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Easing on into it

Monday, January 20, 2014

Confession: I am just like everyone else. In fact, I am so much like everyone else that I'm going to describe a situation below and you're immediately going to start nodding in an emphatic way because you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Here goes.

It's a brand new day. It's the day you decided you're going to change the entire world. It'd the day you're going to try something new. It's going to be AMAZING. In fact, you go out hard and fast and you work so very hard at doing what you planned that by the end of the day you feel blissfully exhausted that you've done so much to accomplish your goals.

Then the next day comes and you attack it again - you're a little bit tired from the day before; but, through sheer strength of will and perseverance you attack your goals and accomplish everything you can - even on a half empty tank.

Three days. Four days. Maybe a week. After a few days you've exhausted your resolve. You've pushed too hard and dove too deep. Suddenly, well, you can't swim anymore. You can't do anything anymore. Suddenly, well, you just don't feel like you can get anywhere.

There are three things that make a difference when it comes to making a behavioral change stick.

First, there is the need for allies and cheer-squads. There's a need for support.

Second, there is a need for restraint. You have to be willing to play the long game.

Third, there is a need to be realistic. The goals you set must be attainable and your plans to meet them must fall under the second guide of restraint.

I went out for a run on Thursday night with the running club - after my usual three mile loop you could have easily convinced me I ran a half marathon. I was soooo sore. I was also kind of disappointed with myself for the amount of struggling I did. And then, well, I reminded myself of the above.

No, I can't go out and run three miles without a stitch of training and expect not to feel it after. No, I can't magically expect to be able to run my planned half-marathon in may without putting in the miles.

I'm easing into this. Getting back into not only the habit of blogging, tracking, and running is taking a fair amount of focus; but, that's okay. It's okay for things to be bumpy, nobody learned how to run before they learned how to walk and without a few tumbles.

Here's my question to you, Sparklers: What have you thrown yourself into only to realize you need to pull back in order to make it stick?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEOMALLEY 2/12/2014 3:22PM

    Your commentary is VERY WISE. I've learned to ease into these changes that require physical stamina, but that's because I've paid the piper in the past. Example:

I used to ride a bike everywhere - didn't even own a car - so I decided to start riding a bike the three miles to work and home again. HOWEVER - it has been a good 30 plus years since I did that bike as transit routine and I now live on a hill that is pretty steep above the bike trail I need to use. I ride my bike, but not great distances. I am not a competitive type bicycle rider. Without doing any serious tuning up on my bicycling stamina, I decided to ride my bike to work. WRONG! I hit a pothole, fell and scraped my knee bloody, went home with the bike and took the bus to work. Life got in the way and I haven't tried to take my bike to work since.

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CUTENHEALTHY 1/20/2014 7:06PM

    I like your first, second and third comments. If you over exercise without a rest day, you risk burning out or getting injured. We all want to so desperately to stay on track, but we do have to take rest/light days. I like to call them "active rest days" just to point out that I am doing it on purpose and it is part of the long term plan!

Comment edited on: 1/20/2014 7:06:59 PM

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TIGER_LILY_613 1/20/2014 6:41PM

    So. Many. Times.

There was the 2-month stint of doing an hour of cardio 3 times a day. And the time I ate only salads for weeks. Or the time I took 3 dance classes the same day and had to limp home .... Each time I was so desperate to lose weight that I threw myself in full-throttle, and got completely burnt out.

I'm a full supporter of small steps now. They're easier to start, easier to maintain, and it's a healthier approach over all emoticon

Great blog! Thanks for sharing this ! emoticon

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ADARKARA 1/20/2014 6:20PM

    Since I am inherently lazy (just ask my step-mom!) I have never gone full tilt into weight loss, but I have definitely gone full tilt into other things only to burn myself out and never do it again, or not do it for a long time. (Sewing costumes for the Renaissance Faire for instance. I spend 2 hardcore months going crazy then I don't touch my machine for the rest of the year!)

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REFFIE1 1/20/2014 3:17PM

I do push myself but I have learned to back off and rest. If I don't my arthritic hip will remind me that it was not a prudent move on my part. I basically aim for 3 exercise sessions a week and feel good about them. If I do more, I feel even better. Sounds like you are on a good path! emoticon

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CATTUTT 1/20/2014 2:33PM

    You make a great point about not jumping in too fast. It sounds like you've got your head in a good place right now, seeing that you need to pace yourself.

