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What's your favorite Spark Award?

Friday, June 03, 2011

It's award day... somehow I tend to forget they are coming up, and then, boom! My e-mail is full of folks "liking" my status, and the announcements of the awards themselves. I have to admit I have a favorite... I like the exercise minutes, and the perfect attendance ones, when I achieve them are gravy. But my favorite by far is the Consistency Award.

It tracks perfectly with my "Year of Majority Rules". Once we have the habits firmly established as the default, if we can just "keep on keepin' on", we will prevail. We shall lose if that's our intention, and we shall maintain. But we must be consistent.

Not so much consistent with logging in to Spark and spinning the wheel, as consistent in keeping first things first. In taking care of our bodies, minds, and spirits, so that we can then take care of everything else, our purpose in life. Logging in and Sparking is a kind mind trick to remind ourselves of the importance of our journey to health. So, to me, Consistency is King, and Majority Rules.

Here's to another consistent month, active, and supporting good health!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Consistency sounds better than it is. Awarded for spinning the SparkPoints wheel during the month. There are two levels for this award: one for spinning at least 20 times/month and another for spinning every day of the month.
I try to get the fitness every month.

Comment edited on: 6/4/2011 8:26:04 AM

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MSLZZY 6/4/2011 8:17AM

    Consistency award makes it for me!

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MNTWINSGAL 6/3/2011 7:45PM

    I've always wondered what the consistency award is all about. I usually get one....but I don't know what I did to earn it. I just make up my own designations for what goals I was consistent with. It's not always the same!

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_LINDA 6/3/2011 12:12PM

    I like the trivia one as that is the only one that is a challenge for me to get. I am always hovering around 89% and when I make it to 90%, I usually blow one, so I don't win it much at all. I am a person who will answer the questions honestly, to the bitter end. I heard you only have to take 20 days of questions to become eligible for the trophy, so it would be easy not to take any more questions if you are already at 90%. But I have always been too honest for my own good lol. Of all my Spark friends, only five ever get this award, so its a prize!
Have a fantastic Friday!!

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MARVEEME 6/3/2011 8:42AM

You're ABSOLUTELY right!

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SUNNY332 6/3/2011 8:24AM

    Consistancy does count!!

Have a Fab Friday.


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ZELLAZM 6/3/2011 8:08AM

    I agree! As a matter of fact, I posted on my May 1 blog that I was really aiming to be Ms Consistency for the month. It is really the key to making this thing happen. Perfect Attendance is a nice one, too, but, as you said, I need to be consistent whether or not I'm in a position to post and track on SP.

Here's to more Consistency in June!

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The King's Speech... rewards and lessons

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Wow. What can I say? I wanted to see this movie from the first I heard it was being made, but I didn't get to it in the theater... and today, courtesy of Netflix, it arrived in my mailbox. Seeing the story is the reward. It also brings a lesson.

The story is well known in history of the younger brother becoming King upon the abdication of the elder. One side of the story is particularly pertinent to us Sparklers: that of the achiever standing in his own way. A man who CAN, fearful of the ambition to BE. When the teacher encourages him, tells him he is capable, he sees it as treason to desire the goal.

Have any of us considered reaching our goals to be "treason" against the "kings" or "queens" in our own little realms? Perhaps we have a beloved or envied sibling who has always been thin while we have struggled? Or perhaps our families are ALL "big". How dare we aspire to thin and fit?

Do we then set out to fight against our teachers, as the King does in this movie? Of course we all know it has a happy ending... the motivation to overcome his fears for the sake of his nation is strong. He works hard, and triumphs. As can we.

Spark on... remember to reward your efforts... and most importantly, remember that you are worth it!
emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 6/4/2011 10:50PM

    Great analogy. I haven't seen the movie, but I plan to.

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DEBRA0818 6/3/2011 7:24AM

    Remember Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. Yum. But anyway, yes, we have to fight and sweat and cry and swear and quit and start again and finally be motivated by something bigger than our selves (Iinternally or externally) to get to the big speech at the end where we can say, "I Did It!" still trembling all the way.

