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Triumph Over Temptation

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm proud of myself today for saying "No, thanks".
It was a BIG temptation.
Our neighbor, (funny her name is "Angel") knocked on our door and offered us a bottle of tequila. "Do you still drink?", she inquired.
We haven't had tequila since mid-March, six months ago, when Johnny went a little crazy and busted up his guitar. We didn't have ANY hard liquor since. Six whole months. Until 10 days ago when I bought a bottle of whiskey for us to share, and AGAIN, DUH !, Johnny went a little crazy, screaming at the top of his lungs, for all our neighbors in our little building to hear, about all the illegal activity going on by certain individuals (who shall remain nameless). He then proceeded to recount all the reasons he hates living in our apartment, the "drug dealing" being one of the reasons.
I became angry that he seemed to be unhappy with our living arrangements and yelled back, "IF you're not happy here, you're NOT a prisoner, and you can just LEAVE !"
We calmed down and made up quickly after I said that, but. . . fast forward here to this evening: Here was Angel offering us a bottle of hard liquor. For FREE !
I'm sure she heard our big fight last week. (She lives on the other side of our wall). And now she's offering us a big bottle of BOOZE ? Does she want to hear a repeat ?
I just kept saying, "Oh! No. No. No. No ! But thanks anyway."
She persisted. "Maybe save it for company? It's too hard for my stomach."
I continued, "No, thanks ! We really don't want it around to tempt us." And shut the door in her face.
I'm so proud of myself for being strong.
Johnny and I started discussing the "temptation" we just experienced.
I said, "That was definitely the ENEMY tempting us to drink hard liquor !"
Johnny thought that maybe it was GOD testing us. I wasn't sure about it so I got out my Bible. James, in (James 1: 2-4, and 13-15) writes,
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. . . . . When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."
So we were both wrong. It wasn't the Enemy or God but rather we were tempted by our "own evil desire".
We love both the taste and the effect of liquor.
But we're learning. We can't stop at one or two. We'd probably have a "problem" fueled by the alcohol. And then there's the hangover next day, or in Johnny's case, three days. His liver really can't handle the booze anymore. His liver enzymes are already high.
So Johnny thanked me for saying "NO !" to Angel at the door. He wants to be healthy and live. He wasn't upset that I didn't accept the "gift" and we could have had an "instant party". He was glad that "I" was the one who answered the door. He admitted he wouldn't have been able to turn away a free bottle of booze.
So here we are at 11 pm at night. I got my 30 minute walk to the beach in at sunset. Then we watched the final 2 hour show of "America's Got Talent". And now I'm on the computer doing what I discovered I really enjoy doing . . . writing. I'm finishing my sixth day alcohol-free. (I drank some wine on September 11th ).
We triumphed over temptation . . . only by the Grace of God.
Whew ! That was a close one !

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRISTINE1623 9/19/2014 4:08AM

    Congratulations! Temptation is so tough! emoticon

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PURPLEPEONY 9/18/2014 2:55PM


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1CRAZYDOG 9/18/2014 9:35AM


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    That was awesome ! You learned so much from this and explained it so well !

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144AUTUMN 9/17/2014 11:07PM

  Keep up the good work!!

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My New Bike Actually Means LESS Exercise

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm thrilled with my newest purchase which was delivered yesterday by UPS - a light blue all-aluminum Schwinn bicycle. My sweetheart, Johnny, had to do some assembly. Thank goodness he's quite a "handy-man". It would have been next to impossible for me to do myself. He did an excellent job and got it all adjusted for my short legs and long back.

It GLIDES like a DREAM !

I haven't gone very far yet - just a little test ride around the parking lot at the radio station across the street. It is by far, the best bicycle I have ever ridden.

And it is SO PRETTY !

As most of you know, I haven't been able to afford a car for almost 6 years now (although I have a perfectly good "safe driver" driver's license). But a new bcycle was within my budget. I'm very satisfied with my "new wheels".

But here's the problem:
Now I won't have to WALK everywhere anymore. And I will actually be getting LESS exercise by rolling along effortlessly on my new Schwinn. ! lol

Case in point:
Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment. I was planning on walking the mile and a quarter. Now I'll be trying out my new bicycle. I have to admit, it will be nice to not be as hot and sweaty as I would be if I walked there. (We're still getting up to 90 degrees every afternoon down here in Florida).

