RUSSELL1960's SparkPeople Blog RUSSELL1960's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Birthday Goal It has been difficult to get back on track for a number of reasons - mostly stress. But I am taking steps to get back on track. I have sixteen pounds I want to get back off and plan to do it during the next eight weeks. Its a realistic goal. The key will be consistent tracking which I've "sort of" been doing in my head but that "method" is not working. I need to see the hard numbers on the tracker to help me be more aware of what I'm doing especially at the end of the day. So the goal h... Mon, 6 Feb 2017 19:04:51 EST 35 days to go Its interesting that I haven't been using the food tracker. In the past this was key to my learning and self-monitoring. My travel and work schedules haven't allowed me time to keep focused on the tracker. Instead, I've kept myself fiercely focused on my goal and on making consistent good choices. I'm using what I learned from past use of the food tracker which means I'm mentally calculating calories through the day. By doing this I was able to travel for a week of vacation and maintain ... Fri, 27 May 2016 11:37:40 EST Countdown - 88 Days to Go I'm dealing with a literal pain in the neck limiting exercise options. As expected this past weekend including a wedding and social events got my 90 challenge off to a slow start. But I gave myself the challenge and focus. Today, without excuses, I can act on the focus I've established. Today is an opportunity to make progress and I will. Mon, 4 Apr 2016 09:27:06 EST My 90 Day Challenge Countdown - 90 <BR> I'm giving myself a 90 day challenge to get back to my goal weight. I've been floundering for a variety of reasons. Currently, neck and back pain and a stressful work schedule are hampering my progress. Today I will be at a wedding reception and tomorrow eating out plans with friends will make it a hard time to get started on this challenge. But there is never an ideal time to start. My goal is to evaluate each day how I'm doing and what I'm learning as I seek to purs... Sat, 2 Apr 2016 09:38:47 EST The Scherenschnitte Diet I realized that I needed something to keep my hands occupied when relaxing in front of a netflix show. I was doing great during the day with exercise and diet but in the evening when I sat down to eat with a large bowl of popcorn to watch a show I would start eating... and eating. By the end of the show I had blown my diet for the day. I noticed, however, that when I had some task to do with my hands while watching, eating was replaced with something more productive. So I started looking ... Sat, 12 Mar 2016 08:19:49 EST The 16 Pound Yo-Yo Must Go My end of the year self-assessment shows progress and a problem. I began making progress toward lasting weight loss when I joined Spark People on October 15, 2012. Spark People coaching and friends helped me gradually adopt new daily habits based on inspiration, awareness, and insights. Regular exercise and nutrition tracking have served me well helping me keep my weight for the most part under 190 since then. That's a tremendous improvement for which I'm very thankful. I have also enjoye... Mon, 28 Dec 2015 11:03:32 EST A Good Change I decided to get up early and start my day at the gym. Good choice. For several weeks now, I've packed my bag the night before, ate breakfast, selected some good reading material for the half hour on the elliptical machine, and then taken off running! I've lost weight. This week I lost four pounds. I'm back in the 170s, three pounds from my goal weight. One very good change in addition to tracking my food put me on a fast track toward meeting my goals. My clothes fit me comfortably aga... Sat, 29 Aug 2015 07:39:10 EST Struggling for Perspective I gained five pounds during the past two weeks of travel to a conference and then on to a family reunion. I was more careful on this trip than ever often making excellent choices. At the conference hotel I took advantage of the fitness room. I often made careful menu choices. But I also had moments of indulging in designer desserts at the hotel and then at the reunion generous servings of homemade ice cream and pies. I am frustrated that my body functions like a sponge soaking up additio... Thu, 23 Jul 2015 08:34:56 EST Unexpected Invitation After starting the day out well, and after eating supper, we were invited over to a friend's house for tamales. It was a thank you gift. I ate humbled by the lavish gratitude expressed for just being a friend. I forget what it must be like for our Hispanic friends to live as strangers in this all too often unwelcoming culture of ours. My friends said to me in Spanish that there aren't many people like you who are willing to simply be a good friend. I feel like I gain far more from our fr... Wed, 22 Jul 2015 09:14:46 EST Green Leaf "Tortillas" I love Mexican food but how can it be