TORTISE110's SparkPeople Blog TORTISE110's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Maintaining as Summer Departs and Fall and Winter Arrive As September moves all too quickly toward October I am thinking about fall and winter weight gain. It is tempting to cling to the lovely fruit and veggie meals of summer, but I noticed lately that local peaches and nectarines have lost their healthy texture and flavor. And yes, the markets where I live have summer fruits all winter, but for me, it is not the same. <BR> I ate a wonderful apple today for a snack. It crackled when I bit in. It was juicy and close to divine. <BR> <BR> <img ... Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:44:21 EST Remembering 9-11 Thinking of this date as my husband and I travel to NYC today to visit our son who works in Brooklyn. He was in elementary school in a Washington DC suburb the day the towers were hit and the Pentagon as well. We live close enough to the Pentagon to have had our house shake. He does not remember much about that day. <BR> <BR> We have an older daughter who changed her fitness goals after 9-11. She realized she could not have carried people out of the towers, and it bothered her. <BR> <BR>... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 07:03:11 EST It's the Little Things: Playing with my Spices Twice a year I go through my spices and organize, re-alphabetize (no one in my house, including me seems to consistently put spices back where they belong!!) and evaluate my spice rack. <BR> <BR> Spices get old and stale and need to be tossed. This project helps me decide I'm never going to use something and toss it out: today it was dried basil. It is so readily available fresh now, and dried basil doesn't work the same way at all. I'm not going to use it anymore. I feel the same way a... Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:04:46 EST The Fears I've Left Behind by Losing Weight & Maintaining It struck me today that after a year and 11 months of healthy weight maintenance there are a bunch of things I no longer fear. <BR> <BR> I no longer fear the scale. Up a pound or down a pound, I know what to do. <BR> <BR> I no longer fear a pool party or 'swimsuit season'. I own 3 swim suits and none of them promise to make me look ’10 pounds thinner.” I’m happy to put them on. <BR> <BR> I no longer fear going to the gym. I’m one of the crowd there. In fitness classes I keep up when I... Thu, 7 Aug 2014 09:11:10 EST Under Promise and Over Deliver? Ever felt backed into a corner by work or a family member to get something accomplished? Or felt the need to do more until you were exhausted? <BR> <BR> I sure have. My PTA days come to mind! And in many other circumstances when I am thinking, "how can I possibly..." while saying, "sure, I'll do that." <BR> <BR> Then one day a mentor of mine told me to try a bold new approach: "Under promise so you can over deliver." It sure beats the alternative of over promising and under delivering... Fri, 1 Aug 2014 09:08:25 EST Conversations that Feed Me My husband and I start and end most day with a little conversation. In the morning we read the newspaper and chat over coffee and at night we collect our 'stories of the day' and catch one another up on what's happened. We've done this for as long as I can remember, even when we had children. <BR> <BR> I consider this time as necessary and as essential as food and water to nourish and restore ourselves. I suppose we could say we are 'working on our relationship,' but really we are just... Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:01:01 EST Health Report Card: IDEAL Something fun happened today. My health care provider, Kaiser Permanente sent me a "Health Log." It said that my blood pressure was within the IDEAL range, that my BMI was within the IDEAL range and that my last LDL Cholesterol test was within the IDEAL range. <BR> <BR> HOW COOL IS THAT? <BR> <BR> I thought you would never ask. It is very cool. It has not always been so. When I started with Spark, now conming up on two and a half years ago, those numbers were anything but ideal. I w... Mon, 7 Jul 2014 17:14:52 EST Four Things I Want to Give Up this Summer 1. Worrying about things that are not my responsibility, even when it involves my children. (only those without children will think this is possible! But maybe in time????) <BR> <BR> 2. Friends who think eating healty and working out are silly, compulsive and show-offishy. (I'm