Oh, I just thought of something. With my new bicycle, I'll be MORE likely to go to my twice per week exercise class which is also a little over a mile away. That will mean LOTS more exercise as we do weight lifting, and sitt-ups, and push-ups, and squats, etc. I haven't attended in probably 9 months. I've GOT to get back into the habit of showing up there. I have an umbilical hernia that concerns me and has kept me from doing any other exercise other than walking. I'm considering surgery. I'll have to see how I do at the class before I decide if surgery is necessary.

But back to the new bicycle. It is really beautiful and, most importantly for me, it is made of aluminum so I don't have to worry about it rusting. I LOVE it !

Ride, Valerie, Ride ! lol

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRISTINE1623 9/19/2014 4:10AM

    GREAT picture of you and your bike Valerie! Enjoy

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JENNY888 9/15/2014 5:56PM

    I bet you get a lot of exercise on your new bike. There are so many places to take it and things to see. I am happy for you.

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MCJOYFUL 9/15/2014 1:46PM

    emoticon for your new bike! A good bike makes such a difference!

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PURPLEPEONY 9/14/2014 9:42PM

    Love it! I want one! emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 9/14/2014 8:10PM

    You look way happy on that bike! AWESOME!

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FIREFLY-THT-WAS 9/14/2014 6:37PM

I can't wait until I can ride a bike again!
I am SO looking forward to it.

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CAPECODBABE 9/14/2014 4:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon Go Val Go emoticon

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PHHHISC 9/14/2014 2:06PM

  emoticon Enjoy!! I love my bike, as well!

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How to Ruin 5 Healthy Foods

Friday, September 05, 2014

Have you ever noticed how you can take a really "good-for-you" healthy, nutritious food and totally RUIN it by how you prepare it or "top" it ?

I've always been conscious of that when I'm trying to eat healthy and lose weight.
Some people are oblivious to that fact - or just want their food to taste "extra good".

Case in point: My neighbor who is an insulin dependent 500 pound man brags that he tries to eat healthy by snacking on celery. I thought that was great until I found out that he gobs peanut butter on his healthy celery. Sure peanut butter has protein and the healthy kind of fat, but it also has a high calorie content. I did some checking. 2 medium stalks of celery, which are basically fiber and water, are only 15 calories. Spread on 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter and you add 200 calories. That still wouldn't be so bad IF you stop at 2 tablespoons and not eat half of the jar. But does my neighbor stop at 2 tablespoons? I wonder !

My landlady was shocked by her weight at her last visit to the doctor and wants to slim down. She's decided to eat mainly salad, which is great since 3 cups of tossed salad has only about 66 calories. But top it with 1/4 cup of blue cheese dressing and you've added at least 300 calories of mostly "fat". Not exactly a "diet plan" !

A friend of mine was advised by her doctor to avoid "shrimp" because her cholesterol is high. Apparently that doctor isn't aware of the fact that dietary cholesterol is NOT the main culprit when it comes to serum cholesterol. We need to avoid "trans" fats and saturated fats and "total" fats in our diets. I informed my friend that shrimp are perfectly fine to eat as long as you don't batter and fry them. I looked up shrimp on the SparkPeople food tracker for verification. 6 cooked shrimp were listed at only 33 calories. But fried coconut shrimp were over 500 calories ! That didn't count any sauces you dip them in. Big difference !

Most people think a baked potato is the most fattening and unhealthy thing to eat. "Oh, all those carbs !" they say. Well a medium baked potato with the skin is only 160 calories. And I had heard years ago and recently saw again on SP, that a medium baked potato actually has more potassium than a BANANA ! The lowly potato also has zero fat and 4 grams of protein. Sounds pretty healthy to me. But, of course, top it with 1 tablespoon butter (100 calories), 2 tablespoons sour cream (50 calories) and bacon bits (25 calories) and you're up to 335 calories. Now you're talking ! I always order my baked potato PLAIN in a restaurant - and I enjoy it that way. The same goes for a baked sweet potato. They're delicious PLAIN ! You don't need all that butter and brown sugar. Learn to enjoy the natural food without all the added fat and sugar.

My favorite snack is a medium fresh apple. Only about 75 calories and lots of fiber. Now I could easily add 385 calories by topping it with butter, brown sugar and walnuts and baking it. That still would be a pretty healthy dessert, however, as far as desserts go !

But my point is this - - natural whole foods can be so healthy and nutritious when you eat them in their natural state. But most people tend to "ruin" them by smothering them in fat such as butter or cheese, or topping them with sugar, or battering and deep frying them.

