MILLEDGE2's SparkPeople Blog MILLEDGE2's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Fifth Spark Anniversary! Five years ago, after seeing a success story in People Magazine's "Lost Half My Weight" issue, I decided to sign up for Sparkpeople, although I sincerely doubted an online program would help me get healthier. I WAS WRONG! <BR> <BR> There have been many challenges in my life across those five years and I even hid from Spark for awhile, but in 2012, I got back in touch and have made a faithful effort to at least check in every day. Checking in, all by itself, makes a world of difference in r... Wed, 30 Dec 2015 09:14:29 EST REAL PROGRESS! As of today, I have officially lost 10% of the weight I was carrying when I retired 16 months ago. Plus I weigh 34 pounds less than I did three and a half years ago and my BMI is 7 points lower than it was back then. <BR> <BR> The loss goes slowly and not without "rebounds", but it is beginning to seem REAL! <BR> <BR> Pausing to congratulate myself and give myself a hearty "Attagirl!" <BR> <BR> Now to keep moving forward! Wed, 2 Sep 2015 09:56:08 EST Get to know your Sparkfriends (borrowed from another Sparker) I am "stealing" this from Claire in Paris. She added some of her lovely, lovely photos, but I am camera-impaired, so I'm just posting text. I think I'll look back this time next year, after I've been retired for 14 months instead of 2, and see how my answers compare! <BR> <BR> Go to chewing gum flavor: <BR> Do not chew gum <BR> <BR> Best time of the year: <BR> October - December: crisp weather, beautiful nature, holidays of gratitude. <BR> <BR> If you were a toenail polish what color wou... Tue, 8 Jul 2014 09:50:58 EST Two little NSVs that are big to me Today is officially the last day of my working career, but I've been living as if I were already retired almost every minute of the past four weeks and it is GLORIOUS! I've been walking 3 miles in an hour, most mornings; this is revolutionary for me and I enjoy and look forward to it and will launch on another walk in just a few minutes (it's now almost 6:00 a.m.). NSV #1! <BR> <BR> I've been tracking food at least through the morning, which is good, of course. I haven't been going overbo... Sat, 31 May 2014 07:06:47 EST An anniversary is an opportunity! Today marks 3 years since I first signed up for Sparkpeople. I had NEVER thought I would benefit from any sort of online community. And although there have been peaks and valleys along the way, I know that whatever success I've had in getting healthier during these three years is because I've stayed close, close, close to Spark. Even during times when correct eating and exercising and sleeping have been only a dream, I've logged in each day to remind myself of my ultimate objectives. <BR> ... Mon, 30 Dec 2013 08:11:23 EST Progress pays off! Although I've been diligent about tracking food and have increased my exercise, my weight has stayed level since mid-March. Of course, that isn't great news. But today I am happy to observe how different things are than they used to be and to affirm that I have faith in the process. <BR> <BR> I just returned from my second BIG trip of the year. In May, I went to Cuba for eight days and this month I went to England and Norway for twelve days. I made absolutely NO attempt (decided ahead of... Sun, 21 Jul 2013 11:49:50 EST A sort of "anniversary" Today isn't a Spark-versary, but it is a sort of an anniversary for me. One year ago today (the longest day of the year!), I went back to tracking nutrition on Sparkpeople and I've lost almost 35 pounds since then. <BR> <BR> I knew from my previous experience when I joined Spark in January 2011 that tracking would get the process of losing weight underway with relatively little pain. But after my trip to Barcelona, I just never got back "on track" and then there was the April 2011 tornado an... Fri, 21 Jun 2013 06:44:46 EST Loving, not hating, my body Keeping my weight under control has been a struggle all my life. BUT I KNOW that many of my friends would exchange their personal health struggles for "only" having to monitor their intake and exercise; their struggles make me embarrassed to even use the word. <BR> <BR> My body is like a car you've had a long time and really love to drive; it takes you great places and rarely breaks down, so the ride is sweet overall. It just has a little glitch in the fuel gage and keeps trying to indicat... Tue, 21 May 2013 07:46:52 EST Stepping away (but for a good reason) I have been