noticing how these folks are simply falling off my radar...and nothing terrible has happened yet!) <BR> <BR> 3. Double Scoops. (One is plenty, delicious and satisfying). <BR> <BR> 4. Thinking that needing the su... Thu, 3 Jul 2014 17:40:47 EST Life Is Full of Interruptions I write a "to do" list every morning. But at the end of the day when I write in my journal I often notice that the best moments are unplanned. Some of my very best moments might even be called, "interruptions." <BR> <BR> A friend calls and asks me to go to coffee. My husband calls about an office conflict and we sort it out. A fat squirrel hangs upside down on the line that holds the feeder in front of my kitchen window. He eats in greedy bites. I think I can see him grow fatter while... Wed, 25 Jun 2014 15:29:12 EST The One Canned Good I Cannot Live Without <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is my choice. I need them a lot for my recipes. Fresh tomatoes are so "iffy" at the store, but canned tomatoes rock. They are saturated with tomato taste. I'm not advertizing Hunts here, but just diced tomatoes. Adding them to zucchini and onions tonight. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 18:08:29 EST Are You a Spark Hero? I am sharing this in honor of all the Spark heroes I know on this site! Love you guys. Thanks for the inspiration. <BR> <BR> "Ultimately, your happiness depends on your self-reliance – your unshakable willingness to take responsibility for your life from this moment forward, regardless of who had a hand in making it the way it is now. It’s about taking control of your present circumstances, thinking for yourself, and making a firm choice to choose differently. It’s about being the hero of ... Tue, 3 Jun 2014 08:39:31 EST Kayaking <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> I've spent quite a bit of the weekend on the water in my kayak this weekend. Not only is kayaking a good upper body workout, it is a peaceful way to spend some time. For me, water is one of the best stress reducers and life expanders. My cares fall away around the water--ON it, or IN it! <BR> <BR> My little life seems less important afloat, than I sometimes experience it. Lots of time that's just the rem... Mon, 26 May 2014 06:07:24 EST Loneliness It's been a long time since I've thought of being lonely. I have 4 kids, five grands, a terrific husband. It seems like there isn't time to be lonely. But I know busy doesn't always mean "connected," and when I think about it I realize there are times in the day when I do feel alone and adrift. And those are dangerous time for reckless eating. I know that grabbing something to eat is more tempting then. <BR> <BR> This morning Martha Beck posted this quote on her site, "Loneliness, far ... Tue, 13 May 2014 07:10:17 EST Sparking at 5 AM I've been doing this for awhile, now. I get up early and take the time to check in with Spark and plan my day. When I saw this quote I realized how important "me space" is in my life. It isn't about not loving my family, it's about setting my own course as I go about my day taking care of their needs as well as my own. This impacts eating and exercise, but also my other goals and values. <BR> <BR> Not everyone finds this space in the morning, I'm guessing. Where do you find yours? <BR... Fri, 9 May 2014 06:07:21 EST My Favorite Motivational Quote for Maintenance I love motivational quotes and read many, often. Nothing better for me than a quick saying that turns a day around. What I realized recently though, is that one motivational saying fits maintenance for me, better than all the others. And here it is (ta dah!): <BR> <BR> I will do what it takes. <BR> <BR> Doesn't that just say it all? Wed, 7 May 2014 05:54:16 EST A Little Struggle It's not a perfect day. At this point it is dark and rainy and it is troubling to think that one of my goals is to get outside each day. There would be no harm or shame in staying inside, except that being outside feeds my spirit. <BR> <BR> So instead of starving myself (of a healthy walk), I'm going to either walk in the rain or look for a break in the wet stuff--if only for a few minutes--and get myself outside and moving. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 06:21:51 EST I Admit It: I'm a Flexitarian Thanks to Spark I now have a name for how my eating has changed over the two plus years I’ve Sparked. <BR> <BR> I have changed how much I eat, and I have changed WHAT I eat. While I still eat red meat a couple of times a week I am faithful to eating fish, chicken and a lot more beans and grains as my protein sources. And that’s not taking much effort anymore. It feels natural. So I guess I’m a FLEXITARIAN. Who knew?!! <BR> <BR> Check out this Spark article on becoming a “Flexitarian:” ... Fri, 11 Apr 2014 05:42:57 EST My Little Spring Salad Garden These are my plants that have come back from hibernation. My herb garden "survivors" include: thyme, oregano, parsley, chives and a bit of Swiss Chard. Let the growing season begin! <BR> <BR> This is my front porch "salad" garden that I keep in spring and fall. ( It get's too hot mid summer.) It's a real treat to snip a few salad veggies when I need them. I plan on adding some lettuces, a few radishes (for fun) and some more chard starting from seed. We travel quite a bit so it's hard t... Thu, 3 Apr 2014 13:10:12 EST A Short Poem for a Peaceful Weekend Sending this poem out for everyone's weekend. By Danna Faulds. "Walking Slowly" <BR> <BR> <BR> It only take a reminder to breathe, <BR> <BR> a moment to be still, and just like that, <BR> <BR> something in me settles, softens, makes <BR> <BR> space for imperfection. The harsh voice <BR> <BR> of judgement drops to a whisper and I <BR> <BR> remember again that life isn't a relay <BR> <BR> race; that we will all cross the finish <BR> <BR> line; that waking up to life is what we <BR>... Sat, 29 Mar 2014 08:11:33 EST Mall Meal Upgrade I was so pleased to discover a healthy meal at a local mall. You are looking at kale salad, 1/4 of a turkey pita sandwich and some lentil soup. Who says mall food has to be unhealthy? It was good, by the way. ...though I'm not a fan of kale salad YET. LOL <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 10:10:45 EST My Five Core Spark Habits Spark people provides many opportunities to be informed and try new activities. Over my two plus years on Spark I’ve experimented with pretty much everything on the site. Everyone is different, of course, but for me there are five core things that I believe are the heart of my healthy lifestyle now. I don’t do any of these perfectly, but I do them pretty routinely. With them I think I can continue to maintain a healthy weight and meet my fitness goals. <BR> <BR> TRACKING WHAT I PUT IN MY ... Thu, 20 Mar 2014 09:03:30 EST Am I Complaining to the Right People? I'm still thinking about complaining this week, having blogged about how I sometimes lob "nit noi" complaints at my beloved husband without thinking about it and wanting to quit. See last week's blog,<BR>ournal.asp?id=TORTISE110 <BR> <BR> For some reason complaining reminds me of a regular conversation I used to have with my Dad. I'd call and ask, "How are you?" and he would respond, "Can't complain." Then because he was my dad he would add, "Ho... Mon, 10 Mar 2014 07:38:44 EST My Experiment: Holding Back My Complaints <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> A few weeks ago I caught myself complaining to my husband about how long it was taking him to get ready to go to breakfast. We were on vacation. I said, “Took you a while to get ready….” And then had a moment of grace, and added, “and it’s nice to see you relax into our holiday.” <BR> <BR> I liked my turn around and so did my husband. "Really," he said, "you didn't mind?" <BR> <BR> So now I’m looking fo... Wed, 5 Mar 2014 10:15:11 EST When My “Can Do” Attitude Went South & I Sparked On Ten minutes after my Dear Husband flew out of town for a business meeting our bedroom smoke detector started chirping. It is, of course, the highest smoke detector in the house. It sits ten feet in the air on a wall supporting a cathedral ceiling. I knew a “chirp” meant a dead battery. <BR> <BR> I can do this, I told myself. I will fix it! <em>521</em> <BR> <BR> First I put together our ladder. This is one heavy piece of gear. On one hand it is collapsible, on the other it weigh... Fri, 28 Feb 2014 13:15:23 EST My Do Nothing Strategy Lately I'm noticing my hunger more. Especially at my personal "witching" hour, 4 pm. There are many reasons I get hungry then, and sometimes I have a light snack and leave it at that. But often I think my "hunger" is because I am disengaging from my work day mindset and am having a little boredom attack. In other words I'm not really hungry for food, but for something...undefined. <BR> <BR> What I often do then is flounder about, like a real flounder--the fish--laying on dry land. I fl... Wed, 19 Feb 2014 07:50:27 EST Re-Creation Sometimes the last thing we put on our schedules is time for fun, recreation. I saw this once: re-creation. <BR> <BR> A little hyphen forever changed my view of taking time off to play. I realized how much I need recreation to energize and redirect my life. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sat, 15 Feb 2014 06:25:23 EST What Olympians and Sparkers Have in Common <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> • We show up regularly and focus. <BR> <BR> • We set the bar low at first and gradually raise it. <BR> <BR> • We practice, practice, practice and repeat. <BR> <BR> • We find and get support from our team mates as well as educators and coaches. <BR> <BR> • We get up and try again after falling, and live to tell the tale ( We even blog about it!) <BR> <BR> • We adopt healthy mindsets and look for mo... Thu, 6 Feb 2014 08:22:36 EST Vigilance Next week I head into year three on Spark. I’ve been maintaining in a healthy range for a year and a half and while I am proud of this accomplishment, I also know I must be vigilant. <BR> <BR> I weigh myself at least a couple times a week, recording it on Wednesdays. The scale is my “lie detector.” A nibble here, a missed workout there may not seem like a lot, but it can snowball into a bad pattern. The scale reminds me not to fool myself: consistency DOES matter. <BR> <BR> Before Spark... Thu, 30 Jan 2014 07:58:47 EST Sparkin' Before 6 AM Up before dawn, checking in with Spark. It’s amazing how many Spark points I can accumulate before 6 am! <BR> <BR> I am reminded that I need 60 minutes more of active exercise today to meet my weekly goal of 200 minutes. Ah, the sweet little nagging of a Spark goal I set myself. <BR> <BR> I check in with new members. I want to surround them with “You-Can-Do-It-Messages” and I do. I want each of them to feel the great success that comes from taking charge of weight, health. I also wa... Sat, 25 Jan 2014 07:35:24 EST A Day for Just Me & My Clutter “Clutter isn’t just the stuff in your closet. It’s anything that gets between you and the life that you want to be living, whether its in your home, in your head, in your heart, or on your hips.” -Peter Walsh <BR> <BR> I love this quote. I am thinking about what I need to get rid of today to "clear the decks" for a new project. I have the day to get organized and I am looking forward to it. I know I will come away with not only a cleaner desk and file drawer, but a new sense of possibili... Thu, 23 Jan 2014 08:26:19 EST The Power In "Pause" One of my favorite words these days is PAUSE. It works for food, of course. Eating doesn't have to be a rush. Picking our food doesn't have to be a rush. We can "take a minute" and ease into our decisions. <BR> <BR> Likewise neither do we have to know the best thing to do RIGHT THIS SECOND in other parts of life. Maybe it's safe to say that except in competitive sports, speed is way over-rated. I can think of many circumstances where pushing fast does not work. Growing up, comes to mi... Thu, 16 Jan 2014 17:23:15 EST What Are We In Support Of--What Are We FOR This morning I read a quote that really resonated with me: "Everything that you are against can be restated in a way that puts you in support of something." <BR> <BR> I thought I'd play with that idea about some of the things I focus on while I am on Sparkpeople. Here's what I came up with: <BR> <BR> I'm against dieting and for creating a healthy life style. <BR> <BR> I'm against being compulsive about what I eat and for being responsible to know what I put in my mouth. <BR> <BR> I'm a... Thu, 9 Jan 2014 08:02:23 EST Choosing Our Conversations: An Experiment <BR> Awhile ago I gave a talk to a group of over-50 year olds interested in wellness. My hope, in addressing this group of strangers in hard seats, was to explore the relationship between living an intentional life and being healthy. <BR> <BR> I asked the crowd to think of something that made them smile; then I asked them to talk about that “smiling something” with someone in the room they had not yet met. <BR> <BR> I thought I could predict what would... Fri, 3 Jan 2014 14:13:35 EST Always Something Worth Noticing I found this beautiful essay in the NY Times yesterday and am sharing it here. It's a reflective essay about writing and life. As a writer I often feel I get to "live twice," once when taking in an experience and again when I revisit it to write about it. Kind of like having two fabulous meals (without calories--LOL). <BR> <BR> <link><BR>arewell.html?