VHALKYRIE's SparkPeople Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=VHALKYRIE VHALKYRIE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community SparkPeople.com http://assets2.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/logo_spark.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/ Lessons in Natural (Organic) Gardening http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5438405 Home gardening is very challenging for me. I love the idea of supplementing my diet with fresh garden veggies, but it has presented obstacles that I didn't anticipate. When I lived in an apartment, I experimented with container vegetables. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/2/l1286471335.jpg"> <BR> <BR> This was great in the spring, but the summer Georgia temperatures dried out the soil faster than I could maintain. <BR> <BR> We moved into a house, and one of my... Tue, 30 Jul 2013 10:08:11 EST Finding What Fits http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5408390 So far so good with my plan to eat and exercise without too much stress or guidance with numbers. It is certainly harder to know if it's "working," but I'm not bogged down with anxiety about it, either. As I mentioned in my last blog, I know what makes me gain weight, so I just don't eat in a way that makes me do that. <BR> <BR> The biggest struggle is resuming my strength training program. I've mentioned in the past that I am not very good with self direction in this aspect. I know that... Tue, 2 Jul 2013 09:52:46 EST No Numbers Required http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5401639 Eating a lot of the wrong foods, and not exercising enough was a recipe for weight gain. No news flash there! Now that I eat how my body likes and get enough exercise, I seem to eat constantly without gaining weight. I can't eat just anything, though. If I ate pizza, hot dogs and beer, I would be in trouble. Fortunately, I like --and my body likes-- protein, veggies, and a nightly glass of wine. <BR> <BR> I always thought maintenance would be hard, but I actually think it is the easiest... Tue, 25 Jun 2013 18:14:35 EST Calorie Composition Matters http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5400087 Calorie in minus calorie out is intuitive and simple: just move more, eat less. Except body composition it is not simple mathematics, but complex biochemistry. Note: this is ALL a lot more complicated, but some simplification is necessary. The problem is calorie is a calorie oversimplifies to the point where it's no longer valid. Yes, biochem majors, I am aware I am not telling the whole story. <BR> <BR> So what is a calorie? "The amount of energy required to increase the temperature of... Mon, 24 Jun 2013 11:03:38 EST Man of Steel - The Good and Bad http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5399379 Hubs and I went to see "Man of Steel" yesterday. I'll start off with the non-spoiler bottom line first: it was good, but not great. I give it a B- overall because it introduced thought provoking elements to a very old American tale. However, it falls short because it introduced too many ideas, and failed to develop the thoughtful elements in favor of excessive CGI city destruction. <BR> <BR> If you don't like 'spoilers,' then stop here. The Superman story is one very familiar to most of ... Sun, 23 Jun 2013 18:11:02 EST Thank You, Everyone http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5398296 Thank you, everyone, for your support as I grieve the loss of my sweet cat, Sweetie. I am doing much better today, and am slowing coming to inner peace. <BR> <BR> The main thing that I've resolved was my turmoil whether there was any chance of saving her, and we missed it. I mostly second guessed on whether we could have done more. Last night I looked up xray photos of lung cancer on the internet, and they were consistent with what we saw at the vet. This helped to lift the heaviness fro... Sat, 22 Jun 2013 13:07:39 EST Searching For Forgiveness http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5397484 "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~Anatole France <BR> <BR> My husband jokingly calls me the cat whisperer. It is true; it seems I have an affinity and unique bond with cats. I say it is because I was born in the Year of the Tiger. I understand them because I, too, am a cat. <BR> <BR> When we first took Sweetie into our family, it was an adjustment for her. My husband and I disputed over it, but I wanted her to be indoor only from then on. She wa... Fri, 21 Jun 2013 14:46:04 EST Goodbye, My Dear Sweetie http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5396395 Warning: This blog will be quite emotional. It is about having to put my beloved cat Sweetie to sleep. <BR> <BR> As my husband and I were moving into a new apartment back when we lived in Seattle, we had a surprise visitor. An adorable, fluffy cat came to welcome us to the neighborhood as we moved in our boxes. She followed us into our apartment, used my cat's scratching posts, played with toys as though they were for her, then sat in front of the fireplace like she lived there. We fell ... Thu, 