RUSSELL1960's SparkPeople Blog RUSSELL1960's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Good Decision Good decisions do feel good. I decided I would limit myself to five chips at the business lunch I had to attend yesterday. I love the chips and salsa served at Mexican Restaurants and I could easily eat the whole basket but the CALORIES... over 340 for just ten chips (imagine what the count would be for the entire basket!!!). Five chips with salsa would be 170 calories. I decided I would allow myself that much. When I got there however my coffee arrived and I decided that I could perhaps... Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:25:36 EST I Have to Be There for Myself I have done well on my journey to healthier living. I've made a number of positive changes in my life which are paying off. I reached my goal weight after losing 50 pounds and for the most part kept it off for a year. But lately I've been slipping. I have not stayed consistently focused on my goals and one of the maddening consequences is that I have gained some weight back. I am still much lighter than I was when I started this journey. However, I had achieved my goal weight and I wan... Mon, 14 Jul 2014 11:26:51 EST A Baited Trap It occurred to me that temptation functions a bit like bait on a trap or fishing hook. A worm is dangled on a hook. A bit of cheese is placed on the mousetrap. If the bait weren't desirable the trap wouldn't work. I am amazed by my mind's ability to focus in sharply on the bait and put completely out of focus and out of mind the trap into which the bait is leading me. I am aware of the trap but I push thoughts of it aside. For example, one of my weaknesses is Mexican food and specifical... Sat, 7 Jun 2014 09:27:28 EST Rewinding and Moving Forward For today's visualization, think about the last time you got off track with your diet. What caused you to get derailed from your good intentions? Imagine rewinding the memory, but taking a different path where you make better choices. Think of this exercise the next time you're in danger of falling off the wagon. <BR> <BR> Cause - I'll just go back to yesterday. I was completing a task that was very stressful and which brought back a heavy dose of emotional pain and anger - i.e. preparatio... Thu, 22 May 2014 09:07:39 EST Consistently Inconsistent I'm frustrated with myself. I wanted to get back on track this week but I seem to be in one of those ruts in which I am consistently inconsistent. I have some daily spurts of good effort followed by faltering which sabotages the good for an overall inconsistent mixed bag conclusion to the day. The trouble is in the evening. Maybe I am still wishing I was in Spain where supper is served late. Our new friends there called us to the feasting table as late as ten, eleven, and once even at mi... Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:06:06 EST Coming Home! I want to use the metaphor of "coming home" as a guide for my return to my ideal weight. I am still adjusting to jet lag from a flight home from Spain. The trip was a tremendous gift of renewal and spiritual blessing. But when I pulled my last clean shirt out of my suitcase I realized I was ready to come home, and not just because I needed to do laundry. It was time to incorporate what I leaned from the journey to Spain and the Canary Islands into the commitments I have made in the place ... Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:26:43 EST Healthy Despite Disaster This is one holiday season we'll never forget. Disasters come in threes they say and we've had three. It could have been much worse. <BR> 1. Our daughter walked away from a car wreck on her way home from college sore but uninjured. The car was totaled. She was not the driver. I am thankful she is alive and well. <BR> 2. I broke a tooth chomping down on a popcorn kernel. The root of the tooth was not exposed. So a thousand dollars or so should fix it. I am thankful for new dental i... Thu, 2 Jan 2014 10:42:53 EST Mom's Home Cooking Oh dear, oh dear! My Mom is such a good cook and I've not done a good job this year at sampling the delicacies in a measured, portion controlled way. The family gatherings are now over (except for the New Year's pork and sauerkraut family tradition) but i'm still at Mom's house with all the left overs including cookies and cheesecake and meats and everything tempting. But enough is enough! I declare today an 1800 calorie day with exercise. It's time to shift into recovery mode. I've do... Mon, 30 Dec 2013 07:18:49 EST Perspective I've been feeling