_r=0 </link> Sat, 28 Dec 2013 07:10:14 EST Baby It's Cold Outside: Heading Out to Play Brrrrrrr! It's really cold and wintery outside. Of when the weather is like this I build a fire and settle in. But not today. I'm itching to be outside. So I'm going to bundle up and just do it this time. Ten minutes, 15, who knows how far I'll go or how long. <BR> <BR> I remember being young and coming home from school each day dying to go out of doors. I'd fly in, drop my books and change my clothes and out the back door I'd go. I guess in some ways I still think going outside is he... Wed, 11 Dec 2013 06:02:39 EST 27th Wedding Anniversary: Ups & Downs It's a happy day for my husband and me. We were married 27 years ago today. Since then we've had our ups and downs as any couple does. Today it is hard to think of anything but the good times and the rich container we call "family" with my three step children and our son. And now we have grands as well. We are fortunate. <BR> <BR> But since this is a Spark blog I can't help but notice (and know) that today, thanks to Spark for me, I am in better shape-- but weigh the same healthy weight... Fri, 6 Dec 2013 08:27:37 EST December: Savoring the Season Well here is DECEMBER. One of the things I notice about this month already is how rich everything looks--color, lights, and of course food. It is not an easy time to think of "sparing" myself things. <BR> <BR> I thought I'd start this month by remembering that the season can be a "feast for the eyes" to enjoy and savor and that it isn't all about the food. So if you see me around, I'll be wearing red, smiling and enamored of all the lights, music, and good spirits. And if the weather st... Sun, 1 Dec 2013 10:56:32 EST Organizing My Head (and Heart) for an “Intentional” Holiday Season It is the beginning of November and I feel like I’m slowly climbing up the steps to the top of a big slide called, THE HOLIDAYS. The ride, while exhilerating, often goes too quickly and feels rushed. <BR> <BR> Today I am breathing in, breathing out, and reflecting on how to make the next 8 weeks fun and calm. Which reminds me of the lyrics to Silent Night: ‘all is calm, all is bright.’ How often is that achieved in the midst of holiday spirit? <BR> <BR> So to begin, I want to generate the ... Sun, 3 Nov 2013 06:53:32 EST A Funny Little Blog about Underwear I bought new bras last week and all I have to say is that since then, I’ve gotten all kinds of compliments about how well I look. Several people asked if I had lost more weight. Hmmmmmm. Guess those old “boulder holders” just were not doing their job. <BR> <BR> Take this, wherever you want. It’s leading me to do an “underwear review.” Out with the old, in with the new! <BR> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 07:33:50 EST Fall Salad Bowl I live in Virginia, in a soggy summer climate. Springs are often short and gardening is a bit of a challenge, especially for the cooler weather crops I like the best (greens, onions, herbs). So this year I am trying an experiment. I planted a "salad bowl" garden on my front porch in a container THIS MONTH (September). Sometimes our Fall season is long, so I am hoping we can have some lovely homegrown lettuce and greens well into October and maybe even November. Wish me luck. In the mean... Tue, 24 Sep 2013 12:30:33 EST Nana and Her New Grandson <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here I am, holding my two week old grandson, at 7 lbs, 4 ounces. He is tiny! Hard to believe this American baby has a huge chance of being over weight at some point. Now, his deal is, eat, eat! You need to grow!" <BR> <BR> When it is hard to be consistent on a healthy path I need to remind myself that days like this one make it so worthwhile. I want to be around to see this one grow! <BR> <BR> Meanwhile, what ... Wed, 3 Jul 2013 08:35:38 EST Looking for the Clutter I love this quote: <BR> <BR> “Clutter isn’t just the stuff in your closet. It’s anything that gets between you and the life that you want to be living, whether its in your home, in your head, in your heart, or on your hips.” -Peter Walsh <BR> <BR> Often I need to stop and figure out what is getting in my way. When I am stuck, bored, or upset often there is something cluttering my view of what I might be doing to be engaged in life in a happier way. <BR> <BR> It can be my desk...who