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My Version of HALT

Friday, November 14, 2014

I've heard for many years of the acronym, HALT, when you're tempted to have a drink.

It stands for Hungry - Angry - Loneliness - Tired

When you want a drink, you're supposed to stop and ask yourself if that urge is really one of these things, and then satisfy that need in a healthier way. It works for some people. But for me - these things aren't what tempt me to have a drink. I've come up with a few other words that I can relate to better:

l. "H" for me is for "Happy"

I'm a very happy person. I always want to celebrate something. Not only all the holidays, and birthdays, but paydays, and "date nights" with my sweetie, and visits with friends, or a meal at a restaurant, or a special purchase delivered to my door. You name it. I want to mark the occasion and enjoy the "good times". And I've come to believe that every occasion needs to have an alcoholic beverage.

My sweetie and I are going on a picnic at the beach - I want to bring along a bottle of wine and two wine glasses. We're having a Bar-B-Que on our patio - I want to have cold beer in a bottle. It's Cinco de Mayo - let's have margaritas. It's New Year's Eve - got to have champagne or Asti Spumante. What is Christmas Eve without Egg Nog ? You get the idea.

A new friend, BEECEE39, turned me on to a great "mocktail": Seltzer water or Club Soda with a splash of Cranberry Juice in a tall tumbler. I added a wedge of lime. It looks so festive and pretty and it's not "too sweet", but cold and refreshing. I love it. It's going to be my new "go to" beverage. I don't need alcohol. I can celebrate anything with my new "Cranberry Fizz".

2. "A" is for - "ANXIETY"

Dr Phil says that "anger" is usually really "hurt" or "frustration". That is so true for me. I don't think that I experience "anger" very often. But "anxiety" - I have that all the time, so I'm going to use the "A" for that.

I have an over-active adrenal gland, and frequently have way too much adrenaline surging through my body. I can feel it. If someone says something upsetting to me - I feel a wave of adrenaline through my stomach as if I just headed down on a roller coaster. Often for no apparent reason, I have "heart palpitations" or a pounding heart that feels like anxiety. I want to have a drink to "calm down" my racing heart. I've been on a 24 hours heart monitor and my heart is healthy. It's just that darn adrenaline which I interpret as "anxiety".

So if my urge to drink is really "anxiety" (heart palpitations), I'm going to take a nap, take a bubble bath, or take a walk. One of those three should relax me and slow down my heart rate. (Caffeine has a lot to do with it as well, so I really need to eliminate that.)

3. "L" is for "Lounging Around"

I have a wonderful sweetheart and we're together almost 24/7 (which we love) so I'm rarely "lonely". But since we are retired, I have tons of free time, and spend a lot of time just "lounging around". A nice beverage with a good movie is a nice way to pass the time. Or when one of our favorite TV shows comes on, I'd love to mix a drink to enjoy while we watch it. And then there's all the time I spend on the computer, especially late at night if my sweetie goes to bed early. I love to have a drink to relax me and make me sleepy enough to go to bed. Sometimes we play music on YouTube for hours, and Johnny is always drinking. I want one too, of course.

Lately I've been getting in the habit of having just ice water to sip while we "lounge around". Now I'm going to try the "Cranberry Fizz". I can have just as good of a time WITHOUT the alcohol, (and remember it).

"T" is for "Triggers"

There are also other times and things, that especially "trigger" the urge to have a drink. One of those is after making love. I've never smoked, but I understand a lot of smokers really want to "light up" after sex. Well, during "after-glow", I usually have an urge to have a drink. I've tried drinking a large glass of cold water afterwards - and that has usually done the trick to get past the urge. I think I'm really just thirsty.

Another time is when friends have dropped by to hang out and visit. They bring along alcohol to share, and not only are they drinking in front of me, but the alcohol is FREE. We've told one couple that they definitely cannot bring hard liquor over to our place ever again. If they visit - they can only bring beer. One time a neighbor offered us a free bottle of tequila. It was just a gift. I really had to be strong to say "No, thanks" to her. I can resist going to the liquor store to buy something, but when it's delivered free to our door, it is REALLY difficult to resist.


When I get an urge to have a drink, I'm going to ask myself if it is really one of these occasions. And then I'll take steps to act accordingly. Alcohol can no longer be the "answer" for me. I can't stop after "one" or "two" - so don't even get started. No more.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLEMIDG 11/15/2014 12:58AM

    Awesome. Good for you.

