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Toddler Barbie goes to Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I have long maintained that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is not wrapped up in expectations of gift-giving. It is wrapped up in gratitude for what we already have!

But there is a part of me, looking back at yesterday's entry, who wonders about how the demon comes out this time of year. Mary (CookMe123) gave me great advice about taking on the role of the compassionate observer and seeing what the little girl inside me is missing in all of this!

Well! Some of you already have been introduced to "Toddler Barbie", my inner child. She wears patent leather shoes, lacy socks, a red velvet dress with a lace pinafore. Her hair is done up in red-gold curls, a-la-Shirley Temple. Believe it or not, this is how I see her. The red-gold curls match what my Aunt and her step-mother in law did with my hair when I was four years old. Which is the age I think of her being.

She is a wilful little cuss. Greedy? You betcha! She never wants to stop doing what she's doing to go do what Mom says we need to do now. She's having too much fun. And somehow, she knows there will never be enough. She has to have it ALL... all the attention. All the love. All the toys. All the food. But, she is afraid to ask for anything, because all the grownups around her tell her this is BAD.

Toddler Barbie both seeks attention and shuns it. Toddler Barbie wants to be good, and wants to be known for being good. But that often means not getting what she wants, giving it up for someone else, because their needs have to come first... that's what "being good" is all about! And when it brings attention, she feels guilty at the same time as feeling she deserves the merit. Toddler Barbie is one messed up little girl. emoticon But isn't she charming?

The funny thing about Toddler Barbie is that once she sucks it up and does what mommy says she needs to do... she feels virtuous and right with the world and her Maker. She has won over the wilfulness. But sometimes it takes a tantrum to get to doing what mommy said.

Yesterday's blog was about the tantrum. Today's blog is about how good Thanksgiving feels... now that the table's being set and memories attend each preparation step. Procrastination is over. The real grateful in your heart recognition of the season has begun.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sparkfriends! Inner children and outer ones... may your day be filled with memories... old ones, and new ones in the making... and especially memories of gratitude. Without each day of our lives, good and bad... would we be us?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 11/27/2011 6:54PM

    Oh, yes: you've got me thinking about Toddler Ellie for sure!!

And: love your brother's "weigh in" -- how nice for you to have family members here too!

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MJMONE 11/25/2011 9:03AM

    Hope you have/had a terrific thanksgiving!!


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SUNNY1432 11/24/2011 8:03PM

    I hope you and your inner child had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANDI571 11/24/2011 8:03PM

    It's funny, I never thought I had a Toddler Barbie in me, but as I read this, I could see her peaking around. Very insightful.

I also liked the idea of Thanksgiving being not being wrapped up in gift giving. Just lots of love, fun and laughter.

Words of wisdom Barb. emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 11/24/2011 5:06PM

    I was too young to remember 4 year old Toddler Barbie, but I remember an older Young Barbie.

I remember Young Barbie always being disgustingly thankful at Thanksgiving, regardless of what was really going on. I never felt that way, and found Young Barbie kind of annoying at times. But life goes on, life changes, and people change.

A few decades later, I realize that Young Barbie, and her older counterparts who continued to be that way at Thanksgiving, were right. There is so much to be thankful for that it can't all be listed, and life is much better when I have an attitude of thankfulness.

I have no traditional family Thanksgiving dinner this year. I have no large list of guests, and I am not a guest at anyone else's Thanksgiving dinner. What I did have was several hours with my daughter, before and after running a 10K. We both had the post-race fare, and I was able to feed her a salad before she left to continue with her own life. She talked a bit about learning to run, and entering the Race with Grace next Thanksgiving. She can't do most road races, because she works weekends.

I think it is likely that the talk of running is just talk, but it warms my heart. It shows that she respects me and thinks about being like me. But she could surprise me, and it's possible we could enter as a father-daughter team next year.

I don't have much family locally; my daughter is it. But she's turned out far better than I expected, and far better than I deserve. For this, I am very thankful.