Enjoy your fresh steamed broccoli without the melted cheese. Saute your boneless, skinless chicken breast in a little canola oil instead of breading it with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese. Have a fresh banana for a treat instead of a big banana split with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

So don't "ruin" your food. Learn to enjoy whole natural foods without all the added extra calories. Your waist-line will thank you for it !

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENNY888 9/7/2014 10:34PM

    Great blog!

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DJ4HEALTH 9/6/2014 8:53PM

    emoticon emoticon

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JUST_BRENDA 9/6/2014 11:16AM

    so true

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CAPECODBABE 9/6/2014 10:21AM

    Good advice!
I do have to admit I like my salad topped
with pizza emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISSUSRIVERRAT 9/6/2014 7:20AM make excellent points. I am just plain getting annoyed at how people reject potatoes because of the carbs.

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PURPLEPEONY 9/6/2014 1:01AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FIREFLY-THT-WAS 9/5/2014 11:37PM

    emoticon emoticon

You are SO RIGHT!!!

I blame fad diets for some of this, and human nature for the rest lol.

Fad diets have taught us that fat is bad, carbs are bad, sugar is bad, etc, etc. They don't really address the fact that our bodies need those things in their natural states (avocado as opposed to a bacon cheeseburger).

I love this blog post and look forward to reading more from you!

PS- Plain baked potatoes might be the most awesome thing ever.

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1CRAZYDOG 9/5/2014 10:21PM

    True, true, true!

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Chatted with the Author of the Book I Just Read

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I just ordered the book "How to Change Your Drinking - A Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol" by Kenneth Anderson from Amazon and read it immediately when it arrived yesterday.

I quickly realized that I had been following the principles of the book for the past two years with SparkPeople without even realizing it. For 2 years, I had been engaging in "alcohol-free streaks" for indefinite periods of time in order to limit my drinking and consequently lose weight. My longest streak was 107 days from November 2013 to February 2014 in which I lost 14 pounds. This past summer I did a streak of 35 days alcohol free in which I lost 10 pounds.

Of course, other people had other reasons for limiting their drinking and other strategies for achieving their goals.

I went on the chat room after reading the book and wrote that I had been thinking the SAME things as outlined in the book and had been following the SAME principles as he had written about in the book. I wrote in the chat room that "I wished I had written the book" !

THEN - I realized that I was chatting with the AUTHOR ! I was a little embarrassed ! LOL !

I wrote, "OH ! You're the AUTHOR ! Can I have your autograph ?"

He laughed and obliged with a little "funny smily face".

I had never been in a chat room before. That was SO COOL ! That the AUTHOR of the book I had just read was online with me and responding to me !

Well, needless to say, I highly recommend the book to anyone who is unhappy with the amount of alcohol they are drinking. It doesn't pass judgement. It makes so much sense. It is so helpful. It is exactly what has worked for me.

Try it. You might like it.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_BRENDA 8/30/2014 6:03PM


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1CRAZYDOG 8/30/2014 11:03AM

    Too cool!

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    How fun!

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ZRIE014 8/30/2014 1:18AM

  keep it up

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WEARINGTHIN 8/30/2014 1:16AM

    I quit drinking moderately about 6 or 7 weeks ago, for weight loss purposes. So far, no weight lost. I'm now taking more extreme measures with my food consumption, and still not drinking. Glenn

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I Broke the Rules - and Lost 40 Pounds Anyway !

Friday, August 22, 2014

I don't track my food.

I don't work out.

I don't always eat breakfast.

I don't go to bed at the same time every night.

I don't get up at the same time every morning.

I don't avoid soda.

I don't avoid carbs.

I don't DIET.

I don't follow any of the "Rules".


My weight has dropped from 205 to 165. And all my blood work is PERFECT ! Even my blood pressure has dropped from 140/90 to 120/80 without medication !

So how did that happen ? ! ?

I only did TWO THINGS !

I logged onto SparkPeople EVERYDAY - -
I cut down on drinking alcohol.

I admit it. For the previous nine years, I had consumed alcohol almost every evening and had quickly put on and then carried those 40 extra pounds. I was in the "obese" BMI category - around 200 pounds for nine years. (Sept. 2003 - Sept 2012 when I joined SP). I was "always" trying to lose weight and I sometimes would succeed for about 10 pounds and then put it back on. You know. Yo-Yo Dieting.

No I wasn't your "classic" alcoholic. I didn't drink when I was young. (I'm 56 now). I've never had a drink before work. I never drank in the morning. I've never had a DUI. But I must confess - - I have an "alcohol use disorder" as the medical community is now calling it. It is recommended that women only consume ONE alcoholic drink per day or SEVEN per week (and NO, you can't save them up and have them all in one night !). I definitely FAR EXCEEDED that limit.

