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Advice for newbies?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Now I've done it. Unleashed my brother on the SparkVerse. I've warned him to pace himself... like me, he can be sucked into online things and get burnt to a crisp. Spark is such a rich environment, one has to carefully manage the time we spend here. Each of us finds what works for us as individuals, because the point isn't JUST to be an online community, it is to think through what we want and go get it!

So... that said, my own two bits when starting out is "start with the basics": the food tracker and the fitness tracker. Add other things judiciously as time goes on and you find them helpful. Avoid getting caught up in the video-game-like aspect of Spark Points accumulation! This is NOT a competition where she/he who has the most points wins. It's just another little mind game that helps some of us stay motivated. They will happen quite naturally as you find articles you WANT to read, and as you use the trackers.

For me the key is not knowledge, it is motivation. Day after day, week after week, month after month... for me, the community support is what helps me remember that this is a priority for me. That I want to live healthy and why. I still find useful and new information. But staying motivated helps keep me looking for it!

Happy Sparking, dear brother... and look out Spark friends... whatever self-deprecating thing he might post, MOBYCARP is a force to be reckoned with! emoticon


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/12/2011 8:12AM

    MOBYCARP -- what a great handle. And kudos for you for motivating your family . . . yeah!!

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CONCHA77 7/12/2011 6:47AM

    Welcome -MOBYCARP!
Can't wait to meet you! emoticon

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PENNYAN45 7/11/2011 7:11PM

    Now that you have set the example, your brother should do really well here at SP.

I agree with you that beginning by tracking and drinking water is the way to go.

It will be interesting to see how he does here. I sometimes think that women are more used to sharing their thoughts and feelings than men are. And I think that sharing is a very important part of being successful here - for me, anyway.

Although, some men have done a fantastic job here. I should not generalize about men.


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/11/2011 6:16PM

    You have a very wise approach to sparking. I sometimes do get caught up in earing sparkpoints and then ask myself why . . . . I hope your brother gets as much enjoyment/knowledge from it as you do.

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DEBRITA01 7/11/2011 4:36PM

    emoticonYou Sparked your brother just as you continue to Spark others on this site. Like you said, it's good to start out simple and build from there. No one can do it all and everyone's SP journey is unique.

Welcome MOBYCARP, you've come to the right place... emoticon

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ANDI571 7/11/2011 4:02PM

    Good wisdom for us oldies also. I too came in guns a blazin'. All the sudden I was exchanging over eating for over sparking. But with time I found the balance I needed. My spark friends are the backbone of my spark experience. You are always there to lift me up and dust me off when need be.

So glad we have had the pleasure of meeting. emoticon

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_LINDA 7/11/2011 3:53PM

    Over Sparking was why I gave up my old name and went private. Its not helping much, still getting friend adds and they even e-mail when I don't add them back!! Aggressive people, but I am standing my ground as I don't have the time, typing skill and connection to deal with keeping up with a large friend's list! Moderation in all thing!
Way to motivate yourself and others! Hope your brother finds this site useful!!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/11/2011 10:35AM

    How exciting to help your brother get started! Very wise words, too. Yep, I know it can be a little overwhelming at first. Also, for the most part it encourages good habits BUT when I found myself staying up to midnight in order to start getting points early, I knew I was out of my mind! The point is health and fitness. The point is not points!! Thanks.

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KASEYCOFF 7/11/2011 8:55AM

    Oh, he's got a great role model - his sister is an A-1 Sparkler!

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MARVEEME 7/11/2011 8:39AM

    emoticon emoticon

Bring it!


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DEBRA0818 7/11/2011 8:22AM

    Woo-hoo! Another family member joins in. I've added him as a friend and hope that he finds the website as motivating and friendly as I have!

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    A trainer on TV said something that was particularly helpful to me. He was talking about the 3 keys we're all familiar with--nutrition, water, & exercise--and said "Do all 3 well, but pick one of the three to go the extra mile with, and do it with no exceptions, as if your life depends on it."