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LJCANNON 11/24/2011 3:42PM

    emoticonVery good insight!! Thank You!!

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KARIDIAN1 11/24/2011 2:38PM

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Allow Toddler Barbie to come out every so often to play and vent for you.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/24/2011 11:24AM

    Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving, Barb! So glad you were able to get in touch with (and make peace?) with Toddler Barbie. Enjoy the day today with family!

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DEBRITA01 11/24/2011 8:29AM

    You have a good understanding of your self. Use that information to go into this Thanksgiving ready to enjoy it with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving...Life is Good!

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MSLZZY 11/24/2011 8:28AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Have a great day!

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_LINDA 11/24/2011 8:21AM

    Interesting concept! Thanksgiving is a great non greedy holiday. I am thankful for all my Spark friends who have crossed my path, my wonderful Mother and Step dad, and especially glad to have met you to enjoy reading your thought provoking blogs!
Have a special Thanksgiving!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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There is a demon within...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

some days the demon wins. Some days I do.

The demon is compulsive eating. emoticon The demon tries to tell me that she is the real me. The demon uses many tacks, and knows the cracks in my armor all too well.

Yesterday the demon told me that since my co-worker brought in home baked pumpkin cheesecake, even though I'd had a rocky week, it would be a crime not to have a taste. The demon told me it was OK to have the whole slice.

After work, the demon told me it was OK to skip my workout, because I needed to come home and relax since I'll be "invaded" by guests on Thanksgiving day. Then it told me I needed to have "just an ounce" of the cheddar cheese it had convinced me to buy to make my famous baked cheese balls... and then another, and another, and another. The demon told me I needed something sugary and chocolate next.

The demon is best at kicking me when I'm already "down". Not sure when the demon will be gone, I kind of gave it free rein... the demon gives false promises that it will leave if I just let it stay for a while.

While it hangs out and I let it, it wrecks my house (body), leaving work to be done when I finally manage to kick it to the curb or put it back in its cell. Where it waits for the next opportunity to worry at a crack.

It strikes in isolation, before and after holidays more fiercely than at the gatherings and events themselves. And it does NOT deliver what it promises or leave when it said it would.

To all my fellow Sparkers who deal with demons... may today be a day when the demon loses, and WE WIN! We're worth it, no matter what the demon tries to tell us.

emoticon emoticon Every day is day one, when you live with a demon within.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 11/27/2011 6:58PM

    Totally identify with this . . . especially the cheese, actually! It is quite difficult to plan menus, shop for food, prepare food, serve food and . . . not eat(too much) food.

And my solution which is only very rarely to entertain and to cook the "same" things over and over (omelettes, soups, salads) is not necessarily optimal. Although I did actually prepare two dinners this weekend, and did not exceed range either . . . amazingly.

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ANDI571 11/24/2011 8:04PM

    Ah crap! I should have read this blog before I ate today. emoticon

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TISHTOES 11/24/2011 3:42AM

    Very good blog! Great explanations.

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LJCANNON 11/23/2011 7:44PM

    emoticonI have to BELIEVE that the longer we are on this Journey, the weaker the Demon gets. And we become better at recognizing his deception.
emoticonAs long as we stick together the Demons don't have a chance. After all, as you said, they always strike when we are isolated. With Spark Friends all over the World in all different Time Zones, we NEVER have to be alone!!

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DEBRITA01 11/23/2011 7:34PM

    We all have our share of demons that resurface when we least expect them. You know the demon, you won't be fooled. You are strong and are in control. God bless...

