MPLSKEN's SparkPeople Blog MPLSKEN's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Earth Skills Today is my 3 Year SparkVersary! <BR> <em>505</em> <em>244</em> <BR> I lost 90lbs with the help of SparkPeople, 80 of them in just under 9 months. During that time, I lost weight every single week with only two exceptions (the day after a party and after a vacation). This was done with laser-like focus. The benefit was that I never lost momentum and ultimately this helped me reach my goals relatively fast and personally made me feel awesome. The disadvantage was that I was less prepared f... Fri, 9 May 2014 14:43:47 EST Murphy's Law I guess my intention of starting to make some blog posts again didn't go exactly as planned. Haha! This week I remembered that my three year anniversary at SparkPeople was coming up and today I thought that I should start thinking about what to include in a post to reminisce. Then, I went in and realized it had already been a long time since my last post! <BR> <em>198</em> <BR> I think the title of my last post might have made it look like I had left SparkPeople and came back (which isn't t... Thu, 8 May 2014 21:44:31 EST The Returned I haven't made a blog post in a long time. Back in January 2012, I was on the cusp of reaching my 80 pounds lost milestone. To follow-up, I reached -80 two days after that blog post, and then continued to lose another 10 pounds over the next few months. In all, I probably lost a bit more considering my muscle mass now compared to when I started this journey. <BR> <em>248</em> <BR> I've maintained my weight loss all this time and generally hover somewhere between -85 and -90 pounds. Sometime... Sat, 15 Mar 2014 13:00:28 EST Dance Dance Revelation Today I finished SparkPeople's Official January Jumpstart Workout Challenge! <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> Finishing any challenge always feels great, but for some reason this one feels especially gratifying. Maybe it's because I got one of those shiny trophy icons as a reward. Or, maybe it's because I know I stuck with it even while out of town on a combination business trip and mini-vacation in Las Vegas. Or, it could also be that this challenge took me quite a bit out of my comfort zone as far ... Sun, 29 Jan 2012 00:11:58 EST Don't Bid So Close to Me Right now I'm in Las Vegas and don't have a lot of extra time to write, so this post is going to be a little different than my others. In fact, I'm probably going to edit it with more info later, but I wanted to get a couple things jotted down here. My partner and I used to go to Vegas quite a bit, but this is actually the first time we have been here in about six years. It's a short work-related trip, but we are also here with friends. Anyway, I have quickly learned and/or remembered a few t... Sat, 14 Jan 2012 16:18:00 EST The Nutcracker My premonition of today's stress came true. The last official working day of the year came. And, it went. It was definitely crazy, hectic and every other word there is for sheer madness. But, at the end of the day (literally, it's 11:58pm!), it was just another day. I successfully negotiated some deadlines into the weekend and next week just as I had hoped I would, although I think several of those negotiations might have been with myself (in my head). I also followed through with positive th... Sat, 31 Dec 2011 00:59:45 EST Grinches Be Crazy I thought I got all of my whining out in yesterday's post. But, I'm still caught up in the whirlwind of end-of-year-crazy at work. Tomorrow is the last "working" day of the year, although I'm going to try to negotiate some deadlines into the weekend and hopefully into next week. If I'm lucky, this will help a little. The bad thing is that this will prolong the madness. But, I think I can suffer a little longer to relieve some of my stress tomorrow. Although, this strategy might have landed me... Fri, 30 Dec 2011 00:52:15 EST Express Christmas I'm in the middle of what feels like the most stressful week of the year for me. Although, just as the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence, a stressful week always seems like THE MOST stressful week ever. So, who knows? In any case, I'm coming off of the natural "high" from the holidays, which makes me a little sad. We bundle so many get-togethers and events leading up to Christmas. It's crazy and hectic, but also very fun and magical. Then, afterwards, I'm dumped into m... Thu, 29 Dec 2011 00:50:31 EST A Christmas Gift Yesterday, I blogged about how frantic I was while I was trying to buy my family's Christmas gifts the day before Christmas Eve. I was wrong when I said that I waited until the last minute to get everyone's gift. There is one gift that I've been working on for 231 days: my own. This year I gave myself the best present ever. Basically, I gave myself my life back. Over 70 pounds of my body is completely gone (almost a third of myself)!!! When I started this journey, I really had no idea what I ... Sun, 25 Dec 2011 00:58:52 EST The 23rd What a crazy day! I've gotten into the terrible habit of waiting until the absolute last minute to do Christmas shopping. My family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve every year. So, that means I usually start shopping around the 23rd of December and either finish the same day or early the next morning. Usually, we make a few "preview" trips to the mall or department stores to get ideas. Then, once I have a fairly good idea of what I'm going to get, I go for it. Of course, things rarely go... Sat, 24 Dec 2011 00:46:31 EST One Week With the holiday season in full swing, last week was a crazy one for me. For a lot of us here, social events and the food and drinks that go along with them pose major challenges. We have parties and events all year long, but rarely are so many gatherings condensed into one month as they are in December. On one of my SparkTeams, a question was posted in our forum seeking tips on how to handle all of these gatherings. As I typed my response, the list of my methods grew a lot longer than I anti... Wed, 21 Dec 2011 15:40:04 EST That Still Small Voice Last night, I attended my brother-in-law's college graduation ceremony. Graduation ceremonies can be long (and boring at some points). But, the silver lining is that they are always filled with a