LARRI2010's SparkPeople Blog LARRI2010's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Goodbye Spark, Hello FitBit After using the SparkPeople tracker for a bit longer than a year, I decided to stop using it and deactivate my account. This came after decisions by SparkPeople and me diverged. My laptop running Windows operating system kept crashing every 5 minutes or so, making it impossible to do anything serious. I was still able to upload data from my Spark, but I didn’t know how long this would be feasible. I purchased a Chromebook which, I found out, is not compatible with the Spark software and proba... Thu, 15 Jan 2015 07:19:55 EST ‘Tis the Season...for Resolutions I don’t like to make resolutions, especially at the start of a new year. I tend to make too many, which becomes overwhelming and I end up abandoning them all. <BR> <BR> A few years ago, I stopped calling them “resolutions” and started calling them “goals.” I set up several goals for the year, all defined well and measurable. I set up charts to track my progress. However, just like the resolutions, my goals took a nose dive well before February had started. One year, I went so far as to reeva... Tue, 30 Dec 2014 06:04:08 EST The Spark - thoughts after 3 weeks I’ve had the Spark Activity Tracker (Spark for short) for about 3 weeks now (I purchased mine before it was released to the public). To be honest, I would not have considered buying it had I not misplaced my pedometer just before receiving the offer. I found my pedometer shortly after receiving the Spark, so I was able to conduct side-by-side comparisons. Additionally, I was able to move the Spark around to see if I could find a spot optimal for me. There is a discrepancy between the number o... Sat, 12 Oct 2013 10:44:13 EST NEW! SparkPeople Spark Activity Tracker My pedometer had disappeared the day I received the offer to try out the new SparkPeople Activity Tracker. I most likely would not have ordered the Spark had I still had the pedometer – why would I need two devices? <BR> <BR> I ordered the Spark on a Thursday, and it arrived the next day. It turns out it shipped from a town in my state about an hour and a half away, and not from Ohio, which is on the return address. (I think the return address might reflect the actual corporate address of Sp... Tue, 1 Oct 2013 07:10:34 EST Shooting Bees … … and ducks and trees …. <BR> <BR> I enjoy taking long walks around town, taking photos on my iPhone. Any camera would do, but right now, I use my iPhone and a point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix L610. I’d love a DSLR, but that’s not in the budget. I can take some decent pictures with what I’ve got, if I do say so myself. <BR> <BR> My cameras are what get me out on nice days, when I could be staying home, chatting on Facebook or SparkPeople. Online isn’t bad, but it’s also not getting my physical... Mon, 19 Aug 2013 22:57:28 EST Perspective I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective lately. Perspective is the way you see something. In photography, perspective is the angle at which you photograph a subject, and shooting from above or below or across can make for interesting photos, as can extreme close-ups and distances shots. <BR> <BR> Perspective is also the way you see yourself and others, and it’s something you can change. If all your notice is your weight or failures, you are likely to feel pretty bad about yourself. Chang... Sat, 27 Jul 2013 10:02:43 EST First 5K of the year! I signed up 7 weeks ago for a 5K “fun run,” which was held yesterday. It was to benefit charity. I even found a 7-week “Couch to 5K” program online so I would be ready to run. <BR> <BR> Right. <BR> <BR> My first day out, a Monday, and my day off, I got a frantic call from one of my staff calling out because of “personal issues.” I’m usually suspect of personal issues and “family emergencies,” because they are usually euphemisms for “it’s a nice day and I want to party instead of work.” My s... Mon, 29 Apr 2013 08:55:32 EST Maintenance Woo-hoo! I am in a “Tax Day Maintainer Challenge” here on SparkPeople. I have maintained the same weight for the past 3 weeks, and before that, I maintained 1 pound more for 3 weeks. It’s not my chosen central weight, though, so I won’t “win” the challenge. But – I feel like a winner, because I’m a loser – my actual weight is lower than my chosen center. Of course, that means I’ll lower my central weight for the next maintainer challenge. <BR> <BR> The pants I wore to work on Tuesday