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Realities of maintenance

Friday, August 02, 2013

I got a really nice SparkMail message in response to yesterday's blog on entering Year 4 of maintenance. It included a link that discusses some research into what motivates us at work. And face it, it is WORK to maintain.

In case anyone else might be interested, it's a bit long, but definitely instructive from many perspectives:

Thanks anja for sharing it!

Then this morning, I was looking at my statistics for the past year, in terms of the "drifting":

I've shown these graphs before... I deliberately made this one 365 days long, and it shows the drift going "up". Disturbing? Maybe, and maybe not.

In the wake of looking at THAT reality, another piece of this morning's motivation puzzle arrived in my inbox in "Today's Top Stories" here on The question it asks is whether it can be unhealthy to be "too lean".

There are many, many aspects to a healthy lifestyle. One of the biggest, most important is the recognition that nothing is a constant. It is an interconnected collection. The body is complex, and responds differently to behaviors. There IS such a thing as overtraining. There IS such a thing as the starvation response. There IS an impact to the body and its tendency to hold on to weight related to stress. But there is the bottom line, for each of us: is what we are doing worth the benefit we get from it?

Every one of us has to answer that question every day. And we act on the answer, one day, one decision at a time. The trends, the cumulative effect, is what we see in the graphs. How we respond to those graphs, to the number on the scale, to setbacks... that's what determines how it continues.

And continuing the journey is what maintenance is all about for me. Today, is it worth it? For me, today... absolutely!

* Drink the water.
* Eat what's in the bag, that's why you packed it.
* Remember to go to recess.
* Encourage others... for someday you may need encouragement yourself.
* Breathe and know that you are alive on the planet, regardless of what else swirls around you.

LIFE is good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KPETSCHE 8/4/2013 5:58AM

    Many good points! Thanks for sharing.

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LJCANNON 8/3/2013 8:51AM

    emoticon Yes, Maintenance IS "Work" but it IS Worth It!!

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LESLIELENORE 8/2/2013 10:25PM

    Motivation is tricky. I want to work out more than I have been lately, but I have had to balance it with things I need to do with my family. Lately family has won more often than not, and I have seen an increase in my weight, but I don't regret what I have been doing. Since I can still get into my size 8 jeans I am okay with it all.

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PATRICIAAK 8/2/2013 7:53PM

    trends say a lot.

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SPINNINGJW 8/2/2013 6:21PM

    That TED talk was really good. I struggle with motivation sometimes, and I am not always sure what makes me tick. My personality makes me a "helper" and I need to every now and then step back and take care of myself.

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GABY1948 8/2/2013 6:12PM

    You speak to me today for sure! Thank you for all the information...and these are all things I have truly been thinking about...I am 65 now...not 25 nor 35...but 65...and thankfully, I believe that I am FINALLY coming to grips with some of were a HUGE help today! emoticon

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MSLZZY 8/2/2013 3:44PM


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DLDMIL 8/2/2013 1:41PM

    Thank you for sharing.

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CELIAMINER 8/2/2013 9:53AM

    I didn't have time to listen to the whole Ted talk, since I'm just taking a Spark break at work, but I plan to listen later.

You have a great attitude about your "drift." I also read the SP article today on being too lean, and I had read another article a couple of months ago about what it takes to get figure-competition lean and how to do it wrong (exercise excessively, restrict calories excessively) and right (work with a real trainer to get the best exercise/food mix for you). So what's your next step? Will you redefine your maintenance weight? Perhaps 120 was too light? Hope you'll blog more about these decisions, because many of us are right there trying to make similar choices.

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1CRAZYDOG 8/2/2013 9:52AM

    OH boy . . . I'm in year 3 of maintenance and it is definitely something that requires work . . . maybe a different "work" than the weight loss process, but we have to be ever vigilant.

HUGS and thank you for sharing this. Great advice.

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JANEMARIE77 8/2/2013 8:26AM

    well said thank you

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AUNTB63 8/2/2013 8:18AM

    Thank you for sharing this info today. I am just starting out on my maintenance and I know it could be just a difficult as when in the losing phase, but with your inspiring words I know it is possible to continue this day at a time and still succeed. emoticon

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KALIGIRL 8/2/2013 8:12AM

    Would be interesting to know the lean to fat ratio over the year... I can fluctuate 5 pounds over a week, yet the L/F ratio barely moves.
emoticon measurements... I'll take WALKINGANNIE's home-weight any day.

Here's to breathing and being alive and a wonderful article on mindfulness you might be interested in...

Comment edited on: 8/2/2013 8:27:44 AM

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WATERMELLEN 8/2/2013 7:55AM

    Wow! Both of these links: excellent.

I've sent the Ted talk along already to a couple people.

When I think about motivation I want to bring all of this to bear: not just for weight loss maintenance but in my "work" life too.

Thanks, Barb (and Anja of course).

Got me thinking . . . and I like that!

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KRISZTA11 8/2/2013 7:55AM

    Congrats on this year of Maintenance!
I don't know where those pound did go, because I can't see any extra pounds on your tri photos ; )
Your active lifestyle and your persistence is an inspiration.

