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And yet another analogy: the balance beam.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sometimes I think about maintenance as being a walk on a balance beam. You can fall off either side! On the one hand is the slip-slide back into compulsive OVER eating. On the other is a dive off into exercise addiction and compulsive UNDER eating, another serious disorder, just in the other direction. The key is finding that middle path of balanced activity and eating and living.

Gymnasts practice, practice, practice to learn how to take leaps and turns and changes in where they place their body, but always coming back to place their center of gravity firmly on that beam. They may fall off a lot while learning. But they get back up and change something a little, and maybe the next time (or the tenth time) they try that stunt, they find the beam and do not fall, but keep on with the performance.

Even the most polished professionals fall at times. There is no shame in it. The really great ones come back from the fall and move on.

In the analogy, our efforts to learn healthy living is the practice and the performance. The leaps and twists and turns are the new things we try or the life events that get thrown at us. We come back to the center of gravity of the self-nurturing habits we have built through Sparking and all that practice. And it is good.

Spark on, my friends! This is for your life! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 5/15/2011 8:49AM

    Good analogy! Sometimes I feel that being balanced in eating and exercise is just as much of a challenge as being on that beam.

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_LINDA 5/10/2011 11:45AM

    Great analogy!! This is so true!
Have a totally terrific Tuesday!

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COMPUCATHY 5/10/2011 8:49AM

    Wow...THAT is an EXCELLENT analogy! Thanks for sharing. I will remember this. Analogies help me so much. I can wrap my head around it when it is explained and pictured this way. THANK YOU! I hope you have a great week! Spark on! emoticon

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MSLZZY 5/10/2011 8:19AM

    Balance, practice, and pick yourself up after a fall-great analogy!

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HOT4FITNESS 5/10/2011 8:13AM

    Finding balance is hard work and does take practice. Let's just keep "keepin on" tilll we find that perfect balance. Nice blog and reminder that we can never give up!

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DEBRA0818 5/10/2011 8:03AM

    A great way to start my day today as I am seeing how important it is to achieve all kinds of balance so I can stay on top of the beam.


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WATERMELLEN 5/10/2011 7:59AM

    Love this analogy. Gotta say for me, I'm more likely to slip off in the one direction (overeating) than the other!!

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MIZCATHI 5/10/2011 7:33AM

    Perfect blog to start the day! Sometimes I slip a little, but of late I keep on keepin on. All the thin people I've ever known eat a cookie on occasion, or skip exercise because they are busy, they just don't quit. I don't let myself feed my internal wounds, and I don't give food more importance than it deserves. I get right back up and center myself. It works.

Comment edited on: 5/10/2011 7:34:11 AM

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Interval living

Monday, May 09, 2011

Most of us have heard of interval training. Many of us practice it regularly, in preparing ourselves for an event, or to increase our athletic abilities. In very simple terms, it is working at a level a bit beyond your comfort zone for a short period, and dropping back to your comfort level to "recover". By doing this, we increase the level of the "recovery" zone, over time. It makes it possible for me, for example, to shave those precious seconds off my time for the two miles.

After two relatively athletic weekends in a row, post-APFT yesterday, I became a slug... puttering around the house a little bit, laundry, grocery shopping, but a goodly chunk of sedentary pursuits as well: upgrading device drivers on the computer and watching streaming video of old TV shows.

I was definitely hiding indoors, though, as Saturday's outing I stayed out longer than I intended and "vile yellow-face", the sun, did a number on my exposed arms and neck. I'm a rather vibrant reddish color on those parts of the body. Nope, no sunscreen, and I know better, but as I said, it was unplanned activity which is what bites most of us. Truth to tell, I detest having creamy stuff on my skin. I am going to have to find a different sunscreen solution for this year if I have any aspirations to do things outdoors at all. Last Summer I hid indoors a lot, resulting in my horribly overgrown yard.

