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Walk This Way

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spark featured an article called "9 Ways To Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day" which I found interesting and motivation.

With all of the health issues I have had so far this year I have felt that I was taking one step forward and two back. After my last surgery I was at the lowest weight that I have seen in a long time, but my habit after each bout of illness seems to be to eat and drink all that I can to make up for lost time. The result was that I gained the 10# back that I had lost. What a waste! I have been rather disgusted with myself over this. So I kicked myself into gear and have been working towards getting that 10# back off.

One of the ways I am trying to do this is my walking more. I would tell you that on a "normal" day (and by "normal" for me I mean going about my business w/o any kind of exercise) I can count on roughly 3,000 steps. I had set a goal for myself to get in 5.000 steps a day by the time I went to Manhatten in May and I reached that goal although I was not consistent in any way, shape, or form. At least I knew the ability was there. So then I increased my goal to 7,000 steps. Again, the ability was there, but I was rarely reaching that goal, well, because where in the heck am I suppose to walk to in order to get all of those steps! It was frustrating and discouraging to me so I focused more on the 5,000 steps daily and went about my merry way. Again, the consistency was not there so that was the next thing I added into the mix. The results are that I have been consistent for the past 2 weeks now and I have reached my 7,000 step goal 11 out of 14 days.

I am pleased with that achievement, but you know our human minds are always looking for new goals to do better and thus enters the Spark article about getting 10,000 steps a day. I have known for some time that 10,000 daily steps is the requirement for "general good health", according to all of those studies out there, and that between 12,000 - 15,000 steps are recommended for weight loss. Todays Spark article about "Are You Getting Enough Exercise" would support that.

I am already doing two of the nine suggestions from the article consistantly- I have a Spark Tracker and I have buddied up with a friend to explore a different hiking trail each week. Lately I have tried to get more steps in by walking to my Curves twice weekly and on the walk home I put in 7 extra blocks. Also, my DH went to our local American Legion the other night which is a little over a mile away. He drove and I walked the long way around to get there.

Yesterday I wanted to challenge myself to get those 10,000 steps in. I was busy yesterday! In the morning I did many chores around the house which meant more moving. Then I headed out the door in the afternoon to run errands. One of my stops was at a store in our local Mall so I thought I would walk the parameter once. It is a popular place for Mall Walkers. I can't remember how much 4 times around equals, but that is the general goal and since I really wasn't there for that purpose I thought once around was good for me to add some steps. Another stop was at the grocery store. Again, I walked the parameter instead of making a mad dash to the items I needed to get. By the time I got home it was Evening News and dinner time. I had had enough for the day! I checked into Spark to upload my steps and - OMG, I didn't make it ! ! ! I was short 525 steps. I gave some thought to how on earth I was going to get those last steps in, but I gotta tell you I was pooped and my recliner won out.

Yesterday seemed like a lot of work to me and so it is clear that I am not ready yet for 10,000 steps as my goal. For now I will stick to my goal of 7.000 steps daily, being consistent, and being happy with that.

What I am wondering though is how all of you get your steps in?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAT-IN-CJ 7/28/2014 10:02AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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68ANNE 7/24/2014 6:42PM

    I am writing this comment really quick so I can go read the artcle.

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PATTISTAMPS 7/24/2014 2:36PM

    I have trouble getting to 10,000 steps, and am consistently averaging about 6,000 per day - which includes one low day of about 3,000 steps. I walk for 45 minutes most days, or go to the gym and do 35 minutes on the elliptical and another 55 minutes of ST (which doesn't measure much at all on my Fit-Bit Flex) I would have to walk an hour and a half to get 1000 steps.. I just don't have that much time, and my feet HURT! (heel spurs). I guess what I am saying is that I don't know how people are doing it... Good luck! I hope we can both figure this out!

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KELLIEBEAN 7/24/2014 9:20AM

    Great job working on your steps and recognizing when you have to dial it down a notch!

I work 9 -10 hours a day at a desk job so I walk across the building to go to the bathroom several times a day I try to take 2 10-15 minute walking breaks at work, that doesn't always happen, but I try.

I got my labrador in the habit of walking after dinner and twice each weekend day and she becomes a real pain if I get lazy. This winter was the first winter I didn't wean her off walking like I usually do. She drove me nuts so I piled on clothes and did quick walks.

The other night, I was totally drained from the day. As I became one with the couch watching tv, I looked at my fitbit, UGH, over 2000 more steps to go. At first I said 'forget it' but then I got up and walked figure eights in the living room till I hit goal. I got funny looks from the labrador!

