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ABC's of Maintenance: V is for vigilence

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

"Be Ever Vigilant - don't get too complacent" is the motto of one of my Spark fellow travelers... Marenamoo. She hasn't been around the Spark for a while and I miss her wisdom and contributions.

Another friend I miss is WalkingAnnie. She was among those who pointed me to the At Goal and Maintaining team, way back when. She, too, started posting less frequently, and hasn't been around in quite some time.

These people have been such an inspiration to me... and I always wonder about Sparkers that I see, then don't see. I sincerely hope they are doing well, still healthy, and just moved on from Spark.


Vigilence is such a key to maintaining. I know, because I lost that vigilence after big losses... several times over a lifetime. I got into a rebellious or discouraged mind - emotional frame, tossed in the towel and let myself eat whatever my little disease (compulsive overeater here) pushed at me! I managed to regain the 30 pounds I lost between high school and college, and they brought friends with them when they came back. I managed to regain the hard-fought pounds I dropped over the course of eating / exercising healthily for the sake of my baby while pregnant (after his birth, I was 24 pounds less than when he was conceived). I managed to regain 60 of the 80 I dropped on my first serious effort with Weight Watchers, after a rolling maintenance of nearly five years.

Since then, I managed to regain a drop of 70 pounds I did "on my own" with books and other resources. And here I sit at maintenance of a weight that I didn't even reach with that first pre-college unhealthy diet, and I did it "right", i.e. balanced diet, exercise, SLOWLY, and working on my mental / emotional issues as I went. In some ways it was the mindset of "maintaining" my way to where my body truly wanted to be.

I know I need to be ever vigilent. I know I am at risk, every day. I live one bite away from a binge. I know this. Knowing it does not always protect me from eating for comfort anyway. Being vigilent about motivation, being honest with myself, and seeking balance in my life might get me to my ultimate goal: staying healthy as long as I can and ENJOYING the life I have been blessed with.

If you are one who has repeatedly lost, regained, lost, regained... take heart. The only failure is giving up. As I said to someone I worked with on those emotional things: "I am happiest when I am *working* on nutrition and fitness." Note: working on, not succeeding, or being at a specific weight or achievement level. This should tell me something: doing these things, eating right, moving, breathing, and giving myself the pep talks... makes me HAPPY!

And what was it I always used to say when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up? Oh, yeah, "HAPPY"!

Life's good. Be ever vigilent. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 11/10/2011 11:47AM

    Great attitude and awareness! Vigilance is a must! I didn't have it when I lost my weight the first time. I had no checks, modifiers or plans. The weight loss center I went to went out of business shortly after I had lost all my weight on their plan. But it was expensive, requiring me to use their suplements and a very restrictive diet, so there was nothing for me on maintenance and gradually went back to my old food as their diet wasn't normal and was aided by the supplements.
Now with Sparks, I am accountable, thanks to the food and fitness trackers and really have no excuses for any gains. I have learned a healthy lifestyle, with the proper checks and balances to keep me on the straight and narrow.

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MIZCATHI 11/10/2011 6:01AM

    Your posts mirror my thoughts perfectly, but also contain a lesson you have learned. Vigilant is a good word, but more than that, it carries a stride that creates a force. It is not about perfection but the work to get there. I always feel best when working out, moving my body, feeling my blood coarse through my veins, and knowing at that moment that I am stronger than I was a moment before.

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KARIDIAN1 11/9/2011 10:30PM

    I have hit my first plateau, and I am being very vigilant right now. Thanks for the great blog.

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BUGGYS 11/9/2011 2:42PM

    This is a blog that everyone should be ever vigilant and never take our eye off the road because we will eventually land in the ditch! MARENAMOO had it right and thank you for reinforcing it!!! emoticon

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LJCANNON 11/9/2011 1:05PM

    emoticonI am so glad to read this!! I feel that I too live "One Bite Away from a Binge".
I have never successfully lost weight before so I don't have the experience that so many of my Spark Friends do with Losing and Regaining the weight.
emoticonI pray that with the support of my Spark Friends and the things that I am learning on Spark People I will be able to maintain the Weight Loss AND the Healthy Lifestyle.

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DEBRA0818 11/9/2011 11:52AM

    As the OAers say: No matter how far down the road, you're always the same distance from the ditch. We have to watch where we're going and be ever vigilant. But, hey, being vigilant means you're living your life in an aware way -- something few people can claim!


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ANDI571 11/9/2011 8:40AM

    On the Biggest Loser last night, they had a doctor who was telling a contestant, that it takes all that time to rewire the mind to eat healthy, but can take only a week to undo it and rewire it back to unhealthy eating. So yes, we have to be ever vigilant.