kept th... Thu, 4 Apr 2013 08:48:08 EST April Goals April has 30 days, so I declare it a month of 30's! <BR> <BR> 30,000 words: write 30,000+ words while rewriting a NaNo from a few years ago. This is for Camp NaNoWriMo. It works out to 1,000 words a day. <link> </link> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> 30 hours: 30+ hours exercise. This doesn’t sound ambitious, but since I usually do less than an hour a day, this is a start. <BR> <BR> 30 hours: 30+ hours doing something environmentally friendly. This is for... Mon, 1 Apr 2013 07:42:51 EST My goals I am continually revising my goals. I suppose that would be a good thing if I met old goals and made new ones. For the most part, though, I make goals, and then forget them. It’s not that my goals are not attainable; it’s that I don’t follow through for one reason or another. <BR> <BR> I made a goal today to run (or walk) in a 5K. I’m not new to walking 5Ks. I have walked formal 5Ks for charity over the past year and a half or so. I can walk 5K on an ordinary day. It’s no big deal anymore (f... Mon, 11 Mar 2013 16:07:12 EST Challenge question #7 Specific question #7: Anything else you would like to share with your Team. <BR> <BR> Technically, this isn’t a question, but a statement. In fact, it’s not even a complete sentence. But…whatever. <BR> <BR> I can’t think of anything else I would like to share with my Team. If I share it here, I will be sharing it with the World, not just my Team. But…in order to get credit for blogging today, I have to post SOMETHING. <BR> <BR> It’s late. It’s snowing. I have to go to work today regardles... Fri, 8 Mar 2013 07:27:43 EST Challenge question #6 Specific question #6: Do you need some motivation or advice? Ask for it! <BR> <BR> Since I don’t take advice, I’m not going to ask for it. People are welcome to offer opinions, of course, but ultimately, I must make my own choices. And I expect others to make their own choices. <BR> <BR> Someone commented one day that I should consider using a slow cooker. It’s a great suggestion. However, it wouldn’t work for me with my current lifestyle. I could have a great meal going, and I could be stu... Thu, 7 Mar 2013 07:33:59 EST Challenge question #5 Specific question #5: What can you improve upon? This question continues to build upon the theme of what habit I want to form, namely to incorporate more slow food and less fast food into my day to day eating. <BR> <BR> It’s all about making choices – and making the BEST choices for me. I am also helping the clients I work with make the best choices for themselves (and sometimes that is more challenging). <BR> <BR> On Monday, I made some choices at the grocery store, to buy fresh fruits and... Wed, 6 Mar 2013 05:58:32 EST Challenge question #4 Specific question #4 is: How are you doing day by day? This is in reference to the answer to question #1: What new habit you wish to develop? <BR> <BR> The new habit is to choose slow food over fast food. <BR> <BR> I am doing okay day by day. I bought baby carrots, celery, and Campari tomatoes to add to the lunches I take to work. Also, I packed a tangerine. I did go to a Chinese restaurant over the weekend, which I like because I can make the one meal last for several meals. Tue, 5 Mar 2013 08:11:59 EST Challenge question #3 Specific question #3 is: What are you doing to encourage yourself and keep on track? To recap, this builds on questions #1 (What new habit you wish to develop?) and #2 (How will you do that?). <BR> <BR> So, the question is really asking what I am doing to encourage myself to keep on track with my new habit, which is eating slow food and not fast food. The short answer is staying away from fast food places (not to be named, as that could cause problems – and I think we all know the national a... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 09:06:59 EST Challenge question #2 Specific question #2 is: How will you do that? This question makes no sense unless you realize it is building upon the first question: What new habit you wish to develop? And I think I already answered the second question along with the first question (that’s what I get for not reading all the questions ahead of time). <BR> <BR> So…my new habit is slow food over fast food. In order to accomplish that new habit, I plan to make more foods from scratch or visit sit-down restaurants, rather than... Sun, 3 Mar 2013 10:22:46 EST Challenge question #1 I’m supposed to make a blog each day for a week for a challenge. What to write