Good luck with your half marathon training!

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TAGSUIT2 1/20/2014 2:31PM

    I learn to listen to my body, if it hurt I know to pulled back. emoticon

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A Hello (and an Apology)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Two months to the day since I last blogged and I find myself in an odd space.

I find myself looking at SparkPeople and seeing so many new faces on the teams I'd been on (Hello there!)

I find myself needing to come back after a very public 'farewell' post.

I find myself feeling the need to make an apology.

Funny thing about the word 'apology' - it doesn't mean what a lot of us think it does (at least, it doesn't always.)

As Defined by the Googles:

1.a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure."we owe you an apology"
2.a very poor or inadequate example of. "we were shown into an apology for a bedroom"
3.a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something

I don't mean to just say that I'm sorry. Because I am sorry; but, I think I need to at least provide a little background.

For those just tuning in (who haven't already just commented for SparkPoints and flung themselves away)

Two months ago I declared I was leaving. And I did it, I left. I left Spark. I left Facebook. I pretty much turned off the world as I thought that I could pour myself into this mold of self-imposed isolation and motivation. And I did it. I failed. Miserably. In fact, the blog I started that lasted for about a week and a half is actually depressing to read. It actually makes me uncomfortable to read it. Because I was literally turning off what had made me so successful to this point: the people in my life.

Part of it was probably because I started to 'check-mark.' I started putting weight back on after surgery and I couldn't seem to find the motivation to put myself back in the game. I started being lax. I started being lazy. I cultivated the most terrible part of my personality: a tendency to be introverted and isolationist. Yes, I do have these delusions that I am my own personal island and that I can do everything I want to alone.

Newsflash: Two months later and I can tell the world one thing conclusively - No, I can't do it alone.

There's a great phrase I've ingrained in my mind: Nobody succeeds quietly or alone.

Say it again: NOBODY succeeds quietly or alone.

It's stunning to think about. There's a certain amount of bravery that comes with not doing weight loss quietly. First, it means you have to admit you have some kind of problem. Maybe you're not attentive enough. Maybe you need to learn to say 'no.' Maybe there are other issues; but, you very publicly and very emphatically need to show in your behaviors that you have a problem. It's saying no to more cake at office functions. It's staying later at work to make up time after you spend too long over lunch working out. It's dedicating yourself to more activity or to more energy focused on you. It's public. It's real. It's impossible to pretend it isn't happening.

When this very public CHOICE to admit and address issues around health and weight happens something even more amazing occurs: you find out who your allies are. You find out who is cheering you on. Not the people who judge you or think poorly of you - but the people who genuinely want you to do what's best for you. These can be friends, family, co workers, or even fellow bloggers. These are the people who lift you from your lows and celebrate your highs. You cannot find these people without crying from the mountaintops, "I am making a change!" These people exist in your life -- you won't find them without making the choice to yell.

I guess I'm back because I realized how much I need the support. I realize how much I benefited from this place. It wasn't a new space I needed - it was the perspective I've gained. Nobody ever succeeds quietly or alone.

For those who made it to the end: Thank you.

For those who can accept my apology: Thank you.

I'm back to daily blogs again. Tomorrow will be Day 1. It's not about the study. It's not about the tech. It's about returning to what I know works. It's about maybe being able to be someone else's support.

It's funny, the best races I've ever had weren't the ones I finished on my own: they were the ones where I was able to both be carried and to help carry those I ran with. There's a metaphor in there somewhere.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAFALL 6/17/2014 2:31PM

    "You can't pretend it's not happening" is a problem I deal with sometimes. I tend to hoard my business, and the public-ness of not eating what everyone else is eating or of going for a run even though I'm jiggly and slow, it's hard sometimes.

I was gone for a year, so I missed the goodbye at the time, but I'm glad you're back.

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I as a Spark drop out and it felt a little weird coming back a couple of weeks ago. I just let life, fat and excuses take over. I miss all my old Spark friends-- I'm not the only one that was on hiatus. I am looking forward to meeting new Spark friends and re-connecting with the old gang!