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_LINDA 6/3/2011 2:37AM

    I would like to see this movie if I ever get the chance. I am always missing movies I want to see. Used to go to them a lot.
Thanks for the life lessons comparisons!

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MSLZZY 6/3/2011 12:04AM

    Great parallel to our lives-thank you!

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SUNNY1432 6/2/2011 11:53PM

    I am going to have to watch this movie. Thanks again for the interesting and insightful blog!! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 6/2/2011 8:17PM

    Clearly you DID enjoy it . . . and as usual zoomed right in to the larger significance and its connection to issues we're all addressing here!! Thank you!!

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What kind of instrument are you?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I've had this blog bubbling at the back of my head since Sunday, when I went to my sister's home for the family Memorial Day gather. I put this picture as my background for a bit and challenged my musically inclined friends to identify what was "different" about the instrument depicted.

This is a crossover instrument: it is the size of a viola, but it is stringed with an additional high string, a violin's E string. My sister, who is a string teacher, loves it because she can use one instrument to teach both violin pupils and viola pupils, and she can play harmonies and opposite parts no matter who she is playing alongside.

She has another interesting instrument that she had all of us try. A chin cello... another instrument the size of a viola, but strung with cello strings, an octave lower. What one observes, placing it under the chin and drawing the bow over the strings is a vibration much deeper and stronger than that of a violin or a viola.

So, what does that have to do with Sparking? (You know I'd find something... EVERYTHING is connected, somehow!)

Do you ever feel "different" from those around you? Do you feel "different" at a smaller, maintenance, goal-weight size? Maybe you just need to learn what kind of instrument you are! Maybe you're NOT a viola, even though you are viola-sized!

OK, that's my whimsey for today... it's OK to be who we are, and we can be quite unique and interesting in our design and purpose. Maybe you have the deep rich tones of a cello... and you have to ride out some extra vibrations! Or, perhaps you are blessed with a broad range of potential, and could play harmonies with many other instruments. Let's learn to play that extra string!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 6/3/2011 12:06AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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COMPUCATHY 6/2/2011 7:44AM

    Interesting and thought provoking! Thank you...that is quite a comparison. It will be interesting to find out what maintenance is like for me when I am maintenance-size. Your new pics are awesome, BTW! You go, girl! Keep up the good work! Spark on! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 6/1/2011 1:29PM

    "it's OK to be who we are, and we can be quite unique and interesting in our design and purpose" - isn't it grand to have so many options for similarity yet differences - makes the world go round!

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_LINDA 6/1/2011 12:06PM

    Wonderful music inspired blog! Thanks for information! I was not aware of this as I know nothing about stringed instruments. Just know I like their sounds ;)
I have always marched to the beat of a different drummer. I go where ever my body takes me. I am happy in my own skin. Wish it worked better, but you can't have everything..Spark People has made me realized for the first time I don't always have to go solo!

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    Love this!

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NATURALLYJEN 6/1/2011 9:29AM

    Fun post, an interesting way to look at things. Thanks for posting! :-)

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SUNNY332 6/1/2011 9:27AM

    Whatever instrument I am on any given day, may it play the best of tune.

Great post.


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HOT4FITNESS 6/1/2011 8:52AM

    Nice blog!! We are unique and special in every way Thanks for sharing

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DEBRA0818 6/1/2011 8:48AM

    I was not conscious of feeling different when I was closer to my goal weight (way back in 1989), but I must have felt that way because I didn't stay there for long. I am very aware of feeling vulnerable when I lose weight (a feeling I do not like at all), so I know that I need to work on getting comfortable with that feeling as much as (or maybe even more than) I need to work on diet and exercise (which is really, you know, kind of a no-brainer).

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WORDLILY 6/1/2011 8:11AM

    Great post. :)

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WATERMELLEN 6/1/2011 8:05AM

    Love this! Thoughtful, profound, unpretentious, "play"ful (musically and otherwise!!).

And as for "what kind of an instrument am I"? I remember how much my daughter (a clarinetist) loved playing in the highschool band once she realized that every instrument contributed to the music, every instrument was essential -- and that the burden of perfection did not fall upon any one performer. It was a community of instruments and here too we are a community making music more wonderful than any of us could produce individually!!