20 Jun 2013 14:10:25 EST Here We Go Again http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5395339 There's so much wrong with this study, where do I even begin? <BR> <BR> <link>www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/06/18<BR>/192810562/hot-dogs-bacon-and-red-meat<BR>-tied-to-increased-diabetes-risk?utm_s<BR>ource=npr&utm_medium=facebook&utm_camp<BR>aign=20130618 </link> <BR> <BR> I can't read the original study source because I'm not going to pay for it. So I know the secondary article's conclusions are incomplete, but I'll roll with what is presented. <BR> <BR> One of the big problems is ... Wed, 19 Jun 2013 14:58:08 EST What We Can Learn From Superman http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5393860 Some time ago I wrote about celebrity diets. With exercise and specialized diets from professional trainers, actors and actress can change their shape from super slim to super buff. <BR> <BR> The newest actor to undergo this transformation is Henry Cavill as the "Man of Steel". Here's a snippet of how he trained to be invincible (or at least look that way): <BR> <BR> <link>moviebody.com/henry-cavill-workout-r<BR>outine </link> <BR> <BR> Basically, lifting weights and eating all day. <... Tue, 18 Jun 2013 20:58:11 EST What We Want and What We Need http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5385968 I mentioned in my previous blogs that I attempted veganism once in my past. Some may argue that I wasn't doing it correctly. They would be right. I abandoned it because it is not a lifestyle within my core beliefs. I would never be able to adhere to it. The faux meat substitutes were highly processed foods, and that did not fit with what I wanted for myself. Veganism without faux meat was an even further stretch, and not something that would fit for me either. <BR> <BR> At a later poin... Tue, 11 Jun 2013 15:06:11 EST To The Victor Goes the Spoils (Gardening) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5384720 I am a city girl. Not necessarily metropolitan cities, but I have never lived in a rural community or a farm. I grew up thinking of food as something you buy in a grocery store. My family never did much backyard gardening because the soil and climate in Colorado was terrible for crop plants. <BR> <BR> I do not have much experience with plants. House plants tend not to live very long in my care. If I underwater plants, they turn yellow and die. But confoundedly, if I overwater them, the... Mon, 10 Jun 2013 15:10:26 EST Would You Eat This? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5382618 Most people are familiar with the concept of "Soylent Green" even if they haven't seen the movie. In a fictional dystopian world plagued with overpopulation, pollution, and food scarcity, Soylent Green is the main nutritional food stuff of the future. It's a renewable food source that is the solution to feeding a hungry world. The shocker is what Soylent Green is really made of, which I won't give away here for those who might not have seen it. <BR> <BR> The movie was based on a book from... Sat, 8 Jun 2013 16:44:22 EST Whom Do I Believe? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5380461 "There is so much conflicting information out there on what diet is best. Whom do I believe?" <BR> <BR> "Is my diet really the best for me?" <BR> <BR> "I think I am making an informed decision, but how do I know?" <BR> <BR> I once believed that the low-fat diet was the tried and true healthy diet. It was scientifically sound (supposedly). However, on closer inspection, a few key principles fell apart. The United States has become fatter and unhealthier since the government began pushin... Thu, 6 Jun 2013 14:50:01 EST A Diet By Any Other Name http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5378143 I read this article from Scientific American discussing the flaws with the paleo diet this morning. <BR> <BR> <link>www.scientificamerican.com/article.c<BR>fm?id=why-paleo-diet-half-baked-how-hu<BR>nter-gatherer-really-eat </link> <BR> <BR> Though I disagree with the article's conclusions, I thought it was a good read. I regularly seek articles with viewpoints different than mine because past experience has shown me my beliefs haven't always been right. <BR> <BR> At one time I irrefut... Tue, 4 Jun 2013 15:46:31 EST Why Philosophy? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5375536 I wrote in my blog yesterday that I was taking a philosophy course this summer. I have transferred my college credits to a new university, but I need to take a few core classes that weren't required at my previous university. Philosophy was an option for my humanities requirement, but there is another reason that has to do with someone who inspired me. <BR> <BR> I graduated high school in the top 10% of my class, and like many of my classmates, I went directly into college. I chose to go ... Sun, 2 Jun 2013 12:00:47 EST Second Spin in College http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5374870 A few months ago, a Spark friend asked me to write about how my second spin at college is going. I wrote about why I'm going back to school in a previous