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CHRISTINE1623 11/14/2014 5:41PM

    Great blog! Very insightful! emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 11/14/2014 3:46PM

    Good for you for doing what is going to work for you . . . and adjusting what doesn't along the way.

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My New Vision Board

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Here it is: My New Vision Board which reads "ALCOHOL - FREE"

I want to remain "positive" about my new status in life. I've got lots of positive words to reminds me of the benefits of being alcohol-free which include:

Save Money
Be Healthier
More Energy
Better Sex
Better Relationships
Better Sleep

I love the photo of the girl - she looks so healthy and happy.

I have lots of pink hearts and sparkles.
This new vision board just makes me SMILE when I look at it.

The KEY phrase is "Stay Positive - See Results"
That's so true isn't it ! ?


Every day that I remain "Alcohol-free" I get healthier and therefore, happier.
I'm alcohol-free.
I'm feeling good.
I'm gettier healthier.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AJDOVER1 11/5/2014 1:41PM

    best wishes to you!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 11/5/2014 4:54AM

    emoticon emoticonso proud of you love. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FLEMIDG 11/5/2014 12:19AM

    Wonderful idea. Keep up the great work.

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1CRAZYDOG 11/4/2014 8:40PM


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JUST_BRENDA 11/4/2014 8:26PM

    Lovely job on the vision board!
Very insipiring!

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Who Inspires You ?

Monday, October 27, 2014

I've been Sparking for over 2 years now and I'm 30 pounds down from my starting weight. I've had many alcohol-free streaks, the longest being 107 days over the holidays last year. Right now I'm on Day #13 alcohol-free with no end in sight.

Been thinking about where I get my inspiration to "keep going". There are a few KEY PEOPLE who inspire me everyday. Here is a little list of who inspires ME:

Every afternoon at 4 pm, my sweetheart, Johnny, and I sit down to watch an hour of Dr Phil. We find him very educational and his shows are always a great topic for conversation. Johnny and I are together almost 24/7 so we run out of things to discuss. We both love Dr. Phil.

On one of his shows a few years ago, there was a man who had a problem with alcohol. Dr. Phil told him the solution was very simple: "Just Don't Drink", he told the man. REALLY ? Dr. PHIL ? Is it that EASY ? Well, he's right. That would solve the problem. "Just don't drink". And you won't have all the problems associated with drinking. But we all know that for many people, resisting alcohol is not all that EASY ! I'm one of them. Fortunately Dr. Phil went on the say that he would "provide help to do that depending on what he needed . . . be it inpatient or outpatient treatment. Okay. That makes sense. Dr. Phil was going to help him deal with his alcohol problem. But I've never forgotten that episode. Sometimes the solution to a problem is really very simple. In this case . . . "just don't drink".

Thanks Dr. Phil. You always inspire me. (And I love all his funny "sayings" that he throws in there.)

2. Paul in www,

This is the website that is my "GO TO" place whenever I need a little more willpower to resist having a "drink". Last month I was tempted to walk down to the convenience store and pick up a $10 bottle of wine for the evening. I went on this website and donated the $10 instead to Paul. He has lots of basic, simple lists that strengthen my resolve to resist alcohol and lots of ways that help to resist having that drink. He's added some videos that you can just sit back and relax and watch instead of mixing a drink. I like that he tells you that you don't HAVE to go to AA to quit drinking. Lots of people can decide and succeed at being alcohol-free without going to AA. In the past it seemed that everybody believed AA was the ONLY WAY. AA is not for everybody.

3. Another PAUL . . . this one the Apostle Paul in the BIBLE.

Paul in the BIBLE was imprisoned for preaching Christianity and wrote over half of the New Testament, most of it from a prison cell. He wrote letters to the churches he had started. In his letter to the Ephesians, in Chapter 5 verse 18, he writes, "Don't get drunk on wine. For that will ruin your life. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit" (New Living Translation).

Simple. Straight to the point. Notice that he didn't say "Don't drink wine AT ALL" Just "Don't get DRUNK". In other words, don't over-do. Don't over-indulge. A little in moderation is fine. Unfortunately, with many of us, when we have a "little" alcohol, we want to have "more" and "more". We lose our inhibitions and restraint. In my case, it's necessary to "not even start". If I get a little taste of wine, I'll want another glass, and another glass, and will drink the entire bottle. So I need to avoid alcohol completely. But this verse has inspired me for many years since I read it back in the 90's. "Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit". YES. God can give you all the "strength and willpower" you need to resist alcohol (or whatever is your particular weakness).