trying to be more consistent in following Sparkfriends' blogs and progress lately. Not only does this help me keep my own eye on the prize, but I really enjoy the adventures of people all over the place who are on this same journey, but in many different contexts. <BR> <BR> But I'll be off the grid for a few weeks, all for a good reason. I'll tell you about it sometime in the last half of May, but know that I wish everyone well and I am NOT stepping away from goals of healthy l... Sun, 5 May 2013 08:32:01 EST May Day...a good day to revitalize Just a quick memory from long-ago, but one that will sustain me today as I try to get my Serenity and Perspective back in balance: <BR> <BR> At least one May when I was yet too young to be in elementary school, my mother and I made construction paper May baskets (basically a little cone of paper taped together, with a strip of paper handle taped across the top). We picked violets from beside our sidewalk and hung them "secretly" on nearby neighbors' doorknobs. <BR> <BR> A sweet memory and ... Wed, 1 May 2013 09:19:21 EST Looking at the big picture and reflecting... One of the things I am grateful for about my current life is that there is a bit of time, now and then, to let my mind sort back through and try to make sense of recent events. When I don't have time for that, I start to label life as "stressful". It's sort of like riding in a car which is going fast, but not so fast that I can't look out and orient myself vs. riding in a vehicle which is moving too quickly or in too much traffic to be able to take stock of where I am. <BR> <BR> One look a... Sun, 21 Apr 2013 08:39:02 EST Sunday, March 31: Positive Blog #12 The first Sparkteam that comes up when I start to check in each day has a post " Today I am grateful for ________". Just thinking up a word to type to fill in the blank each morning is a powerful reminder that I have so much to be grateful for. <BR> <BR> Yesterday a neighbor commented on my weight loss and asked how I had done it. As so often happens, when I didn't answer about some miracle or warped way of eating (e.g., no carbs, paleo, or gluten-free when you have no gluten allergies) an... Sun, 31 Mar 2013 09:43:29 EST Sunday, 2/3/12: Positive Blog #11 This is a significantly victorious day for me: I wouldn't change my Profile Image to "Lost 30 Pounds" until the weight loss ticker would support the claim. I made a rule that the ticker had to register 30 or more pounds for three consecutive days before I would change the image. <BR> <BR> TODAY I EARNED THE RIGHT TO CLAIM IT! Just a skooch more (to a consistent 31 lbs lost) and I can claim to be halfway home, but that lies in the future. <BR> <BR> For today, I'm excited to be able to cele... Sun, 3 Feb 2013 08:50:37 EST Sunday, 1/20/13: Positive Blog #10 A Mini-Goal seems to have been achieved! <BR> <BR> Two of the past three days, my early morning weight has registered on my electronic scale as being just below 160#. For my height, that means I AM NO LONGER OBESE! The third morning (yesterday), it was a few tenths above, but the night before I had eaten some salted food, although not too much and not recklessly. <BR> <BR> I really am not proclaiming this beyond my Spark circle of friends/acquaintances. The word "obese", however clinical... Sun, 20 Jan 2013 08:00:14 EST Thursday, 1/10/12: Positive Blog #9 I have to jump in the shower VERY soon or I won't get to work at the time I need to, but I simply must (modestly) shout that I am SO proud of myself for earning six consecutive Consistency Trophies from Sparkpeople! This is a real achievement for me. <BR> <BR> I have four Perfect Attendance Trophies and the two I missed, I simply overlooked one day that month. <BR> <BR> I know that "all" it takes to earn these is simply clicking my computer mouse, but as Sparkers all know, once you've chec... Thu, 10 Jan 2013 08:56:02 EST New Years Morning: More Positivity! It is not yet quite 9:00 a.m. on January 1, 2013. So far, I've eaten my steel cut oat breakfast, done 30 minutes of step aerobics, made my bed, and caught up on emails and Facebook. <BR> <BR> I don't really remember New Years Day of 2012. I know I didn't log into Spark. I know I didn't do 30 minutes of step aerobics. I know I didn't have a tidy apartment, nor did I really believe I would ever get one. I know I didn't have two fully functional feet. I know I DID weigh 25-27 pounds more! <BR... Tue, 1 Jan 2013 09:47:31 EST Sunday, 12/30/12: Positive Blog #7 Today is my 2nd anniversary of