And I started looking for something about 4 p.m. emoticon Looking in the cupboards, looking in the fridge, trying things out... bad move. I went through about five times more snacks. It's that Sunday afternoon, weekend's almost over, don't want it to end... dissatisfaction. And I ate over it. Sheesh! I looked back at my trackers and saw calorie deficits the two days before... could be part of it. And the really hard run Sunday morning could also be part of it. Someone last week offered up the "drink more water" thing, and I did some of that, too... but still, this is a slippery disease, compulsive eating... that must be balanced against the real body needs. The good news about the bad behavior is that after going through a certain amount of this aimless eating, nothing looked good any more. I realized what I wanted wasn't in the kitchen, and I stopped.

Today, back to the normal eating plan. Which leads me to the title subject: perhaps some of what we do is, indeed, "normal". We are interval eating, as well as interval training. Exert energy, hungry drives nourishment. Isn't this the way it's supposed to be? I know I have to be careful about thinking too much this way, as I have led myself right down the garden path to regain too many times to think it's not the voice of the disease, the justification.

So... let's keep those rest intervals short... and get back on track!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 5/9/2011 9:49PM

    I can see it that way. I had a very long day and was wearing out and getting hungry in spite of drinking four cups of water over the two hours at home. So I snacked on a grain bar, but that wasn't enough, so I dived into the kettle chips, and finally got out of the feed bag because I am so tired and want to put my arm in the splint and lay down for a while as I have been on my feet since 5 am this morning..
Enjoy your evening!

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MIZCATHI 5/9/2011 9:03AM

    Yes, the compulsive eating is a slippery slope for sure, and I encounter it at the oddest times. Still, I have learned this time out, that when I start thinking about food, and the need to feed, that I must eat. I have begun to think of it as not staying in tune with my body and feeding it before I get hungry. If I eat on schedule, I am less prone to grazing.

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DEBRA0818 5/9/2011 9:03AM

    One of my favorite 12 step sayings is "No matter how far down the road you are, you're always the same distance from the ditch." I cannot believe how tricky and pervasive the urge to overeat can be. I'm not sure what happened in your case -- it sounds like your brain was urging you to replace lost calories -- but I applaud your awareness that intervals can turn into long segments with very little effort.

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FITFABJENN 5/9/2011 8:19AM

    You are so insightful. I marvel at your ability to reflect and examine.

Yea to getting back on track!

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MARVEEME 5/9/2011 8:08AM

    Nice job and good catch. Keep in mind all the other triggers too, and you're onto something here.

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MSLZZY 5/9/2011 7:58AM

    Ah, interval eating! Never thought of it that way!

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Bonus blog... Mother's day Army Physical Fitness Test

Sunday, May 08, 2011

On November 7th last year, I set myself a goal: to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test for a female my age. Link to original goal set, with dates to test:

I put myself through it this morning, as I did New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day.

Well, as one might expect, focusing my training on the Half Marathon kind of undermined some of the target training for this one. In fact, I didn't train for it at all. And today my results were:

Push ups: 29
Sit ups: 19 - yes, I got worse. Sigh.
2 mile run: 19:02 - I gave it my all, and emoticon. I think some of my "grr" at the sit ups result went into extra effort in the run.

Next test on the 4th of July: I'm going to do a lot better on those sit ups! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WENDYSPARKS 5/9/2011 8:24AM

    Congratulations and good luck!

Wendy :)

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MSLZZY 5/9/2011 7:59AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY1432 5/8/2011 10:40PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARVEEME 5/8/2011 5:18PM

    WOW! You GO girlfriend! What an inspiration!


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_LINDA 5/8/2011 1:36PM

    Well done!! Its true, you have to be training at it if you expect to do well. But that is pretty darn good!

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MNTWINSGAL 5/8/2011 1:28PM

    And I know you will, Barb. You are doing an amazing job. Congrats!

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A Horse is a Horse..

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The theme from Mr. Ed drifts through the mind. Yesterday after my maintenance consultation I took a drive up the road to a State Park, and bought my sticker for the year. Now I can get back in any time I like, at least this year... bike, walk, jog, skate, sled, swim, see the plays... or, sign up and go on a trail ride. emoticon

When I got to the stables, I read the sign: purchase tickets at park office. So I walked back to the park office, leaving the car in one spot the whole visit. I asked about the trail rides and found out you can only reserve for the actual day! And you can only reserve by phone at ten a.m. for the spots left among the horses they are taking out that day. So, pretty tight deal.