In Phillipians 4:13, Paul writes, "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me." I bought a bracelet with this inscription, and It has been a constant reminder that when I'm tempted to have a drink, to say a little prayer instead. The Apostle Paul has truly been an inspiration to me.

4. Joel Osteen
We've been listening to Joel Osteen almost EVERY Sunday for eight years. In addition I've read several of his books. And I get an email with a little devotion from him every day. He is SUCH an inspiration. He is ALWAYS so motivational and positive. Basically he says that "With GOD, all things are possible !" which is a quote from Matthew 19:26.

I was around 200 pounds for many years. I tried to lose weight over and over. I would be successful for maybe 10 pounds but would always gain it back. I never believed that I could be thin again like I was when I was young. But I kept listening to Joel, Sunday after Sunday. Every week, I would be inspired to "stick with my plan and strive for my goals". And then, with the help of God, I actually lost 40 pounds. Joel was RIGHT ! "With God, all things ARE possible !" Thank you Joel. And THANK GOD !

5. And LAST, but definitely not LEAST, JESUS INSPIRES ME !

Matthew is my favorite book of the BIBLE. EVERYTHING that JESUS had to say is recorded in the book of Matthew: all the "words in red". My favorite quote is JESUS in Matthew 11:29 "Learn from me . . . and you will find rest for your souls".

How true that is. Read and listen to all JESUS had to say. Learn from the way He lived His life. JESUS is the KEY to HAPPINESS and CONTENTMENT in life.

I don't need alcohol to calm down and relax. JESUS is all I need. JESUS is the one to turn to when the going gets tough. JESUS will provide "rest for your soul".

So that's who inspires me the most: Dr. Phil, two Pauls, Joel Osteen, and most importantly, JESUS.

I've come a long way. But I still have a long way to go (20 more pounds to reach my goal weight of 155 pounds). I'm going to keep reading and listening to my KEY inspirational role models. I will NEVER GIVE UP. I CAN reach my goal. I WILL reach my goal. By the way, that's the name of Joel Osteen's latest book, "I CAN I WILL".

Who inspires you ?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUZIEQUE77 10/28/2014 7:39PM

    I don't know who inspires me. I do like Dr. Phil sometimes and the direct way he tells people things. I also like Judge Judy. I don't always agree with her on everything but I do like the way she dares to call people out on their self-centered entitled frames of mind.

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JENNY888 10/28/2014 3:49PM

    Love your blog!

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MOM2ACAT 10/27/2014 4:45PM

    My Spark friends on the Surviving Cancer team inspire me!

I had stage II breast cancer in 2003, long before I joined Spark. It never occurred to me at the time I was going through treatment to even try to exercise.

When it returned in 2007, this time to my bones, it was about a year after I had joined Spark. My friends I had made on the Surviving Cancer team talked about how they worked exercise in around their treatment, so this time, I knew that having cancer again didn't mean I had to stop trying to live as healthy as possible, and that includes getting exercise. I can't do a lot of the things I use to do because of the damage the cancer has done to my hip joint, but I have learned that if you really want to exercise, there are ways to work around any disability. I'm grateful to my Spark friends for showing me that you can work around just about any health issue.

Congrats on your weight loss, and all your other success, and thank you for sharing your story!

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1CRAZYDOG 10/27/2014 12:56PM

    It's good you have inspiration in your life.

With any addiction, though, the more support you can get (doesn't matter the source) the better.

Having experienced both gambling and alcohol addictions in my immediate family, I can only say, once something reaches the point of addiction it is very, very difficult to go back to just doing it socially. OF COURSE, it is an individual thing for sure! But in the cases I was exposed to, going back to social drinking or social gambling was just a big fat failure!

You have some excellent inspirational support, keep it up!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 10/27/2014 10:59AM

    great blog and thanks for the insite. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUSGETTENBY42 10/27/2014 10:13AM


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Are You PreDiabetic ?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Did you know you can REVERSE Prediabetes
and PREVENT Type 2 Diabetes ? emoticon

First of all - What is Prediabetes ? emoticon

emoticon Prediabetes is a health condition that results when you have too much glucose, or sugar, in your blood, (but it is not yet high enough to be called "Diabetes".

What's the GOOD News ?

You can improve your condition and prevent the development of Type 2 Diabetes, emoticon

Who is at risk of Prediabetes ?

