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Basically Starting Over

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My daughter is in her fourth week of taking care of my parents. At the end of the second week, she called me from her car, crying. It was more than she thought, but is happy with her choice and doing a marvelous job. She does not regret her decision a single bit.

I am almost starting over. I now weigh only 3-4 pounds less than when I started Spark People in July 2012. It's October, and I'm finally taking walks again. The snow will start flying in a month. Better late than never. The next thing I have to do is start tracking my food. I started tracking exercise a week ago. I've started reading posts from my Spark teams. I'm starting to feel like a human being again.

Went to the doctor today because I ran out of blood pressure meds. That's the first time I've been in that clinic for a year. But been there dozens of times for my parents. Not to mention the specialist visits 50 miles away.

My daughter is starting a blog. There is so much to write about. She was probably inspired by some of my blogs in SP. They made her laugh so hard. She has oodles more stories to tell because she spends so much time with them. It was sweet stopping in there after my doctor appointment to see her serving a meal to them in their recliners in the living room. Serving them hand and foot.

Thanks for your support. I read all your comments and appreciate your likes on my Activity Feed even though it seems I'm not there.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHA-ANN 10/22/2014 5:03AM

    Welcome back emoticon

Life throws so much at us it's easy to get burned out, your daughter has things in hand and you can now get back to caring about yourself.
Stay positive, you CAN do it. emoticon

Thinking of you all emoticon

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RDEE22 10/21/2014 8:02PM

    Lovely to see you back. I have missed you!! emoticon

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JACKIEWALKS4FUN 10/21/2014 7:46PM

    I was happy to see you on the feed, glad you are sparking again.
Hard to keep moving sometimes when life gets in the way. Your daughter sounds like an angel.
Is she going to have a spark blog?
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CBRINKLEY401 10/21/2014 7:31PM

    You've been dealing with quite a lot lately. It's no surprise you were burned out. We all struggle with this. I joined in Feb 2012, hoping that at least by the end of 2012 I'd be at my goal weight. NOPE. I'm still not far from where I started, was on a plateau for a year. It's hard to balance everything. I need to exercise more - and have been doing so, but when I do, then other things get neglected instead.
So glad you are back once again taking care of yourself. Hopefully we both can make some progress with what's left of this year.

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Perhaps Coming to Life

Friday, September 05, 2014

I dropped out of action the past few months because I'm getting burned out. I knew it would eventually come to this, I just didn't know when. Still, my mind has been with SP all the time. Just taking my parents to the doctor has been a part-time job for all practical purposes.

My daughter has been worrying about me and got an "aha!" moment. She handed in her resignation at work and will begin taking care of my parents full time in a few weeks. We can let the agencies and other helpers go, they are making tweaks in their personal affairs, and she will be the one case manager for them, doing all the housework, finances, medical, shopping and cooking, etc. With all THAT, I will have to pitch in at times, and confer with her at times. She wants me to get a break, and the only way to do it is to take over. Now my parents will pay her instead of all these other people and me. I need the time, not the money. I am one of the fortunate few who doesn't need to work, but here I was with the most difficult of jobs. I can see why there are nursing homes, but my daughter is still adamant that they will not go there until it is absolutely necessary. It was becoming absolutely necessary because I reached the end of my rope this summer.

I don't know if this will mean I will jump back into SP like I was before. It seems I will need a time for recuperation where I will do nothing but the easy route with just about everything in my life. BUT - there's a ray of hope and I see some positive changes in my behavior already.

I love coming back to see what everyone else is doing, and you're still Sparking! That is awesome and a source of comfort and support knowing you will always be there. And Inspiration. Reading your blogs and seeing your progress is exciting!