I have walked that road also to healthy eating and losing my weight and being at goal, then turned right back around and picked the weight right back up.

So here's to vigilance and keeping our mind on the right road.

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DEBRITA01 11/9/2011 8:39AM

    Vigilance is key... so many of us "live one bite away from a binge". Inspiring people here on SP, like yourself, give us hope that it can be done.

(I miss MARENAMOO, too!) emoticon

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MSLZZY 11/9/2011 7:26AM

    Very positive attitude and just what I needed. Vigilance has to be one of the keys for success! HUGS!

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ABC's of Maintenance: U is for un-doing!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I have had a hard time with U. Most U-words are just... utility players? Useful but unimpressive? Understanding this, I was tempted to put my U in the middle of a word... like fUn.

But I chose "undoing", as in a melodramatic way, one might say, "this cookie will be (or was) the undoing of my diet". Or more practically, once we have slipped and slid a bit, we have to go about "undoing" the damages, by getting back on track. In that sense undoing is a lot like my R word, recovery.

Seriously, the only thing that is truly the undoing of a healthy living initiative is giving up on it! And it is easier to undo damages if we catch it earlier, by being observant of what's going on, or mindful of our own actions, day by day.

Nothing unique about that!

Have a great tUesday! Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 11/8/2011 11:21PM

    May we all have unity in utilizing our healthy lifestyles to create a utopia that our bodies will thank us for! Undo is best saved for your computer program where it does no harm..

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MOBYCARP 11/8/2011 8:30PM

    Or in some cases, maintenance is undoing the unhealthy habits that made us overweight in the first place!

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WATERMELLEN 11/8/2011 8:12PM

    That urge to undo is ubiquitous!!

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ANDI571 11/8/2011 4:02PM

    I am trying to "Undo" years of bad habits. Another good one.

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BOOKWORM27S 11/8/2011 3:46PM

    emoticon emoticon

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NELLJONES 11/8/2011 10:46AM

    I was told the U are the only Undoing of your plan. Clever!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/8/2011 9:45AM

    Unquestionably a clever blog. Love your use of all the "U" words! And now, thanks to you, I have Carrie Underwood's song, "Undo It" on my mind.

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BUGGYS 11/8/2011 9:15AM

    You are a UNIQUE individual, Barb! Another great blog! emoticon

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DEBRA0818 11/8/2011 9:14AM

    The letter "U" always reminds me of what Christopher Dawson, the historian, said about the growth of narcissism in America:

"When we grow too old to believe in our uniqueness, we fall in love with our complexity."

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KALIGIRL 11/8/2011 8:29AM

    You're to 'U' already?!!!!?

I have obviously been MIA and have a feeling you will finish your alphabet before I do.

Here's to just un-doing it!

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DEBRITA01 11/8/2011 8:19AM

    U have a great day, too...another good blog, I may add emoticon

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MSLZZY 11/8/2011 7:59AM

    You have such a way with words!

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CIRANDELLA 11/8/2011 7:57AM

    emoticon YESSSS!! I give myself a "wiggle room" meal, and I eat a belly-buster for it :) But then comes the wonderful letter U for "undoing," thoughtfully brought to us not only by Sesame Street, but Barb, too, this chilly November morn! Your alphabet's a are YOU! - Susan emoticon

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ABC's of Maintenance: T is for tools

Monday, November 07, 2011

When I was a kid, I could only pass beginner's swimming lessons by employing a nose clip. Getting water up my nose, especially during certain strokes, so distracted me as to be unable to keep going the required distance!

Fast forward to being a parent to a young kid in swimming lessons, and I read some alarmist article about the evils of such devices, I don't remember all the whys it gave, but I was determined to give up the clip.

And I did. I started swimming slower and with my head always out of the water. In my most recent outings though, I found myself getting annoyed by the water in my ears (side stroke), and not being able to increase my turnover and kicks in the back stroke due to my old nemisis, the distraction of water up my nose. Especially when there are other swimmers churning up the water. I have over time learned to deal with those annoyances... BUT it slows me down!

Yesterday, I tried ear plugs for the first time. While I was at it, I purchased a nose clip. What I found was that I could swim harder and faster when I wasn't either trying to avoid the annoyance or being distracted by it.

It dawns on me that some race horses perform better when they put blinders on... so they can only see in one direction: forward. In a fire, they cover horses' eyes, so that they will allow themselves to be led to safety. I regard these little tools as something like that... a way to keep my focus on the goal at hand, and not be distracted.

The same can be said of many of the tools we use in weight loss and maintenance as can be said of those I am now adding to my kit for sports performance. The food tracker, the exercise tracker... ways to keep focus on the task at hand. Sometimes we might go a day or two without, but we come back to the tools that work.

