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Our Driveway Winter 2005

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Warning: I call a spade a spade, use humor as coping mechanism, and am painfully straightforward. If this isn't your gig, best move on...

March 2011:
Why do I stop? Every time I come back to Spark, I think 'wow, what a great site!'. Reading other people's stories helps me. Listening to other people's struggles helps me. Tracking my progress helps me.

So what's the problem???

This whole human thing has its down side....

I was surprised to see when I logged in today - after not being here for a very long time - that I'm actually 15 lbs lighter than I was when I started out. That's happy news. But it's not the main point of me being here. It's not about the numbers, it's about health. And how I feel about myself.

Which, generally speaking, isn't great.

There are two things that have changed since my last go-round.

First, my husband had two stents put ian back in June 2010. While our diet has always been significantly better than the average American's (I'll be posting a blog entry on what our diet looked like), there was still room for improvement. I love cooking and am happy to report that we are now both getting a variety of veg in our daily diets.

Oh, I just thought of a third thing! And I've not even gotten to the second! Ack!

Ok, the second thing is that I developed atrial fibrillation after spine surgery in October 2009. While this is a mechanical issue (rather than one influenced by diet or weight), I believe it makes sense to get my heart and body in better condition. So that's motivated me back onto the treadmill regularly.

The third thing: I've had IBS-D for decades. Last August I mentioned to my PCP how I felt chained to my toilet because of the IBS-D.

He said start eating an avocado a day and taking 2 billion cfus of l.acidophilus a day.


I stopped at the store on the way home, bought some avocados and acidophilus, and starting THAT DAY, my gut was better. 'Better' as in I didn't have to go six times in one morning. 'Better' as in not having to get up 2 hours before I had to leave the house because I didn't know what kind of day it was going to be.

I hadn't ever bought an avocado before.

I typically am known for keeping up on all sorts of natural and holistic remedies. And I'd never heard of this avocado thing. I knew about acidophilus of course (I make my own yogurt sometimes).

I was happily humbled by my PCP's knowledge, and very grateful he shared it with me.

I'm going to write a blog entry on the specifics, so look there if you have this problem yourself.

The main thing is that I'm back here. I'm starting to track my food intake. And my exercise. I love the reports now available on bp and resting heart rate and such. These make it easy to go back and look at what I was doing when I was progressing nicely, and also to see what I was doing when I wasn't making good progress. Mapping food to stress to self esteem to exercise to bp to weight loss = more data for better success.

November 2009:
Here we go again. I fell off the wagon but good during the past several months, all emotional eating due in part to fear regarding some spine surgery I needed. That went better than great, doc says I'm ahead of schedule in healing. Now it's time to get back to Spark and stay here.

There are a couple of Spark-lers I use as motivation and inspiration. You know who you are, you've stuck with it and been successful at reaching all sorts of goals.

So I'm back to tracking my food and starting to move my body.

March 2009: Update
Sigh. Well, what's that they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? When I started SparkPeople in June 2008, I needed to lose weight and tried to use the wake-up call from my friend's illness to get me on track.

Only I ended up gaining 18 pounds between that time and February 2009. Big sigh. I ended up spending 4 days out of every 14 days with her in MD, taking care of her after chemo, through the end of December 2008. Her diet stinks, to be frank. So I had access to tons of crappy food. Junk food, over processed food, high fat food, take out food. The stress of seeing her ill and taking care of her was more than I had expected, and I used food for comfort.

So, I joined Weight Watchers locally and have lost 11 pounds as of 3/24/09. It's something, but I keep thinking if I'd only really stuck with Spark People back in June - I'm not even done losing the weight I gained since then. Hard to feel accomplished.

I spend a lot of time alone for a variety of reasons, not all my choosing. I miss social interaction. The WW meetings are ok, but they are only an hour out of my week. I'm starting to make friends with one woman, but it takes time to build friendships.

Which is why I'm back to SparkPeople. Just seeing the success of other people with similar amounts of weight to lose, in my age range - that motivates me tremendously. Connecting with people from various geographical areas is interesting, too. I've learned so much from different groups in SparkPeople, too - calorie cycling, which seems to make sense; HFCS issues; controlling emotional eating; the list goes on.

My biggest challenge at the moment is getting my head together and starting some daily physical activity.

I feel really good about how I've changed my diet (as in daily food consumption, not necessarily weight loss related). I am eating more vegetables than ever before, and new ones (to me), too. I had already stopped eating most red meat. I was stunned the first night I 'let loose' and didn't count calories or points of what I was eating while I was eating it - I went to enter everything later in my food tracker and I couldn't believe how many calories I'd eaten, and it was less than I would have eaten if I wasn't tracking at all!

