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State of the Maintenance Report

Friday, May 04, 2012

The graph represents daily weighing for the past two years. Two years ago, when the graph starts, I had been "in maintenance" for about 3-4 months but my body was still defining its natural weight.

The bottom of the graph shows increasing athletic efforts. The rise that begins about last October and staggers up and down, but is truly a rise... represents decreasing athletic endeavors coupled with more trouble sticking to eating plan consistently. I.e. complacency and burnout.

Everything I have tried to cajole myself into keeping up the efforts, everything I am trying to do to analyze what's going on is trying to find the balance. I am attempting to determine what I need to change and what I need to keep... in my THOUGHT patterns and attitudes.

Because, Sparklers, that's where it all begins. With understanding what is important to each one of us. What the underlying motivation / values /goals are... and they have to be meaningful to the individual. Even if someone else lays a goal on you (like, say a boss, or a doctor) YOU have to buy into it, or find some way to make an internal goal of yours be in harmony with it. Otherwise your inner rebel will start playing that self-sabotage game!

All that said, a part of me has been sitting outside what's happening and observing: motivation for athletic events has been the same kind of roller coaster as you see on the graph. I have NOT had the same kind of drive and focus for this year's half marathon (in just two days, people)... as I did for last year's.

Even the triathlon coming up in July... hasn't been approached with the systematic effort. "What's wrong with me?" my observer self asks. "Maybe you took on too much..." one voice answers. "Maybe work is just more interesting right now..." another chimes in.

So back to the underlying motivation: health. To achieve health, I do not have to participate in a bunch of athletic events... but they do make for markers in the calendar that keep me preparing for the shorter term. If I *don't* have them, will I drop exercise entirely? Will I drop back to my "line in the sand" of 30 minutes of walking a day? And if I do, will it mean that that wiggly line above settles in a spot somewhat higher than the low level it was at? Will it still be a healthy BMI, but just a little higher? And will I be OK with that?

To be pondered, considered, and continued.

There is no finish line. This is life. It is worth living. Today and every day. Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 5/5/2012 7:10PM

    How much is enough? The curse of the over-achiever . . . . yeah. And yet, and yet, and yet . . . . also yeah.

It's a thought process for sure. And it doesn't stop.

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DEBRA0818 5/5/2012 2:06PM

    Your post is a poignant reminder of how much consistent effort is required to change something permanently. There are always choices to be made and trade-offs to consider -- it sounds like you're doing both in a very rational way.



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SLENDERELLA61 5/5/2012 11:04AM

    Oh, Barb. I do see the parallels. I think my graph would be about the same shape only up about 10 pounds. Did you read the health article about running and life span? Woman gain 5.6 years by jogging rather slowly 1-2.5 hours per week. I found that kind of motivating. If you don't find the article, SparkMail me and I'll send the link. We can do this. It IS worth it. Take care and maybe we can do that 10K in the fall. Or maybe you'll want to come run a HM with me?? -Marsha

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REJ7777 5/5/2012 8:37AM

    As you write in your blog, our motivation has to come from within. And yet, outside motivators are also very powerful. I know how supportive your son is, and how much you enjoyed walking and running together. Now that he's deployed, there must be a void where there's an important element of support when he's around. My son lives 3000 miles away. He supports me in every way he can. But it sure isn't the same as when he's actually hiking with me!

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    OR, did you have over achiever's syndrome and are now settling into a balanced lifestyle. Remember statistics can be used to show multiple sides of any argument.
I like to think you got into excellent shape, tried to do a lot to prove you have achieved that goal and now are settling in to a "normal" routine.

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SUE_2U 5/5/2012 2:53AM

    If you think you could be getting burnout from racing or running, aren't there other things to try? Is there a YWCA with an indoor pool anywhere near you, so you could toss in some swimming time? Or some exercise class you are curious about? Zumba? Bollywood? There are lots of fun things to do.

(((hugs))) You do so much... It's only understandable that you get tired and want to do something a bit different once in a while. Mix it up! Spark on!