about? Answer specific questions. Okay… <BR> <BR> Today’s question: What new habit you wish to develop? <BR> <BR> Ummm….blogging? Sleeping? Yes, sleeping would be nice, but trying to force myself to sleep 8 hours (or even 6 or 5 hours) each night is an exercise in frustration, causing me to lose MORE sleep. <BR> <BR> How about a Slow Food Movement? SparkPeople itself is to blame for this: <link>www.sparkpeople... Sat, 2 Mar 2013 12:06:25 EST Snow storm = exercise I will be shoveling snow forever. Or at least it seems that way right now. We got 18-22” of snow Friday into Saturday. We were lucky; some areas got closer to 3’, and many lost power. Some coastal towns were even evacuated. <BR> <BR> I spent 2 nights at my workplace. It’s a group home, so it was an appropriate place to hang out. I was officially not working during the overnights, so I could sleep. I helped with shoveling out the driveway, because the plow guy hadn’t arrived we might have ne... Mon, 11 Feb 2013 07:23:42 EST Winter 5% Challenge The Winter 5% Challenge, right here on SparkPeople, is gearing up to start. I’m not sure when it will start, as they want a few more people. If anyone is interested, I think you’ll have to let me know so I can send you an invitation, because it’s a private SparkTeam. <BR> <BR> The idea of the challenge is to lose 5% of your body weight (or maintain). And count activity minutes which convert to virtual miles on a virtual journey around the world (that part’s kind of weird, so you just have to... Thu, 7 Feb 2013 11:31:29 EST 26 Things About Me Stealing this from a SP blog I follow. Because I am just not creative enough to come up with my own stuff. Especially not at 2 am. <BR> <BR> <BR> A – Available or married: Not married, so that technically makes me available, but I’m not looking. I don’t have time for a relationship. Not a serious one, anyway. I was married for about 5 years, and I’ve been not married anymore for almost 18 years. <BR> <BR> B – Book: Reading “Storm Dancer,” by Rayne Hall on my phone. I have a Kindle, but pr... Sun, 27 Jan 2013 01:50:13 EST Work Work is an energy vampire. A huge one. Energy and time. <BR> <BR> In theory, I work 9-5. In theory, I have time to exercise before I go into work or after I get home from work. In reality, I work 9-6 or 7-5 or longer hours – whatever is needed to get the job done. I try to keep it reined in, but it’s hard. <BR> <BR> Right now, things are stressful at work. There is illness. Both clients and staff are getting sick. When clients get sick, they don’t go to work or day programs. When clients d... Sat, 19 Jan 2013 13:34:00 EST Reset my goals …again. <BR> <BR> I’ve been very inconsistent with tracking goals – and pretty much everything else. <BR> <BR> I’m getting ready for the new year. 2013 will be awesome, because I will make it so. <BR> <BR> Instead of setting resolutions or goals for the entire year, I have set some goals for January. Toward the end of January, I will set goals for February. Some goals will roll over month to month, some of which may have higher expectations. Some goals I may get rid of in favor of all new... Mon, 31 Dec 2012 11:51:01 EST 50 Questions I saw this elsewhere on SparkPeople and am feeling lazy about coming up with my own topic for a blog. So.... <BR> <BR> 1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Both of my parents! <BR> <BR> 2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Ummm…I don’t know….(as if I'd tell you, anyway....) <BR> <BR> 3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It’s legible…most days…. <BR> <BR> 4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? I prefer other stuff, but tuna sandwiches are easy to make. If tuna is even considered a meat. <BR> <BR> 5.... Thu, 6 Dec 2012 09:55:48 EST Anxiety This month has been crazy at work. We are getting ready for a huge inspection. The group home I run may or may not get selected for an audit, but I – and all the other coordinators – have been working extra hours getting all our houses and books ready, just in case. I have been running “my” house since September, and they’ll look at the books back a whole year. It turns out there is a lot of paperwork that hadn’t been completed – or if it had been completed, it hadn’t been filed. <BR> <BR> A... Sat, 24 Nov 2012 07:33:19 EST October Goals I joined a non-SparkPeople challenge, October Unprocessed 2012. <link><BR>sed-2012/ </link> The idea is to eat only unprocessed foods for a whole month (and, one would hope, for longer). My goal is 80% or