VAMANOS's SparkPeople Blog VAMANOS's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Fast Forward Lots has happened in the last 3 and a half months. It's gone by in such a blur I'm not sure I'll remember everything. But I'm going to tell you anyway, because in the past, some of these events would have knocked me off track and stopped my weight loss, or even made me gain weight. <BR> <BR> Since I last blogged, I <BR> <BR> 1) Went on vacation for eight days, and then, as we were packing to leave for home, learned my mother had suffered a stroke and wasn't expected to live. My mother was a... Mon, 5 Dec 2016 11:05:04 EST Turns out I Was Killing Myself, and Some of You Are As Well I'm not going to try to summarize what I've spent hours researching. But I encourage my old friends to check out these two blogs, which cite independent research to support their conclusions. The first is for intermittent fasting and <link> </link> for studies about why we get hungry and how flawed dietary advice has been in the past 50 years or more. (When I attempt to link to the first one, it doesn't work, probably because that's a secure... Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:33:59 EST Confessions of a Facebook Addict Have you ever had a habit that you knew was bad for you, hated yourself for continuing and still couldn't break it? I've never smoked, never used illicit drugs, drink only moderately (because I hate being tipsy, much less drunk) and have no problem stopping gambling if I lose what I have given myself to play with. But Facebook defeats me. I sit down to the computer to do work of some kind, and next thing I know I'm scrolling through my newsfeed until I'm sure I've seen everything any of my 15... Sun, 4 Aug 2013 10:27:35 EST MIA: What I've Been Up To I know all my Sparkfriends are disappointed in me for disappearing. I guess I could give the excuse that my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment knocked the wind out of me, and that's true. <BR> <BR> Or that the friend who came to visit, got sick and ended up in the hospital while I hosted a month-long boarding house for her husband and other relatives kept me too distracted to stay in touch, and that's true. <BR> <BR> Or that the garden expansion project has taken up all my attention sinc... Fri, 7 Jun 2013 12:23:58 EST Warning: Do Not Shampoo in the Shower! DO NOT wash your hair in the shower!! <BR> <BR> It's so good to finally get a health warning that is useful!!! <BR> <BR> IT INVOLVES THE SHAMPOO WHEN IT RUNS DOWN YOUR BODY WHEN ...YOU SHOWER WITH IT. WARNING TO US ALL!!! <BR> <BR> Shampoo Warning! I don't know WHY I didn't figure this out sooner! I use shampoo in the shower! When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning, "FOR EXTRA BODY AND VOLUME." <BR> <BR> No wo... Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:02:06 EST How I Put on 20 lbs. in Only 6 Months - Part 2 After putting on five lbs on my vacation last summer, something that isn't unusual, I expected it would come right back off. But that didn't happen, either because I wasn't tracking my food or because my exercise didn't include any hiking. I have counted on that big calorie burn once or twice a week for so long that when I had to quit hiking for lack of someone to go with me, I didn't realize it was going to take more than a three-mile walk on flat sidewalks two or three times a week to get t... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 19:30:56 EST How I Put on 20 lbs. in Only 6 Months - Part 1 I've been trying to remember what interrupted my Spark journey in the first place, and I think the beginning was deciding not to participate in last year's Spring BL Challenge. I kept in touch with the team by becoming an 'honorary' member, but didn't feel any pressure to not let down the team by neglecting my healthy habits, including tracking my food daily. As I recall, I was still exercising pretty regularly, but I had taken a part-time job with The UPS Store and really felt the differenc... Fri, 1 Mar 2013 13:07:04 EST Catching Up Backwards My dear friends, I certainly didn't mean to be dramatic when I posted my test blog, but from the number of responses I got I can see that it turned out that way. I just wanted to know whether it would show up in an internet search and then allow people to drill down to other information. Since I looked at about ten pages of references to either me under my nickname or my friend who shares my name and/or me under my full name and never found anything for Spark, I feel I am safe to share thin... Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:36:36 EST Test Blog I have decided to take my page private, for reasons that will become clear when I have tested a privacy concern. Stay tuned for updates if this works out. <em>211</em> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 15:23:19 EST Aspen Color in the Rockies Today's hike was all about the aspen, at color peak right now. I was also a little concerned about the altitude, as I had never managed to get over 8750 feet without some minor altitude sickness--a bit of a headache and enough nausea to keep me from eating. But if I'm going to summit a 14er, I've got to get over that, so I'm conditioning by gradually going higher for my hikes. <BR> <BR> Today we started at 9600 feet, higher than I've ever hiked before, and turned around after lunch at 10,4... Sat, 15 Sep 2012 00:05:25 EST Another first-Hiking in the rain! Well, the forecast for 50% chance of rain concerned me a bit for yesterday's hike, but it turned out to be 100% rain all over the region. I met the rest of the group at the prescribed park-n-ride, but only two others showed up out of the 9 others who were registered. Fortunately it was the leaders. <em>246</em> They quickly conferred and decided the planned hike, which crosses a stream on logs about 13 times, wouldn't be appropriate given the weather. But they were willing to go, and of... Thu, 13 Sep 2012 11:56:36 EST Anticipation... I'm so very excited to have found a few Meetup groups in the area that focus on hiking! I joined a couple last weekend, one that trains for 14ers, and another that hikes them, but neither group has a hike I can participate in soon. Although I'm eager to hike a 14er, I have enough sense to know I need to work up to it, and that's all that's on the schedule for either of these groups. <BR> <BR> However, I got email from with a suggestion and found one that's hiking tomorrow! So I... Tue, 11 Sep 2012 10:23:21 EST 5 Things That Hold Me Back Before anyone reads this and then decides to tell me I'm being too hard on myself, please understand that this is a requirement of my fall BL challenge, and that I'm attempting to be absolutely honest without judgement. We know that SOMETHING is holding me back, because for the past three months I've been going in the wrong direction...weight-wise as well as accountability-wise with regard to food and exercise. So this requirement is a good one for me. Time to take an honest assessment and... Sat, 8 Sep 2012 23:02:23 EST Be Careful What You Ask For OK, so you may have noticed in my new profile picture that my hair is a little lighter. Or not, since I've usually got it covered with a hat or visor. But there's a funny story... <BR> <BR> I'm going back to work. I've been 'retired' for a year and a half, despite attempts at making money through self-employment and an ill-advised foray in to a part-time retail position. But I'm ready to actually get paid for my efforts, and to that end have taken my notary license with the intention of ... Thu, 30 Aug 2012 18:46:12 EST Summer's End Wrap-up Of course, here in Denver summer isn't really over, but I've just finished a team challenge, some things I wanted to put in place before starting to look for a new job have been done, and our summer vacation is long over, so... <BR> <BR> My summer started with Mother's Day...a weekend trip to Dallas to visit my mom, brother and sister-in-law. Blogged about that and several other events up through July 13 when we stopped by MIL's for her birthday party on the first night of our vacation. Th... Sun, 26 Aug 2012 22:09:54 EST Summertime This has been such a busy summer that I’ve fallen woefully behind in blogging, as well as in paying attention to my journey, but that’s been the least of my concerns. <BR> <BR> I don’t think I mentioned while posting the pictures of my Mother’s Day trip that the weekend following found us traveling to Grand Junction, CO to visit my mother-in-law. DH had been turned around by a late-spring blizzard on the high passes between Denver and GJ the previous weekend, so we owed Mom a visit, and I w... Thu, 26 Jul 2012 12:07:57 EST I Did It! Cross one off my bucket list, but we'll be back! Shaky video warning, DH was filming and we had already climbed up once. That's a 23' wall by the way. The blue line is at 10', and you can climb that high without ropes, so after my first climb I started up this one as high as allowed while the attendant was belaying another couple of climbers. Then it was my turn again, and then DH. After that my arms were too shaky to do more, so we'll go again next week and the attendant will teach us to ... Sun, 24 Jun 2012 18:58:52 EST Bountiful Baskets I wanted to say more about this food co-op I've joined, as it is a nationwide organization. I don't know much about how the food is obtained (other than that they try to use local sources as much as possible) and how the organization is administered, except that there is a website and that it is all run by volunteers. But let me start from the beginning... <BR> <BR> About two months ago, my husband answered the door to someone who was in the neighborhood to make a produce delivery, and he ... Sat, 23 Jun 2012 19:24:39 EST Memorial Day Weekend Fun A few pictures with our friends...margaritas at a Mexican restaurant and back on the trail again with Sarah and our husbands. <BR> <BR> Mark was mugging for the camera, making Sarah laugh while trying to get her share of a maragrita-for-4. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Sarah draws a bead on the pool cue. Unfortunately neither of us can shoot, but we had fun! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> ... Wed, 30 May 2012 17:26:01 EST Hooping This is just a quick one, mostly because the battery on the Flip camera ran out. But I assure you, I would have been able to keep this up for several more minutes, <em>246</em> <BR> Fri, 25 May 2012 19:11:11 EST Mother's Day Trip Photos I have a few minutes before Sarah and her husband get here, so I thought I'd quickly post a few of the photos from my Mother's Day trip. First some people: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Mother and my brother Eric <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> We were at Texas Ranger's Stadium on Mother's Day evening, right behind home plate. Eric's company has season tickets, and sometimes he gets to ... Wed, 23 May 2012 20:54:03 EST Fitness Hoop--i.e., Hula Hoop on Steroids <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <em>218</em> <BR> <BR> Went out back today to use my new weighted hula hoop, and managed 200 rotations in the dominant direction, after two fails to get it started. Then decided to go in the other direction. <BR> <BR> Wish I had a video, it would provide so much entertainment for you guys! Fail, fail, fail, two rotations, fail, 4 rotations, 14 rotations and I w... Sat, 5 May 2012 19:51:01 EST BOGUSANNIE's At It Again Man, that girl loves challenges! So this is in response to her first Monday challenge today--to answer the question what motivated me to get Sparking and get healthy in the first place. <BR> <BR> Ever seen or heard of the video 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead'? That described me in 2010, although the nearly dead part was just a nagging concern rather than a reality as it turned out. I didn't want to see a doctor--no insurance. I knew I was 65 lbs overweight; I knew that as a result my BP was ... Mon, 30 Apr 2012 17:23:53 EST Back in the Groove It's been maybe three weeks since I purchased my all-access pass to the local city-owned recreation center. I've been going faithfully on my off-work weekdays: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Last Monday I realized too late that both my swimsuits were in the washer with no time to dry before the 8:00 a.m. water aerobics class, with the serendipitous result that I discovered senior stretch and strength/cardio fitness classes for that day. So I have a new routine: those classes on Monday, then... Sat, 28 Apr 2012 12:55:17 EST Seitan--A Qualified Success Well, after weeks of silence, I seem to have gotten quite chatty! April has been an eventful month for exercise and food at my house, lol. <BR> <BR> So, I made the Basic FIRM Seitan recipe from the Spark recipe database, with a modification that added way too much salt. I found myself without any beef or not-beef bouillon to flavor the 'roast', and I had already been to the store for cheesecloth, so I improvised with a marinade packet I had on hand. Obviously, when you use it to marinate ... Mon, 16 Apr 2012 21:48:41 EST Lower Leg Challenges, Seitan and a Kale Green Smoothie Today I used three of the machines for lower body: seated leg extensions (3 sets, 10 reps, 20 pounds), seated hamstring curl (2 sets of 10 reps at 45 pounds then had to drop to 40 for the last set) and the seated leg extensions on sled--couldn't find that in the tracker so used the lying leg extension on sled to track it. That was 3 sets of 10 at 100 pounds. <BR> <BR> Then I got on a machine that mimics cross-country skiing, and at first hated it. But then I realized I was fighting the m... Sun, 15 Apr 2012 18:59:26 EST Week 5 BL Challenge Extra Credit The awesome leaders of my BL team, the mighty Turquoise Titans, have created a weekly extra challenge for just our team. This week it was spring cleaning, and boy, did I need that extra motivation! (NB: My bad, apparently this was the ITC challenge, and the EXTRA challenge was lower body exercises. I can't keep all these challenges straight! Next blog has the report on THAT one.) <BR> <BR> After our nightmare kitchen renovation (which still isn't completely finished three months later, de... Sat, 14 Apr 2012 19:49:50 EST BOGUSANNIE 35 in 40 Challenge Update Week 2 <BR> Wednesday, April 04, 2012 <BR> Add more fiber to my menu! 25 grams of fiber DAILY for one week. Take starting measurements on Wednesday. Complete the 3 minute step test, the 1 mile walk test, the pushup test and the crunch test- record your results! <BR> <BR> Fiber <em>248</em> <BR> <BR> Walk test <em>248</em> <BR> <BR> I'll get to the others, but since they require assistance from a timer/counter, I'll have to remember to do them on a weekend when DH is home and I'm fre... Wed, 11 Apr 2012 19:17:33 EST Random Updates I'll start with my progress on BOGUSANNIE's challenge...I have managed to get the 25+ grams of fiber every day since last Wednesday and see no reason why I won't get it tomorrow, too. Have only completed one of the tests so far, the 1-mile walk test. While walking with hubby, chatting away, we did the one mile in 17 minutes and 17 seconds, for a score of average for my age group. Hubby of course was holding back, or would have completed it much faster as he has longer legs than I do! <BR> ... Mon, 9 Apr 2012 21:23:43 EST 35 in 40 Challenge from a Spark Friend My friend BOGUSANNIE has created a plan for herself to shed 35 pounds in 40 weeks. I'm very excited about