SERENE-BEAN's SparkPeople Blog SERENE-BEAN's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community What I learned from BLC 25. More than a month since my last blog post. I was on a SP challenge that crashed and burned for me, and I lost interest in participating at all here, which is bad for me, so I'm going to talk about it a little here. <BR> <BR> I want to make sure everyone knows I'm NOT criticizing anyone who likes the challenges. Just deciding they're not for me right now. <BR> <BR> I have done 3 SP gigantic team challenges to date: 2 BLC challenges, and a 5% challenge. I think I need to stop doing them. Each... Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:10:02 EST Look out, she's on the loose! Since I started taking these day trips to San Diego, I believe I've gotten onto some kind of TSA list. Usually, my mom wants to send me home with lots of stuff, so I go to San Diego emptyhanded, then come back with a suitcase. I expect that flags me (along with the one-day trip) as some kind of drug mule or something. The last two times I did the day trip, I ended up with TSA flags (yellow or red strips of paper, if I remember right) on my luggage. This time, when I went to print out my board... Fri, 20 Jun 2014 12:22:10 EST Doing great so far I'm happy with my reset. New goals, same five teams (I won't give up my teams; they sustain me!), new commitment to moving and eating well, and a shiny new hot-pink water bottle to keep at my desk. Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:41:15 EST Hard reset Sometimes, I just need to start from scratch and toss old baggage. As soon as I figure out how to do it, I'm resetting all my SP goals and numbers and starting from scratch today. I'm not doing this to punish myself or to negate all the great self-love and hard work I've engaged in since October; I'm just doing it to shake myself up and give myself a boost. <BR> <BR> Have you ever done this? Did it help? Did it hurt? <BR> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 11:18:37 EST Sunday recommitment I was reading my friend April's blog today ( <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5708005 </link> ) and she was saying she recommits to her goals every Sunday. This is a GREAT idea for me, because I find that if I keep my focus on my Sparking, things go better. So here goes. I am just putting my goal commitment out here for the world to see, but mainly for me to keep in mind: <BR> <BR> 1) Log on to SparkPeople every single day <BR> 2) Log every bite and... Sun, 1 Jun 2014 14:39:26 EST Plans Got my week's menus planned. Also decided to start planning my exercise. My life goes better when I have a plan. Sun, 1 Jun 2014 04:50:18 EST New streaks beginning As part of my reboot, I'm going to start two new streaks: <BR> <BR> 1) Stay 100% within my nutritional goals -- I'll go right now and make sure those are what I want them to be. <BR> <BR> 2) Do 60+ minutes of exercise, at least 6 days a week. <BR> <BR> I find that making these kinds of goals a little difficult can help to motivate me, especially if I stick to my #1 rule, which is never to be mean to myself. <BR> <BR> Do you have any new goals? Thu, 29 May 2014 02:03:08 EST Honor Today is the day we honor those who gave their lives for their country in war. I do honor the sacrifice that people are willing to make to protect their country and the people they love. Some of the best people I know, including my dear friend Kevin and my own father, are ex-military and deserving of my honor. <BR> <BR> However. <BR> <BR> On this day, I also want to affirm that it is dishonorable in the extreme to send people to die to "protect" the country from nonexistent WMDs, vaguely sc... Mon, 26 May 2014 13:16:38 EST Yay! 30-day streak! <BR> You have logged in 30 days in a row. <BR> 226/229 days = 99% <BR> since: 10/6/2013 Thu, 22 May 2014 20:22:19 EST Finish What You Started One of the motivational bits on my Start page says "finish what you started," and that is really speaking to me today. For me, starting something new is easy--it's sticking with it, following through, finishing the job that's hard. <BR> <BR> But I can do it. If I could spend my first six months back on SP totally in the zone, tracking everything and moving my body, I can do it now, too. It's no different. <BR> <BR> I need to finish what I started. Thu, 22 