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In like a lion... out like a lightbulb?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Twisting old sayings can be fun, and it can make a point in these little self-pep talks. The old saw about March kind of describes my May.

May 1st was the half marathon. It was an incredible achievement high. The rest of the month has been pale by comparison, and I think that's part of my current motivational slump. I truly have been battling the "is this it? Is that all there is? Is this where the turnaround point happens?"

Having observed the phenomenon of burnout, I've been trying to avoid putting on another athletic goal too quickly. Or any other kind of goal, too quickly, for that matter. I feel... fatigued, perhaps? Tired of the fight? Yet I still need to take care of myself.

I have observed Spark folks come and go over my two years of pretty consistent activity here. Get to a point, get complacent, get bored or discouraged, leave... and later return with a new name, or even the same name and a restart. This is something I have done in the past with efforts at health and fitness. I have a tendency to ask "what's next?" And then drop what was taking time to play with some shiny new purpose, unrelated to self-care.

However, I have learned this about myself: I need to keep conscious focus on health and fitness. Shameful as it is to admit, these habits do *not* naturally retain themselves in me. If I stop putting focus on it, I regain weight while eating like a crazy woman.

I have never captured the turning point on paper. It usually starts with the cessation of writing about it. This time, I'm writing about it. It is at the point of success. It is at the point of doing well. I don't think I'm alone here. I'm most familiar with how it feels on the inside... but I've watched it from the outside, too. I'm not the only weight cyclist in the room, and I know it.

I gave myself May to *not* have a goal, to have rewards (non-food) and active fun. Now I'm back to basics. I shall not burn out. I shall, this time, change the light bulb, instead of letting it remain dark and cold.

June is a new month. It's going to be a great month, fellow Sparklers! We shall "make it so." emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELSEEBEE 5/31/2011 5:42PM

    The secret to Spark is making it all about changing your lifestyle. Two years ago I couldn't imagine not going to Wendy's for a hamburger. Now the idea just grosses me out! But look at nature-some days it's sunny and some it rains. We have to all just remember to stay on the journey, no matter what the bumps, obstacles and detours we encounter. My big lesson- learn to love myself and forgive myself when I do mess up!

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KALIGIRL 5/31/2011 12:36PM

    Great blog - what a wonderful way to keep yourself on track. I fell off the strength-training wagon @ Christmas and can't seem to find my way to the path. (Your fabulous end of the month picture may incent me?)

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DRB13_1 5/31/2011 10:58AM

    Half marathon in May was MORE than enough of a goal...
Here's to changing light bulbs and a GREAT JUNE! I'm with you! emoticon

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_LINDA 5/31/2011 10:19AM

    I only changed my name as it was a struggle to keep up with so many people, comments, and friend adds with my two finger typing and slow connection. I am in it for the duration. I am not and have never been a goal setter. I get up every morning and just do it! Its not easy, and with the pain not much fun at times. But I seem to be able to stick with it. It sounds to me Barb, like you do need to be a goal setter and have a purpose or something to look forward to since you say these healthy habits aren't sticking with you or feeling natural.. For me, I hate deadlines. I like to do things on my own time and at my own pace. Its not laziness, but adapting to my condition. I work hard on my good days, and take it easier on my bad. You do a lot of thinking, and you share those excellent thoughts with us in blogs. You must put that sharp brain of yours to work on how you can stick to, and most important, enjoy living a healthy lifestyle. You need to scour the recipes pages and find healthy food you can really enjoy (so the unhealthy stuff is not giving you its siren call all the time)and you need to look for physical activities that are fun and challenging for you and not seem like drudging work. You can do this Barb, you have an active mind..

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SUNNY332 5/31/2011 10:01AM

    Here's to changing light bulbs.

Great Blog, Barb.

Hugs, Sunny

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 5/31/2011 9:39AM

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. I've never left SP completely, but I recently backed WAY off. And I found myself heading towards what I refer to as "FlounderLand." I'm coming back a little more consistently and reading more blogs, and it's amazing what a difference just that little bit makes in my mindset and determination.