this because she has previously just about literally killed herself to lose weight fast. These days she is looking to SHED pounds sensibly. I'm posting her plan so I can work it with her, not only in solidarity, but because if I shed the same 35 pounds with this plan, I will have reached goal and then some! <BR> <BR> Here's her plan (only slightly modified to reflect my resources): <... Wed, 4 Apr 2012 21:27:37 EST And a Good Time Was Had by All Sometimes you've just got to laugh. <BR> <BR> As we kicked up our heels and had a good time at the night spot where we usually go to hear good live music and sometimes dance, hubby got a little under the influence--well, maybe a lot, <em>100</em> . My DH is a happy drunk when he lets it get that far, which is why I don't get upset with him for doing it once in a while. And last night was no exception. <BR> <BR> We were there to listen to a favorite local band, Reckless Red, and maybe d... Sat, 10 Mar 2012 15:22:32 EST Happy Birthday Zoey <img src=""> <BR> Taken just before Valentine's Day in her mom's blessing dress. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> First birthday morning! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> I just LOVE my new main squeeze! <BR> Mon, 5 Mar 2012 09:01:48 EST Key to Inner Peace and Love From my sister-in-law, ALILKATZ1963's and DH's sister--too funny! <BR> <BR> I'm passing this on because it worked for me today. A Dr. on TV said to have inner peace we should always finish things we start & we all could use more calm in our lives. I looked around my house to find things I'd started & hadn't finished, so I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun scriptins, an a box a chocletz. Yu haf no idr how fab... Sat, 3 Mar 2012 22:05:05 EST Pick Your Expert I've known objectively that 8 glasses of water a day is just too much for me for a long time. Now I think I can see why. Now, where is that watermelon I meant to buy a the store yesterday? <BR> <BR> <link><BR>lth-rules-break-today-160000576.html </link> Fri, 2 Mar 2012 11:07:37 EST Explanation Thought I'd better quickly provide the rest of the story, since I posted that status that I had been talking to people who had no common sense. <BR> <BR> Some of my friends know that I have put my real estate experience to work assisting agents who list short sales to get the paperwork in order and negotiate with the banks. Agents don't like to do it, it's time consuming, and it's specialized work, so it's a win-win. I make a little money if I help get the job done, the agent gets a commis... Thu, 1 Mar 2012 20:28:02 EST Kitchen Remodel Update A Sparkfriend asked me how it was going, and I realized I hadn't said anything about it for a while. This has been the longest, most frustrating project I've ever been involved in, other than being pregnant with my kids! Just kidding... <BR> <BR> So, to recap: On January 2, my landlords, with my agreement and DH's grudging acceptance, had our kitchen demolished and gutted in order to update it with hickory cabinetry, granite countertops and sink, and new range, microwave and dishwasher. A... Fri, 24 Feb 2012 10:54:27 EST Yes, He's a Keeper <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Happy <em>129</em> Day! Tue, 14 Feb 2012 19:09:12 EST Where Has the Time Gone? It seems to be getting longer and longer between blogs, and yet I can't point to anything specific that is keeping me busy. Of course there are the usual suspects, but Facebook may be one of them, lol. <BR> <BR> I don't think we took any pictures on our last hike, last week, and I only took a couple today...not because it wasn't beautiful, but because I didn't think my Iphone camera could capture it. We were hiking in the clouds today. It was gray and foggy, but we were on top of our fav... Mon, 13 Feb 2012 20:17:37 EST Hiking, Health and What Your Scale Should Say... I actually felt sort of energetic this morning. Got the house clean before my business meeting. It went downhill from there...My hiking buddy is probably going to move back to Indiana at the end of April. <em>46</em> I've hiked solo before, but it isn't as enjoyable, and I'm not as motivated. Between now and then I'm going to have to make an effort to meet some other ladies who hike. I'm going to do my best to enjoy her while I've got her here. Told her she had to fly back once a mont... Tue, 31 Jan 2012 00:04:34 EST Time to Get Down to Business My Winning in Winter BL Challenge team has an assignment this week to list five things we want to accomplish in the remaining five weeks. Seeing all of my teammates fired up and setting amazing goals has me more excited than I would have thought, this far into this journey and bogged down. <BR> <BR> The stark truth is I have been giving lip service to eating right, stubbornly continuing to eat the holiday foods that I stocked in and didn't finish over the holidays, using vacation and hubby'... Thu, 19 Jan 2012 13:34:13 EST First Snowshoe Adventure Here we are at a ski resort town, using a timeshare exchange that was expiring to get away from our house, which (due to an ongoing remodel) lacks water in the kitchen right now. While we wait for the granite countertops