Since I know the amount of exercise I'm able to do right now won't get the results I want, my extra-mile, life depends on it item is food tracking. I've logged every bite into the food Tracker since December 30, 2010, no exceptions. (When I'm away from an electronic device I write down what I ate in a small notebook & enter it into the tracker later.) Changed my life, and the intense focus on one makes the other 2 seem easier.

For your brother: emoticon

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REJ7777 7/11/2011 7:31AM

    A force to be reckoned with, huh? Like his sister? emoticon

I didn't use the trackers when I first started using SP. I'd counted calories in the past and was burned out with dieting. I didn't even want to LOOK at the trackers! I had the good fortune to join the Turtles team almost as soon as I joined Spark. I found tremendous support! Then I started using the fitness tracker. It took several months before I started using the nutrition tracker, and found how easy it is to use. Now, I use both every day. They're great tools. But like you, I mostly come to SP for motivation. I need the support, the "today counts", and "you can do it" that I find here. I used to think that it was cute when people said SP is addictive. I'm not laughing anymore! It's gotta be managed, just like every other area of our lives.

Thank you for being my friend! emoticon

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It is a matter of once every couple of years

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chatting with my brother over breakfast... I cooked us a nice, healthy veggie omelet, and the topic of how good it is to see one another is never far away. He gets out here (1100 mile distance) only every couple of years. His comment was that each time he comes and stays with a sister (often the other sister in the photo on the front, this is a first staying with me)... he observes us living and incorporating healthy habits into our lifestyles. Then he goes home and does a little bit better.

How like Sparking! emoticon We learn from one another and incorporate changes into our own lives as we can, a little at a time. From him I learned some financial management things. From sister #1 (front page), I learned the "one thing" principle a couple years ago, but have only started really using it recently. On those occasions when we *do* get together, it is usually a sharing of the things that are working in our lives at the moment. Then anyone who has a need can pick up the positive and run with it in their own life.

One of our younger sisters got a new job recently, and we shared stories of strategies that worked in landing it (sage advice for anyone who is in a similar position). We shared our confidence and encouragement in her ability to get up that steep learning curve she's now facing.

Last night we all drove up to the Mellerdramas together, and we got, ta-da, a five sibling photo op. Our youngest sister's hubby kindly took the shot for us:

And we talked a nice stranger into taking a shot with some added offspring and spouses:

We've got him for today and tomorrow, then he's headed back. Tomorrow is a work day for me. So much of this is attitude, but I like to think that Mom and Dad are in heaven smiling. This is what makes me feel slightly sad that I have only one child.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEEZAB 7/11/2011 8:27PM

  what a nice uplifting blog...Thanks for sharing.

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REJ7777 7/11/2011 7:43AM

    What treasures those family photos are! You've created keepsakes of those precious moments when you could all be together.

Our families are similar in that I have 3 sisters and one brother. I'm the eldest sibling, then 2 sisters, a brother, and then my youngest sister. It's such a blessing to be close as a family!

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LJCANNON 7/10/2011 11:28PM

    What a beautiful picture of Family and Sparking in the best sense of both words.
emoticon emoticonI am so glad that you got to spend this time with all your family.

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MARVEEME 7/10/2011 10:56PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 7/10/2011 10:39PM

    How wonderful! Thanks for sharing! HUGS!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/10/2011 9:16PM

    What great family pictures! Wonderful that you can all get together -- at least every once in a while. That you learn positive things from each other is amazing! Yes, you are truly amazing. -Marsha

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_LINDA 7/10/2011 3:17PM

    This awesome! So great to hear you are all Sparking one another and helping each other out! Enjoy the last of your time with him(too bad you couldn't have taken this one day off work)

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WATERMELLEN 7/10/2011 10:56AM

    Very nice!! There is some kind of hereditary personality thing with siblings (for better and for worse!!) which together with the shared history makes it possible to "pick up" wherever we left off . . . yeah!!

