapter 2: Focus I am working on the chapter 2 part of The Spark book bonus program. It is about focus, which is a really important part of goal setting. It's like the vision that helps you stay on course when you set your goals and make sure that you get where you need to go. Otherwise, it's possible that your goals may even take you in the wrong direction. It's also a motivating factor in helping you reach your goals. So if I take a good look at where I am going, what I need to do to get there, what do I re... Wed, 4 Apr 2012 15:25:37 EST Reading The Spark: Introduction and Chapter 1 I remember reading a review of The Spark on Amazon that criticized it for getting to the diet portion so late in the game. I think that is what actually appeals to me most about The Spark. I think that having some perspective about how fitness and healthy lifestyle fit into my life as a whole will help me to become more committed to it. <BR> <BR> I enjoyed reading Chris's story, but my favorite part was really the introduction and my favorite story in the introduction was the story of a lad... Sun, 1 Apr 2012 02:39:25 EST I hit a new low weight today! Today after my shower I weighed in at 165.4. This is a new low for me since I started the Spark Diet. I am excited--especially since it has felt like I have been on a plateau for so long. Thanks everyone for your encouragement and good advise. I only have half a pound to go to meet my 10 pounds lost milestone. <BR> <BR> I am trying to remember that my body does fluctuate about 2-3 pounds, and that this number may be coming and going a bit for awhile, so I shouldn't get discouraged if I'm up ... Sat, 31 Mar 2012 11:44:35 EST Why I am spring cleaning my "Other Goals Tracker" I tend to be a joiner. I think something is a good idea, and join on in. Then I get myself spread too thin and wonder why I can't get anything done. Tonight, I went through my Other Goals and started cutting back. I cut back on things that I had kind of lost momentum on and wasn't doing too well with. A few things I made a renewed commitment to do more with because I think they're important. Others, I decided to let go for a while in favor of having more time and focus to put on other things ... Sat, 31 Mar 2012 02:50:41 EST Losing two pounds would be a big victory for me! I would really like to lose those last two pounds that keep me from reaching a 10 pound weight loss. What a hump this has been for me! That would be a big milestone. I know it is tiny compared other people's big victories, but it would be a great victory for me. <BR> <BR> I have been stuck at this little plateau for about 4 months going on 5. I lost 8 pounds and then stalled. The best thing that I can say is that I have been able to maintain that 8 pound weight loss pretty well for all thos... Thu, 29 Mar 2012 02:46:00 EST I'm joining the 10-minute fitness challenge for this month. I like walking and running and I am involved with a couple of programs that track that. I have done two 28 day boot camps and I want to do something that keeps me cross training. Otherwise it is really easy for me to just do the running/walking and call it good, and I have read that that approach is not the best for true fitness. My goal is to do something for 10 minutes 5 days a week to supplement my walking running. <BR> <BR> I really like Coach Nicole's new videos that were on the January... Mon, 19 Mar 2012 13:37:07 EST Spring fever rewarded At the first of March, I was so skeptical about spring actually coming. I was braced for a few more weeks of winter. But although there have been a few snowstorms around here, they just melt away in the warm weather. Things are starting to green up, and on its better days, the breeze is quite seductive, with a hint of summer on the way. <BR> <BR> Today did wonders for pulling me out of my winter funk. I washed by car; then I went over to my mom's house and washed her car and my nephew's car... Thu, 15 Mar 2012 01:12:49 EST Jury duty piques my interest in a trial This week I was called up to jury duty. I would have to say it was a pretty interesting experience, although I wasn't actually seated on the jury. It was for an infant abuse-homicide case, and it turned out that they had called up about 90 potential jurors in order to seat ten (8 and 2 alternates.) I was in the third group of thirty. <BR> <BR> We were all called in and watched a video explain what jury duty was all about. Then we were sworn in before the next process occurred. Because the j... Sat, 10 Mar 2012 03:17:24 EST I think blogging gives me stagefright I seem to draw a blank a lot when I'm trying to think of something to say on this blog. I think that maybe I get stage fright knowing that it will be out there in public. I am trying to maintain my weight loss and then go forward. I just seem to be treading water right now. <BR> <BR> Every year at springtime, I seem to get a flair where my autoimmune system goes a little crazy. One syndrome after another gets set off (allergies, irritable bowel, arthritis, fibermyalgia--all that kind of good... Sat, 10 Mar 2012 02:13:15 EST 6 months on Sparkpeople I just wanted to note that on February 22, I celebrated 6 months on Spark People. If I could accomplish what I did in the first 6 months in the second 6 months, I would be happy. I have definitely joined the slowest losers club. I am on a plateau, and moving down very, very slowly. I got a little scared when I started not feeling so good at the 7-8 pound mark. Sometimes I feel more like I'm maintaining than losing right now, but there is a lot to be said for maintaining. <BR> <BR> I am look... Sun, 4 Mar 2012 02:58:20 EST