frustrated with myself. I've allowed a few pounds to creep back on and now I may not meet my goal of being at 165 before Christmas. Prompted by Spark Coach this morning I went back to see what I weighted last year going into Christmas. I remember how good I felt about myself last year as I was losing weight. But yikes, my weight was 202 last Christmas! I remember now that I was looking forward to getting into Onederland for the first time in decades and I did accomplish... Tue, 17 Dec 2013 08:53:39 EST How to Break Teeth My dentist said the number one tooth breaker is ice. Second, popcorn kernels. It was crunching down on the latter that broke my tooth. I've been very fortunate. I've never had a cavity, not once in my entire life. For 53 years I've had perfect teeth. But this week I chomped down hard on an unpopped popcorn kernel and broke a tooth. It was not just a chip off the old block either. It was more like an ax splitting wood. The tooth can probably be saved but at a hefty cost. That foolish... Thu, 12 Dec 2013 09:18:02 EST #SparkTheSeason I'm going to take up the December #SparkTheSeason challenge to keep my maintenance on track for the holidays (I've been quite a bit off track lately and my next weigh in will show it :( I'm not pleased with how I've handled the Thanksgiving holiday and days leading up to it. I'm not going to repeat this in December. So, starting today my December #SparkTheSeason challenge goals will be to: <BR> 1. Earn the 1000 Fitness Minutes Trophy <BR> 2. Earn the Consistency Trophy for Checking In Dai... Fri, 29 Nov 2013 13:08:23 EST Arrogant Joy Stealers Yesterday afternoon I let my mind get focused on some deep hurt from the past. There are broken relationships from that past experience and even though I continue to care about those people (and at the same time feel betrayed by them), they have been unwilling so far to work at reconciliation. In my stress and distress over this, I found myself mindlessly eating last evening. It is simply not productive to let my mind get caught in this emotional dead end. In her commentary on the New Tes... Wed, 13 Nov 2013 09:31:59 EST I'm Pretty Proud of Myself If I Must Say So Myself All right. Spark Guy gave the challenge today to give ourselves a pep talk. I actually have something to crow about. I went to an annual event last evening. I knew that the tradition was to have the table covered with all kinds of candy. This event used to be a sugar disaster for me of Lord only knows how many calories mindlessly consumed. So I planned ahead. I bought myself some sugar free gum to chew on. I almost never chew gum. But I thought, well if I'm tempted to eat candy I'll ... Fri, 8 Nov 2013 09:20:59 EST A Month of Stability Today starts a new month. I realized looking back that October has been a good month in terms of stability and consistency. Perhaps it has been my best since starting this journey in earnest 13 months ago. I've been in maintenance mode since March 31, 2013. Since then I've lost ten more pounds making a total of 60 lost altogether. I've gone from 223 to 163 and stayed there for the most part and it feels great. It was well worth all the effort. During most of my maintenance period, the... Fri, 1 Nov 2013 09:18:07 EST This Does Get Easier It just dawned on me that its not so hard anymore to make healthy choices. When I first started on this fitness journey it was torture. Each choice was a struggle. I felt deprived. I craved the high fat, high carb, high salt, high sugar, and highly processed foods I was giving up. I couldn't imagine feeling satisfied on 1800 to 2000 calories per day. Exercise was torture. I was so out of shape. I got winded just thinking about working out and it was a struggle to get my body to move.... Wed, 23 Oct 2013 08:07:26 EST My October Garden I have really enjoyed our garden this year. This past week I've eaten a vegetarian diet almost exclusively of food harvested from the garden. Well, now that I stop to think about it, I did have one meal with salmon at a restaurant. Anyway, I have been eating beets, squash, okra, eggplant, peppers, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, and a few raspberries in various combinations. Last evening I made rhubarb apple popsicles (a Spark Recipe) to snack on (the rhubarb but not the appl... Tue, 8 Oct 2013 07:26:43 EST Six Months of Sailing Through Bumpy Maintenance Well, today is the day! Six months have passed since Easter Sunday, March 31 on which I arrived at my weight goal of 173, having lost 50 pounds. The graph of my weigh-ins show that it has