May 2014 12:02:27 EST Posting for EVER-HOPEFUL <link><BR>e-detail.asp?recipe=1889185 </link> These are some of my favorite buns to make, and I made them so that each bun is about an ounce, so it's easy to track. Mon, 19 May 2014 16:45:29 EST Lots of cooking this weekend Some really good experiences in cooking this weekend. <BR> <BR> 1) Excellent eggless avocado aioli from Vegetarian Times: <link><BR>e/spring-salad-dressed-with-avocado-ai<BR>oli/ </link> <BR> <BR> 2) Also excellent was this sauce over noodles: <link><BR>cha-soy-sauce-over-egg-noodles/ </link> <BR> <BR> 3) Apple-pecan tart today for Sunday breakfast: <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 19 May 2014 01:40:20 EST What not giving up looks like. Helps to remind myself how a good day goes: <BR> <BR> When I'm hungry, I find something with fruit/veggies in it. <BR> <BR> When I'm thirsty, I reach for water. <BR> <BR> I move my body in healthy, happy ways. <BR> <BR> I refuse to be mean to myself. Ever! Sun, 18 May 2014 20:27:22 EST My mantra If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up. <BR> <BR> If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up. <BR> <BR> If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up. <BR> <BR> Yeah, that's my mantra. Gotta keep it in mind. <BR> Sun, 18 May 2014 00:40:42 EST Don't watch Biggest Loser! There are many, many reasons I don't watch The Biggest Loser on TV. One is that I don't like being told I'm disgusting because I'm fat, which is what the show does. Here are some more great reasons, from someone who knows: <link><BR>ils-they-cut-from-my-season-the-bigges<BR>t-loser.html </link> Thu, 15 May 2014 15:44:34 EST Emergency back-up plan In my challenge team, we have to blog about our emergency plan for rough days. I have found out recently that the worst thing I can do is decide to deal with it later, so here's what I wrote: <BR> <BR> My emergency plan is just this: Don't wait to get back on track. Just do it now. Every single bite is a chance to do something healthier for myself. I don't have to wait for the next meal or the next day or the next week. NOW is the time. <BR> <BR> <em>521</em> Sun, 11 May 2014 16:33:38 EST Whew! Friday, there were two big functions at work. By the end of the day, I was totally wiped, but I got my energy back in time for our yard sale yesterday. <BR> <BR> The yard sale itself involved moving a ton of boxes, and I carefully made each move by doing a squat in good form, so I did a LOT of squats yesterday, and my thighs are sure feeling it! <BR> <BR> Today, my kid is coming over (I don't feel like fighting the crowds at mother's day brunch time) and I'll make her favorite meal (pork c... Sun, 11 May 2014 12:28:45 EST No. Wait. You know, never mind. This day is NOT over. I am going to go hop on the bike. I don't have to wait until tomorrow to make better choices. Next thing on my feed should be "Serene tracked walk workout (60+ minutes)." (It thinks my biking is walking at first, but then I reclassify it.) <BR> <BR> I get to choose how my day ends. I choose activity, not apathy. <BR> <BR> Good night, Sparklets! (Again.) Sun, 4 May 2014 01:29:32 EST BLC 25 goals I have a very modest goal for this BLC, but it feels urgent to me: participate. <BR> <BR> I am letting myself talk myself out of exercise, of good nutrition, of doing much of anything. I know the job hunt is making things hard emotionally, but poor nutrition and sitting in the comfy chair all day are not going to make it better. <BR> <BR> Today was rough. Tomorrow is another day. I will participate in 100% of my weekend challenges tomorrow. Participation, not perfection. Right? <BR> <BR> G... Sun, 4 May 2014 01:14:45 EST Brief notes Just a few quick things: <BR> <BR> 1) got a perfect score on yesterday's strength-training challenge, yay! (I hate supermans and bicycle crunches) <BR> <BR> 2) new fruit for me: charentais melon, yum <link> </link> <BR> <BR> 3) I am behind on my fitness minute goal for the week, but 68 a day for the rest of the week will catch me up <BR> <BR> 4) work stress is lessening a bit. Super-yay! Fri, 2 May 2014 22:17:52 EST Fitness testing A while back, I did some fitness testing as part of a class at work. Today, I needed to do some similar testing as part of the beginning of BLC25 today. I like tests because they can show clear progress. <BR> <BR> There are 4 tests involved today. The first 3 I did at home; the 4th (a timed one-mile walk/run) will have to be on the track at work. I'm going to go at lunch and do that one if it's not a thousand degrees out. <BR> <BR> 1) One-minute pushup test: 6 regular, 23 modified (when I ... Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:14:57 EST New challenge coming up! I'm getting kind of excited about Wednesday's BLC challenge start. I'm on a new team this time, and this one does things differently. I like the new way of doing things (not that I disliked the old way), so I'm feeling energized by it. <BR> <BR> Just remind me if I forget: only one challenge! No new challenges! Just one! <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 02:38:11 EST Moving I don't always love how exercise feels. However, sometimes, I find my groove and actually like it. Now that I have this great stationary bike, it's even better--exercise doesn't hurt, and I actually kind of like it. <BR> <BR> Weird. Tue, 29 Apr 2014 02:22:17 EST Gaining momentum I'm not taking it for granted, but the days keep getting better, and Sparking keeps getting easier. I think cutting back on all the extra stuff and just going back to weighing, measuring, and tracking was a really good idea for me. BLC25 starts in a few days; by then I hope to be on solid enough footing to handle one challenge, but if not, I'll figure something out. The challenge is not as important as my own program, but generally, if I can stick to just one challenge, I am really successful... Sat, 26 Apr 2014 11:23:02 EST Taking the step Sometimes it's hard to figure out what to do to make yourself take the first step to the healthy things you know you can do for yourself. <BR> <BR> This time, what I needed to do was shut everything else out. Yesterday was pretty good. Logged in, tracked everything. Ignored everything else. <BR> <BR> That tiny success (and I do know it's tiny) has made me feel like today I can log in, track everything, and maybe even make better food choices. <BR> <BR> I'll take it. Fri, 25 Apr 2014 10:18:16 EST Okay, here goes. Day 2 of logging in. Day 1 of tracking every bite, every sip, every exercise. <BR> <BR> Everything else must fall away. This is the most important thing in my life right now. I have to do this like it's my job, or it won't get done. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:27:38 EST Still trying to get my Spark back Back to day 1 of my logging streak. <BR> <BR> I had the Spark for 6 whole months, and then I dropped it and seem not to be able to find it for more than a couple of days at a time. <BR> <BR> Even a team challenge, which is my favorite thing, isn't able to get me on track. <BR> <BR> Frustrating! Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:52:50 EST How it feels How it feels when I eat junk a lot: like my body is overfull and bloated. Like my head is full of salt and my arteries are full of fat. Like it's an effort to move. <BR> <BR> How it feels when I eat junk a little, among the mostly good stuff: fun and like it's no big deal. <BR> <BR> How it feels when I skip exercise for a week: like I'll never get my mojo back. Like my body is melting into my recliner. <BR> <BR> How it feels when I do a bunch of exercise: Mighty and powerful and like I can... Wed, 16 Apr 2014 01:31:43 EST Basics If you know me, you know that I frequently reset and go back to basics when I get overwhelmed. Tonight, I'm planning my food for the next week. I did 78 minutes on the exercise bike, and I'm starting a streak for exercise with that. I am on a 20-day login streak. So that's my basics: track every bite, log in, do exercise. <BR> <BR> I got this. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 01:47:42 EST Great day Finally, a good day, which compared to recent weeks is a great day. 100 fitness minutes so far (may do more). Ate well, but not great. Feeling better after yesterday's minor surgery. <BR> <BR> 15 days logging in. <BR> <BR> Now I need to catch up on team threads and make sure tomorrow is at least as good! Tue, 8 Apr 2014 23:49:16 EST Planning My dear friend TADZIO has drilled it into me: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. <BR> <BR> So here's my plan for getting my Spark back today: <BR> <BR> 1) Log in (done!) <BR> 2) Go through all my SparkMails and actually read them before deleting. (done!) <BR> 