greater clean (unprocessed) eating, as it is hard to avoid with breads (though they will need to have 100% whole grains) and almond milk (I use a commercial brand, but may try making my own at some point). <BR> <BR> I have also joined the Fall 5% Chal... Mon, 1 Oct 2012 08:18:56 EST Perfection It seems Americans have to be unhappy with themselves and their situations. It’s part of the culture, and it’s perpetuated by the media, with perfect smiles and perfect bodies… or at least what someone out there wants us to believe is the perfect smile and perfect body. <BR> <BR> We think, “My nose is too big … my face is too wide … my eyes are too close together … my teeth are too crooked … I have too many freckles … I’m not tall enough … I’m not blonde enough … I’m not thin enough ….” <BR... Sun, 30 Sep 2012 11:28:46 EST Strategy Hoo-boy, I think I started a war with my posts about Weight Watchers v. SparkPeople. I’m not saying Weight Watchers is bad, though I do find it rather expensive (a sliding scale fee would be nice, WW folks, just saying). And my colleagues joined online, so I don’t think they get face-to-face meetings, except at work when they talk to each other. (I’ve been to a few F2F WW meetings in the past, and they ARE inspiring, so don’t get me wrong here, but I also find the whole SP online community in... Mon, 24 Sep 2012 10:43:51 EST Why would you pay when you can get it free?!?! …and by the way, happy autumn! <BR> <BR> There are some women in my office who have recently joined Weight Watchers. I have told them and others that they can join SparkPeople for free. So what do they do? They recruit another to pay for WW! (I never was a good recruiter. Maybe I should tell them SP is awful and to stay away from it, and they will join in droves.) <BR> <BR> Their reasoning is they think it’s easier to count points than to count calories or whatever else they are asked to co... Sat, 22 Sep 2012 11:46:49 EST Checking in I love my iPhone, and I love using the Camera+ app (among other favorite apps). I found an outlet for my picture taking in the Shutterbugs SparkTeam. I was taking a lot of pictures, and posting quite a few on the Team, and then… <BR> <BR> I changed positions at work, and it has been crazy ever since. I still take pictures, but not as much. And a drawback of my new position is I have more office hours and fewer active hours. I need to find a balance, so I can maintain a certain level of fitne... Fri, 21 Sep 2012 07:04:42 EST CH-CH-CH-CHANGES There are some changes going on at work. I’m hoping they are good ones. I know they are MEANT to be good ones. For better or worse, I’ll be moving into a supervisory position (I’ve been there before), running one house (a group home, if you will). Some people are complaining about the changes, but I’d rather be proactive and part of the change than reactive and complain about it. <BR> <BR> I MUST continue to find time to walk and do other types of exercise. It will be more important, now tha... Tue, 28 Aug 2012 07:49:18 EST Summer 5% Challenge The Summer 5% Challenge is over (well, it will be by the end of the day). I didn’t expect to lose any weight – I had decided to maintain, and I did manage to hover around the desired weight and ended on that weight. <BR> <BR> Instead of losing weight, I wanted to lose inches – from my waist and abs (I’m one of those people for whom the abs are a major trouble spot). I’m happy to say I did manage to lose more than 5% from those places. So I guess the challenge was a success. <BR> <BR> I have... Fri, 17 Aug 2012 18:29:56 EST Revisiting goals Back in January, I made some goals for the year. For the most part, I forgot about them. Typical, I suppose. Everyone gets excited about a new year and sets resolutions or goals only to forget them a few days later when the reality sets in that goals are easy to set and hard to meet. <BR> <BR> For some reason, August has always been a good time for me to reflect and reevaluate my life and my goals. This started back in high school, as summer was winding down, and I was getting new clothes an... Wed, 1 Aug 2012 08:04:13 EST Some random stuff A smattering of this and that. <BR> <BR> Lots of well-meaning people think I want to watch the Olympics. It doesn’t matter that I say I’m not interested in watching sports in general or the Olympics specifically. When I say I don’t have cable TV, so I wouldn’t be able to watch if I wanted to, they respond that the Olympics will be on regular network TV, which should be available everywhere without cable. Um…no, NBC never came in, not even when I was using rabbit ears back in the 80s and 90s.... Wed, 25 Jul 2012 09:11:02 EST One size fits all? Must everyone in the whole world get 8 hours sleep? Not more than 8, not less than 8. 