finding and I am happy to celebrate it! Sparkpeople has been there for me (and waited for me, when other things drew my attention away) every step of the way with all the motivation and support I could ask for. I am truly grateful to all the people who make this possible and I look forward to posting on my 3rd anniversary, this time next year, when I have accomplished EVEN MORE toward living a truly healthy lifestyle, thanks to all the help I g... Sun, 30 Dec 2012 10:26:49 EST Friday, 12/21/12: Positive Blog #6 <em>460</em> <BR> First, the GOOD news: the scale didn't rebound this morning! In fact, it went down another .1 pound, so now I'm down 26.79 pounds in 7 months! That's 2 pounds away from not being "obese" any more! And a BMI drop of almost 5 points since Memorial Day. <BR> <BR> I have to keep those things in mind all day today, for sure. I made it through yesterday, going only 89 calories over goal and doing my aerobics. But it wasn't easy and this morning, my body is REALLY telling me to... Fri, 21 Dec 2012 07:38:29 EST Monday, 12/17/12: Positive Blog #5 There has been a great deal of sadness in our country in the past few days and I don't want to break the mood of somber reflection we're all in just now. <BR> <BR> However, I do want to note that, as I reflect on those in my own life who I treasure and am grateful for, I am grateful for Chris Downey and all the people at Sparkpeople for giving me tools and support to allow me to empower myself with better health. <BR> <BR> The weight loss ticker slipped past 26 pounds today and I rejoice! ... Mon, 17 Dec 2012 22:35:58 EST Sunday, 12/9/12: Positive Blog #4 This is a follow-up on yesterday's post, in which I was gearing up for a dear friend's annual Christmas party. She serves a menu which has become traditional by its consistency from year to year, so I could mentally prepare. Also, she gets distressed if people don't eat heartily and I just didn't want to get into that with her because she is a highly-valued friend. <BR> <BR> I didn't track my evening intake, but was quietly very proud of how I handled the situation. I logged food all day a... Sun, 9 Dec 2012 08:47:57 EST Saturday, 12/8/12: Positive Blog #3 <em>252</em> How good did it feel this morning to see my weight loss ticker slip past 25 pounds????? This isn't an easy journey and I'm not quite to the halfway point, but this is substantially less than I've weighed on any recent Christmas holidays, and tracking my intake, tracking my exercise, and keeping in touch with all the helpful things on is what is making this journey possible. <BR> <BR> Tonight I will go to an annual Christmas party and I already know what the men... Sat, 8 Dec 2012 10:05:45 EST Monday, 11/26/12: Positive Blog #2 Last week, I wrote my first blog to comply with the ground rules of being on the Positive Bloggers Spark Team. I was affirmative, although it was obvious that I was more than a little concerned that being unable to accurately track my food during a holiday trip to my friends' house might derail me. <BR> <BR> Everything went well and I feel really boosted! I weighed in this morning and the scale was in the same spot. I am now back tracking and exercising, just like I'm supposed to do when ... Mon, 26 Nov 2012 13:32:17 EST Sunday, 11/18/12: Positive Blog I discovered and joined the Positive Bloggers Spark Team and one of my responsibilities is to post positive blogs regularly. I like this idea because those are the ones that help me stay motivated. So let the blogging begin! <BR> <BR> I am launching into a week when I MUST keep my focus! This evening, I'll be attending a church barbecue in another town. Wednesday through Sunday midday, I'll be on the road for Thanksgiving. I will be around supportive people and the stress levels will be mi... Sun, 18 Nov 2012 11:48:58 EST Taking the Nine-Week Challenge! Exactly 9 weeks remain in 2012, as of today. What will I accomplish by New Years Eve? I'm challenging myself! <BR> <BR> I am losing weight and gaining fitness, thanks to adherence to and consistency with Sparkpeople principles. I am tracking my intake very honestly and maintaining a calorie level averaging under 1600 and not soaring above 2000 (except for 5 days in October when I was away at a conference and ate rich food and lots of carbs, having given myself permission to do this without... Mon, 29 Oct 2012 10:57:30 EST Report after 101 days back on Spark I'm going to write this on this Sunday morning, the last day of September, even though today's