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MSLZZY 11/23/2011 5:22PM

    And the demon is very real. Nothing imaginary here. It works until you are no longer able to fight back. But fight back we must. I wish I knew what it would take to keep the demon at bay.
Just do the best you can. We all have our own private demons but today, I win.
Tomorrow is another story.
Stay strong and have a Happy Thaksgiving! emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/23/2011 12:26PM

    Those darned demons. I feel for you and understand completely. Do you have a copy of JC's touchstones? Listen to the one about being the compassionate observer. Your demon is not trying to manipulate you to do bad things. She's rearing her ugly head because she needs something. She feels threatened. Have you been cutting back too much on some of your favorite treats or indulgences? It's all about balance. (I know, easy for me to say.) I'm hoping you're able to make peace with that little demon -- picture her as a very little girl who fears she'll never be allowed to have anything "good" again. Love her and comfort her (in moderation) and give her the peace she needs so she can settle down and relax.

Happy Thanksgiving, Barb. Enjoy time with your family!

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CEHALLA 11/23/2011 9:41AM

    My demon is sneaky, too. And it likes to put me on auto-pilot where the food just comes into my mouth like I don't know how it got there.
I'll be working hard this time of year too, working on remembering other holidays where the demon was in her cage and I didn't let her out. That is the best feeling I want to have again, rather than the disappointment after poor choices.
Thanks for exposing the demon for what she is. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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FITFABJENN 11/23/2011 9:05AM

    Nope, my demon is not going to beat me. Uh, uh. Keep on fighting, friend. You are stronger than any demon.

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VALERIEMAHA 11/23/2011 8:29AM

    Hahaha...I know that little guy only too well! I spoke the other day of my ego (demon) vs. my higher self in relation to whether or not I would get my strength training done...who would win.

Well...two days ago it was higher self, 1, ego, 0. Today is another strength training day...let's see who's in the driver's seat today!

Thanks for the insights,

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DEBRA0818 11/23/2011 8:21AM

    Ugh! Do I ever know what you're talking about. Doesn't it seem when we're on track and feeling great that these days will never come again? And, yet they do. The Freudians used to joke, "Under stress, we regress," and I can completely testify that I'm usually very stressed around holidays and family gatherings. It's a very small step from those feelings to "Well, this only happens once a year." Except in my case, if I let it, it would happen every day, all day. I accept that I will always be vulnerable to this demon and I pray for strength daily to resist its blandishments. We're always doing the best we can do and we just hope for better.


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CONCHA77 11/23/2011 7:44AM

    Great Blog, Barb. I definitely can relate. Have a great Thanksgiving! Hugs.

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Trends are a tool, too

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I have learned, gradually, over time, to not "freak out" over a bump up on the scale. However, it is important to pay attention to trends... and the past couple of months, the trend is not looking so great.

I am still "within range", so I can rationalize my way around the regain... it's only a few pounds, right?

Rationalization will get you back to where you started if you're not careful. With the holiday temptation season ahead of me, and knowing the kinds of "episodes" I've had on weekends lately, I need to be paying attention. I promised myself I was going to blog it all, even the bad news, because although I have many, many records of success at losing, I have NEVER recorded what was happening during a regain.

Why not? Because in my head, regaining is still a shameful event, a failure. This is NOT reality, though. Regaining is a normal part of the cycle of survival. In the primitive, there were times of feast (regains) balancing the times of famine (losing). There is no morality associated with the physical phenomenon.

Oh, yes, I can point directly at the behaviors and the days where the calories were well in excess of the range. What I'm trying to do NOW, in my self-pep talking, is to make this regain season a SHORT one, and maintain my way back to center to low end of the range. Goal weight is NOT a line in the sand. It's a range of good health.

Here's to living ONE good day at a time. Today. Spark on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 11/23/2011 1:27AM

    Interesting and very true - thanks!

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DEBRA0818 11/22/2011 11:27AM

    That super vigilance is a key element in making the choices that make this time different. Having a sane attitude toward body weight, food and exercise is a full-time job, or at least a very busy part-time one!


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/22/2011 10:25AM

    Yes, rationalization can be a huge issue. I've rationalized myself into gaining several pounds over the years. Tracking what's going on is my new tool. When I disappoint myself with eating behaviors that won't get me to my goal, I'm writing it on my electronic calendar. Perhaps that will also show a trend/triggers.