And... they had a spot available on the 1:30 p.m. trail ride. Two hours away, I thought, checking my watch. I hadn't intended on staying out too long, but... why not? If the work team thing doesn't come together, I'd actually have achieved my "get on a horse" wish, if I just signed up right then. So, I did!

I walked the loop around the park, figuring out where the various venues were. Pretty cool place, really. You know, for all that I live less than 25 miles from this park, I'd only been there once before. I have no idea why not... perhaps because the park was developed during the 15 years I lived in other states? Perhaps because I don't get out enough.

I got to the stables early, and one of the wranglers beckoned me to come on up to the fence and stroke the horses that were tied on that side as they got ready. I did so, talking softly and petting them. They had their names on their halters and they were all beautiful. Palomino, Paint, Appaloosa, roan, grey, bay... stockings, stars... lovely, patient, some frisky, a couple liked the attention, a couple shied away.

A little later a happy and somewhat noisy group of foreign "kids", I'll call them, arrived, the bulk of the riders. And a family with a couple of little girls. And me. We listened to the safety speech, were offered safety helmets, and then they chose who would go on which of the horses.

The head guy had asked me when I came up and was petting horses if I was riding out with them today and which time. I'd told him. He put me on Toby, one of the more "independent" minded of the string. Apparently Toby used to work as a wrangler's horse, and therefore wasn't quite as accustomed to being just a horse following the horse in front of him. He needed to be "reminded" from time to time not to sneak up on the lead wrangler's horse and nip. I was kind of flattered to be given a mount that required some level of interaction. Otherwise, have you really been on a horseback ride?

We got to see a wild turkey in the woods. Lots of birds singing, great views. And when we got back and dismounted, I kind of floated back to the car and drove home with an incredible sense of peace in my soul.

Oh, and those of you who gripe about doing hip abductor exercises? If you ever go riding, you'll be glad you did them! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 5/11/2011 11:38PM

    What a great story about your horseback riding adventure.
It sounds as if you did very well. I would agree with you that you should feel good about getting a horse that required some reminding every once in a while.

Also... I love all your new pictures on your page. You look great!

Your success shines like a high beam lighting up the path ahead of me. Thank you!


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LINDAJOYWK 5/10/2011 6:30AM

    Sounds so nice.

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MSLZZY 5/9/2011 8:01AM

    emoticonWhat fun! emoticon

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MARVEEME 5/8/2011 5:22PM

Fantastic day, and a wonderful read! Thanks for posting it.

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LJCANNON 5/8/2011 3:38PM

    emoticonWhat a Great Day!! I have been thinking about putting a Horse Back ride on my Bucket List. From the sound of your ride, it might be a good idea.

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

There's nothing, absolutely nothing like communicating with a 1000-pound animal who couldhurt you if he chose to, but who chooses not to. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em! Congrats!

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REJ7777 5/8/2011 1:44PM

    emoticon happy dance. emoticon

Sounds wonderful! One of those extra-special days that stands out among all the others. What a great reward!

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DEBRITA01 5/8/2011 1:17PM

    What a surprise, you reached a goal and without intending to do so today. Glad you enjoyed your ride....will there be a return visit? I'm assuming so...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 5/8/2011 12:57PM

    Glad you had such a fantastic day! The unplanned ones are the most fun! Maybe you will take a camera on your next trip to the park and share its views with us!
Have a super Sunday!

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KATIE33MAHALA 5/8/2011 10:41AM

    What a great day! Thank You for sharing. I love horses also, but can't tell you the last time I was on one, think my boys was still toddlers. Hahaha, love the comment about hip abductor exercises, I do remember that much of riding, I walked so funny after I first climbed off it after riding for hours. Happy Mothers Day Barb!