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    In "The Godfather", Clemenza said "This stuff (gang wars) happens about once every ten years, it helps sort things out"

It's the same with your brother, he comes out every couple of years or so and sorts out and goes back and lives good for a while. Even if it doesn't stick, he's better off than if he did not visit and did not observe healthy habits even if only for a short time

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FITFABJENN 7/10/2011 10:32AM

    Whee, that is so wonderful that you got the sibling shot. It has been years since I've been in the same room with all of my siblings.

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It is more fun with friends... or family

Saturday, July 09, 2011

I have three sisters and a brother. This morning the elder grouping of us decided we wanted to move while we visited, and we walked around a nearby lake while doing our in-person catch-up. Took a couple of photos that grace the front page for today, anyway... the backdrop is the sunrise over lake... ahhhh! The people are the sibling group in which for eight years of my life I was the "middle child"... after that I just became "one of the middle children"... I'm number 2 of 5 if you count those kinds of things in personality profiles and such.

In any case, I love the way we operate together as siblings... and we had a great time, pausing to take whatever snapshots struck our fancy and swapping tales from our lives. Ah, yes, sometimes one has to feed the soul. Hope all my fellow Sparkies are doing the same: balancing our lives to include exercise, social support, and healthy habits.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 7/10/2011 10:40PM

    Great! Enjoy your time together-hugs!

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_LINDA 7/10/2011 8:48AM

    Its wonderful to hear this warm tale of sibling love! Enjoyed your photos! With my sister and brother's extrememly busy lifestyles, we are lucky to even get together once a year, and is usually so brief (their commitments to their respective spouse's family comes first), we have no time to do anything together as their kids' interests and wants come first.
Maybe someday, when their kids finally leave the nest. The oldest 22 year olds still are at home..
Have a super Sunday..

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/9/2011 10:07PM

    What a nice time! So glad you were able to spend this quality time with your sibs.

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J-ALEXIS 7/9/2011 2:50PM

    Wow! What a great way to visit. I love your idea to excise while visiting.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 7/9/2011 12:53PM

    Barb, I'm so glad this visit is turning out to be everything you hoped. Have a great time with the sibs!

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MARVEEME 7/9/2011 12:47PM

    emoticon emoticon

Back at ya! What a GLORIOUS time!

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A year and a day...

Friday, July 08, 2011

A year and a day after mom passed, our family was blessed with the birth of my youngest niece. Tomorrow is my eldest niece's birthday. Happy Birthday to both! Isn't it such a blessing that life's sorrows have balancing joys?

Which brings back the ongoing theme of balance. The days with a little more indulgence, the days with a little more vigorous activity, the days that encourage order, the days that encourage fun. Recognizing all that life has to offer and living in the moment is a healthy way to live. Listening to our bodies and what they really need... nurturing our inner child and parenting ourselves.

As I await the arrival of my brother I rejoice in having taken the steps to encourage a more orderly home. I hope that this effort will become the same kind of ongoing thing that grows into "maintenance" of another sort.

Don't you love how Spark gives that criss-cross effect in all areas of life?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESTSUSIEYET 7/10/2011 10:49AM

    emoticon balance is a key part of core strength! Good to build that into all areas of our lives! Glad you've enjoyed such a good family time. Not all families can come together in harmony.

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LINDAJOYWK 7/10/2011 7:48AM

    I hadn't put it together,but balance in one area does increase the need for balance
in another-& it's a good thing!

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REJ7777 7/9/2011 12:08PM

    I hope that you enjoy your time with your brother!

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MNTWINSGAL 7/8/2011 6:42PM

    Enjoy your visit with your brother - I know you have worked hard to be ready for his arrival, and your dedication will show through!

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WATERMELLEN 7/8/2011 3:27PM

    Balance balance balance . . . yup, it does seem to spread itself around!!

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CASJ57 7/8/2011 12:57PM

    What a great attitude - and a good reminder.


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_LINDA 7/8/2011 11:04AM

    When you get balance and control in one part of your life like weight control, it just naturally proves that maybe you can get balance and control in other parts of your life as well. Enjoy your visit with your brother!!