Here's to whatever tools work - to keep on living, and Sparking! Because we're worth it. Spark on! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FCARMICH 11/10/2011 7:29AM

  Yup - tools are important reminders!

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WATERMELLEN 11/8/2011 8:13PM

    Tools of the trade: we need 'em!!

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_LINDA 11/8/2011 12:47AM

    Good for you! I have to wear ear plugs in the pool because of all the problems I had with them lead to surgeries and now I have to protect them from water. I wouldn't be able to do anything either if I got water up my nose..
I credit my success at weight loss and maintenance soley to Spark People's Tracker's and use them without fail except when I cannot access the internet as when I am in the hospital or on vacation. The is no shame in using anything you can to make your goal a success.

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MSLZZY 11/7/2011 9:56PM

    We all need tools in everyday life so why not tools to keep us on track? Excellent points! Thank you!

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KARIDIAN1 11/7/2011 8:52PM

    Tools are necessary for so many things. Some are so small and simple we don't realize or miss them until they are broke or lost.

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DEBRITA01 11/7/2011 2:10PM

    Often times we think we can do it unassisted and without tools. But, once we realize how valuable they are, we wonder... what took us so long to start using them! I was like that with the SP trackers at first, but I really value them now.

Have fun with your's great exercise! emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/7/2011 2:10:57 PM

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BUGGYS 11/7/2011 12:04PM

    My weight loss tools are invaluable to me and I wouldn't be able to be on this journey without them...I think one of the biggest tool is the connection with friends here on SP and at WW!!! emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/7/2011 10:44AM

    Yes, we are given tools for a reason. Once we get past our fear (or ignorance?) and learn to use them wisely, things are so much easier. Good blog.

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SHELL- 11/7/2011 10:13AM

    I think you're right about using tools that work for you, for me I need Spark People and my spark groups to keep me focused. I use the Wii exercise video games to stretch my activities and train in areas I would otherwise not be able to. Many people can go out and run I can't so I'm done beating myself up for not being able to and I'm getting fit in my home. Loved your blog It's the nose plug for me too only mine is the Wii fit plus!

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DEBRA0818 11/7/2011 8:28AM

    The temptation is to always believe you can "do it on your own" but time and many failures has convinced me that using weight loss tools (especially the trackers) keeps me on the right track. It's a small investment of time for a huge payoff.

Right on!


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CIRANDELLA 11/7/2011 7:52AM

    Yet another thoughtful entry in this very wise alphabet - thanks, Barb! I'm all for those tools 'n' training wheels, too, especially when they lead to the right destination - emoticon from a SparkSter who's still treadin' water... ;) - Susan

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ABC's of Maintenance - S is for service and satisfaction

Sunday, November 06, 2011

There are so many good S words I am suffering from over-stimulation and an excess of sibilence! There is my son, who is a big part of my motivation. There is the sunshine that is essential to get our vitamin D, that leads to good feelings, and overcoming seasonal affective disorder. There are sunrises and sunsets that bring beauty and meaning to each arriving day or night.

Today I choose "service" which is an element of the 12-step programs: service draws one out of self. For some of us, service has to be used very, very carefully. If your particular character lends to OVER-service, substituting sacrifice and martyrdom for a healthy self-care, it can undermine the maintenance of your own health. However, service to others can bring one out of an inward-looking self-pity, too. So, finding the right balance of service to others is vital to a successful maintenance. Only YOU can identify just what that balance is for you.

I also chose "satisfaction" becauses it is closely tied to the concept of "enough". I'm not talking smug (another S), self-satisfaction. I'm talking about the acceptance of being satisfied with whatever life, body, and circumstance I have been handed... today. Not feeling satisfied with myself, my work, my life... leads to feelings of emptiness and temptation to eat to fill that emptiness. So to nurture the sense of satisfaction that "it's OK" to have the life I have right now is to support the maintenance of healthy habits.


On to what's happening in my own little corner of the world - I had that session called a "jump start" with a personal trainer at the gym yesterday morning. I let her sell me a six-pack of training sessions, that I can use over the Winter to help me be prepared for a triathlon next year. I'll not doubt keep you up on that, too. And how close it comes to what Spark advises (I suspect very close).

One interesting aspect of this jump start was the assessment of where my fitness / body fat sits right now. This really highlights how lacking the measurements are, and the importance of looking to other means than numbers to measure. By caliper measurement (3 places), she said I was 18%. My bathroom scale (electrical pulse measure) gave 25% that morning. The little hand-held electrical impulse one she gave me to try read 30%! So when you *do* look at your body fat composition, as when you measure weight on a scale, beware of differences ... they are NOT consistent, and they claim they can be "off" by up to 10%. 18% to 30% is more than 10% different, people!