information can't yet be added. I have completed 101 days back on Spark, as of last night. I am taking friends out for a celebratory dinner tonight at a local restaurant; I have planned what I will order and how I will handle things, then and the rest of today. This is a day when my calorie intake will exceed my self-imposed limit, but not by a whole lot. Life must be lived and if this is a chang... Sun, 30 Sep 2012 09:36:28 EST NOT going to let this mess with my head! I've been tracking things daily on Sparkpeople consistently since 6/21. It has paid off, in that by keeping my focus every day, I've gently dropped 14 pounds in a very healthy way. I am moving forward. <BR> <BR> So what's the matter? On Saturday afternoon I left for a 24 hour visit to the home of some friends in another part of the state. Before I left, I ate wisely. I made a decision not to stress over the fact that I couldn't really know the calories to log for the food I ate while I was ... Mon, 3 Sep 2012 08:56:20 EST Love those trophies! Yea! Sparkpeople's trophies which appeared today reminded me that I've been very consistent this past month in keeping track and that has paid off! I LOVE getting these little icons and awards. And I'm on track to reach a new level of Sparkpoint accumulation tomorrow! <em>244</em> <em>252</em> <BR> <BR> I WILL get healthier, day by day! Fri, 3 Aug 2012 09:35:58 EST And Julie Andrews sang... Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, <BR> Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, <BR> Brown paper packages tied up with string, <BR> These are a few of my favorite things! <BR> <BR> Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudel, <BR> Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles, <BR> Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, <BR> These are a few of my favorite things! <BR> <BR> [the following also applies to days when I can't stop feeling a little hungry, no m... Thu, 26 Jul 2012 17:30:07 EST Haven't yet achieved perfection! ;-( I remind myself (regularly) that if I set my goal at "perfection", I will ALWAYS miss the mark. Aspiring to perfection simply sets me up for failure. It's fine to have high standards; it's fine to be disappointed when I don't meet my standards; but even dreaming that I will never fall short is a self-cruelty I would not impose on anyone I cared about. So why do I do it to myself? Ah, there's the question, isn't it? <BR> <BR> Yesterday, after successfully managing and logging my intake of... Wed, 25 Jul 2012 06:57:16 EST As Louis Armstrong sang... I see trees of green, red roses too <BR> I see 'em bloom for me and for you, <BR> And I think to myself <BR> "What a wonderful world!" <BR> <BR> I see skies of blue and clouds of white, <BR> Bright blessed days, dark sacred nights, <BR> And I think to myself <BR> "What a wonderful world!" <BR> <BR> The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky <BR> Are also on the faces of people going by. <BR> I see friends shaking hands, <BR> Saying, "How do you do?" <BR> They're really saying, "I love ... Mon, 23 Jul 2012 09:50:49 EST As Patti LaBelle says... Somehow the wires uncrossed, <BR> The tables were turned, <BR> Never knew I had such a lesson to learn! <BR> <BR> I'm feeling good from my head to my shoes, <BR> Know what I'm doing and I know what to do! <BR> Tidied up my point of view - <BR> I got a NEW ATTITUDE! Sun, 22 Jul 2012 08:52:28 EST Slow but steady I am really delighted with what happens if I stick with Spark and follow the healthy plans I make there. I've been tracking my daily calorie intake and being stubborn about not wanting to exceed my limit. The result? 9.25 pounds gone in a little over 7 weeks. Now, I've begun to ease back into exercising (gentle step aerobics with just the riser) and I've done 45 minutes so far this week. The result? I am pleased with myself and my mood is good (endorphins? pride? who cares?). <BR> <B... Thu, 19 Jul 2012 15:24:36 EST Woohoo! Started the day needing 22 Spark Points to reach a new level and prove to myself that it doesn't take forever to get to a higher level. First, I got 25 log in points (yes!) and then my bonus spin gave me 25 more! Just what I needed to keep my motivation up. <BR> <BR> I'm driving to Birmingham today to have lunch with a very dear friend I get to see a few times a year. We're meeting at a great Greek-oriented restaurant. I won't be able to exactly track my calories, but I know the menu ther... Wed, 18 Jul 2012 09:44:32 EST Upping the Ante The motivational