blog, so I won't go into it in detail in here. In a nutshell, I've been working on my degree off and on for a long time. <BR> <BR> I recently transferred my credits to a local university and have been taking classes since January. I'm obviously not the typical student. I actually have 95% of my Junior and Senior level classes completed.... Sat, 1 Jun 2013 18:18:41 EST Cooking is my Salvation http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5372893 Hello, Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> I just noticed I wrote my last blog about needing to keep writing...then I stopped writing. Oops. <BR> <BR> As you may remember, I am a big fan of Michael Pollan. I've been reading his newest book, "Cooked." As usual, Pollan's writing is invoking self reflection and chock full of concepts to think about. I mentioned in my last blog that I'm taking a philosophy course, and Pollan's book is surprisingly dovetailing with my class. The age old philosophical q... Thu, 30 May 2013 19:16:25 EST I Must Keep Writing http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5356030 I survived my finals, and I'm back! I'm getting an A and a B for my classes, and I can't complain too much about that. I have a short break until I start the summer sessions next week. I'll be taking philosophy and global economics courses. <BR> <BR> I have to admit that I didn't do so great sticking to my routine in the past few weeks. My eating is the same as always, but I fell off the wagon with my exercise. I've been feeling like a blob. Yesterday I got into my workout clothes and t... Tue, 14 May 2013 08:54:33 EST Away Until May http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5331714 Things are going great so far with my body reboot. I've only been able to get two strength training workout days in per week, so it's going to take a little longer to see gains there. However, my low intensity cardio and low grain diet are doing a good job of trimming fat off. Lift heavy things and lots of slow movement, ya know? The scale hasn't changed much, but I have seen a noticeable change in my measurements. <BR> <BR> I'm going to be off Spark for the next couple of weeks, though.... Mon, 22 Apr 2013 12:12:57 EST Not So TGIF http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5328911 What a crazy Friday. <BR> <BR> I woke up this morning to headlines that a MIT officer and one suspected Boston Marathon bomber was dead, and the other was on the loose. Friends in Boston were posting on Facebook that they were all told to stay home, and posted surreal pictures of empty streets or armed officers outside their windows. National Guard troops were on the way to assist in the manhunt. <BR> <BR> I'm reading stories about how the dead bomber wrote that he 'didn't understand Amer... Fri, 19 Apr 2013 16:43:08 EST A Winning Formula http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5327607 I should do a better job of keeping my progress photos up to date. The before pictures aren't quite at the start of my strength training program, but close. Here is where I am at to date in my body re-sculpting goal. <BR> <BR> I am a pear shape, so my changes happen in my upper body first. I can see my arms and overall girth in my upper torso shrinking. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/1/l1198751404.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Biceps are appearing! Arm circumference is de... Thu, 18 Apr 2013 12:40:17 EST New Rules: Workout 4 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5326698 Yesterday was supposed to be a low intensity 'rest' day, but it became action packed. I took an easy 8.5 mile bike ride early in the morning and thought I'd call it done, but then DH came home and said he wanted to ride. I was so thrilled he wanted to exercise, I agreed to accompany him, even though I completed my miles earlier in the day. <BR> <BR> I logged another 8.5 miles. I was exhausted. I told DH to let me know if he wanted this to be a regular thing so I don't end up over doing i... Wed, 17 Apr 2013 17:08:13 EST Not a Runner, But Now I Want to Run http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5325262 I am not a runner. I played soccer in high school, but that is mostly sprinting. It's very different than endurance long distance runs. A friend tried to convince me to join the track team with her and I said forget it. Running isn't something I enjoy. I never have. It is a shame in a way because the only equipment one needs are a pair of shoes. <BR> <BR> When I became obese, I never considered running as something I wanted to do. I know I don't like it, so I wasn't going to force mys... Tue, 16 Apr 2013 13:16:56 EST Research Papers, Workouts, and BBQ Lunch http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5324302 This morning I got my research paper back and I received a 97%! I made a few minor errors in my citation format. I talked with my professor after class about it so I know the correct way for the next time. He made a comment that he was very disappointed with the majority of the papers, and mine was one of the few that had proper citations. I used only books and scientific