I think you're wise not to put too much pressure on yourself for the athletic goals when you were feeling burned-out. But staying consistent with SP and having other goals with non-food rewards makes me think that you've broken that destructive cycle Barb. Way to go!

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BUGGYS 5/31/2011 8:59AM

    Love this blog, Barb! I am back at WW for the 11th time and vow to finish what I've get to goal and stay there and yes, it will continue to be a lifelong committment on my part!

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DEBRA0818 5/31/2011 8:28AM

    Speaking as one of the recyclers, I can say that this is so -- here I am starting week 4 and feeling just as emotionally hungry for food as ever but determined to stick it out and continue even so. Considering that this has to be a life long focus or it doesn't work, it is not surprising that only about 3-5% of people can lose substantial weight and keep it off. It's hard work and, for some of us, maybe it never gets any easier.

We hang in there anyway.

Comment edited on: 5/31/2011 9:39:30 AM

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SLENDERELLA61 5/31/2011 8:14AM

    Great blog!! You are definitely not alone here. Here's to changing light bulbs!!! -Marsha

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MSLZZY 5/31/2011 8:09AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 5/31/2011 8:00AM

    We are allin this for the long haul, let's do it and accomplish great things together!!! I look forward to hearing all about your june accomplishments. Good luck!!

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Even family gatherings have changed

Monday, May 30, 2011

For me, the focus of family gatherings were of course the people, but seriously, for a compulsive eater? They were about the food! The rich, decadent, bad for me food that holidays gave me an excuse to consume in quantities: while preparing it (don't ya know the cook has to taste it, just to make sure it's OK), of course at the event (someone prepared this special, they'll be offended if you don't show a hearty appetite and rave over their offerings), and then after (I used to make extra just so I could savor it afterwards, too).

And then there were the years of living in terror of food! And of the people, too! When I hadn't seen them in a while, and I would have gained weight, and I didn't want them to see me as a failure (yet again). So I would eat before, in anxiety, during I'd be "good" for show, and after, back in the privacy of my own kitchen, pile it on full of shame over my perception of my fat!

But now? I just observed this: it is as though there is this peace with who I am and who my loved ones are and that it's all OK. What changed? Wouldn't it be easy to say that now I'm at my "home" weight and have stayed there for almost a year, it's all because of that? But it's not.

It truly is the result of the hard part of losing weight: the mental, emotional, spiritual journey of acceptance and nurturing. It makes even family gatherings different. It allows me to attend, observe, participate and yes, love fully what each and every one brings... their stories, their music, their faces, and the food. In balance. With mindfulness.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUGGYS 5/31/2011 8:57AM

    For me, it's always been about family and friends...eating is are right on, Barb!

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46SHADOW 5/30/2011 8:21PM

    Its not about the food? I'll have to reprogram myself.

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MNNICE 5/30/2011 2:02PM

    Over the past few years I've come up with new, healthy recipes that surprisingly my family has requested become "tradition."

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_LINDA 5/30/2011 1:58PM

    I am so glad you have made your peace with the family gatherings..Enjoy your holiday!

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MNTWINSGAL 5/30/2011 11:42AM

    I'm so happy that you've found that peace. And now, enjoy your Memorial Day!

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MARVEEME 5/30/2011 10:39AM

    And When You Get the Chance To Sit it Out or Dance, I Hope You Dance!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 5/30/2011 10:20AM

    Man, can I say "been there/done that". It's funny, but as I was walking today I found myself thinking about my upcoming vacation with my two sisters. I told myself that it's not about the food, it's about the company. Simple concept -- hard to practice for a compulsive overeater. So, that's going to be my mantra through the whole vacation. Will I be perfect? No. But will progress be made? I sure hope so.

What I enjoy about SP the most is that we're able to find people (like you) who have been through the same things. And the different perspectives allows us to open our minds to other ways of thinking about things.

Have a great Memorial Day, Barb!

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DEBRA0818 5/30/2011 9:04AM

    Sounds like we may be in synch on this one Barbara!

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MSLZZY 5/30/2011 8:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LINDAJOYWK 5/30/2011 8:09AM

    I can relate with the terror of being seen-I think I would be more"social" if I were
more comfortable in my own skin.

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