STRONG_SARAH's SparkPeople Blog STRONG_SARAH's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Accountability tricks How do I stay focused and hold myself accountable for my success? Is there an app that's helpful? Has anyone found THE trick or method that has worked for you and can you share it with me? Thanks everyone. Sat, 17 Mar 2018 10:09:06 EST Day 2 of the Whole 30 I'm not in Bangkok anymore, for the first time in 8 years I'm living back in the USA. Of course, now I'm gaining weight due to the difference in food and lifestyle. I need to nip it in the bud and lose the 20 pounds I've gained since September. So, as a complete diet revamp, I started the Whole 30. <BR> Yesterday I ate fruits, nuts and some leftover meats during the day and had mustard chicken with onions for dinner. I also found myself opening a can of tuna at 4:00 in the afternoon and eatin... Tue, 8 Mar 2016 09:40:05 EST Losing weight in Bangkok So apparently the trick to losing weight is living in Bangkok! Since I moved here in June my clothes have been getting bigger and bigger until the other day my skirt actually fell down while I was walking. Luckily I had a long shirt on and caught my skirt before it hit the ground, but talk about embarrassing! I put that away and need to go buy another now. Plus, we took a mini-vacation to Ko Samed island last week and I bought a size 10 bikini there. I haven't been a size ten in a long time. ... Sun, 2 Aug 2015 22:37:39 EST New country, new focus Hi everyone, I've been silent for a while dealing with tons of stress. Unemployment, MIL stress, financial stress, school stress, you name it. But, now it seems we have a reprieve and my new life has started here in Bangkok! Yes, we moved to Thailand. My husband, who had been unemployed since October, got hired here in April, and when the school year finished a few weeks ago, my son and I followed him. <BR> It was a crazy few months for me as single-parent, part-time employee, packing up th... Fri, 19 Jun 2015 21:24:38 EST Pay no attention to my fake smile Absolutely miserable holidays. My husband suffers from anxiety and had a terrible time this month. Some periods are better than others, this was a particularly bad month. <BR> <BR> On Christmas I was sick as a dog with a migraine, in fact I had to call the doctor to come to my house to give me a shot. It was awful. Plus I have a family history of aneurysms so everytime I get a migraine I’m afraid I’m going to die. After the holidays I'll go to my doctor and ask for a referral for an MRI or s... Thu, 1 Jan 2015 05:41:45 EST 22 lbs lost and other big changes I weighed in this morning at 142.5. It's the lowest weight I've been at for years and it's less than three pounds away from my 1st goal weight of 139! <BR> I say 1st goal weight because, although 132 is my ultimate goal, 139 is comfortably within the normal category on the BMI, I know that all my clothes fit at 139, and most importantly, it's less than 140! I have an emotional attachment to numbers in the 130s. Weird, huh? <BR> <BR> On May 1st this year, I weighed 165. Even writing that numb... Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:35:08 EST Taking care of ME I think I've turned a corner in respects to self-care. I'm a mom and wife and I have a part-time job, so you know how that goes. I often don't make myself a priority. <BR> <BR> My husband works a lot and so I'm often preparing meals just for my son and myself. He's a typical 10-year-old and is not interested in vegetables at all, so I make him something simple and kid-friendly and in the end it's me, cooking for myself. The old me used to hate cooking and I'd often say "why cook just for my... Thu, 25 Sep 2014 06:03:20 EST It's about JOY! I love this and I wanted to share. <BR> <img src=""> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:37:59 EST Walking lifts my mood One of the most valuable things I’ve learnt here on SP is that exercise can usually get me out of a funk. Yesterday, I needed it. I was home, bored, depressed and I needed to do something so I got my shoes on and did some walking, 8,000 steps to be exact. <BR> <BR> I drove to a small mountain-top town nearby that I hadn’t been to and explored. One of the cool things about Italy is that they try to keep their medieval architecture while incorporating the 21st century. It can lead to some coo... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:18:23 EST holding it together This is not a diet blog, this is about death, love, and personal growth. I lost someone dear to me this week. I also celebrated my anniversary, and saw friends I hadn’t seen for a long time. In short, it’s been an emotional roller coaster. I gained a couple of pounds, but I’m not concerned about that, I’m back on track now, and more important I’m trying to process everything I’ve been through this week. <BR> <BR> A friend of mine died last week, on Wednesday. I hadn't seen him in about 6 ye... Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:27:49 EST The dangers of vacation It starts with a day at the beach. Plenty of water, fruit as a snack, fresh air, playing in the waves - sounds healthy right? About 3 o'clock in the afternoon we get a call from friends who are at the beach too, about a half a mile up the coast. A nice healthy walk in the sand to look for them, and when we arrive we find them, at the bar! LOL <BR> I'm on vacation, right? So ok, I order a martini, then an hour later another, then the bar snacks start to look good, then we decide to order some... Tue, 12 Aug 2014 02:42:27 EST I am doing it! The scale is consistently going down. For the first time in my life I think I really have found the key. You know what it is? Veggies. Seriously. <BR> <BR> When I counted calories, I didn’t lose weight. When I did the wheat belly diet I did, but it was too overwhelming, because of all the cooking and prep and it made travelling a nightmare. <BR> <BR> The dietician gave me this low-carb, restrictive diet, yes, but I really think something clicked in my head when she said “eat as many vege... Sun, 13 Jul 2014 04:08:05 EST 13 pounds and counting! I live in Italy and here’s the diet the Italian nutritionist gave me. I know it’s restrictive but I like that about it because there is very little guesswork involved. I’ve lost 13 pounds in 6 weeks and I even cheat (small cheats). Here it is, I finally translated it. <BR> <BR> Breakfast: 2 slices of wheat bread with a) cheese (ricotta, cream cheese, etc.) or b) <BR> jam or c) slice of turkey or ham or prosciutto* <BR> <BR> Lunch: red meat, white meat, fish or insalata di mare (a cold fis... Sun, 15 Jun 2014 04:58:23 EST Today I'm determined In the past, about three weeks into any new diet or exercise plan, my enthusiasm started to wane. Today so far is a difficult day. I didn't sleep well, and I woke up to rain outside and cat vomit in the kitchen. I started thinking about 'cheating' for lunch before I even finished my morning coffee. <BR> Fortunately I recognized my negative thoughts and now I'm asking myself, why do I have them? Maybe subconsciously I'm in need of some comfort and I'm planning on getting it with food. Maybe m... Sat, 31 May 2014 02:57:25 EST Awesome tips! Here's a summary Wow everyone, I am touched so many people gave suggestions. There are some really great ones here, some I’ve already put into practice. I’ve summarized them below, but before I get to that I want to clarify a few things about the diet I’m on. It was so strict only for the first few weeks, now I’ve got some carbohydrates in there too, but the basic diet is what I described before. Also, she did give me some other options for breakfast than what I mentioned, but because I don’t like sweet thi... Wed, 28 May 2014 09:40:35 EST making it a way of life not a diet, advice please! About two weeks ago, I went to an appointment with a dietician. She's pretty strict, and gave me this type of diet: Two pieces of wheat toast with either spreadable cheese or lean cold cuts for breakfast, lean meat and veggies for lunch, and the same for dinner. Fruit and yogurt for snacks and two tablespoons of olive oil a day to cook with. She also encouraged me to drink 2 liters of water a day and eat a LOT of veggies. Luckily, I like veggies. It's pretty simple (which really appeals to m... Tue, 20 May 2014 08:09:43 EST New trainer today; jury is still out. Today was my first day with a new trainer. I'm not too sure if I like him because I thought his behavior was weird. At one point I actually looked into his eyes to see if they were dilated. I wanted to ask him if he was taking drugs but I didn't. My husband says that there are a lot of guys on steroids in the gyms, but I don't know if that's true. I've never seen it, and I've spent more time in gyms than the average person. However, it's also true that I'm a bit naive in that aspect. <BR> Ma... Thu, 3 Apr 2014 05:43:30 EST carcinoma is an ugly word I have a small skin tumor, fairly