Some days are easier than others but you have the mindset and plan so I think you are on the right track and I just LOVE that after all you have been through, you are not giving up.


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LOSER_ZIMM 7/24/2014 9:12AM


Each step counts!

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Conquering The Challenges One Day At A Time

Monday, July 14, 2014

I haven't been much of a blogger lately, but I enjoying reading your blogs so much that I thought I would put one out there too.

On "My Status" this weekend I posted that I was ready to face the challenges that faced me on Saturday. This Saturday was an event called The Freedom Run". I don't know how it got that name. There are several motorcycle groups in the town near where I live and this is the one event that brings them all together to work towards a common cause of sorts. Each year 3 groups are drawn and each one gets to determine what charity they would like to support. All the profits from the Poker Run, Raffle Tickets, and Silent Auction then go to those 3 charities. This is the first time I have attended this event and I'm not sure how many hundreds of bikes there were.

No matter how I do it I can never seem to capture the same picture that I see with my own eyes. This picture shows just some of the bikes along with my DH on the right and a good friend with over 200,000 miles under his belt on the left. Our small group of 8 left a bit early to get a head start and try to avoid some of the madness. One thing about Poker Runs and bikers it that the designated stops are usually at bars. (Yes, I know you are not suppose to drink and drive.)

My first challenge was going to be to avoid all the beer that flowed at each stop. This was not only for safety purposes, but also for Spark purposes as it was my attempt to keep control of my calories. Some will tell you that all alcohol is created equal, but I can't say that I believe that is totally true. Every hear of the famous "beer belly"? I have seen many a person lose that belly just by switching from beer to some form of mixed drink. I can't help but wonder if it has something to do with how the carbs are metabolized.

My second challenge was to keep my eating under control as several of the stops also had lunch specials available for purchase; none of which you would find on a healthy menu. Although I know you are suppose to eat 3 squares a day, I am really not a big lunch person. To help me with this challenge I loaded up with a larger breakfast than usual by eating a chicken sandwich with left over baked chicken that needed to get used up.

My third challenge was going to be getting in some exercise as there is one thing about riding a motorcycle and it is that you spend a lot of time sitting on your butt. At the registration area for the event I knew there was lots of space to get at least my 10 minutes in with walking. I had hoped that I might get more 10 minute sessions in at the other stops too.

So how did my day go?

I obstained from the beer, but did have a couple mixed drinks at the end of the event.

I saved my eating for the end of the ride. Although it wasn't healthy food, by waiting until the end I saved some calories.

I got one 10 minute session in at the registration area as the other places really had nowhere to walk. Somehow I managed to get all of my goal steps in for the day which I have been very inconsistent in doing.

Well, not perfect, but I am still pleased with myself as I did better than I normally would have since I had a plan in place. And that is what I think Sparking is all about for me.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

68ANNE 7/15/2014 6:01PM

    You should absolutely be pleased with put so much effort into doing what you could and you did it!
Awesome job

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EJOY-EVELYN 7/14/2014 10:22PM

    Cool group! Keep up the good work in making progress in achieving your healthy living goals. Your circumstances certainly were extraordinary.

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TAMWIL2 7/14/2014 9:59PM

    emoticon You had a plan and it sounds like it worked pretty well for you. You should be proud.

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CAT-IN-CJ 7/14/2014 7:18PM

    Way to go girl! And for passing on the beer on a Poker Run - you get 1000 Spark Bonus Points!

We only have one life to live, and if we do it right - one will be enough.

Live it. Love it. Don't blow it.

You got it!

emoticon emoticon

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SIOL55 7/14/2014 11:02AM

  Good for you!

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Where Has The Second Quarter Taken Me?

Monday, June 30, 2014

The answer to that question is - NOWHERE!

I said I would review my journey on a quarterly basis and so here I am even though I have to say there is nothing very positive to report. On one hand this is very sad to me. Six months down the road, a half a year gone, 182 days out the window and I am sitting at the same weight I was and less fit than I was in 2013. On the other hand, it has been another H*** of a quarter in terms of my health and when I look at it this way I no I am not a lost cause. Last quarter it was hip replacement and then a stint in the hospital for Diverticulitis. This quarter it was more surgery for a bowel resection followed by 4 weeks of recovery. Thank goodness I read a motivational saying today that reminded me that "2 steps forward and 1 step back is still progress". It has given me hope!

