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DESERTJULZ's Recent Blog Entries

14 IS a Magic Number! (14-day results)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Exactly two weeks ago, I set a goal to track food and exercise daily on SparkPeople. My friend, LINDAK25 had inspired me with her two blogs about a 14-day challenge. It made complete sense to set a short-term goal for 14 days. In fact, I was excited to discover what results from such a simple goal.

Near the end of the first week, I injured my foot, which has curtailed my exercise. However, I still tracked everything -- food and whatever exercise I could accomplish.

Tracking food encouraged me to stay in my calorie range. I know how much I can eat from previously tracking religiously for over a year. Yet when I do not track, I tend to add in extra snacks. When I track, I really do not like calories to go over the max. For the last 14 days, I've stayed under my calorie max all but one day. On that one day, I was over by less than 100 calories.

And how did this impact my weight? When I started the challenge, my weight was 3 pounds over goal (still within my ultimate goal of staying +/- 3%, though). This morning, my weight is just under goal. To be exact, I weight in 3/10 of a pound under goal.

Since 14 has turned out to be a magic number, I am setting a new goal to track for the next 14 days: accomplish at least 10 minutes a day of exercise, even though my foot isn't fully healed. After all, Sparkpeople has loads of videos for seated workouts, right?

How about you? Will you set yourself a 14 day goal? As LINDAK25 said (paraphrasing) "We can do anything for 14 days, can't we?"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JULESRULES78 4/29/2014 1:16PM

    I am so happy for you. Tracking is truly the key to success. emoticon And see, you're already setting new goals to build on! My goal is to track all of my food and exercise. Something I have not done for a long time, but I'm off to a good start yesterday and today. emoticon

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MARILYNROBERT 4/22/2014 3:47PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KNYAGENYA 4/21/2014 11:08AM

    Yippee for you.

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KANOE10 4/20/2014 8:35AM

    Great job of getting under goal! That is excellent considering you are injured. Your tracking is going well. 14 must be a magic number and why not go for another 14?


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SUNSET09 4/20/2014 5:21AM

  emoticon as I'm in with the 14 day challenge! emoticon on keeping yourself commited and making it happen! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THRIVE2DAY 4/20/2014 2:58AM


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KRISZTA11 4/19/2014 5:42PM

    Congrats to the success with the 14 day plan!

My past few weeks were quite similar to yours: being up a few pounds I tracked food for 4 weeks, got just below goal and injured my leg.
I wish both of us quick and perfect healing and happy maintenance!

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LINDAK25 4/19/2014 3:35PM

    Sorry you hurt your foot. Glad the 14 day mini streaks are working for you! I love it. My tracking streak went really well. Really got me going. The sleep streak? Not so much. I haven't decided what my next challenge is. I might just do the 10 minutes of exercise a day, too.

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KNEEMAKER 4/19/2014 12:13PM


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SKIMBRO 4/19/2014 12:07PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Is 14 a Magic Number?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

My friend, LINDAK25, has inspired me to try 14-day streaks. She said, "Hey, you can do anything for two weeks, right?" See her blog, "Challenged to a 14 Day Streak" here:

Linda chose to walk every day and limit going out to eat to only twice per week. She wrote about her success and her next 14 day challenge here:

Reading Linda's "14 Day Streak -- Results" blog has inspired me to get back on track with a 14-day challenge of my own. I've been in maintenance mode for over a year, and have stayed wtihin +/- 3% of my goal weight. However, I've let that weight creep near the top of the 3% limit. In February, I got way off track with both exercise and eating choices and haven't gotten fully back. The first step for me is to focus on what I am doing, so I am choosing to track both food and exercise for 14 days. (I haven't tracked food in months and stopped tracking exercise in December, though I still worked out.)

I've started right today, by already tracking my breakfast smoothie. My commitment to track these two items is from today, April 5, through Friday, April 18. I'm adding a third commitment: to blog about my 14 days over the weekend of April 19-20.

Really, "you can do anything for two days, right?"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNSET09 4/8/2014 6:33AM

  We can do anything we set our minds to do! emoticon If it is to be, it is up to us! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/8/2014 6:35:54 AM

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COMMIT2BFIT4ME 4/6/2014 1:08PM

    Excellent idea. emoticon

I know that I have lost weight a few times and my healthy eating and exercise had become so routine that my focus diminished because I felt I had things under control. Then things would subtly change as I became less focused, missing workouts and not paying a lot of attention to my portions and the weight would creep back.

Congrats on getting to maintenance and staying there. You got this and will kick the minor weight gain to the curb quickly.


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KANOE10 4/6/2014 10:11AM

    I know you will do well on your 14 day streak. I was in the same position..coasting along at the high end of my rangel I also did a reboot and upped my exercise.

Tracking is so helpful and motivating!


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KNYAGENYA 4/5/2014 2:23PM

    You can do it!