Take Care Everyone! Hope to see you soon!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHA-ANN 9/6/2014 9:05AM

    Lovely to hear from you.
Take care of yourself and have a wonderful break.
We're always here if you need us emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/6/2014 9:06:33 AM

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RDEE22 9/6/2014 7:22AM

    Get some rest and recuperation for you. emoticon

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MICKEYH 9/5/2014 11:41AM

    So glad to see you back and reading your blog. Take your time to recover from all the stress. You need to relax first and rejuvenate then you will be ready. emoticon

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JACKIEWALKS4FUN 9/5/2014 11:11AM

    Oh, I am so glad your daughter will be helping. Sure sounds like you need a break to recover from all this. Stop by anytime will be here when you need us. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CBRINKLEY401 9/5/2014 10:46AM

    You have a wonderful daughter. So glad you are getting a much needed break and can take some time to take care of yourself.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

I am super busy so am keeping a low profile while still being involved. The task for this period of life is keeping good habits up when the chips are down. When I get harried, I don't plan (i.e. pack meals for when I'm on the run). Yesterday, I spent the whole day on my parents, including taking a car in for repairs in a metropolitan area far from my pastoral rural domicile. But the people were nice.

On my Spark page, both on the landing page and in my photos, I have flowers with what appears to be little bees on them. I wondered what they were. I found out when reading a book on companion plants this morning. Actually, they are insects that we do want to attract to our gardens! They are called hoverflies. They are a family of insects. Mine are a particular type. Other hoverflies look more like bumble bees than mine do.

In the book, they merely described them, but they did it so well, I knew I'd found my answer. I just had to go online for a short jaunt to find photos of them. There is a link at the bottom of this blog if you are curious.

Here are some of my hoverflies. On my Spark Page, I called them bees.

I believe these are hoverflies. They are wonderful pollinators and attack aphids, leafhoppers, caterpillars, thrips, corn earworms, and mealybugs. They need nectar so are flower lovers. If you think they are something other than hoverflies, please let me know.

Here is a violet. They are currently blooming. There is a little bed of them on the walkway to our patio. I took this photo on Monday.

Lastly, I will throw in some perfectly spherical water drops on my newly emerging bleeding hearts about three weeks ago.

I will be around, although you may not know it much. I am still caregiver to 4 people, and I feel it now! My life is going to start getting more hectic over the next few weeks. Thank goodness for gardening! It's a relaxing source of good exercise. I burned 1,190 calories earlier this week, on Tuesday. All in one day. So even though I'm not out running marathons, and appear rather staid in how I go about my fitness, I'm burning serious calories. Later on when the garden is farther along, I will start walking more.

Thanks for stopping!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAM.1 6/9/2014 9:15PM

  Lovely photos.

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PEGGYO 5/31/2014 10:16AM

    beautiful pictures

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MARTHA-ANN 5/30/2014 4:20AM

    Beautiful flowers, hoverflies are wonderful, there are over 280 species of it in England, they're great little insects for the garden.
Take care, missed you emoticon

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MICKEYH 5/29/2014 4:54PM

    You have a beautiful garden. Glad that the gardening is helping you relax a bit. Best wishes for your care of people. emoticon emoticon

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CBRINKLEY401 5/29/2014 4:44PM

    The pics of your flowers are great. Take care of yourself. I know how it is when things get busy.

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Movement Reset

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dr. Mickey starts out by emphasizing that a little means a lot. Just "1 degree" of increased effort can make a difference.

The simplest way to speed up your metabolism is by increasing your regular daily activity and exercising a little more each day. A fantastic benefit of exercise is that it will increase your metabolism for up to 12 hours postworkout! Exercising and leading an active lifestyle do wonders for the metabolism.

Thermogenic Effect of Exercise (TEE)

Mode - what kind of exercise you do
Duration - how long you exercise
Frequency - how often
Time of day - a.m. versus p.m.
Quantity - Amount each day
Type - strength training with free weights, body weight or machines versus cardio exercise
Sequence - what you do first and what follows
Intensity - how easy or difficult

Mistakes That Sabotage:

Not committing to regular exercise
Not having the right reasons
Using the wrong mode for your goals
Exercising at too high intensity
Routine that is too short or too long
Wrong location or time of day

Guide to Revving Your Metabolism

1. Exercise in the morning. If you exercise in the morning, you will reap the entire day.
2. Make your cardiovascular sessions at least 30 minutes. The first 12-15 minutes is taken up with sugar burning. After 15 minutes there is a transition from sugar to fat burning. After 30 minutes and beyond, you're burning all fat.
3. Remember the postexercise effect. Metabolic rate increases 5-10% after exercise, and it continues for 8-12 hours!