journals, but not web pages. The syllabus specifically said that five of the sources needed to be peer reviewed publi... Mon, 15 Apr 2013 18:26:51 EST Weekly Recap, and the Week Ahead http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5322557 Terrific! Apparently I gave my body the right kind of exercise stimulus and nutrition last week, and it has let go a full 1% of bodyfat this morning! <BR> <BR> Using a bioimpedence device to measure my bodyfat can fluctuate as much as scale weight, so I use a moving average to 'smooth' the variations. Last week I averaged about 28.6% bodyfat. This morning I recorded 27.6%. I am 0.5 inch down on my waist. <BR> <BR> <em>9</em> <BR> <BR> This means the trend is going down - it's wor... Sun, 14 Apr 2013 08:43:24 EST Composition and Quality of Food Matters http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5321711 When discussing the obesity problem in America, the topic of portion sizes always comes up. While I agree that portion sizes are too big, saying we are eating too much is an oversimplification. <BR> <BR> I gained 40lbs from overeating at mediocre American chain restaurants. My typical day comprised of a sausage egg McMuffin for breakfast; double quarter pounder with supersized fries and regular Coke for lunch; nachos, fajitas and an El Presidente margarita at Chili's for dinner. I put thi... Sat, 13 Apr 2013 10:58:32 EST New Rules: Day After Workout 2 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5319600 Today I have a nice upper body DOMS going on, mostly in the trapezius, deltoids, triceps, pectorals, obliques, and latissimus dorsi. Basically the back and shoulders, which is great! I need the strength there, so it's going to the right place! I think I have the right exertion level. I'm sore, but not too sore to raise my arms or pick up the cat. <BR> <BR> I'm thinking about what I want to get out of weight training. I mostly want to be better, stronger, faster. <BR> <BR> <img src="ht... Thu, 11 Apr 2013 11:49:59 EST New Rules: Workout 2 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5318943 A few of you have mentioned that I should use a visual guide to estimate my bodyfat percentage. Here is a picture that I've used before: <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/3/0/l302755798.jpg"> <BR> <BR> I'm roughly between the 25-30% girls, except I don't have that figure. If I looked like that, then I'd be done! They carry the weight in all the right places with a pretty thin looking waist. Now imagine reducing their fabulous bustline by half, then distributing th... Wed, 10 Apr 2013 21:41:19 EST New Rules: Day After Workout 1 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5316976 Today I'm feeling a little DOMS in my abductors, obliques and trapezius, most likely due to the side plank, plank with pull and elevated pushups from yesterday. The book says that Phase I is about strengthening core, so it seems I am on track. I guess I expected full body soreness and was 'disappointed' - I really wanted to get my butt whooped - lol. I'm going to thumb through the book today and see what I can pump up for tomorrow because maybe I didn't pick the right options for that to h... Tue, 9 Apr 2013 10:14:52 EST New Rules: Workout 1 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5316065 Before I describe my first workout, I want to discuss why I am doing this, and what I am hoping to achieve from it. <BR> <BR> A few months ago, I was in a workout/diet rut. I achieved 'goal weight,' reversed all my warning signs of metabolic syndrome and have maintained it for almost two years. That was the primary objective, but if I'm honest, I'm not really happy with my shape. I was kind of stuck on what to do next, though. <BR> <BR> I spent so much time focusing on trying to get to... Mon, 8 Apr 2013 15:31:49 EST Workout B and the Diet http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5314466 I read through the diet section of the NRLL book last night, and I realized that I only put together the Workout "A" section of the program. I forgot to fill in Workout "B"! How the program works is you do Workout A/B on alternating days with rest days in between. I'm going to start a M-W-F schedule starting tomorrow. <BR> <BR> So here is Workout "B" <BR> <BR> RAMP - Warmups <BR> <BR> CORE: <BR> Plank 2x30 (seconds) <BR> Side Plank and Row 2x10 <BR> <BR> POWER: <BR> Dumbbell push press... Sun, 7 Apr 2013 10:06:52 EST My Body Rebels Against Me http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5313949 When I say calorie in minus calorie out doesn't work for me, I mean it. My body will adapt my metabolism to nearly any input I give it. In my past two years of maintenance, I've learned a lot about how my body responds. <BR> <BR> If I decrease calories and increase exercise, I get sleepy. That's my body trying to preserve my calories so I use less fuel. How do I reverse this? I have to eat. Almost immediately after I eat, I feel more alert. Whenever I feel my energy dragging or needin... Sat, 6 Apr 2013 20:03:48 EST The New Program - Input Welcome! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5313603 I've finished reading through the "how to design your workout" part of "New Rules of Lifting for Life" and I've come up with a rough plan for the first 4 weeks of Phase 1. <BR> <BR> RAMP - warmup exercises and stretches <BR> <BR> CORE: (sets/reps) <BR> Stability: Side Plank 2x30 (seconds) <BR> Dynamic Stability: Plank and Pulldown 2x10 <BR> <BR> POWER: <BR> Lower body: Bodyweight jump squats 2x5 <BR> <BR> STRENGTH: <BR> Squat: Goblet squat 2x15 5lbs <BR> Pull: Standing cable row 2x15 (Mod... Sat, 6 Apr 2013 11:48:59 EST What Worked This Week http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5312699 I haven't started the "New Rules" program yet, but so far I'm digging the philosophy. Just reading the intro paragraphs of "New Rules of Lifting for Life" hit salient points for me: <BR> <BR> - "The math and physiology appear simple only if you refuse to acknowledge complexity. There are too many individual metabolic variations, and they're too poorly understood. Then, when you look at weight loss from the behavioral side, you see an equally complex set of variables." <BR> <BR> - "People... Fri, 5 Apr 2013 13:51:11 EST Thursday Update http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5311920 Even though I had a lot to get done, I still took a walk this morning. I actually made a lot of revisions on my paper in my head. <BR> <BR> <em>311</em> <BR> <BR> My paper is done! I wish I had mentioned my topic earlier because you all had some really good input! I made my final revisions last night and today, and I'm ready to turn it in. At least, I'm at the point where I don't want to read it again because I know I'll want to change something, and I just want to leave well enough ... Thu, 4 Apr 2013 21:13:46 EST Mid Week Status http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5309933 I was hoping to get a good workout today, but this morning I'm still feeling a little stiffness and burn in my hamstrings and shoulders. I'm going to rest them out another day. I don't feel comfortable doing nothing, though, so I'm going to take a walk around my neighborhood. <BR> <BR> I've been having trouble sleeping, and I think my afternoon tea is the problem. I'm a slow sipper, and I tend to drink the same cup over a period of hours. I'm going to have to make sure that I'm not drink... Wed, 3 Apr 2013 09:47:01 EST Nutrients, Not Calories http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5308778 Since I've restructured my plan for body recomposition rather than weight loss, I've been doing a lot of things 'backwards' to what I was taught about dieting and exercise. <BR> <BR> I'm not focusing on calorie consumption or expenditure; I'm focusing on nutrients. <BR> <BR> Long time Sparkfriends will recall my old spreadsheets where I diligently tracked the composition of every single morsel I ate. I've reorganized my spreedsheet for lean mass training rather than weight loss. There's n... Tue, 2 Apr 2013 11:15:23 EST A Story About April Fool's Day http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5308127 On April Fool's day, many people think about whoopie cushions and pranks. This is what I think of on April Fool's day: <BR> <BR> 3 years ago, my then-fiance "D" and I lived in Seattle. We had a very good life there and were very happy, but unfortunately "D" was laid off. After a very stressful six months of unemployment, he finally got a job offer in Savannah, so we had a cross country move ahead of us. His new employer sent movers to pack up our stuff, so since we didn't have to do any ... Mon, 1 Apr 2013 21:54:46 EST Let's Do This! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5307464 I've been freaking out since last Friday when I took my Calc exam. I was certain that I bombed it. When we got the test, I couldn't solve the first problem. It's not that I blanked or couldn't do it, but the question as posed was unsolvable without a calculator because of the complex roots, and we aren't allowed calculators. I took one look at it, and skipped it to finish the rest of the exam instead. <BR> <BR> It was a good strategy. The professor threw out the question because he made... Mon, 1 Apr 2013 11:55:55 EST Muscle Memory and Fast Gains http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5306129 Week 1 down, and it went fast. My little 4lb weight that was making my arms scream during Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred is too light for me today. I'm doing double the pushups in good form compared to last Sunday. I admit they are the girly on the knees pushups, but I am aiming for a regular military pushup! <BR> <BR> My weight is up by 1lb, but I'm not trying to force my mass to a certain number. I'm just doing what needs to be done, and see where it falls. <BR> <BR> Trust me. I'm ea... Sun, 31 Mar 2013 09:44:40 EST If You Want It, You Make It Work http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5305341 This week I didn't have time for workouts. <BR> <BR> I made time. <BR> <BR> 1 minute to get in my workout clothes, 20 minutes to work my circuits, then 5 minutes in the shower. A blip in the radar. Everything that I needed to do later in the day got done. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/4/l245956312.jpg"> <BR> <BR> I didn't have a lot of time to prepare meals, and going through the fast food lane was awfully tempting. But how long does it take to shred lettuc... Sat, 30 Mar 2013 12:28:12 EST When the Scale No Longer Applies http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5304560 Woohoo!! It's Friday, ladies and gents! <BR> <BR> <em>409</em> <em>410</em> <BR> <BR> The theme of my blogs this week has been scales do not apply. At this stage in my fitness, I don't care what the scale says. It's not going to tell me if I'm meeting my objective. I'm at a healthy weight and bodyfat percentage. That's pretty awesome. <BR> <BR> But what if I want to firm up and tone up? <BR> <BR> Losing weight and losing fat isn't enough. I need to get buff. And if I get buff... Fri, 29 Mar 2013 16:24:25 EST You Want It, You Do It http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5301857 Many people have very unrealistic expectations about weight loss. <BR> <BR> Myself included. <BR> <BR> Back when I weighed 160, the number on the scale was all that mattered. When you have a lot of weight to lose, it is probably a good enough measure. But if you keep going, eventually body composition is what matters, and that isn't measured on a bathroom scale. <BR> <BR> For the movie "Black Swan," Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman both lost about 20lbs for their roles. These women were a... Wed, 27 Mar 2013 10:42:37 EST You Don't Sweat, You Don't Lose Weight http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5300971 Some of you are very perceptive. My 'retirement' was due in part to getting my feelings hurt. <BR> <BR> Ok, so maybe retirement isn't for me. I'm over it. I've got something to say. <BR> <BR> I've been a member of Spark for a very long time. I've seen people come and go, either because they met their goal, or because they gave up in frustration. <BR> <BR> Everyone has an opinion on how to lose weight. <BR> <BR> - Exercise more, eat less. <BR> - Don't undereat, don't over exercise. <BR... Tue, 26 Mar 2013 15:36:11 EST Semi Retiring From Spark http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5297562 I've been contemplating this for a while, but today I decided that it was time. <BR> <BR> I'm not going to be actively blogging anymore. I'll still read and comment on other blogs and respond to mail, but I'm not going to be writing much. <BR> <BR> The reasons are varied. One is because I've been struggling with topics to write about. I don't want to say that I've outgrown Spark, but I'm having difficulty seeing how it fits with my current lifestyle and objectives. Another is that I'm u... Sat, 23 Mar 2013 19:56:24 EST Fitness and Health Nut http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5297074 Sometimes non scale victories are implicit and subtle acknowledgments from strangers. <BR> <BR> Back in my obese days, I loathed the thought of exercise. You'd never catch me with a thighmaster or a Jane Fonda workout video! I swore that I'd never eat carrots and celery for lunch. <BR> <BR> "Life is too short to eat rabbit food!" was my motto. <BR> <BR> Oh, how things have changed. <BR> <BR> The other day I was in a shopping center. I stopped to browse a section of fitness videos that ... Sat, 23 Mar 2013 10:38:46 EST Hoisting Sails http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5295853 As I wrote in my last blog, I reached my goal weight and I've roughly maintained it within +/- 5lbs for about 1.5 years now. Yesterday I had my blood pressure taken and it was 115/56. Score! Low end of normal. Starting point was 138/86. The longer I stay at a healthy weight, the better my vitals become. The body heals if you give it proper care. I've slowly reversed the damage I caused. I achieved my primary objective of better health and lifestyle. But now what? <BR> <BR> One rea... Fri, 22 Mar 2013 07:23:37 EST Why Isn't My Stomach More Flat? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5294735 This past week I've had a return of an old anxiety. <BR> <BR> Why isn't my stomach more flat? <BR> <BR> These are my non-scale accomplishments: <BR> <BR> -I've come a long way since my 160lbs obese days. The muffin top and side rolls are gone. So relative to then, it is flatter. <BR> <BR> - I'm stronger and more capable. When we moved from a 3rd floor apartment to our house, little ole 5' me was hauling 25lb boxes full of books down those stairs like an iron woman. <BR> <BR> - I no lo... Thu, 21 Mar 2013 09:12:22 EST What My Vegan Friend and I Have in Common http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5292363 I have a dear friend who is vegan. She and I used to have lunch at a vegetarian/vegan cafe in Seattle where I would happily eat a vegan meal with her, even though I am an unabashed omnivore. This wasn't your normal vegetarian/vegan cafe, though - it was gourmet. Seriously. People in the PacNW can do veggie dishes right. Instead of weird tofu concoctions designed to be meat substitutes, they use -- vegetables! If I ever were to be vegetarian, Seattle would have been the easiest place to ... Tue, 19 Mar 2013 12:10:18 EST