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_LINDA 5/5/2012 2:30AM

    Perhaps, as a working person, training and doing races is too much of a time commitment right now and you are experiencing a little burn out. Maybe to keep exercise interesting, you need to do a variety of different things rather than stick with the tried and true formula. I found it so exciting to go to live fitness classes after years of doing DVD's at home. It was interesting and challenging me to see if I could keep up with a live class and get over any shyness of working out in front of people. I always loved aquafit, but people can't see your body in the water like they can on land ;) You never know what you may like until you try it.
Good luck finding what works for you.. My happy medium is to exercise more so I can eat more...

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KARIDIAN1 5/4/2012 9:48PM

    For now I am on a plateau, not gaining, but not losing either. Trying to find the balance and stay motivated. Getting out to ride my bike now should help, if the weather every stays decent for more than one day.

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MOBYCARP 5/4/2012 9:22PM

    There's a good question to ponder in there: How much is enough?

It's not just, how much food is enough; it's also, how much exercise is enough? Being of the gender that is endowed with more testosterone, I find that I tend to want to pile on more exercise until I can't keep it up, and then I fall off the fitness wagon.

Balance is as much learning how much exercise you can sustain as it is learning how to sustain healthy eating. What is better . . . to train up to do a marathon, then flame out and sit on the couch for 6 months; or to run 10 miles a week with walks on non-running days, as an ongoing lifestyle?

Different answers and different motivations will work for different people. I'm cheering for you to find the motivation and the balance that fits *you*, which isn't necessarily the same answer than would fit *me*.

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SHARBEAR100 5/4/2012 6:02PM

    I think it's just really hard to go full speed ahead 100% of the time. I can't do it. I find I go hard for a few months, and then need to pull back a little and regroup. I'm going through that right now.

Your comment about not needing to participate in a bunch of athletic events to be healthy is very true, but as you pointed out, using them for markers, or having goals, helps keep us focused. Our goals can change though as our life and interests change. Since it's a never ending journey, I know I need to figure out how to make it fun. Good luck figuring out where you want to go from here!

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SUNNY332 5/4/2012 5:04PM

    You are so right, there is no finish line.

Progress not perfection. We do what we can do today and do a little more tomorrow.

Hugs, Sunny

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KASEYCOFF 5/4/2012 2:06PM

    Mmm hmm, mmm hmm, I hear you... I've dropped back to my own line in the sand (love that phraseology), so I'm maintaining. The thing is, I still have 15 pounds to go. I console myself with the 'At least I'm not regaining.' True. So far. But that line is mighty thin where it counts, ain't? You know what Marenamoo says - 'Be ever vigilant.' So how to regain that momentum, that drive, that enthusiasm? 'cause I think that's what it takes. Targets like races and walkathons and triathlons and so forth are good, but if you still can't muster up the 'oomph' for them, how do you replace what's missing? Tho come to think of it, I guess first you have to figure out what's missing... (Note to self: find out what's missing to spark the spark.)

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1CRAZYDOG 5/4/2012 10:13AM

    You absolutely identified the key to successfully achieving change . . . buying into it! That's the ultimate first step.

but like any other process, change requires re-evaluation, re-tooling and a HUGE amt. of patience. Have to agree that I love your last line, because we DO have to live our life.

Love this blog.

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LJR4HEALTH 5/4/2012 8:19AM

    Thanks Barb for sharing This is all about being human and there are times on this journey that things do go a little off balance Love the last line in your blog So true there is no finish line

I would love to share your blog with the new class spark team coming up this Sunday will give them a real hint of what ot expect on this journey

Awesome post

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MSLZZY 5/4/2012 7:52AM

    Your last statements said it all. There is no finish line,
just living, day to day. I can buy into that. HUGS!

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Weather Radios and sleep...

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Or lack thereof! I'm glad I went to bed EARLY last night (like about 8 p.m.) because by midnight that cussed NOAA radio was alarming every five minutes about counties just to our West... eventually I gave up and got up when the severe t-storm warning had our county added, trucked downstairs, flipped on the TV to watch it move North and East of "me"... before heading back up to bed.