How is your running progressing? Please tell me it's awesome and you're breaking PR.

All the best!!!!

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GINGERLY4 3/9/2014 8:43AM

    So happy to be reading your blog again!

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CUTENHEALTHY 1/20/2014 7:20PM

    Hello! Now you can have new friends too, like me! I'm a Spark drop out from 2010-2011 and a since then a re-gainer! I'm determined to stay on Spark this time for the long run and to eventually be a MAINTAINER on here, but first I have to lose back down to my lower range. I'm a bit introverted too, but I notice that I enjoy expressing myself through writing! Plus, I'm interested in nutrition and bettering myself in exercise. It's not really a topic people delve into in the real world. So this is a fun place to talk all about being better!

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PROUD-GRANDMA 1/15/2014 12:10PM

    emoticon Welcome back!

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YHINESS 1/14/2014 10:43PM

    emoticon I love the statement NOBODY succeeds quietly or alone. I am a mega introvert. I've been on SP for years and only in the last 5 months have I been able to blog or comment to others. It was the toughest part for me for sure. I just recognized that I probably have the mindset that I'll do this until it works and then go back to my introverted self. What you've said strikes me and I need to start restructuring my thinking now about what the future looks like when I feel "done". Thanks for posting and helping others on the site!

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CATTUTT 1/14/2014 6:07PM


SparkPeople is an amazing tool. Welcome back to the fold!

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POMATOJUICE 1/14/2014 5:00PM

    Welcome back! A lot of people kind of fell off the face of the earth over the holidays, so I am glad to see at least one friendly face coming back :) I am still here! I continued to struggle up until the holidays, then said F IT ALL when the fam stayed for over a week. I am back at it with new determination, though, and working off the holiday pounds! Let's do some of this together :)

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REFFIE1 1/14/2014 3:23PM

You don't need us to forgive you, we are glad to have you back. However, we do forgive you if you feel you need it too! Welcome back emoticon emoticon

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JACKSGRAN 1/14/2014 3:10PM

    So good to see you back. We're here for you - and for ourselves. We know what it's like. One step - and today's the first. emoticon emoticon

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TIGER_LILY_613 1/14/2014 2:32PM

    Welcome back ! I definitely agree that we need support to succeed. Together, we really ARE stronger !

emoticon emoticon

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ADARKARA 1/14/2014 1:35PM


I'm sure I'm not the only one who's missed you.

Sometimes we need to step away from something to realize how much we need it.

The good news is you're back!


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SIMONEKP 1/14/2014 1:03PM

    Welcome back

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GRACEOMALLEY 1/14/2014 12:57PM

    Yipee! I've missed you and your "I CAN DO THIS" attitude! So pleased to have you back!!!

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ALICIA214 1/14/2014 12:55PM


emoticon Glad you are back.. emoticon

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A farewell.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dear Sparkfriends,

I know, I've been gone for a long time now. I keep promising that I'll come back. I keep trying to find ways to motivate myself to do so.

Well, I've done a lot of thinking and planning the last few days.

I've thought about what's fitting in my life.
I've thought about what's literally not fitting.
I'm thinking about who and what I want to be.

And I hate to say that I feel like I've outgrown Spark - but, I'm thinking about where I want to put my energy. I'm thinking about what I need to do in order to get where I want to be.

I've taken a few first steps. Firstly, I deleted my Facebook. Secondly, I started a very cathartic blog. Thirdly, I'm making a budget. Finally, I'm setting up realistic expectations for what I want to be part of the turning 32. It's exciting and scary and vulnerable and -personal.- It has a completely different context than what this place has been for me. I wish I could bring myself to bring the energy of that space into this space; but, I don't want to focus upon weight loss and I feel like Spark boils down so many things for me just to that. And it's not just about that anymore.

If you're interested in seeing my droning (and right now, the first three posts are drones; but, the fourth is shaping up very nicely) - you can find me at:

Thank you for all the love and support over the last year or so. All of you are truly wonderful people. I wish all of you success in whatever form that holds meaning for you.