common. It's this: <BR> <BR> <link><BR>mation/basal-cell-carcinoma </link> <BR> <BR> What's weird is that I went to the doctor about something else and he spotted this small red spot that I never even considered as anything worth checking. Just a small, boring red spot, about the diameter of a chickpea. Just goes to show that you never know what's going to cause you trouble. It's treatable, at least 90% of the time. ... Wed, 26 Feb 2014 09:22:02 EST Irritated at myself I've had a few stupid days. I say stupid because I've acted stupid. I've eaten things I shouldn't have, including a plate of fried fish and ice cream. Another reason this is so dumb, besides the fattening aspect, is that I had to pay for all of these things. I'm trying to save money and yet here I am, spending it on food I'm regretting? DON'T I KNOW BETTER? Now I'm beating myself up. Also, I spent 50 bucks at the hair salon this week and ended up hating the cut. <BR> <BR> Now, Sarah, stop ... Sat, 1 Feb 2014 15:07:14 EST People in the Walls Today I took not one, but two 6,000 -step walks. I started out the day with my dog and son walking three miles to the center of town -the pastry shop, specifically. My son will do just about anything for a trip to the pastry shop! <BR> Then, when we got back, my husband surprised me by saying "hey, you want to take a walk somewhere"? This is completely out of character for him to propose any kind of exercise, so of course I went with it. <BR> We went to Fiorenzuola di Focara, a cliff side ... Sat, 25 Jan 2014 10:47:11 EST Harry Potter museum Any HP fans out there? I was lucky enough to have a business trip to London last week with two free days to explore. Being a huge HP fan, I had to go to the Warner Brother's Harry Potter museum. I spent all afternoon and 13,000 steps exploring this place. It's huge! And wonderful, in fact I would go again in minute and would recommend it to everyone. All of the props and sets are authentic from the movies. They even sold butterbeer- which was a type of rootbeer with a butterscotch whip cream... Thu, 16 Jan 2014 09:13:07 EST holding my tongue I've had to listen all day to a bunch of not-so-elderly people sit around and talk about their ailments, medicines, surgeries, etc. Then (when someone brings up dieting or exercise) they say things like "what's the point of depriving yourself? I'd rather enjoy my life" and "I only run if someone is chasing me" or (my favorite) "I don't drink water, but I drink wine, that's close enough"! <BR> <BR> They don't make the connection between how they take care of themselves (or don't, rather) and ... Wed, 25 Dec 2013 15:58:39 EST sugar hangover Today, I have the same headache and nausea that normally comes from alcohol, but last night I didn't drink a drop. Instead, I indulged in some christmas Torrone. Torrone are pieces of chocolate covered nougat that I love. Fortunately for me they only come out once a year. What possessed me to just dig into the bag and eat practically all of them? What was I thinking. Ugh, I feel terrible. &#8232;I make these promises to myself to eat right, and then sometimes it's like I just forget. Rational... Tue, 17 Dec 2013 08:14:02 EST crabby patties My son made crabby patties for dinner. If you have a small boy, you'll know that they are a Sponge-Bob burger, like a normal burger -but loaded. He was so excited to cook, that I had to let him make them and then eat what he gave me with a smile. <BR> <BR> Now that he's in bed I can poor stomach. I think raw onions, horseradish, big beef patties and a ton of mayo was just too much. <BR> <BR> But he was happy that we loved his 'crabby patties', that's what counts... Thu, 21 Nov 2013 16:37:11 EST Vanity pounds In the last year and a half I've been through a ton of stress. We had a death in the family, then we moved to a new area, then I lost my job. I quit smoking about a year and a half ago. I turned 40 during the past year, and I may have started pre-menopause. I know it's early, and I'm self-diagnosing, but I've got hot flashes all the time now. <BR> <BR> In my professional life, I'm trying to start a small business, trying to find a full-time job, trying to be a student so that I can be curre... Sat, 16 Nov 2013 15:29:14 EST 2/3 of a woman “Whatever is deeply, essentially female--the life in a woman's expression, the feel of her flesh, the shape of her breasts, the transformations after childbirth of her skin--is being reclassified as ugly, and ugliness