8, exactly 8, is the magic number for rest and longevity and being able to face the world. But is it, really? If I sleep 6 hours and wake feeling refreshed, do I need to toss and turn and become frustrated night after night (or morning, at this point), because I can’t get 2 more hours of sleep? Couldn’t I be using those 2 hours for something more productive? Maybe exercising? (Though reading or surfing the w... Fri, 20 Jul 2012 13:39:03 EST Measurements I’m doing a Summer 5% Challenge. I’ll be happy to maintain my current weight (within a few pounds here or there). I’m working on reducing the size of my abdomen, what has always been my trouble area. <BR> <BR> It seems from frequently measuring my waist and abdomen (what I define as 2” below my navel, or whatever is the widest spot), these measurements can fluctuate greatly from week to week, and even day to day. I haven’t gone so far as to drive myself crazy by measuring several times in a ... Fri, 6 Jul 2012 08:57:01 EST Day one of 5K walk/jog program Whew! I did it! I walked 4 minutes and jogged 1 minute for 25 minutes. And then walked another 3 minutes home as a cool down (that part isn’t in the program, but I’ve read elsewhere it’s necessary, and besides, how else was I to get home?). <BR> <BR> I used the bike trail, so no one would see me jogging (I’m sure I have bad form), and met a few people out walking (probably for exercise, just as I was). We said “hi” to each other. It’s a polite community, walkers and joggers (I cannot say the... Wed, 27 Jun 2012 11:04:28 EST One! I went to Salvation Army (aka Salvation Armani aka The Sal) for some Capris for summer. I don’t like wearing shorts, much, and Capris are more appropriate for work, anyway. Shopping at the Salvation Army is kind of like going on a scavenger hunt, because you know what you want to find (pants, shirts, whatever), but you don’t know what it will look like. <BR> <BR> I found two pairs that I like and that fit. One was a pretty orange pair that I really like. The other is a pair that is basically... Tue, 26 Jun 2012 17:48:58 EST Counting water intake I’m bad about drinking water. I’m bad about drinking anything. Back when I drank Coke, I could open a can at 9 am and still be working on the same can at 5 pm. Less than 12 ounces in 8 hours. Not good. <BR> <BR> We had a heat wave in New England. I heard tales of a heat wave all over the East Coast of the United States. And beyond the East Coast. Into Canada, even. <BR> <BR> Yesterday, I gathered all my drinking vessels, from coffee mugs (which I use for tea, as I don’t drink coffee) to wat... Sat, 23 Jun 2012 09:59:01 EST Shopping Day! I went grocery shopping yesterday. I got a lot of fruits and a few veggies. Grapes, bananas, cherries, blueberries …. I have some beet greens and spinach I bought last week. I got Greek yogurt, so I can make smoothies. <BR> <BR> I tossed out some stuff that was going bad or had a "best by" date in April (!). <BR> <BR> I am gearing up for a summer challenge. <BR> <BR> My summer goals (the health-related ones): <BR> <BR> Lose 4 pounds, then maintain. Losing more would be great, but my body ... Tue, 19 Jun 2012 08:12:34 EST "Ignite:" Girl Scouts Rock the Mall 2012 I attended the Girl Scouts Rock the Mall event in Washington, DC last weekend. A reported 250,000 Girl Scouts were on the Mall for a "flash mob" (a misnomer, since it took 2 years to plan). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I did a ton of walking around DC. We did the tourist thing on Friday, and I logged more than 6-1/2 miles. Then on Saturday, the day of the event, I logged 7-3/4 miles. This was really good for me, as I am keeping the ... Thu, 14 Jun 2012 15:03:59 EST 28-Day Boot Camp I have to be the most uncoordinated person in the world. I’ll blame my mother for not taking me to dance lessons when I was three (though in her defense, I don’t think they had dance lessons when I was three, at least not in my small, isolated town…maybe I should be blaming her for not raising me in New York City, so I’d have had the best opportunities for everything). <BR> <BR> Anyway, I bought the SparkPeople 28-Day Boot Camp DVD at Target a while ago. I got my SparkPoints and then put the... Wed, 13 Jun 2012 20:06:53 EST Maintenance Perhaps I wasn’t clear