Much love and admiration,


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POMATOJUICE 11/19/2013 11:37AM

    Ok, I didn't post on this blog for a while because I was sorting through some feels and didn't want to post anything negative on your farewell blog. Though.. since you left, and it's been like 4 days, you'll probably never see this!

I'm sorry you are leaving. I will miss you. I am not surprised, though, because since your eye injury, you weren't around much and never really came back to blog a lot even when you recovered enough to run. I can understand the need to simplify your online life.

I read your facebook blog posts, and I understand that, too. I never signed up for a facebook because I hated how I'd talk to friends on the phone or in person that I hadn't seen in months and ask what was new. The answer I always got was, "Well, if you were on facebook, you'd know." My reply was always "if it is important enough that you want me to know, you would have called me." So, I understand a little bit of it, even though I've never had one myself.

Finally, I was a little hurt that you decided to leave, which I felt really stupid about because you are doing this for you, and not anyone else. I thought we might keep in touch and be friends since we have some things in common, and I suppose I was expecting to hear from you in some other way than a farewell blog. That's not to say we still couldn't, but I don't have a wordpress/blogger/etc account. I'll try to remember to keep up with your other blog, but unless they allow anon. comments, I probably won't reply :X

I wish you the best, and hope you get some stuff sorted out with your facebook friends. There's a lot of social commentary to be had on the state of today's interpersonal relationships, and I understand that can also mean taking time to sort it all out in your head. If you want to keep in touch, you know where to find me and how to reach me. You an always send me a mail here, and we can exchange email addresses or cel phone numbers or whatever. I have unlimited texting!

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PROUD-GRANDMA 11/15/2013 8:27AM

    Enjoy your new adventure! Remember you are always welcome to come back!

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ENDERLI 11/14/2013 1:38PM

    Best Wishes! Good luck on all your future endeavors!

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GRACEOMALLEY 11/14/2013 12:25PM

    You do what is correct for you, but I'll miss you. Thanks for letting us know where to find your blog and continued success in all you aspire to.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ADARKARA 11/14/2013 12:18PM

    emoticon I'll miss you! Best of luck!

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MERAINA 11/14/2013 11:52AM

    Best wishes!

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JACKSGRAN 11/14/2013 11:42AM

    I wish you well. emoticon

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DABLUECAT 11/14/2013 11:25AM


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LOV2BTHIN 11/14/2013 11:11AM

    Good luck on your journey.


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ROBBIEY 11/14/2013 11:09AM

  emoticon I wish you the best in your endeavors.

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Day 498 - Sticking to plans

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You know what the hardest thing is about getting your lifestyle under control?

It's avoiding early burnout.

Pacing, as it turns out has it's place in all things - not just in running or racing. This week, I'm taking slow, careful steps into getting back into a healthier lifestyle. So far, I'd say I've kept up about half of what I need to be doing, and that's not too bad.

The things I want to do:

1. Run 3 -4 times a week
2. Eat healthy, properly portioned meals
3. Walk more
4. Establish a balanced routine
5. Incorporate new exercises into my life

Of those five things all of them are governed by number 4. Balance. How many times have I found myself too far to one end of the spectrum at the detriment of other things in my life? For example, yes, I can run five days a week if I choose; but, then my house in a nasty mess and I'm hardly present at work and I want to EAT ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME. Five days a week is too much.

Or, how about the time I discovered some DELICIOUS healthy recipes I could make and then proceeded to eat three times the serving size? No balance there.

Let's not even mention the time I biked so much that I got so tired of just LOOKING at the thing. Burnout = a picture of me charred to a crisp and ornery looking on top of a bike.

Balance requires not only attention and planning, but restraint for me. I have what I'll call an addictive personality. When I find something new and I'm excited I tend to jump into it with both feet - chewing it down and consuming it until I'm so full of it that it hurts. Sort of like how I watched the four and a half seasons of Breaking Bad in five days. Yeah, that kind of addiction.

So, I've been trying to ease into my activities of choice. I'm inching back into racing and running with the plan to do at most a race a month. I've packed my lunches and I'm trying to not get too bent out of shape when I forget them - this isn't routine yet. Lastly, instead of doing a run day AND an Insanity day - I'm picking one or the other, and it's okay to not feel ike doing either. There's a time to push and a time to relax.