worked into one's diet? Just one medium tortilla alone can pack 130 calories. Add to that all the cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and fatty meats and a meal can become a unhealthy disaster. However, I'm discovering ways to enjoy the exquisite flavors of Mexico in healthier combinations. One delightful substitute has been to use a large blanched collard green instead of a wheat tortilla to wrap the ingredients. One collard green leaf only has about se... Mon, 6 Jul 2015 09:57:57 EST A Day Off From Sparking After a good week of sparking, I took a day off. I was exhausted from an intense week of work. I had several eating out plans that put me out of my routine. I set aside my diet at all these events. I then came home and snacked, then snacked some more, while relaxing with a Netflix movie. The result: I didn't sleep as well as I usually do. I was too full. So I'm still tired and this morning the scale shows a six pound gain. Some of that has to be salt related water retention. I can't ... Mon, 15 Jun 2015 09:29:45 EST Stopped in My Tracks2 It's working. I've gotten back to careful tracking of every bite. It's helping me stop in my tracks before overeating. A moment to celebrate took place last evening at a meeting. Someone brought bags of peanuts and trail mix to share. Several times they were passed around the table and I passed them on without taking any. I knew I where I was in my daily calorie count and I didn't have room in my "budget" for these high calorie snacks. It felt good to know what I was doing and making t... Thu, 11 Jun 2015 09:09:26 EST Stopped in My Tracks After a long trial it has become clear. I need to track every calorie. There is no getting around it. Its the only way to be "stopped in my tracks" before overeating. I've been trying to convince myself that I can more or less keep track of what I'm eating in my head. Some people can probably do that. But I need the food tracker to serve as a flashing stop sign at the end of the road. I need to see the cold hard fact that I've eaten my limit. When I don't track I don't stop when I ... Fri, 5 Jun 2015 09:47:17 EST Internal Obstacles I'm currently teaching a faith and finances class. The lesson last evening focused on identifying external and internal obstacles to meeting financial goals. External obstacles are factors over which we have no or less control, or which were not directly caused by us. It could be an unexpected emergency or action of another person which impacts our situation. Internal obstacles have to do with attitudes, beliefs, limitations, emotional responses etc. within us which derail us from our goo... Wed, 20 May 2015 09:09:25 EST Breakthrough Day #3 This is a learning moment. Yesterday was every bit as intense as I expected. On top of everything I was asked to attend a dinner meeting at a Mexican Restaurant. Feeling exhausted and stressed I didn't make the best choices then came home and ate more. My brain seems hard-wired for eating as a release-valve for pressure. I need to find an effective alternative and make plans for implementing it. Thoughts of music, reading a novel, back rubs come to mind. I will have a plan by this even... Thu, 16 Apr 2015 09:06:17 EST Breakthrough Day #2 Thanks JAROL7 for referring me to the 5% Club - I'm competitive enough to be motivated that by small percentage who rise above the 95% majority and achieve consistent long-term maintenance. I will not be beat by that group. I want to be in that A+ group for all my effort. My two best high school friends and I worked ourselves to death competing with each other for the highest grades and to beat each other in card games. Dare me by saying you'll beat me and you've got me hooked. DJ9ERS, y... Wed, 15 Apr 2015 08:54:31 EST Breakthrough Day #1 After achieving my weight loss goal, I've not yet mastered the art of maintenance to my satisfaction. My faltering maintenance efforts over the past year have kept my weight at least 30 pounds below where it was when I started. That's the good news. However, I would define outstanding maintenance success as keeping my weight at least an additional 15 pounds lower and ideally 20. In other words, thank heavens I'm now at 193 instead of 223 but I want to be at 173. The move I want to make... Tue, 14 Apr 2015 09:11:44 EST The Motivated NOT feeling particularly motivated I open my spark page and find that I have been nominated motivator of the week. I found many kind words on my spark page and I read them feeling perplexed and undeserving of this. Then I noticed the impact of these unexpected affirmations taking root within me. The result is that I can't help but now designate myself "The Motivated." A change of spirit has taken place within me because of your encouragement. This is Spark People at its best, a community ... Mon, 2 Mar 2015 11:13:34 EST Lenten Disciplines - Day Three I'm slogging through the challenge of