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LEANJEAN6 8/2/2013 7:31AM

    I enjoyed this Barb!--It shows that you continue on to keep the weight off---I'm impressed-----So many people gain it back----because they don't do the tracking like you!---Good for you!----Hugs-Lynda emoticon

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A new month begins, and a New Year of Maintenace

Thursday, August 01, 2013

In August, 2010, I declared myself "done" losing at my JC center, and entered "official" maintenance. I weighed about 2 pounds more than I do right now at that time. My weight over the intervening years has been as much as 7 pounds less than it is now... and it has drifted up to 4 or 5 pounds over at times... but in about a week, I'll be entering what I will consider YEAR 4 of the current maintenance.

What is the hardest thing to maintain in living a healthy lifestyle? Hands down, for ME, it's motivation. I fight the battle of motivation on a regular basis. I'm sure I'm not the only one. That's why we Spark! When one is down, another is "up" to offer a hand, or vice versa.

What am I proudest of in this maintenance, as opposed to previous attempts as "staying there"? That I have not allowed things happening around me or in other areas of my life to overwhelm my determination to keep healthy habits in my life "at some level". I have drawn that "line in the sand" I've blogged about. I haven't just wished... I've acted.

What keeps me going, when the going gets tough? The knowledge, gained the hard way, that not everyone HAS a choice. But that I do. I would be dishonoring those who have no choice if I chose to do nothing to help myself live healthier!

I am thinking of my sister in law, who succumbed to ALS in the past year. I am thinking of service men and women and first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty. I am thinking of those with debilitating illnesses that prevent them from exercising.

My own obesity was behavioral, and yes, I used food as my drug of choice, as a compulsion / addiction. It got in the way of living the life I envied others for having: an active life.

While I've been battling the number on the scale for my entire adult life (started the last year in high school trying to control that number)... I have learned things THIS time that just didn't stick before. I have learned that it is NOT the number on the scale that makes me happy. It is the sticking up for myself, it is the behavior that takes care of ME. It is a HEALTHY form of selfishness. It is that I am worth not MORE nor LESS than another human being, but worth AS MUCH.

And it is the behavior that drives my health. The number on the scale is not my grade. The time across the finish line is not my grade. But they are milestones, like a point on a GPS, that tell me where I am.

And know what? Right now? Today... I'm in a good place. I am living!

To dos for today:
* Drink that water.
* Eat what's in the bag, it's why you packed it.
* Prioritize what you work on.
* Remember to go to recess.
* And respect yourself. YOU are a valued member of the human race!

emoticon emoticon emoticon Namaste.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRICIAAK 8/1/2013 10:07PM


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WATERMELLEN 8/1/2013 9:22PM

    Great blog, Barb.

To be worth 'as much" is enough, isn't it?

And when you are enough, and have enough -- it helps not to eat too much!!

Congrats on moving fourwards!!

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DLDMIL 8/1/2013 1:57PM


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LJCANNON 8/1/2013 1:43PM

    emoticon Happy Anniversary, AND Thank You for the Motivation, Encouragement and Support that you so Generously hand out every day!! It is Appreciated More Than I Can Say!!

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DALID414 8/1/2013 11:13AM


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NEW-CAZ 8/1/2013 11:02AM

    emoticon Barb emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEW-CAZ 8/1/2013 11:02AM

    emoticon Barb emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CELIAMINER 8/1/2013 10:00AM

    Love the HEALTHY form of selfishness! Thanks for an inspiring blog, and emoticon on your upcoming maintenance emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 8/1/2013 9:46AM

    emoticon emoticon 4 years is great!

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LEWILL1982 8/1/2013 9:37AM

    Great blog, thanks for sharing! As I've struggled to maintain in the past, I agree, it was the motivation that I lacked at times, that, and having a conscious goal to work towards. I love the reference about doing this because we CAN and there are so many who CAN'T. Congratulations on your maintenance and all the things you've learned along the way. You are an inspiration to me!

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1CRAZYDOG 8/1/2013 9:18AM

    Congratulations Barb! It is a real achievement. HUGS

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KALIGIRL 8/1/2013 8:25AM

    " I have learned that it is NOT the number on the scale that makes me happy. "
Here's to the day we all realize the same - the day we realize our health and what we can do with these marvelous machines called our bodies make us happy.
Namaste my friend and congrats on emoticon in maintenance.

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GABY1948 8/1/2013 8:20AM

    emoticon and inspiring for sure!

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MIRAGE727 8/1/2013 7:38AM

    Yeah, Baby!
Thank you for sharing! You own your life, Barb! You walk the walk! Stay strong, my friend!

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MSLZZY 8/1/2013 7:23AM

    emoticon In the end, it is what makes and keeps you happy that matters the most-not the scale, not what others think but just YOU. HUGS!

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CANADIANFROG09 8/1/2013 7:18AM

    Your Do's all Doable! emoticon emoticon

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Pep talk for a Wednesday that doesn't quite feel like Wednesday

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My week days are all messed up in my head. The OT made Saturday seem like Friday, the TRI made Sunday feel like Saturday, being sick lost Monday, and yesterday back to work felt like a Monday. So this is Tuesday/Wednesday.