Good blog -- keep tracking and try to stop rationalizing.

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BREWMASTERBILL 11/22/2011 9:05AM

    I would say trends are THE tool, a single measurement is just a data point.

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KALIGIRL 11/22/2011 8:47AM

    I'll bet some the 'extra' weight is muscle mass, with as much working out as you're doing.
Do you think your trainer could give you a fat baseline? (Sorry - don't know the proper term...)

Family coming in, so if I don't 'see' you before - Happy Turkey Day!

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KATHRYNLP 11/22/2011 8:34AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 11/22/2011 8:18AM

    Goal-a range of good health! Now, that is a winning attitude! HUGS!

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Social week - balance

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturday I went to visit my sister in law. The one who was recently diagnosed with ALS after a long search for answers. I really wanted to see for myself how she was doing, and the answer to that is that she is bearing up with her usual strength and humor, appreciating all the help that she receives and doing all that she can. You can tell she still has her sense of humor because her immediate response to, "How are you?" on the phone was a dry and witty, "Peachy, just peachy!"

Her eyes still sparkle. She is in the "shock and awe" response to her diagnosis, but says she doesn't know what she was thinking in trying to teach this year. She said she was unable to recognize how unrealistic that was until she tried. She also said she thinks she probably shouldn't have been teaching last year, she required so much assistance.

Nonetheless, it is her calling, and what does one do? A year ago she / her doctors did not know what the problem was. The symptoms were there, but as with many, there is overlap among various ailments in symptoms.

I came home and started working on the house... T-day minus 3 and counting. And my program kind of fell apart, and still isn't back. I have decided to cut myself a break this week... I know we're not supposed to let our workouts slide, but... time is the ultimate limited resource. I had to talk myself out the door for work this morning... but once I was there I was OK.

The gals at work have larger groups and longer events for turkey day than I do... one has 19 people descending on her house to stay for 3 days. Another has 24 for dinner. I feel just about right with my 11 who will bring food and take it away. All I have to do is shovel out the house to my own level of "OK".

The family have much to be grateful for, with the one sister off her radiation now and recovering well, and another just having dropped her meds, and a brother in law having got off his diabetes meds. It does help to remember why we ARE on programs. It's not to be "skinny" or "small" or even "sexy"... it is to be the healthy human beings we were designed to be.

And that, my Sparkling friends... is a lot to be grateful for!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 11/24/2011 11:33AM

    That is great your relatives are doing better with their health problems, but so sad about the sister-in-law, that is such a horrible diagnosis :(( She has a great attitude but will need every bit of help and support she can get as that disease takes its terrible toll..
To me, 11 relatives seems immense for a get together. Our family has always been very small until my brother and sister got married, but we still can't get a big get together as their kids are mostly off doing their own things with their own friends. So we are lucky to get my brother and sometimes his wife or son over, but rarely all of them. my sister rarely comes in from the farm (her DH doesn't like the city) and the stars really have to be aligned for all of them to be here at once..
Enjoy your family time and don't stress it. What will be will be..

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CONCHA77 11/24/2011 8:00AM

    Yes, we all have so much to be thankful for. Have a great Thanksgiving, Barb.

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MILLERGIRL719 11/22/2011 6:20AM

    Yes, so much to be grateful for!

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KASEYCOFF 11/22/2011 5:57AM

    Amen, sister--!

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MNTWINSGAL 11/22/2011 12:00AM

    Amen! But try not to get too stressed'll come together, like it always does. Happy Turkey Day!

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MSLZZY 11/21/2011 9:31PM

    Being healthy is the best goal of all. HUGS and enjoy T-day!

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FITFABJENN 11/21/2011 7:37PM

    So much to be grateful for, indeed. Thanks for the much needed reminder.

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We are all athletes

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One of my favorite Spark calendar quotes is the one by George Sheehan, that says "Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training and some are not." I was intrigued enough to look him up on Google, and I find that George Sheehan was a runner and a writer about running, among other things. Here's the Wikipedia entry I found.