not been smooth sailing since then but rather a bit of a bumpy ride. One "wave" in particular shot me back up above 173 for a few days. Yikes! In fear of regaining and determined to beat the odds, i.e. the statistics which show that most people regain most or all of the weight after dieting, I set a str... Mon, 30 Sep 2013 11:19:13 EST A Maintenance Anniversary Goal In a week I'll be celebrating six months of imperfect but successful maintenance. My weight has fluctuated up and down more than I would have liked during these past six months but has mostly been below my March 31 weight of 173. After achieving that goal of losing 50 pounds, I decided to get my weight below 170 and set a stricter target weight of 166 which I achieved, even dropping to 164 at one point. I switched to gardening as my summer exercise and while that has been great fun, I thin... Thu, 26 Sep 2013 07:37:05 EST Confession - a Crescendo of Eating I prepared for the conference by banking calories. I got my weight down to my perfect ideal weight - 166. I decided that I would only join the conference for the lunch buffet. For breakfast and supper, I packed oatmeal and low calorie garden foods to prepare in our room. I did indulge in the desserts at the buffet but made good choices in the buffet line. Occasionally, I did more snacking in the evening than I really wanted to. I did some modest exercise in my room and joined the conf... Mon, 9 Sep 2013 10:26:23 EST Garden Day Today was my day off from work and I couldn't wait to get into the garden. Gardens are a lot of work but I need the exercise, I enjoy it, and the food is quite the treat. Today we harvested and canned 21 quarts of tomatoes. Nine of those quarts (and four additional pints) were spaghetti sauce made from tomatoes and other veggies from the garden (including some of my jalapeno and poblano peppers - we like the sauce to have a little heat). I also tried a new recipe and made pickled radish... Mon, 26 Aug 2013 23:20:53 EST Naked Corn on the Cob I love this time of the year when the garden is producing all kinds of fresh vegetables. Our silver queen corn is an especially wonderful treat. However, with added butter and salt the calories start to mount up. It doesn't help one bit to join our Mexican friends by eating it slathered with mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese. So what can one do? Most spark people (on the nutrition tracker) seem to feel that an average size serving of corn on the cob has 80 calories but with butter that tot... Sat, 17 Aug 2013 09:32:54 EST Energy Imbalance I was in the doctor's office yesterday for a six month check up. A medical magazine had an editorial on the challenges of losing weight. The doctor writing the article described the problem of obesity as an "energy imbalance." I like those descriptive words because they point to the solution. The root of the problem for many people is that in our society too much food (energy) is readily available to us throughout the day while at the same time our work/lifestyle doesn't readily provide u... Wed, 7 Aug 2013 08:43:19 EST Time to Re-focus July has been a tough month. I was away for a week at a conference, then had a short week home with activities involving eating out. After that I was a counselor at a church camp for a week and the food prepared for us was often fried, high fat, high carb items. I returned home to a house full of family visitors and again there was lots of food around and meals ate out. The bottom line is that my routines have been interrupted and I have gained weight. I weighed 177 this morning - eleven... Thu, 25 Jul 2013 09:10:10 EST 150 and 1500 This morning I just did not want to do any exercise. I've been feeling discouraged because of some troubling challenges I'm facing which don't have any easy solutions. This has had quite a negative impact on my outlook and motivation. So I'm thankful for little, silly goals. I set this goal to complete a streak of 150 days of daily exercise (at least 10 minutes a day) and to do 1500 push ups by the time I reach the 150 day streak, 150 and 1500. Today is the 128th day, without exception,... Sat, 8 Jun 2013 10:02:39 EST Three Accomplishments (well four) The Spark Coach Challenge for today is to write down three accomplishments as a way of staying focused on the positive. <BR> 1. I have maintained my new weight now for two months. In fact, my goal was to lose 50 pounds and weigh 173. I achieved this goal on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. Since then my weight has dropped below 170 and that's