Then about the time the alarm was supposed to ring (maybe 20 minutes before)... KA-BOOM! I swear I felt the house move! No, it wasn't anything but thunder and lightning, BUT... woke me for sure. Radio was static-y.

To top it off, barometric pressure is doing a number on my sinus passages. So... moving slow, but moving.

Here's wishing everyone a bright Spark day... and a balanced one. emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 5/5/2012 8:46AM

    That sure doesn't make for a good night's sleep!!! Glad you're safe. Hope you get more sleep tomorrow night! emoticon

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_LINDA 5/5/2012 2:35AM

    Its been scary all the tornadoes and bad weather I keep seeing on the weather channel :( Good to hear you take precautions and have that radio on constantly -it just may save your life and that is the pay off for the lack of sleep. I didn't know the pressure drop could cause sinus trouble hope it passes quickly. So glad I live in a mostly stable climate, if a little cold..

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LEANJEAN6 5/4/2012 7:21AM

    Poor you-----my Mom used love thunder storms--used to say--they cleared the air---I'm like you however--happy to not hear them!!!--- Hope you make it through the day!--LOL--Lynda--HUGS

Comment edited on: 5/4/2012 7:22:15 AM

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SUE_2U 5/4/2012 6:57AM

    I don't normally mind thunderstorms. In fact I used to love the feel of the ionized air. For some reason I always felt energized by it? Not sure why. Not anymore, though...

What I hate are tornados. Luckily I've missed any big ones. Just one small one that tossed a tree through our house, but no one was hurt.

Although here, lightning often means wildfires. Those are as scary as any tornado, I will say...

I hope your sinuses have adjusted to the change in pressure.

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    I love a good thunderstorm, the sounds and sights but prefer them just BEFORE bed and always without damage. If only....
they usually come at dinner, 3am or when I want to get into my car! LOL

Comment edited on: 5/4/2012 5:50:34 AM

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MSLZZY 5/3/2012 11:08PM

    We are expecting the same noise and commotion both
Friday and Saturday night. Get some sleep tonight. I
am thankful I have the weather radio but I think that
my pager will be just as noisy if the weather develops.

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KARIDIAN1 5/3/2012 9:11PM

    Another big storm overnight here in MN, and big T storm with heavy rains this morning.

Is beautiful here now.

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MOBYCARP 5/3/2012 6:09PM

    No T-storms here, and I'm learning to sleep through the new cat's whining. This is likely to go on for an extended period, so I need to adapt.

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ALOHAEV1 5/3/2012 5:31PM

    If you still have your instructions, see if you can program it just for your county.

Hope you're feeling better and have an early nitey nite tonight.

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SHARON10002 5/3/2012 12:18PM

    So glad the storm passed you by! I am afraid of thunder and lightning so I am always awake during storms just praying for them to end, and that one before you were due to get up would have totally unnerved me.

Comment edited on: 5/3/2012 12:19:55 PM

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 5/3/2012 9:55AM

    I am in the same boat with you this morning. We had lots of lightening and thunder and rain last night. Flooding, though not severe (I think). We had several claps of thunder that literally shook the house. Nothing like sleeping soundly only to be woken up by something as loud as that. Poor Lloyd was really freaking-out. But he's sleeping quite nicely now. Wish I could do the same.

Glad you're safe and sound, even if you are a bit weary.

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MNTWINSGAL 5/3/2012 9:49AM

    Glad it the severe stuff missed you though. It missed us too, although I have a dull headache and some vertigo - maybe it's sinus-related caused by that barometric pressure too. I'll have to look into that!

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1CRAZYDOG 5/3/2012 9:46AM

    We had storms move through last night too. But nothing severe, though there were lots of crashes of thunder and bolts of lightening cloud-to-ground.

We have a NOAA radio too and it has it's positives, but can be annoying! We have another early warning system . . . Spot the Wonder Dog. He hates storms and started whimpering around 10 pm and wouldn't go back to settle down. Not long afterwards the storm rolled in and then I knew why he was restless. Obviously he heard the storm coming in. Finally settled down around 3 am when the storms ended. Not lots of sleep here either!