yesterday. According to the goal of the challenge, to lose 5% of my body weight in 8 weeks, I failed. I failed to lose 5%. That is all. That doesn’t mean I am a failure. I failed at that challenge. Maybe it’s because I am lazy and not motivated enough to do what it takes to lose more. Or maybe my body just wants to be at the weight I am at right now. I prefer to think the latter. (And, no, no, no, I don’t think anyone who did the challenge and didn’t lose the full 5% is... Sun, 13 May 2012 09:53:13 EST I failed at the 5% challenge I lost 3% of my starting weight in the 5% challenge. That means I failed the challenge. But … I think my body likes being at the weight is currently is. I think I look good (I don’t care what others think) and I feel good. I could work on exercising more, but I am eating better than I have in years … better than I ever have, actually. <BR> <BR> So … instead of joining challenges to loose X pounds or Y%, I will concentrate on maintaining. Sat, 12 May 2012 06:28:31 EST Walking...and other stuff I participated in a 5K walk yesterday. Some people ran, but lots of us walked. The walk was supposed to be 3.1 miles, but RunKeeper (a free iPhone app) said I actually went 3.4 miles. I clicked “start” when I started walking and “end” when I got to the finish line. I walked more than that in the course of the day, and my pedometer captured that. Today, the race results were posted – I came in 484th out of 571. I didn’t know walkers would be considered part of the race. My average pace was 18:... Mon, 30 Apr 2012 17:28:33 EST More challenges! In the Spring 5% challenge, I stayed the same weight 2 weeks in a row. This week, I gained a pound. BUT – the non-scale victory was that I was able to put on a pair of pants yesterday and they were COMFORTABLE. The last time I wore them, they were tight on me. <BR> <BR> I'm doing a clean eating challenge on Facebook. I'm doing pretty well with that. I'm thinking twice about what I eat. I was tempted to run to Dunkin Donuts during work yesterday, and talked myself out of it, because DD is def... Sat, 14 Apr 2012 07:19:06 EST Notes on the Spring 5% Challenge I’ve been doing this challenge for a little more than a week. The idea of the challenge is to lose 5% of one’s body weight in 8 weeks. Weigh-in is Saturday, at the latest, and I weighed in a couple days early, because I was thinking about it. I had lost 2 pounds! I was off to a great start! <BR> <BR> I’m doing a Meatless March challenge. For the most part, I am being pretty faithful to this effort. I did have some fish toward the end of the first week or so. But fish isn’t meat…according to ... Tue, 27 Mar 2012 00:25:27 EST Challenges I have signed up for lots of challenges. Just to see how much I can juggle. <BR> <BR> Actually, it’s not so bad, as they sort of dovetail into each other. That happens, sometimes. <BR> <BR> I started participating in a “No Fake Sugar, No Real Sugar” challenge on Facebook. This runs for the length of Lent, February 22 to April 8. I haven’t been perfect, but except for last weekend, when a client in the group home in which I work had a birthday party, I have been staying away from refined sug... Sun, 11 Mar 2012 12:08:19 EST Other Choices Yesterday, one of the Spark Articles in my email was "Are You Cheating Yourself by Choosing the Treadmill?" <link><BR>_articles.asp?id=1461 </link> The article looks at the pros and cons of two choices for walking or running: outside or on a treadmill. There are other options, especially for walking. <BR> <BR> There's the mall. If you have to drive to get to a gym to use a treadmill or to a park or bike trail for a safe place to walk outside, then it sh... Wed, 1 Feb 2012 14:19:08 EST January 19 Update Still plodding along...feeling a bit scattered. I wrote an entry in my BlogSpot blog to help me stay focused. I'm putting a link here, so I'm not repeating everything. <link><BR>/is-this-consistent-with-my-goals.html </link> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 13:43:22 EST January 10 update One of my goals for this year is to eat "clean" (less processed foods, no preservatives). I started out with a plan from the January 2012 Oxygen plan, but quickly veered off from it, using the plan as a guideline only. You can read more about it in my public blog: <link><BR>/improvised-menu-plan.html </link> . <BR> <BR> I am still working on the Official January Jumpstart Workout here on SparkPeople, and that is going well. I also joined a 21-day yoga c... Tue, 10 Jan 2012 11:50:57 EST