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MARILYNROBERT 4/5/2014 12:39PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KRISZTA11 4/5/2014 12:34PM

    Great blog, thanks for sharing!
Very wise of you to take steps early when weight starts creeping up.
I like the idea of the 14 day challenge. It is short enough to really feel "you can do anything for 2 weeks" but long enough to see the first results.

My weight did the same, for similar reasons, and I went back to tracking too : )

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LINDAK25 4/5/2014 12:22PM

    You can do it! Sometimes you just need a little jolt to get you back on track.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 4/5/2014 11:40AM

    Whenever I stop tracking food for any length of time, my weight trends back up. If it weren't for my daily weigh-in, I could wind up right back where I started.
I'm back to tracking too. Still within my goal range, but hanging out at the top for way to long.

Good for you for taking charge of the situation.
Hang in there!

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DR1939 4/5/2014 11:33AM


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Veggie Challenge Blog #2: Seaweed Salad

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The SparkArizona Team Challenge to "Eat Your Veggies" is encouraging me to try new vegetables. Since I completely LOVE vegetables, this is a bit of a challenge. I have eaten seaweed salad before, in restaurants, though I have never made my own. So we'll consider this a "make a new veggie" challenge!

I was at Whole Foods, looking through the seaweed choices to find one I'd not had before (yes, I love seaweed), when I saw this handy bag, mixing a wide variety of sea veggies:

The ingredients list: wakame, agar, suginori, tsunomata, and mafunori. Huh. The nutrition facts per serving: 14 calories (gotta love that!) 236 mg sodium, 0.6 g protein, and 3g carbohydrates. Seaweed is also known for being rich in trace minerals, which are not listed on the package.

Directions: soak in cold water for 7 minutes, then drain.

Here's how it looks after it is soaked and drained. I think it is gorgeous!

What do you think?

I wanted a little more color variety, so I grated a carrot and sliced up an orange bell pepper. There were more calories in the dressing than in the salad. No surprise there. Dressing was rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil and a touch of Bragg's Aminos ('cuz I am out of tamari).

Here's a photo of my finished salad:

I found it totally delicious and it felt so good to be eating this lovely, nutritious salad.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRSUNSHINE1 1/22/2014 12:20AM

    This looks delicious! I've tried other products from that company but not seen that particular mix. I'll look for it the next time I'm at the store! I've been wanting to have a seaweed salad at home. Thank you for the inspiration! emoticon

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SUNSET09 1/21/2014 5:53AM

  I love me some veggies and will have to try this. Love the nutritional value and the calories! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Let's eat!

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LINDAK25 1/20/2014 9:50AM

    Good for you! I've tasted seaweed salad at Costco and found it too salty to be palatable for me. Perhaps soaking it removes some of the salt. It's a beautiful looking salad. I haven't seen seaweed in our markets in Monroe. Hey, I can't even find whole wheat tortillas here! Maybe if I shopped in Charlotte, I'd find more variety.

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KNYAGENYA 1/20/2014 7:59AM

    Looks Yummy. I had a sample of a seaweed salad when I was at Costco once. I loved it.

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DR1939 1/19/2014 8:33PM

    Looks yummy. Seaweed has not made it to rural southwest Minnesota.

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HUYANA_PHOENIX 1/19/2014 7:00PM

    That looks delicious! I've used seaweed at home, but I've never tried making a seaweed salad. You have me inspired!

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_VALEO_ 1/19/2014 3:58PM

    Excellent choice! High in nutrients, low in calories! Seaweeds like sprouts have so much to offer.
I love how you have customized your salad of seaweed with bell pepper and carrot. emoticon

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EDLEAR 1/19/2014 2:47PM

    Good for you!
I absolutely love seaweed salads. My daughter loves when I make seaweed "chips", kind of like kale chips but with a sweetness.

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MARILYNROBERT 1/19/2014 2:46PM

    It sure does look pretty and if you say it tastes good too, then I'm all for it! emoticon

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Challenge Blog: Creamy Maitake Mushroom Soup (vegan)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

In SparkArizona, I am participating in the Eat Your Veggies Challenge, which includes trying a new veggie and blogging weekly about how you're getting your five veggies in each day.

Today, I discovered that there is indeed a veggie I had not previously eaten! I found this lovely Maitake mushroom at Whole Foods:

I also found the cutest little head of cauliflower, just about 1.5 cups of florets. So the soup idea lit up in my brain like a light bulb emoticon

1.5 cups caulflower florets
3.5 oz. Maitake mushroom, broken into small bite-size pieces
1.3 teaspoons coconut oil
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
ginger powder, sage, and Hawaiian pink salt to taste

Simmer the cauliflower florets in enough water to cover until tender. Set aside.

In a cast iron skillet, gently saute the sliced garlic in coconut oil until it just starts to brown. Add the mushroom pieces and saute until tender. The mushrooms will shrink as they release a good bit of their moisture content.