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FITFABJENN 5/8/2011 10:28AM

    Wow, what a wonderful day! I have not ridden a horse since I was in high school. I think I'll put that on my bucket list.


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DRB13_1 5/8/2011 10:12AM

    sounds like you've got treasures in your back yard, with the state park so accessible. I love riding, don't do it often enough.

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BESTSUSIEYET 5/8/2011 10:02AM

    Very fun! Been a long time since I've been on a horse! Have a blessed Mothers Day, Marsha!

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NWLIFESRC 5/8/2011 8:49AM

    Cool sounds like fun

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DAISY443 5/8/2011 8:48AM

    Of course, of course! What a wonderful unplanned day you had. Sometimes, those are the very best!

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On rewards

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Every so often, I have to preach to myself about rewards. Why is that? Because I tend to forget to give myself the little rewards and savor them. And I sometimes neglect to follow through on the long-promised bigger rewards, "because something more important came up."

Rewards come in all sizes, of course. Those of us with food issues historically think of rewards in terms of banana splits or whatever our favorite high-calorie indulgence might be... and since food is cheap and available, fast to grab... guess what happens if we don't give consideration to appropriate rewards, large and small?

So... part of the learning process of "acting as if" we were fit and healthy people (on the road to actually becoming the same)... is learning to choose rewards that are meaningful and appropriate to the victories.

Meaningful is a very personal thing... it should be something that gives YOU joy, not something someone else thinks of as a reward. It should be something that you actually label as "I did XYZ, and this is my reward!" "I stayed on my food plan for three weeks... I am buying this scented candle and lighting it to recognize I'm worth it!"

The big ones? I have been promising myself a massage ever since I hit my half-way point... what, 18 months ago? I never booked it! Even now! And until just now when I wrote this, I had kind of forgot I promised that to me... let's put that on the to-do list: schedule that massage.

But right now, the big focal point of the reward scale is the trail riding thing. Today, after my maintenance consultation, I intend to drive out to a nearby state park and investigate scheduling and rates. My work team (several of them, anyway) have said they will go with me... it's just one of those day trips, for those of you who asked, but it's something that's been on my list for a while.

And I even voiced it in front of other people... after I finish the half marathon... I'm going to get on a horse again! It's been 30 years. It's time. So... that's today: reward planning and the next steps to implementation.

What's on YOUR list of rewards you owe yourself?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WORDLILY 5/9/2011 9:04AM

    I haven't figured out what I deserve rewards for / what I need rewards for yet. I've written a list of milestones and goals, but I've yet to plug in rewards. And yes, I tend to not follow through with actually giving myself the rewards. :p

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REJ7777 5/8/2011 4:00AM

    Great blog! I rarely follow through on rewards. I'll have to be more intentional about it. Enjoy your well-deserved rewards!

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KASEYCOFF 5/7/2011 12:36PM

    Wow, what a great reward! I'm a real advocate of celebrating each achievement, large and small, and sometimes it seems as tho we put ourselves 'last' when it comes to rewards. Thanx for reminding me of how important it is... 'cause we're worth it!

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MNTWINSGAL 5/7/2011 9:36AM

    I also have a massage on my reward list....haven't scheduled it yet for obvious reasons. I'm starting anew again today, and hopefully this time I'll get somewhere.

Have a great time on your trail ride. You do indeed deserve it!

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HOT4FITNESS 5/7/2011 8:26AM

    Wow!!! Have fun. You sure do deserve it!! My reward is an upcoming trip to boulder, Colorado for some R&R and a will throw a 10k in there. Have a good weekend!!

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MARVEEME 5/7/2011 7:57AM

    Good for you! Right now, I owe myself nothing but to stay on track. My goals have benchmark rewards, and my bucket list exists, but they are for the future. Guess I've been good to myself all along.

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MSLZZY 5/7/2011 7:34AM

    emoticonNow follow through!

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DAISY443 5/7/2011 7:30AM

    Good for you, go for it!

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DEBRITA01 5/7/2011 7:22AM

    Some day I hope to be back in the saddle again, too. Enjoy your rewards, you've earned them!

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