Enough of that. As with everything else... take with a grain of salt (another great S word?)

Have a wonderful Sunday, serving with satisfaction... and succeeding in meeting your personal mission in life.

Which is good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARIDIAN1 11/6/2011 8:24PM

    That is quite a difference for those measurements. How do you know which is the right one. Nice subject for your blog today!

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MSLZZY 11/6/2011 7:06PM

    Service and satisfaction-very good points. But I can relate to all the other S's you mentioned. HUGS!

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WATERMELLEN 11/6/2011 6:25PM

    The courage to be satisfied: that's huge. And so essential.

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DEBRITA01 11/6/2011 5:45PM

    I think we've all had those feelings of emptiness that we've tried to fill with food and other vices. Learning to be satisfied with what we have and what we are is a great goal to strive towards.

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ANDI571 11/6/2011 3:50PM

    Another good one. Keep them coming.

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FITFABJENN 11/6/2011 12:01PM

    I look forward to reading about your upcoming triathlon. You inspire me so much.

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_LINDA 11/6/2011 11:42AM

    Of all the body fat measurements, the calipers, used by a well trained and experienced technician are the best way to measure it, but, and its a big but, I said what if you have extra loose skin from a large weight loss, and my Dr. said, yes that would affect the measurement too :( My measurement on the hand held device is 31.5% and I can't afford to lose any more weight so that is what I will be stuck with. But I am satisfied with how I look for the most part and I have never felt better, RA, OR and insomnia aside.
Its that satisfaction that allows me to hold the line against the snack cravings and binges..
Here is to being satisfied with our lives..

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ABC's of Maintenance: R is for recovery

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Not every day is a "peak performance" day. That's OK. "Continuous Improvement" is to some degree a myth. There are plateaus and peaks and dips along the way. It's the long-term trend that's important.

Every training plan that works has periods of recovery built into it. Interval training is built around periods of intense effort and periods of recovery.

Life itself has setbacks that require adjustment, i.e. recovery. If you have an injury or get ill, it takes time for your body to recover. If heaven forbid a storm damages your home, you have to recover. If you suffer a financial loss it takes time to recover. In short, recovery is a normal, natural part of life.

Taking it in stride leads to another important R, resilience, the ability to bounce back into shape.

May we all take the time to recover, recognizing its importance to our health and the balance in our lives! Life is good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CIRANDELLA 11/5/2011 11:08PM

    Ahhh, bring wise perspective - even peace - to this maintenance quest of ours! Recovery reflects the natural ebb and flow inherent in the process; it's absolutely necessary, and a function of the dynamic nature of maintenance. I love that you *really* get this! You're a real success story in the making! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 11/5/2011 9:10PM

    Recovery, resilience, remembrance . . .they're connected.

No idea what happened to your son but it's wonderful to think of the two of you remembering his recovery and celebrating human resilience with a run!!

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MOBYCARP 11/5/2011 8:06PM

    Hmm. By that theory, today is a day of recovery, before an attempt at peak performance tomorrow. That's a *planned* recovery period. The unplanned need for recovery is harder to deal with.

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_LINDA 11/5/2011 4:04PM

    Recovery is my main problem. Can never see my way into resting. Idle time is wasted time I could get something done in. Every minute of every day is accounted for. Something always needs to be done. Can't even get a good sleep. The only rest I get is my surgical recoveries, and boy it doesn't take long before I am pushing my Dr.'s for clearance to get back exercising. Exercising is my drug of choice. Someday I may learn recovery is the elixir the fuels the exercise..
Enjoy your rest days!!

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MSLZZY 11/5/2011 3:46PM

    You said it so well! Thanks for putting it all down in such honest words. HUGS!

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COMPUCATHY 11/5/2011 10:36AM

    So true! It really is how it all falls together in the long run. That is what I am seeing as I journey along. I am striving to put things into place that are sustainable...that I can do for a longer period of time...that I won't burn out on. Beautiful day! The sun is shining in my little corner of the world! Hope it is in yours as well! Enjoy! Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! Spark on! emoticon

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DEBRITA01 11/5/2011 10:02AM

    Another good blog! emoticon

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DEBRA0818 11/5/2011 9:49AM

    Recovery is the key element in a successful plan I think. I enjoy exercise so much, sometimes I have to force myself to take a day off, but I know the day off is just as important as the hard exercise that precedes it.

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KATHRYNLP 11/5/2011 9:12AM

    Great Blog!! Make sure you Recompense yourself for what you have accomplished so far. emoticon emoticon

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