Well, here's wishing for a calmer Thursday, eh!

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KALIGIRL 5/3/2012 8:22AM

    Sorry for your misery - we discontinued using our weather radio for that very reason. Figured we'd hear the tornado siren (or not), but opted to sleep instead.

Weren't those some boomers!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/3/2012 8:22:48 AM

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To save my life

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Since I blogged about "just for today... for the rest of my life..." I seem to have got my brain into a "figures of speech" mode. The one I'm contemplating today is "to save my life".

Imagine a sportscaster, calling a basketball game, "He can't seem to buy a bucket to save his life"... and it got me to thinking... how many things do we say that of... that we couldn't do them "to save my life"?

"I can't stop eating chocolate to save my life?"
"I can't get past this plateau to save my life?"
"I could never run to save my life?"

Just a cotton pickin' second here... what can I NOT do to save that precious life?

Life is a wonderful gift... and worth preserving. To save my life I CAN nurture my body with healthy foods, in sufficient (not excessive) quantity. To save my life I CAN be active, even if only for a few minutes each day. To save my life I CAN learn to manage the stresses swirling about me. To save my life I CAN set aside time to rest, sleep, contemplate, meditate or pray.

To save my life I can LIVE it, savor it, accept it, and not try to run away from it or force it into something it is not.

In short, life is good. Save it, and Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALOHAEV1 5/3/2012 5:45PM

    Where would be be without you to SPark us on? Hugs

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_LINDA 5/3/2012 2:51AM

    Way to turn that saying around on its ear! Wonderfully said!
You heard the lady! Lets get out there and save our lives!! We can do it!

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WATERMELLEN 5/2/2012 8:51PM

    You're doing a great job of saving your life -- and inspiring us too!

Gotta say, I've never had a doctor prescribe exercise and never had a friend tell lme their doctor prescribed exercise. But I think it would be quite effective if a doctor did, literally, write it down on a prescription pad and hand it to a patient . . .

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SLENDERELLA61 5/2/2012 7:41PM

    Profound blog! Well put.

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SHARON10002 5/2/2012 4:55PM

    Great shift on perspective, Barb! Thanks!

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KARIDIAN1 5/2/2012 3:13PM

    Life is good, and your blog raised some good points as always.

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REJ7777 5/2/2012 2:01PM

    It's so true that we often use expressions without thinking of the full import of what we're saying. You're right. We'd probably do just about anything to save our own lives or the lives of those we love. And taking care of our health should be a very high priority on our list! emoticon

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3016DEBRA 5/2/2012 12:34PM

  Well put!!! We can do ANYTHING once we make our minds up to do it. emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 5/2/2012 10:40AM

    You said it!!!!!!!

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DRB13_1 5/2/2012 10:15AM


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 5/2/2012 9:59AM

    Amen, sister!

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DEBRA0818 5/2/2012 8:15AM

    This reminds me of a recent political commentator who said (of Americans), "We're too fat to run for our lives if it comes to that." But, I don't think the problem is weight so much as it is health. Even skinny people cannot necessarily run for their lives if they're out of shape or living unhealthy lives.

What you highlighted in today's post seems (to me) to be the most important thing: nurturing and taking care of our bodies with safe movement and good nutrition.

Rock on!


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MSLZZY 5/2/2012 7:45AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAGGIE101857 5/2/2012 7:29AM

    Thanks for your "saving" words this morning!!! They will help me re-focus and push the negatives out of my head today!!

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DOCHAS79 5/2/2012 7:00AM

When ever I dont want to get out of bed at 5 a.m. to work out. Or when I just want to eat something I know I should not. I will try and think of your blog. Hit the nail on the head.

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LEANJEAN6 5/2/2012 6:58AM

    WooWoo!! This is a great blog Barb!!!! =--- Thanks for helping me along here!--Hugs--Have a great healthy day girl!-Lynda

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DEBRITA01 5/2/2012 6:57AM

    Thanks for the reminder to focus on what we CAN often we focus on what we can't or aren't doing. emoticon

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For Lynda - by special request

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

You asked for it... me to blog about it... the before picture. This is from Christmas 2005, I think. One of my low points, ashamed of having let it pile back on, nearly all the way. The people who love you? Love you anyway.