things on Spark about doing at least a little exercise, easing back into a program, taking things in stages have finally gotten through to me today. I've been feeling motivated to move more, get active, etc., but was hampered by my post-surgery foot. It's got to be "all or nothing!", right? I have to be able to do the same step aerobic routine I could do 5 years ago or I may as well not do anything, right? <BR> <BR> Well, today I decided to just set things up and see how... Mon, 16 Jul 2012 20:34:11 EST Midsomer blues? This is always a potentially cranky time of the year for me. I love the longer daylight, but the sustained heat/humidity saps my energy, big time. This goes back to childhood and my antidote is to attempt to do as many pleasurable things and to distract myself and to monitor my whiny self. It adds to my irritation that I'm so irritated! <BR> <BR> Across the years, I've tried to isolate the variables which make this worse or better and I think I have a pretty good handle on managing thing... Thu, 12 Jul 2012 18:05:41 EST Saturday report Consistently using Sparkpeople to keep myself on track pays off. Despite what the scale said this morning (I ate something yesterday which wasn't overall bad in calories, fats, or carbs, but which had lots of sodium), I have lost 8 pounds since I weighed in prior to my surgery and, about 10 days later, began tracking my daily intake on Spark. <BR> <BR> Have there been "moments"? Yes! But by judiciously working with things, I've usually found solutions. Have I ever gone over my daily allo... Sat, 7 Jul 2012 15:30:56 EST Progress feels good! What a lovely "independence day"! Since 5/21/12, 6 weeks ago, I have lost just over 7 pounds, despite being so sedentary as my foot heals. I have not been miserable and I feel fine, so this is all good. I am encouraged and will keep up my efforts. Yea! And as we always sang in this morning at Camp Winnataska: <BR> <BR> Today's the 4th of July! <BR> Today's the 4th of July! <BR> Hurrah! Hurrah! <BR> Today's the 4th of July! Wed, 4 Jul 2012 07:32:51 EST Gotta keep remembering this lesson I have been keeping my food intake under control ever since about 5 days after I got home from my foot surgery; I have actually tracked it on SparkPeople for 6 days, which doubly insures that I make good choices. The result? When I weighed this morning, the weight was 5 lbs. less than what I weighed pre-surgery, almost 6 weeks ago. I know that edema is and will continue to be an issue, but WOW! I'm really reinforced for making good choices! <BR> <em>252</em> Tue, 26 Jun 2012 07:42:52 EST Beginning again...again I have been away from Spark for far too long. Lots of reasons/excuses, of course, but I know it isn't in my best interest. So I'm back! <BR> <BR> But here are some things which have transpired since last I was here, for which I am very grateful. <BR> <BR> 1. Everything is FINALLY in place in my apartment, post tornado. I mean REALLY in place, as in tidy, clean, organized and all the other things I never really believed my living space would be again. It is wonderful and I'm studying on ... Sat, 23 Jun 2012 17:06:02 EST Back on the wagon! The past three weeks have been very tiring, physically and mentally. Not bad, really, just so very busy and with so many demands coming from so many directions. Up until Thursday, I still tracked on my nutrition tracker and kept under 2000 calories. Thursday and Friday, though, I killed a pint of key lime gelato. <BR> <BR> Is that the worst binge I've ever been on? Not by a long shot! And I enjoyed every creamy bite. So now I'm back tracking and paying attention. No real damage done,... Sat, 22 Oct 2011 13:22:22 EST Beautiful October Saturday! This has been an emotionally challenging week. Starting Sunday night and running through Thursday night, I was working every minute I wasn't obligated to be doing something else, dealing with this year's version of UA Tenure & Promotion. We all survived, although it was surreal, more than once. Additionally, a valued colleague and I had to confront a serious misunderstanding and get things unknotted; we did, but that took a toll too. And last, but not really least, my dog got sick (worrie... Sat, 8 Oct 2011 14:50:45 EST Reflecting after a week back on SparkPeople The most obvious benefit about having gotten back on SparkPeople is that today's weight was 2.4 pounds less than last week's weight. Just tracking my food with scrupulous honesty and keeping under 2000 calories can make a big difference. I