I did a lot of journaling in the first quarter of this year and hardly any during this quarter, but I did review the list of things I learned and find that they still apply. Can you say "slow learner"?! Yep, that's me. So the same issues are still there and need to be addressed.

1. Lessons Learned: Drinking less would put me in better control.
2. Lessons Learned: Stick to small social groups.
3. Lesson Learned: Do something every day even if it is just for that famous "10 minutes".
5. Lesson Learned: Recognize when you are full.
6. Lesson Learned: If you are going to have a snack during TV time, make it a healthy one.
7. Lesson Learned: I need my life to be ordered both mentally and physically.
8. Lesson Learned: I need to find "my plan" again and stick to it.
12. Lesson Learned: Portion Control is something I will need to work on for some time!

One of the biggest issues is staying focused. I think many of us here on SP may have the same issue. I get so wrapped up in the moment that all things SP fly right out the window of my brain until the moment is done and I realize "OMG, what have I just done!".

Another way for me to look at this is in relation to consistency. Even though I come to SP every day my documentation is horrible. Track my food I'm told. Really! I can't even seem to remember to spin that darn wheel some days.

I am looking forward to my next quarter. Here along the lakeshore of Lake Michigan the summer days are trying to arrive which can brighten anyone's spirits. In my mind I have a little plan and I am truly hoping I can pull it off. I am going to focus on being consistent and will see what else falls into place. This seems pretty basic, but I'm hoping for development of habit instead of flitting all over SP and never accomplishing a thing. So documenting in only 3 of the simplest areas for me will be:

1. Spin that SP wheel.
2. Record all of the water I drink.
3. Record my daily fitness minutes (my Tracker sure is helpful in this area).

I know that many of my Spark Friends are doing well. Keep up the good work!

Until next time - Spark On!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 7/7/2014 4:57AM

    Good plan. I find that it helps me to have a Spark routine like those three steps that you listed. I can get so distracted IRL - and it's not different on SP with all the things the site has to offer! I also give you kudos for maintaining over the past year!

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EJOY-EVELYN 7/3/2014 11:01PM

    Such fabulous lessons learned. May this next quarter be the one that truly turns around your direction! You can do this! Hug, hug -- Evelyn

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68ANNE 7/1/2014 5:40PM

    I am readjusting again and reveiwing goals so I guess I could probably do the lesson learned also

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CAT-IN-CJ 7/1/2014 12:07PM

    Each new day is a new beginning.
Sometimes it's good to start with a fresh page and just making a list of stuff. . . what you like, what you don't like, where you want to go, what you don't want to do. . . . whatever comes to mind.

You'll find your groove.

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KELLIEBEAN 7/1/2014 9:23AM

    You have had a tough go of things and that you are thinking about this stuff through it all shows progress.

I like your plan. Small steps equal large victories!

I'm pullng for you!


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NUOVAELLE 7/1/2014 2:13AM

    Recovery periods are always difficult for our health goals. Don't be too hard on yourself even if you know you didn't do the best you could. There are times when things go beyond our control and the important thing is to learn from our mistakes. Don't look back any more and focus on the present. Do those simple things every day and always remember your goals. Eyes on the prize!
Good luck!

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BARBARAJ73 6/30/2014 9:28AM

    Good for you - turning the page to the next quarter with a plan!! Small steps and build from there - emoticon

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Reflections For The First Quarter

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I'm not sure today is the best of days to be blogging because mentally I have had a coupe of rough days (and I'm not sure why), but at the beginning of 2014 I set a goal for myself to refocus on SP and my Healthy Lifestyle Journey and that I would review how I am doing with they goal on a quarterly basis. Well, the first quarter of 2014 is up!

January was out the window as I was still in post-surgical recover mode and not doing so well. I did, however, put my Spark Tracker back on towards the end of the month which was the first step to reaching my goal of getting healthy.

I had been so sick to my stomach in January as a result of the pain pills that I was taking that I didn't tolerate eating very much. Well, let me tell you, that I made up for lost time! I ate and drank way more than I should have and the scale showed it. This approach was not going to get me where I wanted to be! Towards the end of February start a healthy journey journal so I could review where I had been, what I was doing and feeling, and where I needed to go from here.