This shot is actually in my photo gallery, because it's good to remember where you came from, and many of us don't keep a whole lot of "before" pictures around. First, because many of us were quite camera shy at our heaviest. And no wonder. I wanted to remain oblivious to the weight. I wanted to stay in denial that I, having dropped 80 pounds in 1989 - 1991 and become a runner... had let it slip away under the emotions of life. I had "given up". The body size was the result.

I don't have time right now to take a matching shot, "me reading on a stair step" with that same niece and nephew, but needless to say, we have all changed, quite a bit. She's a young lady, in high school. He's a young man in middle school. And I? I am struggling to maintain the healthy habits that will KEEP ME in the land of the fit.

Yes, I admit it. I still struggle to keep up the habits. And I still slip up. But for those of you in the spot where I was then? "Giving up" doesn't have to be forever. Today can be YOUR emoticon. For that matter, it is mine. Every day.

Defeat is temporary. Giving up makes it permanent. Never give up.

Countdown? Five days to my *second* half marathon... the first was one year ago today, completed in 2 hours, 47 minutes, 48 seconds, chip time. This year, I'm carrying an extra few pounds that came back over the winter, and I may be a bit growly about that, but I'm not going to toss in the towel on the effort. And I'm going to cover that distance!

Whatever your challenges today... just take it one breath at a time. A better decision can be made at any time. There is no magic time but NOW.

Life is good. Allow yourself to live it. Spark on. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 5/5/2012 10:08PM

    Inspiring as always :)

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SUNNY332 5/3/2012 6:13PM

    Wow - I know I have seen the before photo but it still amazes me how far you have come.

Woohoo - you are such an inspiration to us all.


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ALOHAEV1 5/3/2012 5:54PM

    I realized had not read this, man am I glad I came back to it!!!

You may have those extras on you, but can't help but wonder if it isn't muscle so I would put that in back of you and ignore it - grab that finish line with gusto!

Would not have guessed that was you, you are brave, this will inspire others that they too can do it.

SPark on yourself, thanks for keeping that flame burning for so many of us.

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_LINDA 5/2/2012 2:01AM

    Awesome attitude -the winner's attitude -its the long term that counts, not the short term blips in the road. I am going through a few oops myself. But as long as I remain true to my program and healthy eating -these blips will not become an avalanche. I have no before photos as I was particularly clever because I was always the one taking the pictures :)
Think of those extra pounds as being a handicap like poor Phar Lap kept being given -but he showed them all, didn't he?? I just lOVED that story of that horse with such courage and determination!

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MSLZZY 5/1/2012 11:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KARIDIAN1 5/1/2012 10:20PM

    Great blog-as always!

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WATERMELLEN 5/1/2012 10:03PM

    Super blog. It really underlines that maintenance is a decision we make every day, every minute actually.

And -- even when there are temporary defeates -- we never give up.

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EBEAMS 5/1/2012 10:01PM

    I'm so excited for you!!! It is so incredible that our bodies can take whatever type of abuse or ignoring we chose to give them and they just keep on ticking! Lots of us live with "If Only" regrets but truly we could not be who we are supposed to be if we didn't pass through these trials!

I'll be thinking of you on Saturday as I'm slaving over my computer screens and thinking of mine coming up ... I'm SO EXCITED FOR YOU! Go Barb!

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COMETER 5/1/2012 9:23PM

    Wow. I knew that you'd come far--I so admire your honesty and persistence and positive attitude. Thanks for inspiring the rest of us!

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SHARON10002 5/1/2012 5:36PM

    emoticonblog, Barb! Wow, hard to believe looking at you now that this picture is the same person! Thanks for all of your guidance, support, and inspiration.

I know you'll do great this weekend - because that's who you are! It's not easy to stay disciplined. I too have lost and regained so many times. . . I've plateaued lately and it is driveling me NUTS!