also feel better and I haven't even yet added exercise back in. <BR> <BR> It took some real determination, but I got past a logjam this week in getting things set up in this living space. Don't misunderstand me: things aren't at all finished yet! If I ... Sun, 2 Oct 2011 16:58:08 EST 22 weeks after the tornado Yesterday marked the 22-week mark since the April tornado blew into my life. And, coincidentally, it was the day my new living room furniture was delivered. I'm pleased with it, although it definitely has me rethinking my space because it filled the big hole I had been working so hard to create in the living room. <BR> <BR> Yesterday was a bit "cranky" because of people who just refuse to act like adults or to examine their own behavior to see if they are perhaps being unfair to others. I... Thu, 29 Sep 2011 10:48:26 EST Back and ready to start The New Normal Today is my first day to be on Sparkpeople since the August 27 tornado changed my life. I am one of the lucky people who wasn't hurt (even my dog and car survived) and didn't lose a lot of possessions (thanks to my wonderful friends' intervention to get everything packed, transported, and stored), but everything else about my daily life changed pretty dramatically. <BR> <BR> For 10 weeks, I hung out in other people's houses. First, at Susan's and then, for 6 weeks, in Linda's house while s... Sun, 25 Sep 2011 11:28:57 EST This week's accountability update This week was busy (one too many crises at work, thank you very much!) but the challenges were overbalanced by having a wonderful person visit at work all week, inspiring me and my students (and keeping me laughing). The weather was beautiful and, actually, a lot got done. I did not exercise as I should have done and there are about 1000 magazines pouring in, each of which contains yet another study which says that regular exercise is the quickest, cheapest, surest way to have a high qualit... Sat, 26 Mar 2011 13:19:57 EST Transition time! Today marks the end of a week-long Spring Break. I love my job, but as I start to move back to "work" mode, I keep wishing I had a few more days. The internet was out for just about the whole week, which meant my keeping up with Sparkpeople was a big success for me (used the iPad and 3G, which is definitely slower at every step of the way). Yea for me! On the other hand, I didn't exercise two mornings because of waiting for the cable man to arrive (didn't come til suppertime of the second... Sun, 20 Mar 2011 15:29:53 EST Dealing with a self-challenge I've given myself a sort of challenge to get a lot of house cleaning done in the next two days and now I'm having to act like a grown-up and get on with it. If I want the results, I have to do the work...sort of like getting fit and healthy, but (for me) much harder. <em>39</em> <em>46</em> <em>24</em> <em>211</em> Tue, 15 Mar 2011 13:41:00 EST March 12, 2011 I've been pretty much off Sparkpeople since getting back from Barcelona two weeks ago, but I didn't "go wild" with my eating while there nor since I got back. Still, I am feeling good about getting back on and being more starting back with formal exercising. It's amazing, but just doing a half hour of aerobics and then some good stretching makes me feel 50% better than before I started. I NEED TO KEEP THAT FACT FIRMLY IN MIND EVERY MORNING! It's going to be a great and ... Sat, 12 Mar 2011 16:14:02 EST Friends made this a great week for me! This past week was busy, busy, busy. Someone I've known for a long time came to town for a week and now we are even better friends. She made me laugh and laugh, plus she gave me lots of important "serious" things to reflect upon. Just the pick-me-up I needed in mid-February. Of course, the weather has been record-settingly cold, but we got through - even had a little dusting of snow! Glad it's supposed to be sunny today and a bit warmer. Onward into the remaining few days before I go of... Sat, 12 Feb 2011 07:55:33 EST Sunday is off to a great start As previously noted, Sunday is usually the week's rockiest day, but today is off to a good start. It is warm and sunny (Yea, Sun! ) and I've done the aerobic exercise which kicks my mood up a few notches. Plans for later today are being rearranged because of travel delays for a friend, but that will give me some breathing room on getting some work done which is looming over me. Optimistic that I can make this an atypical Sunday and an atypical February day. And if I do that enough Sundays... Sun, 6 Feb 2011 13:25:35 EST