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Reality checks

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reality checks are an important element of maintenance. The problem with being a compulsive eater is that when the compulsion is upon one, the ability to lie to oneself becomes amazing. To get your head clear, you have to put together a few days of abstinence...

So now, with two days of "normal" under my belt, maybe I can begin thinking about what's been going so "not normal" the past couple of months. Because more often than it has over the past two years, the disease has taken control, and I have gone wild with the food.

One CAN make it through the holiday season without having this happen. But the vast majority of Americans don't. And this year, I have not. In fact, I find that since October 1st, I had added ten pounds back! OUCH!

Some years in the past, this holiday gain has led to rebellion to the level of starting a 50 pound gain in a year! But it's never *just* about the holiday.

I am fond of saying it's never the same ten pounds. It isn't. It's always about life, in one form or another. Sometimes it's about over-loading myself or getting overly ambitious with how much I think I can do. Like the FedEx man in the old commercial. "I can do that. I can do that. How'm I gonna do that!?"

Overbooking oneself, however well intentioned, can lead to feeling uncared for. And the temptation to soothe that away with the easy solution - in my case, comfort food in large quantities - becomes a problem.

Other issues will wait for other blogs, for today I'm stepping back from the overbooking. I shall draw that line in the sand... stress-busting break walking at work, at a minimum. Weight training twice a week... but NO PRESSURE is key. Because beating up on oneself because one set the bar unrealistically high does not work.

Life's good... reality and all. Spark on!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONCHA77 12/1/2011 7:46AM

    Great blog, Barb. Spark on!

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WATERMELLEN 11/29/2011 8:29PM

    Great great blog: thanks for your candour and your courage, just what I too needed to read today.

I am determined not to let my 2 pound increase be the tipping point into that avalanche . . . determined. Have gained and lost the same 10 pounds way too many times in the past.

And: food is such a comfort when stressed. A familiar comfort. But: it's so uncomfortable to put on weight!! Physically, psychically, every way.

So I'm reading my Beck cards yet again!

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MOBYCARP 11/29/2011 6:06PM

    emoticon You can do this. Just follow your own advice - treat yourself gently, take one day at a time, make time for you. Because you're worth it!

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MIZCATHI 11/29/2011 4:05PM

    Thanks for writing this blog today, I could have written it but I was too down on myself. I have gained 10 lbs stressing about the Holidays and I didn't take a long look until today. Now I must reverse it, but it's not going to happen in a panic or beating myself up. I'm with you on this one.

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WILMASOTO 11/29/2011 11:54AM

    Barb I just loved this blog! I can truly relate to it! I suffer from overbooking in my life and have just gotten a wakeup call!! THANKS SO MUCH! I will be thinking before I open my mouth!! emoticon Wishing you the best! You are a great inspiration!! emoticon

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_LINDA 11/29/2011 11:04AM

    Oh the slide that turns into an avalanche, oh so easy to do.. I was very disciplined about my one choclate square a night, and then life started happening and stress and pressure caused that one piece to turn into a whole bar, so I simply had to stop buying them to stem the flood. Being in pain can lead to mega comfort food binging. You get so on edge you just want to crunch something. People still expect you to perform as always because they see how energetic and slim you are, don't realize the down days can cripple you up as bad as an old lady shuffling around in her walker. The 'invisible' illness as all people with RA are aware of.
I hope you can find ways to get your stress under control, not just because of the binging, but because its bad for your overall health -like ulcers was the one thing I came close to getting..
Be well, stay well, you can do it!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/29/2011 9:49AM

    You said it all. In your past life, this "not normal" would have easily turned into a multi-week (month?) habit where you could gain 50# in a year. Now that you've made maitenance and know how good it feels, you're able to turn around these "not normal" incidents much faster. Since I've been making the effort, I'm beginning to see that those pounds gained during the binging come off a bit faster. Probably because I'm getting back on track sooner. So you gained 10# -- you know that that is unacceptable to you and now you're well on your way to getting back to normal. Here's to Day 3 of normal eating for you!

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SLENDERELLA61 11/29/2011 9:42AM

    Thanks for an honest and gut-wrenching blog. I know only too well how a slip can build, and despite my current success, I know I must be diligent. Your reminder is timely and helpful. I am a compulsive eater and I keep it in check one day, one meal, one minute at a time. There are days it isn't too hard and minutes that it is impossible.

Best wishes for your own recovery. I know you can do it. I think there is a lesson to learn in each slip, so that you come up with a plan and are stronger the next time around. Very wise not to beat yourself up and don't try to lose it in a week or even in a month. Eat enough to fuel yourself. Live zestfully -- as I know you do. Choose your food thoughtfully. You'll soon be living at your happy weight again.