getting new routines and disciplines in place. I got up early this morning for the third time in a row to get my gym workout in. Yeah!!! This change is slowly impacting other parts of my day. I am finding myself getting to bed earlier in the evening (but not yet early enough). I'm getting other goals accomplished. I'm not satisfied with my evening routines yet but I'll keep working on that. I like getting my day off to a good start like this. Fri, 20 Feb 2015 09:20:06 EST A New Routine for Lent Today is Ash Wednesday the first of the forty days of Lent. This is a season for spiritual reflection and intentional effort to develop new healthy disciplines. I've decided to set my alarm earlier to get my gym workout in before going to work. I've seen that afternoon workouts too often get interrupted by urgent tasks. In addition, it is an inefficient use of time to shower in the morning for work and then shower again after a sweaty workout. By working out in the morning I can save wat... Wed, 18 Feb 2015 08:53:25 EST Kick me off the team? Technically, I should be kicked off the At Goal and Maintaining team. You see I am not at goal which forces me to face the truth that I have not been maintaining. I've been gaining and in this game gaining is losing. Not that all is lost, of course. The skills learned which got me to goal continue to provide benefits. I am more active than I was in my pre-spark days. My diet is healthier and more disciplined. I still have one pre-spark pair of pants which are ridiculously loose. This... Thu, 5 Feb 2015 23:37:01 EST Time to Shake Up My Routines I'm in an evening rut that is undermining my consistency and progress toward my goals. When I come home tired from work, I want to relax. I've been sitting down to watch a show on netflix. While I sit, I eat. I did it again last night. So I've decided to go on a fast from netflix. I will look for other more productive ways to spend my down time. I will look for options that allow me to stay focused on my goals. I'll let you know how it goes. Wed, 4 Feb 2015 08:51:40 EST How to Love your Scale It's almost funny to notice how eager I am to weigh in first thing in the morning if, that is, I've made really good food and exercise choices the day before. What the scale actually says is somewhat irrelevant because I know I'm on track. I know scales have their flukes (drat the salt anyway). I ignore such fluctuations feeling a smile of satisfaction and accomplishment across my face. I know I met my healthy living goal for the day. Well done I say! Scale, you will have to admit it soo... Tue, 13 Jan 2015 23:08:26 EST Making Sure Exceptions are Truly Exceptional Any one choice is not all that significant in and of itself. So I'll go ahead and eat what I want this evening. It's appropriate to occasionally allow an exception to the rule. So at the church pot luck, I go ahead and enjoy that dessert. It is a special occasion after all. Spying the leftover Christmas fudge on the counter, I decide to just go ahead and finish it off. That way it won't be there to tempt me tomorrow! That was thoughtful of me wasn't it. A most noble purpose for an exce... Mon, 12 Jan 2015 09:55:30 EST 250 Minutes A Spark Coach message shocked me back into action. I've been exercising but not with the level of determination I've had in the past. The message said research shows that 250 minutes of exercise a week is needed to generate weight loss results. I did the math. Five fifty minute workouts or six forties. Alright, yes, I used to do that. But I've slacked off. I want to get back into peak condition so it's time to ramp it up. I'm re-starting my days with a ten minute spark people video an... Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:18:45 EST Life Giving Energy Spark Coach asks, "what is the underlying motivation for weight loss and healthy lifestyle choices." I'm not sure if I can put my finger on why there is such strong emotional energy around this within me. Free association words come to mind. I want to feel fully alive. I want to be as healthy as possible. I want to feel in control of my life. I want to have a healthy balance in life of sharing with others and taking care of myself. I want to enjoy the sense of self-confidence of knowin... Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:33:22 EST Giving up Voyager I like Star Trek. I like it too much. Each evening I have been watching Voyager and snacking mindlessly while watching. This consistently sabotages my diet. It consistently gets me to bed too late with the result that I don't want to get up the next morning and run to the gym. This is not the kind of consistency I want to achieve! So I'm going to take a one week fast from it. I'm going to break the habit that is keeping me from my goals. So on to the consistency I want to achieve!!! Sat, 27 Sep 2014 07:59:03 EST 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