Puree the cauliflower, then return it to your sauce pan. Stir in the sauteed mushrooms & garlic, along with all their yummy juices. Season to taste with the ginger, sage, and salt.

This soup was absolutely scrumptious. It made two one-cup servings and I ate them both. The nutrition content for the two cups:

149 calories
18g carbs
7g fat
6g protein

Here is an interesting article about the Maitake:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KNYAGENYA 1/4/2014 12:45PM


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LINDAK25 1/3/2014 8:01PM

    Interesting mushroom, particularly in regard to lowering blood sugar. Glad you enjoyed your soup. Looking forward to your next veggie blog.

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_VALEO_ 1/3/2014 2:12PM

    I had never seen such mushroom in a supermarket--should I had seen it in the forest I don't think I would've picked it up to eat it. I don't know my mushrooms at all; and coming from a nation celebrating fervently the mushroom season, that's a shame! emoticon

Great idea of adding a cauliflower for texture and color! Your soup might have a nice shade of light grey.

Comment edited on: 1/3/2014 2:13:02 PM

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DOLLFACEDX 1/3/2014 10:03AM

    This looks like a fun and tasty project for DH and I this weekend - thx for sharing!


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TIME2BLOOM4ME 1/2/2014 10:19PM


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An Abnosome Week with GISHWHES!

Monday, August 19, 2013

I've been largely absent from SparkPeople for the last week. Why? Because I've spent every spare moment scavenging for GISHWHES, aka Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen!

As a member of Team Average Joes Love(s) Archangels, I had some very important assignments to scavenge. Assignment #1, create a grammatically correct sentence using the first letter from the name of each team member. Show the names and sentence on your submission.

Assignment #2, photograph a statue of a famous person wearing a GISHWHES cardigan. Although I photographed Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, it was St. Francis of Assisi that came out the best.

Assignment #3, photograph a nun in full habit going down a waterslide. I captioned it, "This is what they do to nuns with dirty habits."

Assignment #4, photograph a Storm Trooper folding laundry at a laundromat.

Assignment #5, Panhandle on a sidewalk, holding a sign that reads, "A Dragon Burned My Castle Down." Your clothing should show signs of dragon attack.

We used a perfectly good Renaissance Festival costume to clean out my friend's grill, then singed holes in it (see the shoulder?) and ripped dragon claw marks into the skirt. By the way, it was 111 degrees F when we were out shooting that photo in Scottsdale, Arizona. And it was still 111 or more, when we shot the next one.

Assignment #5, Image: You are in a cage, staring down an animal in a cage. Catch: your cage is inside his cage.

Assignment #6, Image: Release the Kraken. My friend's research showed this was a wildly popular meme some years ago. It took approximately 100 shots of two different greyhounds wearing the dragon mask to come up with a good shot!

Assignment #7, Make clothing from kale. Dragon and bear clothing.

Assignment #8, Collect screen shots of team members using the word "abnosome" and compile them into a chart. "Abnosome" is "abnormal in an awesome way."

In addition to these, I also collected over 25 photos of people hugging while holding a sign that read, "GISHWHES Hugs The World!"

This last week was insane, absnosomely fun, and somewhat sleepless! I had a total blast and it feels like something is missing, now that the project has ended.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANTIOPE 8/23/2013 9:15PM

    I had heard nothing about this! Thanks for sharing and making my day/night emoticon

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LINDAK25 8/20/2013 2:37PM

    TOTALLY ABNOSOME! I can't believe you got all of this done in a week (or that you even did it to begin with)! Love the pink undies! However did you get your dogs to comply? I know they're mellow, but getting a mask on a dog is no easy task! Oh, and the kale clothing is amazing. Makes you wonder if people do full human-sized outfits!

Is that you dressed as a nun and a Storm Trooper, or one of your teammates? I'm so sorry a dragon wrecked your costume! You really do look burnt!

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_VALEO_ 8/20/2013 2:05PM

    Totally absnome! Love ALL your pics and assignments!

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KNYAGENYA 8/20/2013 11:40AM

    Looks like you had a lot of fun.

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KAT321123 8/20/2013 9:50AM

    I've never heard of such a thing, but now I'm glad I have! This looks like way too much fun! =) Thanks for sharing your pictures.

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KANOE10 8/20/2013 9:22AM

    I love the photos. It sounds like a fun week for you!


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SANDICANE 8/20/2013 8:01AM

    Looks like fun!

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KRISZTA11 8/20/2013 5:16AM

    Sounds a lot of fun, and your pictures are great!

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COCK-ROBIN 8/19/2013 11:13PM

    I love this! Such fun.

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SNIC23 8/19/2013 11:02PM

    Wow, that sounds like crazy fun!

I am most curious about the Storm Trooper folding pink ruffly undies at the laundry mat, though. How did that happen, exactly? I mean I know I don't get out too often, but when I did I don't remember bumping into any Storm Troopers anywhere, let alone one doing laundry. Did you just get lucky?

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