where I plan to keep it (between 165 and 167). <BR> 2. I met my goal of exercising for at least ten minutes every day for 100 days. I decided to... Sat, 1 Jun 2013 09:36:21 EST Fine Tuning the Plan Something seems wrong with this picture. Increase the calories and lose more weight (not that I'm complaining mind you). I attribute some of my weight loss this week (three pounds worth) to the flu. I got hit with the 24 hour variety which left me uninterested in eating for two days. I forced myself to drink liquids and eat some soft foods which didn't look nauseating and turn my stomach. This was also a high activity week (prior to the onslaught of the energy sapping flu). I worked har... Mon, 13 May 2013 07:43:28 EST What I've Lost Today's challenge from Spark Coach was to find a visual image for the weight I've lost. So here it is... count 11 of these sugar bags (11x5 = 55) and you've got an idea of how much weight I've lost. Woo Hoo !!! <BR> <img src=""> Sat, 11 May 2013 15:49:34 EST Gardening without Chain and Ball As I was working in the garden yesterday, it occurred to me how much harder this work would have been if I still had been carrying with me those 55 pounds I've lost. There is a 50 lb kettle ball that I use at the gym for several of my exercises. I like to do this to remind me of what I used to carry with me all the time in fat. Imagine having that chained to me as I worked in the garden. That would have been miserable! I'm not sure I could have done seven hours of intense physical work a... Tue, 7 May 2013 09:22:55 EST Facing a Big Bad Riding Lawn Mower My neighbor and I both took on the task of mowing our lawns last evening. We each circled around and around our yards. Our orbits brought us into frequent face to face encounters near the fence before we each turned and went our separate ways. It was not a meeting of equals. My little push mower was no match for his big riding machine. He was in luxury with a daughter perched on his lap. I was sweating. His speed and wide swaths of cut grass left me humbly behind like a turtle making ... Tue, 30 Apr 2013 09:26:21 EST The New Experiment Continues! Well, this "maintenance thing" is definitely an interesting new stage in my healthy living journey. I'm slowly increasing my calorie intake and yet I'm still losing weight. I went from 1800 to 2000. Then two weeks later from 2000 to 2100. Now about two weeks after that, my BMI has dropped to 23.5 - nice! and my weight has dropped to 168 (a total loss of 55 pounds). Woo Hoo! So, I like 168. I like the sound of it. I like seeing that number on the scale. I like how I look and feel. ... Fri, 19 Apr 2013 07:15:42 EST Maintenance - Not What I Expected I'm not sure what I expected. I guess I expected it to be more cut and dry. I'm learning that this part of the journey will take just as much time and energy to figure out as weight loss did. A very helpful post by MOBYCARP showed me that it could take weeks, even months, to discover what balance of exercise and calorie range will keep my weight stable. I may continue to lose weight until that discovery is made which is perfectly ok with me. I have in fact lost three more pounds since st... Sat, 13 Apr 2013 11:02:55 EST New Clothes New Commitment Wow! I had great success shopping last evening! It's good I did because I was getting desperate. My old clothes were hanging on me like bags and I was literally running out of things that I could wear without looking ridiculous. The shopping was great fun for several reasons. First, for once the clearance racks had my name written on them: a pair of pants for $5.75, new shorts for workouts at the gym $7.50, T-shirts for $4.00, nice sweaters for $6.00, dress pants for $15.00 and dress shi... Mon, 8 Apr 2013 06:19:03 EST Should I Change My Profile Motto? I really like the motto, "I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday." I joined Spark People on April 18, 2012 but really didn't dig in and get serious about this until October 15, 2012. It was then that I started in earnest, inspired by a friend who shared with me that using the food tracker is what helped her lose weight and then maintain it. I decided I could do that and returned to Spark People determined to make this happen. Now five and a half months later, I've mad... Sun, 31 Mar 2013 16:42:16 EST Thinking Long Term The spark coach challenge today is to think longer term. What are my one, five, and ten year goals? Obviously, I want to beat the odds and keep the weight off. I am thankful for this spark coach reminder to keep thinking ahead. Therefore: <BR> 1. Short term, I need to figure out what balance of exercise and calorie intake will keep my weight stable. I plan to do this by gradually increasing my calorie intake in small increments each week until my weight stabilizes. <BR> 2. I really e... Mon, 25 Mar 2013 10:12:22 EST Now for the Real Challenge This is a day of celebration and caution. This morning I weighed in at 174 (173.8 to be precise). My goal was to get to 175. This puts me well within the healthy range for my height. I have lost 49 pounds from my starting point at 223. My waist is nine inches thinner! Last evening I discovered that I can now wear the suit I wore when my wife and I got married 24 years ago! That was fun! I will lose one more pound just for fun to make my total weight loss an even 50. But there is no n... Sat, 23 Mar 2013 10:21:46 EST A Spark People Evangelist I've become a bit of a Spark People evangelist. It's not possible to be private about losing 46 pounds! There is no way to hide the fact that I'm much thinner now - not that I really want to. But there is a twinge of slightly embarrassed self-consciousness about all the attention my new look generates at times. Still, I'm also excited about what I've accomplished. I do look dramatically different, even my face is thinner! People notice and wonder and ask questions. So I find myself sh... Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:47:58 EST I'm not going to blow away! It is interesting (sometimes annoying) to hear the reaction of people who are noting the difference in how I look now that I've lost 45 pounds. A common comment is "you're going to blow away" as if I've become a dandelion seed that is in some kind of danger of being at the mercy of the wind. I guess people mean well when they say, "I certainly hope you are not going to lose any more weight." Well, as a matter of fact I have not reached my target weight yet and so I do intend to lose three ... Wed, 13 Mar 2013 09:10:45 EST It's still hard sometimes I've come a long way and I've learned a lot. Still, there are hard moments like last evening. The day started off well but we received a surprise invitation to a Guatemalan friend's house for lunch after we had already eaten lunch. They had prepared tacos for us and I felt obligated to receive the gift they had prepared so generously and so I ate (and the tacos were delicious). When I got home I realized I had eaten 900 calories of extra unplanned food. In order to stay within my calorie... Fri, 8 Mar 2013 13:36:06 EST My Latest Greatest Little Mini-Goal Each little mini-goal in my weight loss journey has been motivating. I've had a whole series of them because for me even having a modest goal like losing five pounds seemed too overwhelming and too far out into the future to give me much motivation. But a pound or two feels realistic and possible. So I've set these little goals in front of me and imagined how great getting them accomplished would be. A mini-goal might get me to where I win a little virtual trophy or might drop me below a ... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 10:22:53 EST Purposeful Snacking Part of my success with Spark People has been learning to enjoy and look forward to creative, healthy snacks. This is in striking contrast to my previous old habits of uncontrolled binge snacking where I literally ate everying in sight to the point of painful discomfort followed by a miserable night of sleep. Good grief, that sounds awful doesn't it? But I really did that almost every evening. My goodness, I'm so glad those days are behind me. Now I plan my daily eating and confirm with ... Sat, 2 Mar 2013 10:56:14 EST Leg Cramps I've got a new routine going that is annoying. Every night for the past week I have consistently awoken between 4:00 or 4:30 AM with cramps in the calves of my leg, usually my right leg. I get up walk it off and go back to sleep. Strange. This morning it was different. The cramps came at 6:30 when it was time to get up anyway. I just had blood work done and my potassium levels were fine. Dehydrated? I've been drinking eight cups of water a day consistently. I can't figure this one ou... Mon, 25 Feb 2013 07:02:41 EST I Don't Get My Body - But I'm Not Complaining I think my body likes to play tricks on me! For ten days there was no change. I did absolutely everything right - exercise and diet - nothing. The scale didn't budge. So I get myself psyched for the long haul. I realize that my metabolism has probably slowed down and that the rest of my weight loss (ten more pounds) is going to take a long