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LJCANNON 7/8/2011 10:45AM

    The criss-cross effect is hard to explain--for me, anyway--but it really does affect all aspects of our lives.
emoticon emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/8/2011 10:08AM

    Yes! Balance IS the key to all things. Thanks for the reminder.

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SHARON2014 7/8/2011 8:59AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARVEEME 7/8/2011 8:57AM

    To everything there is a season under Heaven.

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DOTTIEJANE1 7/8/2011 8:55AM

    Balance in all we do is such a joy. You say it so well .

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HOT4FITNESS 7/8/2011 7:45AM

    Yes, balance and maintaining in all aspects of our lives. I stand amazed at how spark people helps molds us and changes us.

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MSLZZY 7/8/2011 7:41AM

    Each side of life and balance affects another. You are learning what most
people would ignore. Well done! HUGS!

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FLORIDASUN 7/8/2011 7:39AM have this splendidly! I am now in the process of de-cluttering a very large home full of much in fact, that I don't even know what's where and why it's there? As we shed lbs. of unnecessary fat, I think we look around and want to shed unnecessary 'fat' in the rest of our lives too! Way to go...I bet your brother will do a double take when he sees the 'new' you! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

This is a word that my sisters have introduced to me. Literal translation: Year Time. It denotes the commemoration of the date of someone's death. Today is our mother's Jahrzeit. She passed away in 1996, exactly three weeks after my husband's brother passed, and about seven weeks before his mother. What a summer that was, fifteen years ago, now.

Anniversaries of various types have differing impacts as the years pass. Many of us who have fought the weight / food / addiction issues track to the day so many milestones: I remember to the day when I started my first "last straw" effort to learn how to get healthy, "for the rest of my life". I don't remember so much the exact dates of subsequent "day 1" restarts, but I do remember the most recent one... because I think this time it really *is* forever. At least, that is my resolve, my prayer, my desire.

I've learned a thing or two over the years. Things like it's OK not to be perfect. That one slip doesn't have to become a long slide. That it gives no pleasure to do some of the things that contributed to the weight problem any more. That weight doesn't serve the purpose it once did in my life (believe me, it *was* serving some purpose or I would not have held on to it).

I *enjoy* my new way of eating and moving and breathing and accepting. Life is good... and it is really all about attitude and gratitude... oh, yeah, and acting on it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 7/8/2011 7:45AM

    Attitude and gratitude...I love that! emoticonI know so well the marking of the day that you lost someone you actually loved MORE than yourself.

I choose to believe that our beautiful son, Josh, who we lost at the tender age of only 22 is still VERY much with me...but now..just in a different way. emoticonHe was my angel boy and I talk to him each and every might really be true...the good die young. emoticon

Blessings to you for your resolve and the efforts you have put into honoring your own sweet self..your momma is looking down with pride! emoticon

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REJ7777 7/8/2011 6:38AM

    emoticon emoticon

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    What a beautiful blog...Your mother raised a wise and wonderful woman. emoticon

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MIZCATHI 7/8/2011 5:56AM

    Death is so sad and yet a certainty. We have our time on this place and I want it to be satisfying. My own last straw at living life is revealing itself to me, and I wonder often why I waited so long. But I did, and here I am.

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MARVEEME 7/7/2011 9:48PM

    I have always known that if I were not Roman Catholic, I would be Jewish. The history, spiritualism, and tradition is most sacred to me for both. Thus, my understanding of Yahrzeit was revealed at a young age. History is always best studied to avoid the mistakes and learn from our predecessors as opposed to having to "learn the hard way".

With age comes wisdom, but sometimes, age arrives alone. (I'll bet we all could name names on the latter.)

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WATERMELLEN 7/7/2011 8:51PM

    Useful word, useful concept: and I support you in your commitment to making this restart as the "forever" restart. Me too.

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MSLZZY 7/7/2011 8:12PM

    Certain days stick in your mind and a resolve is born of them. Enjoy your life and know you made the right decision for you. HUGS!

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