Your attitude can make all the difference. It is here that he advocates the common advice to park farther away in a parking lot, walk instead of drive when you can, take stairs instead of elevator or escalator. Even though we burn fat with longer walks, he still wants us to use little opportunities to move. "The more you do, the more you'll lose."

Even though the average adult woman burns approx. 200 calories walking 2 miles, and a bagel contains approx. 200 calories, it is still worthwhile to exercise. Why? Excess postexercise oxygen consumption dramatically raises your metabolic rate! Again, he reiterates that your increased metabolism will remain for 8-12 hours! He points to a study that says exercising 30-60 minutes dramatically increases your caloric output compared to less than 30 minutes.


When you lose weight by food restriction alone, you lose fat, water and muscle. When you regain the weight, you regain fat and water but NOT the muscle. If you don't exercise while losing weight (thus gaining muscle), you will have much more fat in your body than when you started, if you gain the weight again. This has an incredible lowering effect on your metabolism from then on.

This is why thin people can eat an ice cream cone and still be thin. They move.

The exercise he advocates is walking. Frequency - he prefers 7 days a week, since we eat 7 days a week. But - he'd rather have you walk less at the start, rather than burn out. "I've found that daily exercise produces results that are faster than and superior to those seen with exercising only three or four times a week."

That said, he wants you to take a 3-day break every 4 weeks. Two reasons: 1. he thinks it will keep you motivated. You'll be eager to start back, 2. keeps the body from becoming burned out or injured by overuse. He thinks women tend to exercise too often and too long once they get in the groove.

At this point he repeats you should walk for as long as you can beyond 30 minutes, up to 60 minutes, but it is very important to take your 3 rest days every 4 weeks.

Intensity - you should be able to talk. Once your exercise is easy, you should raise the intensity by walking faster, for a longer time, taking longer strides, taking shorter strides at a quicker pace, holding a pair of light weights in your hands, or attaching weights to your ankles, wrists, or waist. [This sounds like something we naturally do once we have walked for a while. I thought ankle weights invited injury; I will still avoid, as it seems hard on the knees.]


He likes strength training. It should be done IN ADDITION to walking. Walking should come first. He recommends: dumbbells, jump rope, Swiss ball (balance ball), exercise mat. He does not want people spending a lot of money on this, probably because a certain segment of the population won't start if economic outlay is required.

He says the wrong kind of strength training can produce horrible consequences, but the right kind will produce marvelous results. You need just the right amount of stimulation without overtaxing your muscles, connective tissue, nervous system, and hormone levels. When he talks hormone levels, I believe he's referring to the fact that stress raises cortisol and other undesirable hormones.

He wants to add strength training 30 days after starting cardio training. Begin with 3 days a week, in any combination that will allow "2 days of rest between workouts and 3 days of complete rest, meaning no strength or aerobic exercise, after your third workout for the week." [I thought we were supposed to work out 7 days a week. That must refer to the first 30 days when we are doing just walking.]

He recommends a fitness professional to determine your ability to lift weights and do reps. [Then we go back home, because he said earlier to use inexpensive equipment?]

Two weeks after starting weight lifting, he says to use a split routine of 1/2 cardio and 1/2 strength training. He would like the cardio done by 11:30 a.m. and the strength done by 3:30 p.m. Again, the reason is that the earlier you exercise, the more results you will see. The metabolic increase continues all day, but apparently not at night. So, the earlier you work out, the more hours of postexercise effect you will realize.