as disease. These qualities are about an intensification of female power, which explains why they are being recast as a diminution of power. At least a third of a woman's life is marked with aging; about a third of her body is made of fat. Both symbols are being transformed into... Tue, 12 Nov 2013 04:16:06 EST Review of Spark People Perfect Produce app I downloaded this today, it cost me 1.99. Right away I looked for three fruits/vegetables I was buying: Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Pomegranates. <BR> <BR> There is no data for mushrooms or pomegranates. Nothing. It's as if they don't exist. As for green beans, the data was what was advertised: How to buy, handle, nutrition info, and recipes. This may be helpful on the produce aisle for me when I'm looking for inspiration, I'll have to see. <BR> <BR> Having such an incomplete database give... Mon, 4 Nov 2013 07:15:49 EST 10,000 steps For the last week I've been hitting 10,000 steps or using the stationary bike every day. I had to start breaking up the monotony of the bike so I made a deal with myself that days I get my steps in I am excused from the bike. This is subject to revision of course, I'm forever making deals with myself. Remember that show 'Let's Make a Deal'? I should have been on that. <BR> <BR> I haven't been tracking here because I've started using the "my fitness tracker" app on my smartphone. I know, sou... Sun, 3 Nov 2013 12:55:10 EST harbor walk and snails anyone? I'd intended on a walk in the mountains this morning, but my husband volunteered to come with me "as long as there weren't any hills involved". <BR> "This isn't going to be exercise, is it?" he says, "because I'm not going if it is. I want to take a nice calm walk with my wife, not to exercise." <BR> <BR> Have I mentioned my husband is fundamentally opposed to exercise? Oh well, at least he wanted to come. I'm flexible. <BR> <BR> So we ended up exploring the port and the old center of ... Fri, 25 Oct 2013 09:19:11 EST The new SP start page helped me today I was logged in this morning checking out my start page when I noticed the 'eat five fruits and veggies' tracker right there, immediately in front of my eyes. I struggle with that always, so it's good to have it so prominently displayed. <BR> About 30 minutes later, I was in the grocery store, about to walk right past the fruits when I remembered that tracker. I stopped in my tracks and thought "today, I'm eating my 5, now, what to get?" <BR> I wouldn't have done that without help from SP. N... Thu, 24 Oct 2013 04:18:48 EST Oh no ......chocolate festival! So there I am, being good all week, exercising, eating veggies, etc. Then today I took a drive with my son looking for a health food store, turn a corner and WHAM! We run smack into the chocolate festival. Yes, this weekend is the annual chocolate festival in my little corner of Italy. <BR> Picture it, I'm in my car, looking at the road blocked in front of me, sitting next to a nine-year-old who's eyes lit up at the sight of the chocolate, balloons, jugglers, chocolate.......what was I going... Sat, 19 Oct 2013 09:40:36 EST Italian Sagra aka food food food Yesterday was a beautiful fall day and I was determined to get my steps in and to get my family out in the fresh air. There is a castle nearby that I'd heard was having a sagra, so we went to check it out. A very important part of italian culture is fresh, local food. It's why butchers, bakeries and fruit/vegetable sellers stay in business even when there is a chain grocery store in town and why the sagra is such an important event. It's a festival usually with a food-based theme, where local... Mon, 14 Oct 2013 04:01:23 EST Still a shocker I've been on SP for a year this month. I feel like I've learned a lot, and I'm certainly eating healthier and exercising more, but I guess I still have a lot to learn. Why else would this photo come as such a shocker to me? <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Not only is a serving extremely small, but soooo high in calories. 