can wr... Tue, 25 Jun 2013 08:34:40 EST Remembering I Can Still Play Outside All Day If I Want To… When I think of summer I think most of the days of my childhood. My sister and I would play outside from morning until evening, and even then continue playing into the early evening: Hide & Seek in the back yards of our suburban neighborhood (there were few fences and lots of trees) with a throng of kids of all ages. Many nights we would end up at a sleep over in someone’s back yard: 10-15 sleeping bags, lumps across the lawn. In the morning a mom would be up, and make breakfast for the cro... Sat, 22 Jun 2013 08:44:49 EST The Creep Is Not My Friend It’s my 9th month maintenance anniversary today and 16 months since I first signed on to Spark. The next three months on Spark are especially important to me. My goal is to maintain my 30 lb weight loss right on through my first year anniversary date and beyond. To do it, I’m going to have to avoid The Creep. <BR> <BR> The Creep is nice enough, but The Creep is my enemy. The Creep starts when I dump the cereal in my bowl in the morning without much thought to portion size. “Not bad,” the ... Sat, 15 Jun 2013 07:03:58 EST A Quote from an Author Who Inspires Me "When we expose our own hurt or fear, we actually give others permission to be more authentic. ... While it takes courage to be vulnerable, the reward is sweet: We awaken compassion and genuine intimacy in our relationships with others." ~ Radical Acceptance <BR> <BR> I love sharing Tara Brach's thinking. She is a deep thinker and an engaged-in-life woman and teacher. Her words here give me the courage to "Spark on," through my blunders. Radical Acceptance, is her book, and way of life. Sat, 8 Jun 2013 13:36:55 EST A Reflection on Serenity & Spark I am not a religious person, nor do I belong to AA or any other 12-step program. But I love the Serenity Prayer. For me it speaks to what we do here on Spark every day. <BR> <BR> We try to accept ourselves as we are. Whatever weight or fitness level that is, we say to ourselves and one another: you are good enough; you are in fact awesome as you are! <BR> <BR> Then we call ourselves to courage. We can change our situation, our weight and fitness so we set about doing that. It takes a ... Sun, 26 May 2013 10:18:01 EST My Review: The Spark Solution I am sharing my thoughts here about the new Spark Solution book. I've also included a link to the book's website at the bottom of the blog for those interested in taking a look at it. <BR> <BR> • What made you decide to try "The Spark Solution" Program? <BR> <BR> Even though I am maintaining now on Spark, I wanted to review Spark fundamentals. I thought it would sharpen my focus and skills. <BR> <BR> • Have you seen or felt any results in this first week? <BR> <BR> Whenever I interact w... Mon, 20 May 2013 09:29:23 EST A Simple Meditation Practice I pass this along from a book I am reading and using now. It is simple, and helps me when I am overly concerned with "stuff," going on in my life. Enjoy. <BR> <BR> THREE STEP PRACTICE <BR> <BR> "First, come into the present. Flash on what’s happening with you right now. Be fully aware of your body, its energetic quality. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions. <BR> <BR> Next, feel your heart, literally placing your hand on your chest if you find that helpful. This is a way of accepting yo... Fri, 17 May 2013 07:15:40 EST Mom Loved a Good Martini on Friday Night <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> My mother loved a good martini on Friday night. Doesn’t she look elegant here, sitting in her kitchen of 55 years? A few years later she fell victim to dementia, but in this photograph she was at home and happy that her daughter (me) was home with her camera. <BR> <BR> Many things come to mind when I look at this picture. She’s been gone several years now, and I miss her. Left behind is a legacy of ea... Thu, 9 May 2013 11:31:59 EST Fresh Take on Life: Meet Valentino First, let me introduce you to Valentino, the male blue bird guarding his mate's nest in our back yard. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And then, my blog: <BR> <BR> <BR> Spring has really arrived in Virginia now and the last few days have been glorious reminders that new life is returning. I see it everywhere from the leafing of our birch trees—and every other kind for that matter—the vigilant bluebird who is on “high alert” near ... Sat, 4 May 2013 08:28:18 EST