3) Check in on all my teams. <BR> 4) Plan my meals for the rest of the week. (done!) <BR> 5) Look at my weekend challenge and see how much I can get done today. Then DO it. <BR> <BR> And of course, the plan always includes this: B... Mon, 7 Apr 2014 11:51:56 EST I think I've figured it out I think I know what made me suddenly screech to a halt after almost six months of steady, successful Sparking. <BR> <BR> I should disclaim before I start: this is stuff some people will not want to hear. Also, if you think all fat people should want to be thin, and that being fat is automatically bad, this post is not for you. <BR> <BR> About three weeks ago, I hit that point in my weight loss when EVERYONE suddenly noticed I'm getting smaller: the lunch ladies, casual co-workers, friends,... Sun, 6 Apr 2014 20:40:04 EST A little help, please My food and fitness choices the past few days have been really not good. Not sure what''s going on with me, but as of this moment, I'm going to take my own advice: each moment is a chance to do something good and healthy, and now is as good a moment as any. <BR> <BR> You can help me if you have a moment. Please comment with one or more of your favorite motivational phrases. Please none about thinness, but health and fitness and wellness are fair game. <BR> <BR> Thanks. I am so glad I have t... Sat, 5 Apr 2014 13:05:38 EST Burning it up in the home stretch It's the last week of my BLC challenge. <BR> <BR> I'm going to Kick. Its. Butt. <BR> <BR> That is all. Wed, 2 Apr 2014 09:59:15 EST Not half bad Not the best weekend ever, but pretty darn good. Fell short of a bingo blackout--200 step-ups was more than I could manage, but I did 92, which is pretty good for someone with a bum hip. <BR> <BR> Also did some stuff I hadn't tried before, like dumbbell pullovers and bridges. I like the challenges because I end up doing stuff I otherwise wouldn't. <BR> <BR> My BLC challenge is winding down, and my April FSC challenge starts tomorrow. Tomorrow's also my next fitness class at work. Should be... Tue, 1 Apr 2014 01:26:23 EST My SP motivator items Just for fun, I thought I'd list the motivational stuff I have on my SP motivation board right now. You can put anything in there, so I usually put in stuff that will keep me on track. Right now, here are the items: <BR> <BR> Stop thinking and start doing! <BR> Look at all you've done! Now do more. <BR> No stroke! No heart attack! <BR> Beat pain and inflammation <BR> If you're tired of starting over, stop quitting. <BR> You don't get what you want. You get what you work for. <BR> I don't hav... Sun, 30 Mar 2014 11:38:36 EST Tired of starting over? Stop giving up. For the time between October 6th and last week, I managed to never quit on my Sparking, and a large part of why is the quote I have up all over my home and office: <BR> <BR> If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up. <BR> <BR> Well, last week, for the first time in months, I gave up. And now I'm starting over. Which I'm proud of, but let me tell you, it's a lot harder than just running off the positive momentum of not giving up. <BR> <BR> I need to remember this. I reminded myself ... Sun, 30 Mar 2014 01:49:48 EST Three days of bliss Today is a holiday at work, so I have a three-day weekend. We were going to have a yard sale today, but it's supposed to rain all weekend, so we postponed it. That means we can do whatever we want all weekend, yay! <BR> <BR> Yesterday went well. Made my 30-minute exercise minimum. Did my strength training for my challenge team -- not as much as I'd like, but not bad after taking a whole week off from exercise. Held plank for 22 seconds and did 3 real push-ups, which again, is pretty good aft... Fri, 28 Mar 2014 10:13:18 EST Step-ups? Hmm. My weekend challenge includes step-ups. I don't have a surface that's the right height for these (sturdy, with the knee/leg at a right angle to start). Any ideas? I don't really want to go to the gym this weekend, but I will if that's the only way to get my bingo blackout. <em>20</em> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:03:25 EST Weekend Just putting it out there: my challenge team is having a bingo challenge this weekend, and I intend to get a blackout. Watch my dust! Thu, 27 Mar 2014 10:44:52 EST It's a relief I feel really relieved to be headed back into the zone. <BR> <BR> 35 minutes of exercise so far today; may do more, may not, but I went over my 30 minute goal, so <em>248</em> <BR> <BR> Tracked every bite (and there were a lot of bites) <BR> <BR> Tomorrow, I'll plan the weekend's cooking and do a little shopping. <BR> <BR> Whew. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 01:39:42 EST Back on the horse I may have had a week in which I ignored Sparking and did my own thing, but that doesn't make me a failure, and it doesn't mean this week won't be awesome. I am going to blog every day this week, in order to keep myself accountable. <BR> <BR> Goals for this week: <BR> <BR> At least 30 minutes of intentional exercise every day <BR> Track every bite <BR> Use my three-day weekend to cook some freezer foods and other things to make eating well easier in the week to come. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 09:47:11 EST Oh, noes! I can't believe I forgot to log in yesterday. Sigh. <BR> <BR> Okay, well, 170 days is my longest streak to date. Here we go on making a longer one. <BR> <BR> <em>249</em> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:22:26 EST Such a happy video! You've probably seen this already, because it's a Popular Blog Post, but you just have to check out MostMom's happy chair-hooping video. Proof that nothing has to stop us from doing SOMETHING to improve our health. <link><BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5653373 </link> Sun, 23 Mar 2014 12:10:53 EST The bare minimum I think most of us probably have it: That bare minimum amount of effort we have to make to feel like we're doing what we're supposed to. The dishes need to be clean at the end of the day. Or maybe your work files have to be delegated even if they're not done. <BR> <BR> For my Sparking, I set a bare minimum when I started back here on October 6th of last year: Log in every day, and track every bite. <BR> <BR> For most of the five-plus months since then, I've done lots more: exercise, partic... Sun, 23 Mar 2014 11:33:32 EST Eat all the things! Tonight is one of those snacky nights. Much more food than I usually eat, but that can be fun from time to time. There is a full sensation that I don't feel that often these days, but it's not entirely unpleasant. So glad I know that it will end after a few hours, though. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 22:18:25 EST 23 weeks Still here, still so happy with SparkPeople, still making great new habits. This week, I've been all about the fitness class at work. We're doing pushups. Real ones! I'm going to get even better, but I did three on the first day. At the end of six weeks, I hope I can do at least 10 at a time. <BR> <BR> Still doing the vegan thing. Still working on adding more whole grains. Still tweaking workouts to try to keep them interesting. <BR> <BR> Moving forward! Sat, 15 Mar 2014 13:13:24 EST Progress Usually, progress isn't big and dramatic, but small and gradual. <BR> <BR> Tuesday: 3 regular pushups <BR> Wednesday: 2 sets of 2, for 4 total <BR> Thursday: 4 regular pushups <BR> <BR> Some day, I will be doing lots of these, and maybe doing more advanced ones. For now, I'm just doing the best I'm able, in the shape I'm in. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 23:53:49 EST Fitness test at work today I'm participating in a nutrition-and-fitness program at work. It's a seven-week program. On Tuesdays, we do fitness at the track, and on Thursdays, we learn nutrition and cooking. Today was the first day at the track, and it was time for fitness testing. In 6 weeks, we'll get re-tested. The trainer also taught me how to do a real pushup! I'm so excited. I did three of them! <BR> <BR> Anyway, here are my starting numbers for the fitness testing. I'll post the end numbers in six weeks: <BR> <... Tue, 11 Mar 2014 21:35:36 EST Baffling I'm an atheist. I make no secret of that. However, if you ask around among my SparkFriends, I think you'll find that I have never, ever tried to convince any of them -- Pagan, Jew, Christian, whatever -- to give up their religious beliefs, or insulted their intelligence because they believe in something I hold to be imaginary. Mostly, I figure this is a supportive space, so if I don't feel supportive of someone's personal relationship with Hecate or Zeus or Jesus or whatever, I keep my trap ... Sat, 8 Mar 2014 22:30:40 EST