I have kept my journaling up throughout March and made sure I noted what lessons I could learn from my mistakes. I also renewed my Spark Coach and started over at Stage I. Here is what I have figured out so far from my journal:

1. Lessons Learned: Drinking less would put me in better control.

2. Lessons Learned: Stick to small social groups. Do not skip a meal even if you can only manage a small one.

3. Lesson Learned: Taking a day off may be a nice treat, but don’t skip absolutely everything; do a little some of your routine, but just not as much of it.

4. Lesson Learned: Take a pain pill when you hurt!

5. Lesson Learned: It is o.k. not finish every bite on your plate. Remember the phrase “Can I think about it for a while?”. It can apply to many aspects of my life.

6. Lesson Learned: If you are going to have a snack during TV time, plan ahead so you have some healthy ones to choose from.

7. Lesson Learned: I need my life to be ordered both mentally and physically.

8. Lesson Learned: I need to stick to my plan.

9. Lesson Learned: Oh well! What’s done is done and today is another day.

10. Lesson Learned: Don’t give up. Keep working on “Staying In The Moment”.

11. Lesson Learned: Social outings cause me anxiety and TV watching can bore me. I need to work on portion control; all things in moderation.

12. Lesson Learned: Portion Control is something I will need to work on for some time!

13. Lesson Leaned: Life happens and that is part of the journey. It is alright to celebrate once in a while, but not every day.

These are some important lessons for me that will guide me to the healthy lifestyle I really want to live and so for the second quarter of 2014 I will need to keep reviewing these lessons over and over.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CVRONEK 5/12/2014 8:56AM

    Great blog! Sorry it took me so long!
I thought I had subscribed to your blogs. emoticon

This is super and it has given me the thought to quarter up my year, as well.
I will be working on it.

Keep up the good work!


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ZELLAZM 4/14/2014 6:20AM

    Good blog - lessons learned and relearned! Onward to the next quarter (where did the first one go!?)

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FEARLESSNOW 4/6/2014 4:12PM

    That is fantastic that instead of beating yourself up, you reflected on what you have learned. Best of luck for the next quarter.

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CAT-IN-CJ 4/3/2014 1:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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2BEHEALTHY2014 4/3/2014 11:12AM

    These are lessons we all need to learn. Thanks for sharing.

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KELLIEBEAN 4/2/2014 9:29PM

    I love this. Excellent reminders for all us.

You've go this!


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68ANNE 4/2/2014 3:41PM

    I am starting to learn many also. One of my favorite is to not put off a workout, take those ten minutes and just do something so you can get it out of the way.

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PATTISTAMPS 4/2/2014 1:39PM

    Those are GREAT lessons! I know that it will be easier as you continue to heal and get back to you pre-surgery health. I know the doc says you are healed, but sometimes the parts we can't measure are still working to get back to normal. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are good habits. One suggestion - find something to do that will keep your hands busy - for me it is paper crafting. Don't want to get any thing on the paper, so I don't snack when I do it. Maybe knitting or sewing or painting... whatever you can enjoy.

Have a successful April!

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STEP Right Up

Friday, March 28, 2014

My last blog was a review of the journey I have taken with my hip over the past 4 months. Although it was most likely a bit boring for you, I want to thank all of my Spark Friends who trudged through it and offered support as it helped me focus on some of the things I learned about disabilities and empathy for others. It's our Spark Friends who help us keep going.

This blog is also a review of sorts as I have been struggling recently with some concepts. Blogging out my thoughts really seems to help me put things in order for me. The issue I have been struggling with is fitness minutes.

Shortly after I recommitted to SP I was able to develop a fitness plan for myself. This is something that I had never done in my entire life or even given it any thought! I was doing yoga 2d/w, Curves 2d/w, and jogging almost every day to prepare for my first 5K. That 5K was the end of jogging for me as my hip pain really flared up after that. So in place of jogging I switched to walking. Even though I have long legs I have never been able to make them move at a speed faster than 3.5 mph, but even that got to be a challenge because of the pain. So I decided to slow it down a notch to 3.0 mph and be satisfied with the fact that I was at least doing something and still following my fitness schedule.

At the same time a Spark Friend of mine introduced me to the MapMyRun app on my phone which helped me keep track of my walk speed and distance while outside. All around Spark people were also talking about their FitBits. I was considering a purchase, but put it off due to the price. Then SP came out with their own tracker! The price was right and so I took the plunge and purchased one. I started tracking steps October 21, 2013.