Aerobics are best for lowering BP, increasing HDL (good cholesterol), decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol), strengthens the heart, lowers body fat, keeps blood sugar stable. [I thought I remember Cory Everson saying strength training burns fat. That was in the 1980s, though].

Now he covers the dangers and symptoms of overtraining, presented Sweet 16 Tips, and nutrition and exercise myths and truths. I won't go over those.

Now you have the gist of this book without reading it yourself, in case you don't have the time or availability. I think he has some food for thought. I will try it. It certainly can't hurt to try walking in the morning. Traditionally, my favorite time was evening around dusk because my chores were over, signaling "my time." But I can change my ways for a good cause and see how it feels.

Best wishes, my friends, and keep Sparking! I know I will!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JACKIE542 4/22/2014 10:49AM


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MARTHA-ANN 4/22/2014 2:04AM

    Interesting info, thank you emoticon

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HICKOK-HALEY 4/21/2014 10:59PM


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MICKEYH 4/21/2014 4:23PM

    Thank you for sharing these valuable informations. It does really make sense for all of these info especially doing cardio in the morning. Let the metabolism work on your favor all day!
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CBRINKLEY401 4/21/2014 3:22PM

    Excellent information. Thanks so much for sharing this!
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Diet Reset

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dr. Mickey Harpaz, PhD has degrees in applied physiology and nutrition. He has treated more than 10,000 menopausal women.

He starts Diet Reset by repeating that during menopause, progesterone, estrogen and testosterone decrease, while androgen increases. But he says estrogen plays the key role. Loss of it is what causes weight to creep up.

When blood sugar goes up, insulin goes up. That results in no weight loss or weight increase.

Here is what we do in daily life to cause this to happen:

1. Going without food for at least 3 hours. This sharply raises your insulin level the next time you eat.

2. Eating too much at one sitting. This causes a problem for the LIVER. It can't break all that down without increasing triglycerides. The excessive sugar taken in a big meal makes insulin go up. When insulin goes up, the body can't burn fat.

3. Eating more than 10 grams of simple sugar per serving. Same as above. Causes increased insulin and no body fat burned.

4. Eating two carbohydrates in one sitting or near the same time. How many of us eat potatoes and bread at the time meal? Or pasta and bread? The same is true if you eat two serving sizes of one carbohydrate. The liver can't handle that and insulin levels go up too much and fat burning is "demolished." (The word he uses.)

He says you should eat fruits and vegetables ANYTIME you're hungry, even if it hasn't been 2 hours since your last meal or snack.

You want to stop blood sugar spikes, because the higher it spikes, the lower it drops afterward. It is an equally inverse relationship every time!

There is one more part of the picture: lack of exercise. This is number 5. Exercise is VERY important to menopausal women. Not using your muscles is going to make your blood sugar go up too. "Your goal is to burn energy from morning until night." Quote unquote.

Did you know that a woman gains weight from the bottom up? And that she loses weight from the top of the torso first, then from the bottom? I thought the past several months that my midriff seems to be getting smaller, but what about everything else? Dr. Harpaz answered that. I have a way to go, but it will continue and balance out!!!


Dr. Mick lists three quick tips to create the thermogenic effect of food:

1. Eat a minimum of 6 times per day. Three meals, three snacks.

2. Reduce fat intake, increase carb intake, and eat sufficient protein. In a diet that is 1,200 to 1,800 calories, total fat intake should be between 240 and 300 calories. (This confused me a little, because I thought we were already eating too many carbs).

3. Eat more than 1,000 calories every day.

At this point, he gives specific advice with lots of menu ideas. (I mean pages).
Always eat something within one hour of getting up, even if it's just a small piece of fruit, so your blood sugar doesn't go too low. Snacks should 120 calories or under and less than 10 grams of sugar. Remember, you're eating every 2 hours.