to be fabricated, we thought it was a perfect time to slip away. We're also celebrating DH's birthday and our anniversary on Friday. <BR> <BR> So what are a couple of non-skiers to do at a ski resort? Well, on the first day, we got here late-ish and got settled in. On ... Tue, 17 Jan 2012 19:36:10 EST Wimpy in the Wind Well, for the first time, I wimped out on a hike. Got to the area, got the gear on but forgot the snow gaiters. Stepped in a snow drift up to my knees, and went duh! Back to the car for support while I got the yaktrax off and the gaiters on, then the yaktrax back on, all of which had to be done without the bulky gloves on. Then Sarah couldn't get her gaiters fastened, so off came the gloves to do that for her. By that time my fingers were SCREAMING, and I could no longer face the 26 mph w... Thu, 12 Jan 2012 19:59:54 EST Oh, you wanted Christmas photos of Zoey? OK! I just have to say, I have the cutest granddaughter imaginable. You may have one too, but mine's cuter. <em>211</em> <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> Let's start with a pre-Chrismas photo. My twin girls, both with their Dad for the first time since Zoey's birth last March. And of course, the star of the show herself! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> BTW, I post each picture or two separately to avoid losing everything. If the bottom of th... Tue, 3 Jan 2012 13:52:04 EST Post-Christmas, Pre-New Year Does anyone else get frustrated that NOTHING gets done in this week? For years, I've had a habit of starting new business ventures just in time to get sidetracked for holiday plans. But then once Christmas is over, I'm ready to go, and literally everyone else on the planet seems to still be in holiday mode...either on vacation, out of the office, or just holding their breath until New Year's Day is over. <BR> <BR> This year, I forestalled some of this frustration by NOT starting a new bu... Fri, 30 Dec 2011 22:21:06 EST Dear Cheri, re-read this in 10 Weeks OK, girl, you know how to make goals. You begin with the end in mind, determine what is required to reach that, and just do it. But you've been slacking off lately, haven't you? First you got bored with Curves and didn't go as often, and then your club closed for a few weeks. But you didn't replace it...with ANYTHING! <BR> <BR> Sure, you hike once or twice a week, but that's neither enough nor consistent, daily exercise. And you KNOW that if you don't exercise, you only burn about 1450-... Fri, 16 Dec 2011 19:55:47 EST Epic Fail <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Maybe I should have adjusted the recipe for altitude? lol My main upset is I wasted a bottle of oatmeal stout on this mess. The recipe was for Gramercy Tavern old-fashioned gingerbread cake. Instead of one bundt cake, I was hoping for four mini-loaves to give as gifts. <BR> <BR> Oh, and this: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have to wait for the oven ... Thu, 15 Dec 2011 11:52:19 EST Crocheted Ear Warmer Stocking Stuffer It started when I was making my granddaughter a cute little crocheted stocking cap. I should have taken a picture of it before I sent it, darn. When I was done, my hands still wanted to crochet, so I decided to see if I could fashion a face mask for my hikes. Most of me stays toasty warm in layers, but my face is hanging out for the wind to nip at my nose. I managed to make something that works, but before I could wear it, DH demanded I loan it to him to cover his ears while he shoveled s... Sun, 11 Dec 2011 22:33:52 EST Another Cold but Beautiful Hike This is the same trail we took on the first snow day of the season, a park called Mt. Falcon. We went a little further this time, and we took a side trail to a point where the man who used to own all this land had attempted to build a summer home for the presidents of the US. He failed to get enough contributions to finish the home, but at his own expense had the plans made and laid the cornerstone, which still stands. Sadly, his wife died unexpectedly, then his home burned down (the homes... Thu, 8 Dec 2011 22:04:27 EST Three Sisters Sarah (my hiking buddy, friend and business partner) and I have had our eye on this park for a while. Part of the Jefferson County (Colorado) Open Area parks and recreation areas, it is located just outside Evergreen. It's a little higher in elevation than our previous hikes have been, with the exception of Maxwell Falls. I'm working on getting higher and longer, as my goal for next summer is to hike to the top of the Mt. Olympus trail near Salt Lake City with my son. Last time I hiked in... Sat, 3 Dec 2011 14:47:43 EST Snow! I've been joking that this is the only place I've ever lived where the old saying 'if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute' is actually true. And that the weather forecasters here don't have any better track record than they would if they just spun a wheel with all the choices on it. Since before Thanksgiving we have been having unseasonably warm weather, but they've been predicting a big snow storm for today. Well, give them a prize, folks, because it did indeed snow...all last ... Thu, 1 Dec 2011 19:13:58 EST