What brought it to mind was a conversation that started at the gym last night. Being about a day behind in my training cycle, I was climbing on a spin bike on a night when there were no classes. As I started to crank up, a young man in one of the trainer shirts came up, pointed at my Mud Run t-shirt and asked whether I had participated in that run.

Of course I was happy to tell him that I did, and discovered that he, a personal trainer there at the gym, had also done the Mud run. In his case, it was in a banana suit (as part of one of those 3-person tied together teams). We ended up chatting for most of my workout, as I cranked the resistence up or down, stood on the pedals and dripped sweat.

We talked of athletic dreams. He pointed out one of the guys on a treadmill in the cardio theater and told me this gent was working on running a marathon in every state, and was up to something like 28 states. I had seen said gent in the weight room, pumping some serious iron. Matter of fact, most of the time when I'm in the free weights room, most of the folks around me are sweaty men, lifting serious iron. Hmmm. I must look pretty silly with my little dumbbells and lighter settings on the cable machine. But I do it.

Ryan (that's the trainer's name) tells me that he, too, is looking to do triathlons. He is doing a half Ironman distance one. He advised me to practice transitions, especially from bike to run, as one's legs get fatigued and it is a different motion... takes a bit to get your running legs under you. Good advice. I felt like I got some free training tips.

I came home to Spark after my workout and found someone else bubbling in her blog about how good it felt to been perceived as an athlete... and into my brain pops this quote. Her point was that she didn't do anything particularly dramatic to become an athlete. She just started being more active and making better choices in her eating... she started Sparking! This is open to everyone.

I agree. We won't all be stars on the track. Some of us may be limited by conditions beyond our control. But we can all become the best us we can be. And what I am finding is that the effort is what is respected by those stars... the kids who are winning the golds respect the back of the pack who are out there putting forth the effort! I don't think I ever "got that" as a kid who was picked last for sports teams. Maybe it is that all of us have matured since then.

Here is to the community of athletes... to the respect we bear one to another... and that "we" includes every one of you reading this, whether you know it or not... at the beginning of your journey, nearing the end, in maintenance, or even backsliding. Just for today, keep a training promise to yourself. You're worth it!

Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONCHA77 11/25/2011 8:45AM

    As always, Great Blog. Makes so much sense!
You should be a writer. emoticon

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_LINDA 11/24/2011 11:08AM

    Wonderful blog! Loved the trainer spent some time with you and gave some great tips -I can't imagine that happening much elsewhere. As one of those picked last for teams in school, and destined to always be at the back of the back, never being able to advance, I have to say making this crappy body perform to the best of its ability is just me setting that inner athlete free...

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DEBRA0818 11/21/2011 8:28AM

    For sure our bodies are meant to move and if we do so move them we are become more athletic and eventually begin thinking of ourselves this way. I always thought of myself like that when I was younger; no reason not to think that way again!


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KALIGIRL 11/19/2011 4:50PM

    Here's to being the best we can be!

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MNTWINSGAL 11/19/2011 11:39AM

    Great blog Barb...Love your insights!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/19/2011 10:53AM

    I had the fleeting thought that I was an athlete last year when I started my walking program. I'd be embarassed as joggers ran past me. But it occurred to me that I was doing the best I could and that compared to where I was a few months earlier, I had made progress and was therefore an athlete. It's easy to lose that train of thought as life happens. Thanks for the reminder.

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DEBRITA01 11/19/2011 9:03AM

    I like this blog. We may not perceive ourselves to be athletes at all. But striving to be the best that we can be is enough. By doing that, we can all be winners.

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MSLZZY 11/19/2011 7:47AM

    Wise observations and a very positive attitude! Thanks for sharing! HUGS!

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MILLERGIRL719 11/19/2011 7:38AM

    I can so relate! Very good blog! Nicely done! Thanks!

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