I must say again THANKS. Your message is the very one I needed today. -Marsha

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PENNYAN45 11/29/2011 8:24AM

    Drawing a line in the sand is a great idea!

Let me take my head out of the sand, and draw my own line as well.

And walking is a great way to get momentum going again in the right direction.

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FITFABJENN 11/29/2011 8:21AM

    Yes, take care of yourself first. So important...

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MSLZZY 11/29/2011 7:56AM

    Always a very good point to take note-preserve your good health but just saying no. Now where can I find some sand?

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While my brother seems to relish running in all weather...

Monday, November 28, 2011

I don't. I'm a genuine weather wimp! My little treadmill in my fit-cave is just fine with me for times when it's drippy or cold. But I have lucked out this year, in that the weather has been pretty decent.

That leads not only to being able to take walks outside, rather than cooped up indoors, it also makes for safer driving to the gym, even for indoor workouts. As we face the coming of Winter, I have to mentally prepare myself for the adaptations to my fitness plan that it normally brings: days when the strength training consists of scoop, lift, toss, repeat... days when the balance training consists of careful stepping (or if I'm lucky strapping on skates, "push to the side, glide")... days when the cardio is moving fast to get in out of the cold.

Here's to Winter training plans, and dancing around the holiday food temptations!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY1432 11/28/2011 9:55PM

    Don't like thinking about the snow, but it is inevitable, unless we move down South. emoticon

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MOBYCARP 11/28/2011 7:49PM

    I don't know that I relish running in *all* weather, because I haven't tried it in all weather yet. Wind and rain in the air when the temperature is below 40° F worries me. Freezing rain or sleet probably wouldn't be much fun. But I think I'll be okay with cold, as long as there isn't rain in the air and there's decent footing.

I'm actually more concerned about snow removal taking so much time that I don't get to run than about snow making me unable to run. But I'll just have to see how the winter goes, and adapt to whatever the weather does.

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WATERMELLEN 11/28/2011 7:48PM

    Cross country skiing: I'll be flying!!

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KARIDIAN1 11/28/2011 7:25PM

    So far Minnesota this coming winter has been pretty nice. Only one snow fall to speak of I the Twin Cities. Usually we have hibernated, but this winter we hope to walk, snowshoe and be more active.

Hope I don' t wimp out.

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MSLZZY 11/28/2011 1:34PM

    I can relate, even to the dancing LOL!

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_LINDA 11/28/2011 11:54AM

    My Mom and step dad go out and walk twice a day regardless of the weather, and right now I am worried sick they will fall on the very icy streets and sidewalks :( They are 75 and 80 years old and have artificial hips.. I will walk to my Curves regardless of the weather. Only thing stopping me is my seemingly endless surgery recovery periods grrr! Living in a cold climate, moving feels a whole lot better than sitting around that is for sure..

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CEHALLA 11/28/2011 10:47AM

    I'm lucky to live in Northern California. The bad weather we're having today is some damp and fog, nothing too dangerous. When it snowed one day last year, it was a novelty. I took pictures before it melted the same day.

I still am thinking of buying exercise equipment for home. Any recommendations?

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BESTSUSIEYET 11/28/2011 10:26AM

    Good plans!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/28/2011 9:12AM

    It's always good to have a back-up plan in case of poor weather conditions. I just love having my elliptical. But there is something special about being able to be outdoors in the fresh air. Take advantage as much as you can!


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KALIGIRL 11/28/2011 8:21AM

    emoticon Winter Plans!
Although it will be 50 today emoticon

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The kitty-toy shopping mall...

Sunday, November 27, 2011



You and I know it by another name: it's called a Christmas tree. But my kitties think of it as a toy shopping mall. It is under construction in my living room. After they knocked off the first three ornaments, I have made some decisions about which precious ones are NOT going on the tree this year.

If it's wood, acrylic, or metal, it's probably OK. Worst they can do is bring down the tree on their heads. But those pretty little crystal angels? Not likely!


The goofy snowman cookie jar that started its life in my household as a white elephant gag gift is out on display, having grown into a family tradition. The nativity set as well.

Have a wonderful Sunday, all!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 11/28/2011 9:37AM

    emoticonI LOVE the Snowman Cookie Jar. I think at my house he would be out on display all year.
emoticonWe stopped having a Christmas Tree after we got cats. Even if they didn't break anything, they did 'undecorate' the tree on a daily basis. Plus the youngest kitten climbed the tree, stepped over onto the recessed lighting shelf near our living room ceiling and could not figure out how to get back down. DH had to get a ladder and go up there after the silly thing because he kept sitting at the edge howling and crying, LOL!!