It has been interesting looking back over that time and seeing my weekly step results. Getting the hang of this "step" business took me a while, but I built my numbers up from 8412 to 19,716. That's right. That was for an entire week! When I look at those numbers now I laugh at how pathetic they are for me. In reviewing the results it became very clear by mid-November that I was struggling since my steps started to fluctuate greatly most likely depending on how much pain I was having on any given day. By December my fitness schedule was done for and I generally became a couch potato while I waited for my surgery day.

I started using my Tracker again in mid-January and although I had a bit of a health setback I have built my weekly steps up to 30,564. Today is my last visit to P.T. and last week I started back at Curves which I am very happy about. It is these "steps" that are really getting my down. I have read that for general good health you should get 10,000 steps in per day and for weight loss you should get 12,000 - 15,000 steps in per day. Has anyone else heard or read this same thing? Are they kidding me!? On a lazy Sunday I can get as few as 600 steps in around the house. Right now on a busy day for me with running errands and chores around the house I get somewhere around 2,500 steps in. I have really been pushing myself to build the strength back up in my leg/hip/glut muscles that get destroyed during a hip replacement. Last night I managed to walk on my TM for 1 hour at an average pace of 2.7 mph. Really! Is that all I've got?! Where is that 3.0 mph feels like a stroll in the park?! This is killing me!

And so here lies the struggle I mentioned above. I am not happy right now with all of this. I find myself frustrated that I can't do what I used to do, frustrated that I am not doing 3,000+ FM like many of my Spark Friends are, frustrated that I am even comparing myself to others. I tossed and turned all night last night because my hips and back hurt. Yes, it did feel good to be able to increase my speed and time on the TM last night, but is pushing myself worth the pain (after all I did yesterday I still only got 7,632 steps in). I know some people think it would be, but this is my journey to healthier living and so I have to figure out if I want to continue down this path of push or if I want to back off from the Spark Tracker for a bit and be happy once again with the fact that I am doing something, no matter how small in comparison to others, that is leading me to a healthier life style.

Decisions, Decisions!

Today is my DH birthday and it will be a busy w/e of celebrating. I think I will relax and enjoy it. I hope you all have a Sparkling w/e. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

68ANNE 3/28/2014 9:15PM

    I agree with many here. Not worth it if it is causing you that much trouble. I haven't gotten the tracker. I sit all day at my job and really don't want to become obsessed like I see with others (no offense) and I can not really justify the expense right now. It does take quite a while to come back from hip surgery and I think sticking with the exercises the PT gave you plus any others that don't cause you pain are just fine.

Stop comparing yourself to others just race with yourself!

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FEARLESSNOW 3/28/2014 7:14PM

    "If it isn't fun, don't do it!". Good luck. I'm sure you will figure out what works for you.

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IMLOCOLINDA 3/28/2014 3:45PM

    The numbers aren't as important as how you feel when you are doing it. The competition should only be with yourself. I have been trying to do a 5K walk in under 45 minutes and I walk every single day, when it -35 wind chill, I'm out there...and so the wind and weather have been part of why I can't seem to break it...but when I'm way above, I am still doing it. On the days my knees ache, I go as slow as I need to go. I'm not going to hurt myself and it's just some random number in my mind. I was in the Army and I was Airborne so we RAN every single day. I know those days are long gone and I'd only run if someone was shooting at me. I have an old pedometer and I don't even know how accurate it is anymore. I go much more by the amount of minutes I get in because I have several 15 or 30 minutes things (videos) or boxing work-outs at the club...but don't use the tracker as a value of your worth and don't use anyone else's numbers/minutes to feel the value of what you are doing for your body. It really is only about YOU!!

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PATTISTAMPS 3/28/2014 2:08PM

    I use a fitbit, and the only one I am competing with is ME! Most weeks I average about 5,000 steps a day. But some weeks it's only 4,000. and when my knee was giving me trouble, I didn't wear it. I do find it helps me to push myself to get moving. But unless the doc says you should push past the pain to get stronger, there is no way you should be hurting yourself. You know the difference between "good" pain I had a workout and pushed my limits - and "bad" pain. This really hurts and I can't sleep... It takes a while to get back to where you were... and there are sometimes obstacles that have to be taken one step at a time.

Take care of yourself! You know your limits better than anyone else!

PS... I am jealous of those 3000 minute people too, but 100 minutes a day is just beyond me!!!

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2BEHEALTHY2014 3/28/2014 11:59AM

    I think if the tracker is causing you to stress about hoe many steps you're getting then stop using it. Do what you can and take your time to build yourself back up. You had major surgery, it's going to be awhile be fore your strength is back fully. Just do what you can.

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