lot of positivity. Words of encouragement and congratulatory speeches flow from the podium and by the end of the night the energy in the auditorium is pulsating with positive thoughts, dreams and accomplishments. I ended up enjoying the event much more than I thought I would. It also got me thinking ... Fri, 16 Dec 2011 14:45:19 EST The Treaty My new absolute favorite holiday treat is Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark. This is definitely not health food (although it has some calcium and almost no sodium). However, as I understand it, one of the premises at SparkPeople is not to fully omit or demonize any specific food or food group, but rather to focus on moderation. If you practice mindful eating and moderation, you can pretty much fit any type of food into your diet. <BR> <BR> Unfortunately, when I consumed a half pound of pepperm... Fri, 16 Dec 2011 00:56:42 EST And the Pop-Up Sale I don't like buying clothes. For years, I only shopped for shirts and jeans when I needed to replace others that I had outgrown (often in a state of emergency). Now I need to replace the clothes that I've... What's the opposite of outgrown? Outshrunk? <BR> <BR> Luckily, I had a bunch of clothes in reserve for when I would fit into them again. However, with my waist now 4 sizes smaller, I've reached the point where my reserve has been depleted. For a lot of people this would be a point of joy... Thu, 15 Dec 2011 00:47:49 EST The Corn Field Today I was going to write about my shopping experience yesterday and my clothing dilemma, but now I think I will save that for next week. I don't make that many blog posts, but I'm working on it because a) it helps me score some bonus points in the End of Year Challenge that I'm participating in, b) I know that it's actually helpful for other SparkPeeps and c) it helps me as well. Before I make a blog post I usually read through some other blogs in an attempt to get my brain in the mood. I j... Sat, 10 Dec 2011 14:07:23 EST "A Monkey Named Simian" or "Frances is Not a Fan" Today, I enjoyed the amazing coincidence of coming across the SparkPeople article "Tame the Emotional Eating Beast for Good" shortly after my "Beast" had been awakened. Read the short article here for the background story: <BR> <link><BR>s_articles.asp?id=693 </link> <BR> <BR> This morning at work I was forced to deal with an extremely stressful situation. Having a home office, I have the distinct disadvantage of having my entire kitchen available on de... Thu, 8 Dec 2011 13:09:16 EST Dead & Buried I came across something this week that I didn't think existed... the "before" pictures. Most people who know me also know that I have always avoided having photos taken of me. And, I'm sure my disdain of personal photos grew significantly when I was obese. But, I haven't always been fat, yet there is still relatively little photographic evidence of my existence, even during my thinnest years as a vegan shortly after college. Anyway, just a week or two ago, I was ruminating about how it would ... Sat, 3 Dec 2011 19:47:44 EST Thanksgiving III I had an awesome Thanksgiving with my extended family on Thursday. Besides getting to spend some quality time with those I love, I indulged in some of my favorite holiday foods including turkey (skinless breast meat only please), sweet potatoes (topped with marshmallows and infused with brown sugar and butter), pumpkin pie, chocolate pie and ice cream. So, yeah, I definitely went over my caloric range for Thanksgiving, but I tracked everything I ate (all 3,051 calories) and don't feel bad abo... Sat, 26 Nov 2011 22:53:14 EST Risky Business I'm getting in a quick post far away from home. I'm on my last night of a mini-vacation visiting a friend in Arizona, so I need to keep this brief. It's been a great visit, especially since it is sunny and warm. Tomorrow I head home to a snowy, dark and cold Minnesota. Something else that made this trip memorable is how awesome it was to travel and have the energy to do a bunch of physical activities that I would never have been willing (or able) to do 6 months ago (pre-Spark). I'll talk abou... Sat, 19 Nov 2011 23:34:41 EST Snow Falls 6 Months. It's amazing what can change in six months. Heck, it's amazing what can change in six days! In my last post, I explained what attracted me to SparkPeople and what keeps me here. Today, I thought I would go over some of those real life rewards and tell you a little bit about how far I've come personally. A couple of days ago, I had my 6 Month SparkVersary. I was down 60 pounds that morning, although my ticker isn't updated yet since Mondays are my official weigh-in days. The best par... Fri, 11 Nov 2011 18:18:12 EST The Good Guy Fluctuation Yesterday, I talked a little bit about what motivated me to start losing weight back in May, but I didn't cover why I chose SparkPeople to help me along this journey. The reasons seemed worthy of their own post, so here it is. Also, as a side note to anyone who read my very first blog post: see, now I've got my three posts and have earned my bonus pound credit! w00t! <BR> <BR> Ok, back to the story. I mentioned yesterday that I had lost weight in the past by tracking my food and exercise. Ba... Fri, 4 Nov 2011 17:45:49 EST Pilot I came to SparkPeople on May 9th, 2011 after being at my all-time heaviest weight for about 2 months. Like a lot of people struggling to lose a significant amount of weight, I have a nice, long and complicated "sad story" to call my own. But, at this point, it doesn't really matter. So, I'll spare you the deets. I had lost weight in the past by tracking my food and exercise, so I knew it could be done and I knew it would take a long time. There were many factors that pushed me to start again,... Thu, 3 Nov 2011 17:47:50 EST The Black Clock of Time This isn't quite what I had in mind as my first blog post here, but then most things in life don't happen exactly as you plan them. In my head, my first blog post was going to be an announcement of some great milestone or achievement, or maybe a posting at a time when I would really need an extra push of support. However, I decided to post today because of a team challenge I'm participating in. The challenge is kind of in the style of Biggest Loser or Survivor with teams that whittle down as ... Wed, 2 Nov 2011 16:30:29 EST