As for who I am not related to weight loss:
Grew up without any pets. Have made up for lost time since then. Have a herd of cats and 3 dogs (all of whom are fixed and indoors). Am involved in a volunteer group which helps provide low cost spay and neuter for cats and dogs. You can see my mutts at
Am not religious. Am very spiritual. I don't push my beliefs on others and I expect the same respect from them.
I'm a very liberal politically, very conservative financially.
I'm childless by choice. Never regretted that decision.
I have a few physical problems, like chronic pain, IBD, and endometriosis. The endo is controlled by continuous BCP post-surgery to remove the growths.
I tend to be a perfectionist and over-do things, which ends up leaving me feeling overwhelmed and I give up. I have to remind myself that things do not need to get intricately complicated in order to work right.
I'm impatient with my weight-loss, even though I believe and know that this is a life change, not a diet.
I'm knowledgeable in the areas of alternative medicine, veterinary medicine, and biology in general. Things I learn in these areas tend to stick with me, I have an instinct when figuring out physiological problems.
As easily as those things stick with me, I appear to have a big empty spot in my brain where history should stick. To be honest (and Southerners, please try to stay calm here), I really never remembered which sides Grant and Lee were on til I moved to VA. Who knew Virginia was this 'southern'? Well, mark my words, I know sort of struck me as something I should remember during my first winter here, when during a party at my house, I overheard one older man, very Southern, in my kitchen referring to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression. I really thought he was kidding, but when I looked at him, well, I knew I had better remember who was who. See how naive some of us Yankees are?
My husband, on the other hand, is greatly interested in history, particularly the Civil War. He was raised in CA, so he's not a born and bred Yankee like me. But let me be clear that I really love living where I do!
This is my second and last marriage. After going back to my maiden name (what an archaic term!) after my divorce, I said I was going to leave this planet with the same name I came into it with. So, my last name is different than second husband's, which still causes no end of confusion at the vet's and doctor's office. I think some might think we aren't really married.
Despite how serious the tone of this intro sounds, I really have an excellent sense of humor and see humor in almost every situation. What doesn't kill me will make for a good story. Always.
I believe everyone has a story, and I want to hear it. I love hearing how people have evolved over time, have adapted to unexpected changes, the lessons they've learned, the paths they've walked.
It probably comes as no surprise at this point to know that I enjoy a very diverse group of friends.

Ok, this is way too long as it is. That's the last thing I'll write about myself: that I write really long emails. I type fast, I think fast, so if you and I become Spark Friends, just be prepared for some lengthy ones. I don't expect the same from my friends, though, so no worries.

June 2008: A close friend's serious illness has given me a wake-up call, and I have already started to make some improvements in my lifestyle. I think having a support group can be helpful, and setting goals in writing is useful for me - helps me be accountable to something outside myself.

Member Since: 6/29/2008

Fitness Minutes: 867

My Goals:
Increase % of diet which is vegetables. Done - 06/2010

Track my food intake daily.

Track my bp and heart rate daily.

Cardio 30 minutes 5x a week.

Break 200 pounds.

Increase % of diet which is lean protein.

Decrease use of sugar.

My Program:
Track everything I eat and drink using Spark

Lots of water

Frequently visit the pages of Spark member who have been successful over the long term

Use a large cup of hot tea to help my stomach feel fuller

NO artificial sweeteners, because they impede my weight loss and cause weight gain

Avoid all commercially made cakes & cookies because they trigger cravings

Listen to Guided Imagery & Affirmations (by Belleruth Naparstek) for weight loss

Avoid processed, ready-made, nutritionally poor foods

Stick with foods as close to their natural state as possible

Learn about emotional eating so I can change my ways permanently

Personal Information:
My name is Mary, I live in rural central VA. Born in spring of 1962, do the math. Moved here in 2002 after living in crowded, metropolitan NJ near NYC all my life. Love living a rural life. Have a great husband, cats and dogs, and wonderful friends. Am dedicated to animals. Have constant, chronic back pain which was not part of my plan, but I'm dealing with it.

Other Information:
Enjoy reading mysteries, esp old British ones; enjoy cozies, too.
Listen to audiobooks constantly, while cooking or treadmilling or whatever.
Love to cook and bake, esp for others. View recipes as suggestions, never follow one exactly; generally adapt them to be lower fat and healthier.
Like to knit, but haven't kept up on it as much as I'd like.
Spiritual but NOT religious - 'One Truth, Many Paths'.

Read More About FANCIMCG - Profile Information moved here. (Updated March 6)

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  • v EMMABE1
    Thank you for your comments on my page - You look to be going well too - How are the Mutz?? I guess they are doing OK!!
    Take care - live healthy!!
    2587 days ago
  • v TRACIEO3
    Thanks for the friend add, I have added you too. I skimmed through your bio and I find it very interesting that both you and I work with animals( I am the volunteer coordinator for my local animal shelter) and we both have cats and dogs and we both keep going away and coming back to Spark! Match made in heaven! I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE affirmations.........and honesty, sometimes it is hardest to be honest with ourselves!
    Tracie emoticon
    2604 days ago
  • v EMMABE1
    Hi Sparkfriend emoticon
    Just dropped by to see how things are going with you?
    3210 days ago
  • v KIERAE
    Thanks for stopping by my page and I love your bumper stickers! I get teased a bit for some of mine too. I am adding you to my friends. Don't hesitate to holler if I can help out in any way! emoticon
    3311 days ago
    Hi.....I just found your page and enjoyed the reading and the pics of your pets. I'm Myrna and I'm an EE teammate from Kentucky. I consider myself to be a southerner although some Kentuckians might beg to differ on that point. I wish you the best on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
    3311 days ago
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