I think balance is all about being careful and caring about yourself. About knowing that excess isn't going to give as much as just the right amount of something would. Last night I had all of these grand plans for this morning. I'd get up early! I'd take Jack for a walk! I'd get to work early! I'd have my packed lunch! I'd bring my workout clothes and go for a run after work! I'd be the best employee EVAR! I'd be AMAZING.

Well, I did get up early; but, I wound up just snuggling with Jack for an hour. Then I got to work on time; but, I did cajole myself into parking across the bridge. I had a healthy, tasteful breakfast (coffee and banana for the win) and I remembered my lunch I packed. I'm feeling rested and accomplished. I'm still Amazing. I've made good choices.

Sparkfriends, it's all about the lens you choose to view things through. I could have looked at missing my plans last night as a failure - instead, well, I'm happy with how I feel today. I'm happy I'm taking the steps I am instead of no steps at all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAHINTZY 11/3/2013 10:50AM

    emoticon yes ma'am! pacing!

and 4.5 seasons of breaking bad in five days?! my emotional brain can't handle that lol I had to space it out because the show is so dark.

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REFFIE1 10/30/2013 9:51PM

    That is a great way to look at things. Baby steps girl, baby steps. You will get there. You have got this! Keep on trucking! I am proud of you that you are making a new start. It isn't that easy but I know you will succeed. emoticon

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BATCHICK 10/30/2013 11:55AM

    I think you make a great point about balance. It seems to me this is exactly why people fail to make the changes they want in their lives because they try to make the pendulum swing back the other way and find they can't sustain it.

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Day 496 - GIGA, is true in all things

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's been a long, long time SparkFriends - and I sincerely mean it wasn't you, it was me!

To put it simply, I thought I could just go ahead and maintain in the land of 185. I thought I could just be okay there. And then, like the ocean's waves erode at the shoreline my own careless behavior and inattentive demeanor definitely had effects upon the progress I made over the past year and a half. Like GIGA says - garbage in, garbage out. I'm not complaining, I mean, my actions (or inactions) are my own, but it's definitely where I've been.

So, where am I now?

Well, I'm reigning it all back in. Starts with food of course. Peeps, you would not believe it - I've actually cooked food for the entire week. And portioned it out. And I'm looking forward to eating it. Selections include: Broccoli cheese soup, various pastas and meat sauce, toasted almond and apple oatmeal, and chicken waiting for introduction to rice and peas. Today I failed a little at lunch by forgetting to bring it - but, I made a sensible (and tracked) choice instead. So, I'm feeling okay about where I stand at the moment.

In terms of exercise I'm getting back on the horse there, too. I spent something like two months using the excuse of being to busy, too hot, too whatever to get in my lunchtime runs. Well, I'm building my mileage up slowly. I've also been taking Jack for evening walks - which has helped him and me. Tonight I plan to walk the dog as well as get some quality time in with Insanity. Tomorrow is a run day.

This past weekend was the Terrifying 10k - I didn't have a very good time at it. I'm hoping to do better at this weekend's 10 miler. I just need to focus on how I'm feeling when I run, rather than thinking about keeping my reserves in check while I'm in the midst of it. Does that make sense?

Well, I'm just checking in today, I'm hoping to be a bit more active from now on.

I hope all of you have strategies to keep the garbage from coming in your lives! I'm working on getting to that point myself!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OLIVIANIGHT 10/29/2013 8:56AM

    I missed yoooouuuu!
I also let myself slide a bit recently, and I'm just getting back on track too! It's kind of hard to think 'here I go AGAIN' but I know we can do it : )
Also, please can I have the recipes for broccoli cheese soup and toasted almond and apple oatmeal? They sound amazing.

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REFFIE1 10/28/2013 8:51PM

    Glad to see you back! I know you have got this! emoticon

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POMATOJUICE 10/28/2013 8:14PM

    Hello! It's so nice to hear from you :)

Honestly, though, when I read your blog title and saw GIGA, the first thing I thought of was....

Safe for Work, but kind of WTF)

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SIMONEKP 10/28/2013 6:04PM


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JACKSGRAN 10/28/2013 3:55PM

    Glad to have you back emoticon emoticon

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