time. Then boom in two days the scale suddenly drops by a little more than two pounds. I don't get it but I'm not complaining. I guess its just a ... Thu, 21 Feb 2013 09:27:56 EST The Final Ten: Helpful Advice from SP I'm glad I asked Spark Coach if its normal for weight loss to slow down as you approach your target weight. The answer is yes, "it's normal (and even necessary)." I've noticed the change. Up until recently I have been steadily losing about two pounds a week. I thought incorrectly that this would continue until I reached my target weight. However, last week in spite of careful adherence to diet and exercise I lost perhaps a half pound. It was nice to hear from Spark Coach that this is n... Tue, 19 Feb 2013 22:53:26 EST Folks, the Hard Work Pays Off This is just remarkable. I got test results this morning from my medical check up. All I can say is that four months of working really hard at the Spark People program has paid off big time. My total cholesterol is now 121. For me that seems miraculous! My "bad" LDL cholesterol - 56. Wonderful! You have to understand that I've been taking medication, simvastatin, because in the past my cholesterol level was well into the 200s - borderline high. What a difference four months of consis... Mon, 11 Feb 2013 11:32:30 EST I Caught the Dirty Rat! I caught the dirty rat that was sabotaging my weight-in - it was what our family sometimes calls "deadly, killer salt." I was water-logged. No wonder the scale groaned when I got on it and refused to move. I thought it was strange that I wasn't losing weight this week. If ever I deserved a "scale reward" for hard effort it was this week. I did everything right. I even turned down pizza and cookies at a post-basketball game event! I was careful to stay at the bottom or below my calorie ... Sat, 9 Feb 2013 08:45:34 EST Six Days Steady Six days ago my weight dropped to 188 for a total weight loss of 35 pounds. Since then I've held steady at 188. I admit that I am constantly impatient (driven) to reach my goals and that I am grieving, a bit, the fun of those weeks when I would lose two pounds a week. I wish I could report a weigh-in of 186 this morning (or at least 187). But here I am at 188. So instead of letting myself get discouraged its time to keep everything in perspective. First of all, my original goal was to g... Fri, 8 Feb 2013 10:21:36 EST Evening Snacks - Good News! I met this guy at the gym yesterday who is on a crazy diet - he's trying to lose weight and build muscle at the same time. So he has decided to eat five eggs for breakfast and then two to three pounds of chicken later in the day. That's it, nothing else (no veggies, no fruit, no whole grains - just eggs and chicken). In my opinion, that's absolutely nuts! But he did say one thing that I've wondered about (although he takes this to an extreme as well). He is careful not to eat anything at... Mon, 28 Jan 2013 10:46:57 EST A Good Feeling Accomplishment This morning I stepped on the scale and guess what? I lost another pound and more significantly this puts me at the weight I had hoped to achieve when I first joined Spark People. That's just amazing. My goal at that time was to lose 29 pounds and to weigh 194. I started at 223 and now I'm at 194. So I did it. Here I am. It's a nice place to be. I feel better. I have more energy. I have become more focused in other areas of my life as well. I look better. I've learned a lot. My ... Tue, 22 Jan 2013 13:47:50 EST I Love Little Mini-Goals I feel encouraged and motivated today. I lost a stubborn pound earlier this week. I had been stuck for awhile at 197 and I wanted to move on. I have things to do places to go! Goals to meet. This was no time to be stuck. So with the plateau busting program I've been conscientiously measuring everything I eat (using that dandy food scale I got for Christmas) and eating just under the lower end of my recommended food calorie range and exercising! The stubborn pound gave up the ghost. An... Fri, 18 Jan 2013 13:17:10 EST Starting the Plateau Busting Program I completed the 90 day Spark Coach program today. Its been good. I've learned a lot and I've lost 26 pounds during this three month stretch and I feel really good about that. However, this past week has been frustrating. The scale doesn't seem to want to budge and I have stayed at the same weight all week. Eating two cups of ice cream yesterday at our church youth gathering didn't help - what was I thinking? I realize I've been quite fortunate to have been steadily losing one to two pou... Mon, 14 Jan 2013 09:24:05 EST