Yesterday, I ate 89 grams of fat, because one meal consisted of guacamole and blue corn tortilla chips. The avocado was 35 grams of fat in itself. So I need to consider his advice and see what happens if I do things differently. Of course, I don't do that very often. No one was home at dinnertime and I was free to be lazy so that's what I ate. Nuts are a part of my daily diet so I need to check into exactly how many grams of fat I am taking in from them. I always thought that as long as my overall calorie expenditure was within limits, I was okay. Apparently not.

I think that vegetarians might protest this. Any vegetarians out there, please share your opinion or experiences. I can see a vegetarian eating beans and grain at one meal, a bean burrito for example. My calories are usually in range, yet I'm not losing weight. I might see what happens now that I am finally exercising again. But I will keep in mind that my fat intake should be dropped, even if it is healthy monounsaturated fat.

Eat a minimum of 5 times and up to 8 times per day. Mix one protein and one carbohydrate. Never have two carbs or a double portion of one carb at one meal. Each meal or snack should be eaten 2 to 2-1/2 hours after the last one. Keep sugar intake under 10 grams. Fat intake should be 10 grams per meal and 20-30 grams per day. (I'm already up to 54 grams today as of lunch. I have to stop this.) Each meal should be 60% carbs, 30% protein, 10% fat. Never have second servings. Never skip meals or snacks.

It's too bad that I didn't finish this chapter on Diet Reset before I started some soup this morning. I put sweet potatoes, corn, lentils, and rice in the pot! Egad! If this guy is right, I have to change my ways! Again, my calorie intake is okay, but between lack of exercise this winter and violating these guidelines, I can see why I'm not making progress.

Next, I will cover Movement Reset.

I already started reading Denise Austin's new book Side Effect: Skinny. I like to get different ideas. I couldn't resist hearing what she has to say these days. It's interesting how different diet and fitness experts have varying approaches and each claim success. I guess that's because everyone is different, just like Spark People has said. I remember early on after I started, they said different things work for different people. I hope you find something useful in this blog.

Have a great day! I'll be out walking my dog this afternoon. The weather is beautiful and it will be cooling off the rest of the week, starting tomorrow already! Until then, it's happy birdwatching and enjoying the balmy breeze!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGORA4 4/12/2014 1:12AM

    Yup, just finished reading this book yesterday, and it surely is an eye opener. I had the same conversation with my husband today, and he mentioned the need for grains to go with beans for complete protein. He also stated that if your one serving of mixed carbs, you'd be getting a 1/2 serving of this and a 1/2 serving of that, but still only one serving.

I agree with CBRINKLEY401, you need to limit it to one total serving, not a serving of this carb and a serving of that carb. So soup would be one serving with mixed veggies in it, not a lot different from having a salad with mixed veggies.

I really appreciate you mentioning this book, I'm giving it a try. I didn't really want to hear some of what he said, but I needed to hear it, because what I've been doing isn't working. Thanks.

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HICKOK-HALEY 4/2/2014 11:36PM

    Good article!

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MICKEYH 3/31/2014 11:49PM

    Thanks for sharing this blog. It was kinda, eye opening to me. I can definitely use and follow some of this info. Can't wait for the movement reset next. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CBRINKLEY401 3/31/2014 1:44PM

    Of course, that soup isn't going to count as 4 FULL servings of carbs if you don't eat 4 full servings of soup! Since it says eating 2 different carbs or 2 servings of one carb, I have to assume he means 2 SERVINGS each of different carbs. So if that is the case, you can eat 1/2 serving each of 2 different carbs, or 1/4 serving of 4 different carbs, because that only results in one serving total of carbs.

I'm not a vegetarian, but combining beans and a grain is so that you get complete protein, so that wouldn't count as 2 servings of carbs - more like one serving of carbs and one of protein. Someone who is a vegetarian would know better, I'm sure.

Again, thanks for sharing the information you're learning from this book. I know I'm not exercising the way I should be, especially since I prefer outside exercise and this eternal winter has made that difficult - except when there's snow to be shoveled! Now that Spring is in sight, I can resume my long walks.
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