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KARIDIAN1 11/27/2011 9:30PM

    You are brave. After one tree 35 years ago and antique ornaments destroyed by both our cat and dog that was the last tree we ever had.

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WATERMELLEN 11/27/2011 7:02PM

    My Christmas decorations will go up as usual 1 week before Christmas at the earliest and come down New Year's Day . . . not unusual for a Canadian, but judging from what I' reading here on SP, the "up for Thanksgiving" pattern seems to be pretty typical of the American approach! And certainly there are Canadians who are more holiday oriented than I am, so it's also just a bit more of my general lack of domesticity probably.

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KNITLEIGH 11/27/2011 4:50PM

    I remember the first Christmas after I was married. The cat climbed the tree in the middle of the night and tipped it over. We had some company so my husband and I were sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor! What fun! Your snowman is so adorable!


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MNTWINSGAL 11/27/2011 2:54PM

    I'm decorating today too....a little behind schedule, as I like to have it completed by Thanksgiving weekend, and I'm far from that point. But I so love the holidays and don't want to rush through it. We do a white elephant exchange too...I'm busy looking through my treasures to see if there's anything I'm done with!

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MSLZZY 11/27/2011 11:58AM

    Love that snowman jar! What would life be without kitties undecorating the tree?

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_LINDA 11/27/2011 11:45AM

    Too cute!! Getting in the spirit of Christmas! We don't bother with a tree usually. I imagine Mom's cat would be very interested if we did put one up. Wouldn't be able to use icicles on it that is for sure.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/27/2011 11:43AM

    Our cat, Lloyd, is having a ball with the tree, too. I always place the ones I won't mind losing at the bottom for him to play with. Luckily that seems to work, as they never break. Thankfully, he doesn't clime up into the tree like our other (fat) cat did.

Love the snowman -- so ugly he's cute!

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It's got to be the best workout of the year...

Friday, November 25, 2011

You know the one. The one you couldn't wait to get to! The one AFTER the big holiday... or AFTER a vacation.

Truth to tell, I skipped several workouts earlier in the week, getting things wrapped up and ready for the holiday. So this morning, after dropping off the recyclables at the center... the gym is "right next door"... I went and found my fellow gym-rats doing the same thing.

I had no clue what kind of workout I was going to do: swim, bike, jog/walk? Nope, the card with the trainer's "programme" called me... and after a ten minute warm up on the elliptical, I pumped iron, pulled cables, and stretched elastic bands to her specifications. I sweated and grinned, and felt quite pleased with myself. And regained some confidence that I have NOT given up on myself, just because I took a few days of "reverses."

Yes, the scale is above what I'd like it to be in maintenance. Yes, the size 4 pants from last Spring are definitely NOT fitting well right now. But if I can keep on keeping on, they will again conform to my new normal.

Because I am a person who can be modest in a gym towel... that was my giggle point for today... this would not have been true 75 pounds ago. We can do this, Spark buddies. And we shall. Because we're worth it!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 11/26/2011 2:08AM

    Thatīs the spirit! Loved he part of being modest in a towel...I am most certainly NOT!

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KARIDIAN1 11/26/2011 1:06AM

    Sounds like a great workout and day.

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WATERMELLEN 11/25/2011 8:26PM

    You have not given up on yourself.

And I know exactly what you mean about that "modest gym towel": so nice that they wrap all the way around!!

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COMPUCATHY 11/25/2011 7:17PM

    It's so true. The holidays and days off make us take an assessment and question whether we can do this and get back on track. We can! I've been thinking about that a lot today. I'm digesting supper...then...to the treadmill...to resume C25K...and I AM looking forward to it! I have been really sweaty for over a week and I miss it. And my spirits could use the lift, too. Can't wait! Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! TGIF! Have a great weekend! Spark on! emoticon

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GOHUSKERS2 11/25/2011 6:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 11/25/2011 5:08PM

    emoticon
You're not the only weight lifter to ever fall off the wagon. The key isn't that you fell off; it's that you climbed back on!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/25/2011 1:20PM

    Way to go, Barb! I missed my elliptical yesterday because it's in my son's room and he's home and was sleeping in. So I put on my shoes and took a nice walk. My hip didn't like it, but I sure enjoyed it. How easily we forget how much we enjoy something when we don't do it for a while. I was back up on the elliptical again today and, like you, felt really good to be back "home."

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_LINDA 11/25/2011 1:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I envy your lively workout!! I didn't eat heavy, carefully keeping in the range of no exercise calories -but personally, I rather eat a bit more as I really miss my ground pounding, heart thumping workouts!!
Keep up that momentum!

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MSLZZY 11/25/2011 11:57AM

    emoticon emoticonYes, we are worth it! HUGS!

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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?

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  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!!
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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!
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