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1CRAZYDOG 5/1/2012 11:54AM

    POWERFUL! Defeat is temporary and giving up definitely does make it permanent!

Maintenance really is a process, just like losing the weight. It is daily, step-by-step, day-by-day, sometimes a minute-by-minute proposition, but NEVER room for giving up.

You have come so far, Barb. Astonighing changes. And that's only the physical side we see in a picture. The mental changes . . . they're sometimes even more significant!!

HUGS for all your inspiration.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 5/1/2012 9:27AM

    "Giving up doesn't have to be forever." Ah yes, that was my mindset. Like you, I've lost and re-gained huge amounts of weight. Mutlitple times. Each time something would set me off kilter and I'd give up and figure "what's the use." Well you know what? We're all worthy human beings who deserve (and are expected by God) to treat ourselves with respect. And that includes using food for fuel (and nothing else).

GREAT blog, Barb! You are an inspiration to more people than you probably realize. Good luck with your marathon!

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LJCANNON 5/1/2012 8:35AM

    emoticonThank You!! We all need to be reminded that it won't EVER be "Easy", but it will be Worth It!! Even if we do have to do it "One Breath At A Time" sometimes!!

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ANDI571 5/1/2012 8:22AM

    I'm glad you posted this today. I got on the scale this morning, and it wasn't pretty. I knew I was slipping, but didn't realize how much. I too have been struggling lately to keep those good eating habits going. Just tired of the same ole, same ole.

We won't let it happen to us again though. Today is the day we get right back on that bus. emoticon

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Just for today... for the rest of my life...

Monday, April 30, 2012

The two title phrases seem contradictory. If I am going to do something "just for today"... it seems temporary. If I am doing something "for the rest of my life" it seems like for-ever!

But I can only live "the rest of my life" one day at a time. And the choices of what I do "just for today" add up to that "rest of my life". The choices I make today are building how I feel about me. And how I feel about me can affect the choices I make today.

Dear Lord, may my choices today be ones that fuel good health, and prepare me for the challenges ahead. Just for today... for the rest of my life!

LIFE is good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BARBAELLEN 5/1/2012 11:19PM

    Your blogs are truly inspirational, and you are amazing! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and be so supportive.

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SALSIFY 4/30/2012 5:33PM

    Just for today... for the rest of my life. That's great - I'll try & remember that. Thanks!

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MSLZZY 4/30/2012 12:14PM

    Very powerfule message and one to take to heart.
emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 4/30/2012 10:26AM

    One day-at-a-time, one step-at-a-time, and sometimes even one second-at-a-time if it's necessary! Forever definitely seems overwhelming.


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 4/30/2012 9:39AM

    Yes, I like that way of thinking. Looking too far into the future is too daunting for me. But just for today, I can make better choices to take care of me. Have a great day, Barb!

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DEBRITA01 4/30/2012 9:22AM

    All we have is today...and a hope, God-willing, for a new tomorrow. emoticon

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REJ7777 4/30/2012 8:53AM

    That made me think of an article I read. The author wrote that the only time we have to worship God is right now. I had to think about it. And of course, it's true. Wherever we are, whatever we're doing. And in the end, it adds up to a life of worship, one moment at a time.

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KRISZTA11 4/30/2012 8:49AM

    Very true!
Thanks for sharing.

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EBEAMS 4/30/2012 8:44AM

    I love it! Yay! You can do that!

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ANDI571 4/30/2012 8:40AM

    Agreed! emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 4/30/2012 8:32AM

    I know you can do it too!!--------You are my inspiration--I'm going back took at yer ""before"" pics-Lynda

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SFREY217 4/30/2012 8:29AM

    Well said ! Thank you for the inspiration.

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WATERMELLEN 4/30/2012 8:03AM

    We live only in the present: the future hurtles through the present and plunges into the past.

And I suppose that's why every one of those choices in the present moment (the only opportunity we have to make choices) matters so much.

Did you say "forever"??? Is this a life sentence? Arrrrrghhh!!!

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AZMOMXTWO 4/30/2012 7:47AM

  awesome thank you very much for the reminder emoticon

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