1. Age 45 or older
2. Overweight or obese
3. Being physically inactive
4. History of cardiovascular (heart) disease
5. High blood pressure - or being treated for high blood pressure (hypertension)
6. High cholesterol
7. Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
8. Having gestational diabetes during pregnancy
9. Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
10.In women, having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
11.Having a family background that is African American, Alaska Native, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander
12.Having a dark, velvety rash around your neck or armpits (known as acanthosis nigricans)

How do I know if I have Prediabetes ? emoticon

You need to get tested for a fasting blood glucose or sugar (FBS).
There are no typical physical symptoms of having Prediabetes, so many people are Prediabetic and do not yet know it. Talk to your doctor about getting tested.

How do you treat Prediabetes ?

Simply put: ACTIVITY and WEIGHT LOSS emoticon

Even a modest amount of weight loss can make a big difference. Experts suggest aiming for 5-10 % of your current body weight. That would be 10-20 pounds for a 200 pound person. This can actually prevent the development of Diabetes and reverse Prediabetes.

Physical activity will not only help you burn more calories and tone muscles, but will also significantly help with weight loss efforts. In addition, increased physical activity helps your body become more sensitive to insulin, the hormone that helps manage blood sugar levels.

If you have never been physically active, check with your doctor first and start out slow. Walking is a great form of exercise and a great way to start ! Aim for 30 minutes a day of activity and then, over time, increase your activity to 30-60 minutes per day.

Here are some ideas to increase your daily activity:

l. Use a pedometer and track your steps. Each mile is about 2000 steps. emoticon
2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. emoticon
3. Take a quick walk during your lunch break at work.
4. Park at the far end of a parking lot and walk to the building.
5. Walk on a treadmill while you watch TV, read, or listen to music. emoticon
6. If your destination is not too far - consider walking there instead of hopping in the car. emoticon
7. Get a walking buddy emoticon
8. Find scenic places to take a walk.
9. Walk your dog. emoticon

I'm sure you can think of more.

Here are some weight loss tips:

1. Eat breakfast daily to give you energy and help you feel full
2. Drink calorie-free water ! emoticon Avoid all sweetened beverages. Avoid alcohol. Avoid artificially-sweetened beverages as well since they tend to make you hungrier and thirstier.
3. Follow the MYPLATE model in which 1/2 of your plate consists of fruits and vegetables.
4. Log on to SparkPeople every day and track your food and activity.
5. Be active for at least 30 minutes daily. Gradually increase the length of your activity as your fitness level improves.

Find out if you are Prediabetic, and if so, take steps to reverse this condition before it is too late. Take care of your health.

I was around 200 pounds for several years and was Prediabetic. With SparkPeople I have lost 30-40 pounds and now my fasting blood sugar is below 100. emoticon I walk almost every day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRISTINE1623 10/16/2014 8:36PM


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PURPLEPEONY 10/16/2014 12:48PM


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1CRAZYDOG 10/16/2014 11:19AM

    I was 200+ lbs. @ 4 ft. 10.5 in. (not a pretty sight @ all -- physically or health wise!) Diagnosed w/type 2 in Jan. 2010, and have lost and maintained 100 lbs. weight loss and lost my diabetes. It is never GONE . . . just controlled. So, I definitely weigh and measure foods, watch the carbs like a hawk, and exercise.

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JAROL7 10/16/2014 9:34AM

    Learn NOW to eat lots of fruit and veggies. It's a life.

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A lot of work to make this coffee cake - but it was worth it !

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In the latest issue of Prevention Magazine they had several desserts that incorporated veggies in the recipe. I decided t try one: the Squash and Apple Coffee Cake. I changed the recipe a little. It is REALLY DELICIOUS !

This is what I made:

1 butternut squash: peel, seed and dice. Place in single layer on baking sheet sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Roast for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees until soft. (Check with a fork)
When cool, puree in a food processor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9X12 baking pan with vegetable oil spray

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
Beat together.

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (the original recipe called for 1 cup of yogurt but I didn't have any in the house)
pureed squash
Add to the butter/sugar and beat till smooth.

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
Add to above mixture.

Peel, and dice 4-5 Granny Smith Apples
Fold into batter

Pour into greased pan.

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Blend together and top the batter

Bake 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

You can serve this warm with vanilla ice cream. HEAVEN !

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLEMIDG 10/15/2014 12:28AM

    Sounds yummy.

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JUST_BRENDA 10/14/2014 9:54PM

    Sounds yummy!!! May I please have a piece emoticon

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DJ4HEALTH 10/14/2014 9:43PM


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PURPLEPEONY 10/14/2014 7:37PM


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TRAVELGO 10/14/2014 7:14PM

  Sounds DELISH!!!

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1CRAZYDOG 10/14/2014 7:04PM

    sounds delicious.

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