165 calories in this teeny amount of parmesan cheese. <BR> Sigh. It's kind of sad. I love cheese but I need to start treatin... Tue, 17 Sep 2013 01:14:04 EST Consistency update 4 DAYS IN A ROW of waking up and getting in an hour on the stationary bike before 9:00am. I'm aiming for every day from now on. It's a good start and I'm feeling quite proud- I'm also re-reading the Harry Potter series on the bike and it's making it quite enjoyable. Plus, starting the day in such a healthy way makes me want to eat healthier and track everything. So far I've made it to the Spark bonus points before noon every day. <BR> <em>316</em> <em>203</em> <BR> <BR> BTW, yesterday... Wed, 11 Sep 2013 07:49:38 EST A lesson in consistency from a friend Years ago someone asked me "Would you take financial advice from someone who is broke?" Of course the answer is no, and since then I've been applying that question to virtually all areas of my life. After getting fed up with all the different, conflicting diet rules, I have started observing people who are thin and trying to identify their secrets. <BR> <BR> I have a new friend who I've been getting to know over the past month. She's the mother of my son's school friend. We went to the beach... Fri, 6 Sep 2013 01:49:13 EST pics of Italy and a bit of motocross Now that it's not so hot I've resumed my walking exploration of Italy. Today I went to a particularly beautiful medieval town called Urbino. It is on a hilltop and the center of the city is restricted to cars to preserve the cobblestone streets and the atmosphere. Probably it's restricted for other reasons too, like pollution and traffic, and it's great for my thighs because it means I had to walk up the giant hill to explore the town! 11,000 steps today and boy am I tired, but it was so wort... Mon, 2 Sep 2013 12:44:54 EST Italian nutritionist I've started following a diet plan from an italian nutritionist that is 1450 calories. Just for kicks I plugged what I ate into the spark tracker and it says 890 calories! Why? Because I couldn't eat all the bread she gave me. The italian diet is huge on carbs and after so many years of low-carb I couldn't do the 50% carb she recommends. <BR> <BR> Another thing, the calories are different. I mean a 200 gr potato is either 180 calories on SP or 200 on an italian calorie website. Who do I tru... Sat, 31 Aug 2013 02:34:26 EST I'm not as fat as I think - a revelation. If I could go back in time I'd like to try and remove the blinders I was wearing almost my whole life. The ones that made me think I was fat when I wasn't. <BR> <BR> My grandmother was a petite woman, short and thin. I'm guessing she weighed about 110 pounds as a 5'2" adult. She married a large man and her 3 daughters grew tall and heavy. She would berate them constantly for their weight and introduce them as "my fat daughters." <BR> <BR> My mother had low self-esteem for her entire life... Thu, 22 Aug 2013 12:08:17 EST Me in 3D This weekend was our anniversary, so we had 3-D statues of ourselves made. It took less than 20 minutes with a 3D laser full-body scanner and 3D printer. Technology rocks! <BR> I am determined to go back for another one when I'm 20 pounds lighter so I can keep them on my desk to compare. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Can you see my son's mohawk? The process isn't perfect yet, but it's still pretty cool! Tue, 20 Aug 2013 08:39:49 EST losing focus I've been skipping gym sessions. I know why too, because it's been over 100 degrees here almost every day and the gym is not air-conditioned. Excuses, excuses right? I need to get back in focus. Also, I've been over-indulging in cheese and wine. My MIL eats a lot of cheese and drinks wine every day at lunch and dinner and I've been eating with her so copying her habits. <BR> It's affecting me though, I'm lethargic, stiff and somewhat foggier when I don't take care of myself. I need to give u... Sat, 10 Aug 2013 08:33:04 EST to squat or not to squat? At my new gym, there is a free consultation with the trainer for every one. They prepare workouts for us and write them on a schedule we're suppose to consult. Yesterday I asked a trainer for my free consult because I was interested to see what they would suggest for me. He brought out my schedule already filled out which I thought was strange because nobody bothered to ask me what my goals were. I looked at it and had to laugh because they gave me a program filled with barbie weights! LOL, t... Tue, 23 Jul 2013 01:27:34 EST Sharing what's inside First of all I'd like to say thank you for your comments on my last blog. You are all a great support. What I shared was actually just the tip of my 'stressberg'. That's what I call the problems and stresses when they build on each other and grow so large like an iceberg. The way I see it, there are only two options to cope with a stressberg when it starts to get out of control: grow stronger in order to hold all the weight, or share the load. Of course the third option is to collapse under... Wed, 10 Jul 2013 08:18:24 EST My horrible no good very bad year I'm away from home in a hotel right now for work and that's the only reason I can write this because we just moved and I don't have internet. Dear SP friends, do you want the whole story? You can skip to the end if you want. I'm probably writing all of this more for my own benefit, it helps me to get it all out and try and put it in perspective. <BR> <BR> This past year has been probably the most stressful time of my life. My FIL spent 9 months in the hospital, had first one leg amputated, t... Mon, 8 Jul 2013 02:52:54 EST Do you know about Ernestine Shepherd? She started bodybuilding at 58 years old and is now 74 in this photo: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> (image taken from here : <link><BR>y/10-inspirational-older-women-we-love<BR>?page=2 </link> ) <BR> <BR> She says she feels healthier in her 70s than she did in her 40s. <BR> <BR> Here's her wikipedia article:<BR>pherd <BR> <BR> My goal is to be half that c... Sun, 23 Jun 2013 02:30:25 EST Am I getting smarter? Maybe? If you've been reading my blogs you've learned that even though I have the desire to eat right, I don't really like to cook. Specifically I don't like the prep and cleaning work that goes along with cooking. That's why breakfast is usually oatmeal with berries or peanut butter. Lunch is leftovers, tuna, or whatever healthy easy food I have around, and dinner I cook because a) I have to eat and b) my family usually wants to eat. Snacks are hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, nuts, or fruit. If I could... Tue, 18 Jun 2013 03:04:29 EST Painting and wearing a bikini (with pics) But not at the same time of course. <em>211</em> <BR> <BR> here's my new kitchen: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> which is 10 minutes away from... <BR> <BR> This! Here is the view from a road I wish I lived on, (oh starlight starbright....) <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And because I bribe my child, I promised if he was good while I painted we'd go to the beach! <BR> <img src="http://ph... Thu, 13 Jun 2013 15:29:46 EST Why I love weight training One word: Progress! <BR> I never saw progress like this when I was dieting, or running, or doing yoga. In the weight room I increase my weights every time. 5 weeks ago, I couldn't deadlift 30 pounds, but today I lifted 65. I couldn't even do one push-up at 60° but today I did 10 in a row. <BR> Here is tangible evidence, in writing (yes, I keep training logs) that I can improve at a sport! I really love going every training day and discovering what I'm capable of. <BR> Also, even though I ... Wed, 12 Jun 2013 06:05:44 EST I gained 6 pounds and I don't care! I gained 6 pounds this month but I don't care. I am FULL of NSVs. <BR> <BR> 1. My clothes are loose. Not all of them, but most. I've even thrown some too-big items away. <BR> 2. I got a lot of compliments last week from people who hadn't seen me in 2 months. <BR> 3. The train conductor asked to see my student fare. LOL he thought I was a college kid. (Love that man!) <BR> 4. I can see muscle definition in my arms and calves. Yahoo! <BR> <BR> I had a moment of insight yesterday. I happen to... Tue, 4 Jun 2013 15:01:44 EST suffering for my actions I've been eating clean for about 10 months now and feeling great. This weekend I went to visit a friend in Milan and decided to let go a bit. I drank wine, ate pizza, more wine, ice cream, basically whatever I wanted. <BR> Yikes! I felt like crap for two days and am only today recovering from the alcohol/ sugar induced headache. What boggles my mind is that this kind of behavior used to be normal for me?!? Was I living in some kind of zombie state? I remember in the old days having headaches... Wed, 29 May 2013 00:51:08 EST How did I get so confused? Sorry in advanced if this is rambling. I'm really trying to sort out all the information in my head and make sense of it and it's not working. <BR> <BR> My goal: to lose excess weight from my belly and be less.....soft. I want to be strong and fit. Really, that’s all. It shouldn’t be that hard. I’m looking (in books, on the internet, etc ) for instructions on how to do it. What I’m getting is a big giant load of conflicting data. It makes me want to cry. <BR> <BR> Basically, I want this: ... Tue, 21 May 2013 13:17:45 EST