And an "alcohol use disorder" is a negative pattern of alcohol use involving:
Tolerance (being able to consume more and more alcohol with the same effect)
Withdrawal (having negative symptoms when you quit drinking - think "hangover")
Consuming more alcohol OR for longer periods of time than was intended
Other negative life problems (such as DUI, violence, job loss, relationship loss, etc.)

So YES, I DO have an "alcohol use disorder". I realize that. But I REFUSE to say like Step ONE in AA, "Hi, my name is Valerie and I'm an alcoholic. I am powerless over alcohol and my life has become unmanageable !"

I will NOT claim the label "alcoholic" to my name. The ONLY label I'll claim is that "I'm a CHILD OF GOD". I listen to Joel Osteen every Sunday and he always reminds us to NEVER claim negative labels to our name. I'd rather say: "I am STRONG. I make Good Choices. I am FREE of this addiction.

And I will NEVER say I am POWERLESS over alcohol. I am NOT powerless. Yes, I WAS before I found GOD. But NOW I have the POWER of the Holy Spirit of our Almighty God inside of me. "I CAN do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me" (Phillipians 4:13) I have a bracelet with that inscription on it that reminds me of that fact. I never take it off.

I CAN (with the help of my God) resist buying that bottle of booze or wine or beer.
I CAN be around other people drinking alcohol and not have any myself.
I CAN have a good time and be happy without alcohol.

So I'm a success story. Logging on to SparkPeople every day kept me accountable and gave me the help and support and motivation I needed to "cut down on alcohol". And I lost 40 pounds and got healthy.

I never went to AA as I don't agree with their "12-Step Program" although it works for some people. Yes, I do agree that you need a "Higher Power" to conquer your addiction. But that's as far as I go. I'm not going to "feel guilty" and try to make amends to everyone I have "hurt" in my life. The mistakes I made were not usually alcohol-related. I much prefer the philosophy of either of the following websites:

Most Americans consume some alcohol and I think that is an area that is often overlooked when people try to lose weight. Not only are there LOTS of unnecessary and downright UNHEALTHY calories, but alcohol slows down your metabolism as well, leading to weight gain in most people. And how many women that you know that drink can STOP after just ONE DRINK ? ! Face it. ONE leads to TWO, which leads to "just one more" which leads to the whole bottle. Admit it. Can YOU have only ONE drink once you open that bottle ? (Sure, some women CAN - but that is RARE. Can YOU ? Be honest.)

So I have had many alcohol-free streaks; the longest one being 107 days which was over the holidays from November 7, 2013 to February 22, 2014. Yes, I actually didn't drink over Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Valentines Day. I even amazed myself. I thank God for the willpower. I lost 14 pounds over that 3 1/2 months. Woo-Hoo !

Basically, when I joined SP, I identified what the problem was for ME. I hadn't been an overeater. But I DID drink alcohol on almost a daily basis. I then addressed MY problem. I did some research online. I read several good books on "how to quit drinking" such as
"The Easy Way to Stop Drinking" by Allen Carr
"Kick the Drink . . . Easily!" by Jason Vale
"Why You Drink . . . And How to Stop" by Veronica Valli

And I kept motivated with SparkPeople.
And I prayed.
And it WORKED !
I'm alcohol-free for TODAY. (One day at a time) And I'm thinner and healthier and happier.

I broke the rules. (Well most of them, anyway) And I lost 40 Pounds.
Join me in "TOAST" to SparkPeople with a non-alcoholic drink of your choice. CHEERS !

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITTEREVERYDAY 8/30/2014 11:26AM

    Avoiding carbs doesn't work at all for me. I don't lose weight, I just lose my mind. I get tired, cranky, mopey. I don't exercise. I hate everyone and everything. My body aches. I crave things I don't even like... just a bad deal.

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FORZACHANDMATT 8/30/2014 10:29AM

    Love this - thanks for sharing

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PURPLEPEONY 8/27/2014 8:08AM


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    Great blog. You have done an amazing job of solving the problem and you have done it in a way that works for you. I think it is interesting the way you targeted and focused on the main problem and didn't get all hung up on things that weren't your problem. You didn't create all kinds of unnecessary anxiety or activity. You just went after what was your main issue.

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CAPECODBABE 8/23/2014 7:20AM

    emoticon emoticon on the weight loss

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JUST_BRENDA 8/22/2014 2:27PM


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1CRAZYDOG 8/22/2014 1:50PM


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