The mandate for OT has indeed been lifted for my team, and I left on time yesterday, because I was treating myself gently and the headache lingered. I think a lot of it has to do with the unusual weather this week. I tend to be susceptible to barometric changes that way.

But I ate well, and took my recess breaks, and went to bed timely, and here I am, sipping my Spark mug and blogging before work with my usual reminders to myself to take good care of me today!

Work's a little crazy right now, even without overtime, because of the way the project was organized and EVERYBODY being on such tight schedules they haven't had time to educate themselves on what pieces they were not directly responsible for were supposed to do. So it's a process of education as well as testing right now.

It's exciting... but it can't absorb you, and you have to slow down and research when someone says "this is wrong" because it might NOT be.

So, with that... reminders:

* Breathe. Be conscious.
* Drink your water.
* Eat what's in the bag, that's why you packed it.
* Delegate, don't try to do it all yourself.
* Remember to go to recess.

and rejoice, for you are ALIVE on the planet! It doesn't get much better than this.

Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEANJEAN6 8/1/2013 6:42AM

    Good Morning Barb!--It's Civic Holiday weekend coming up---here anyway!--Lotza rain--storms----I hope yer day goes well!-Lynda

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PATRICIAAK 7/31/2013 10:10PM

    You're right! It's important that people are educated so that all know what is going on. It aids in working efficiently towards a common goal.

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WATERMELLEN 7/31/2013 8:24PM

    Delegate . . . yeah. Gotta remember that one.

And: I'm rejoicing with you!!

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GABY1948 7/31/2013 5:30PM

    Hope the OT stays less for good...I feel for you for sure! Rest when you can!

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MSLZZY 7/31/2013 5:30PM

    So glad your life may get back to normal sooner that you thought. Treat yourself with kindness and the rest will follow.

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SLENDERELLA61 7/31/2013 3:54PM

    Love your pep talks. Rejoice!! So glad over time is no longer required. Sounds like you are really working to achieve some work-life balance. And like you are succeeding at least to some extent. Very difficult thing to achieve. Take a bow!! -Marsha

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DLDMIL 7/31/2013 3:49PM

    No OT for now. YAY!!!!! Get well soon and have a great day.

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SIMONEKP 7/31/2013 2:57PM

    is it friday yet?

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EMMACLAIRE5 7/31/2013 2:41PM

    Yippee for the end of OT!! That'll make it easier to get back to feeling well again. Take good care of yourself!

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LESLIELENORE 7/31/2013 2:37PM


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1CRAZYDOG 7/31/2013 2:25PM

    Glad you're taking care of you through all the nuttiness of work! Hope that headache goes away. HUGS

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FIT4MEIN2013 7/31/2013 12:00PM

    Well said!

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NEW-CAZ 7/31/2013 11:10AM


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DALID414 7/31/2013 10:37AM

    My days of the week get all thrown off without OT, TRIs, or being sick! emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/31/2013 8:54AM

    Thanks for the list of reminders: good for one and all! emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 7/31/2013 8:52AM

    Oh Barb!-Yu probably still have a bit of flu--Silly job eh??---Do yu take ""fitness breaks"" there?---Yu could lead them you know!---Bet yer boss would freak out--but--exercise is good for the brain!---- I'm rambling here-- emoticon Hugs--Hope yer day goes well!-Lynda

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GOLFGMA 7/31/2013 8:29AM

    Glad you are hanging in there! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 7/31/2013 8:06AM

    Truly doesn't get much better than this! Life is GOOD - Here's to living it!

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MIRAGE727 7/31/2013 7:52AM

    I always enjoy your "self- sparkin!" I benefit from it too, Barb!

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And now, back to the fun - the TRI photos

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Most of these were captured by my niece, who had custody of my phone for the duration.

First, the obligatory, "before the race, the laid out equipment at the bike rack". I took this one myself.

Next the arty shot of the marked participant, courtesty of said niece's mom.

The rest are niece's... the lake, it was so chilly there was fog before the race:

Into the water in waves. Hard to pick out your swimmer here, or for that matter, in any open water event where all you see are the colorful caps once we're off:

Of course, by the time I got out, I was pretty much a solo act... others far in front, or out of the frame behind.

TRI is all about transition... well, maybe not ALL about transition, but you can get passed if you aren't quick on the change-up.

About to cross the bike mounting line here:

Grinning through the bike leg:

Blink and you'll miss the transition to the run:

And in half an hour, give or take, she's back, entering the finish chute:

And the obligatory finish clock shot - subtract 6 minutes to allow for the wave start and you'll have my "official" time for whole event.

It was a great experience, not to be missed. Next time, won't you TRI with me?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGLADY13 8/5/2013 9:44PM

    WooHoo! You are awesome! I am so hoping I make it to "tri" this year. I suspect my body is a traitor and is going to turn on me, if it hasn't already.

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PATRICIAAK 7/31/2013 10:43PM

    super. niece did a nice job on the pictures. you did fabulois!

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GABY1948 7/31/2013 5:29PM

    emoticon blog! Well done!

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EMMACLAIRE5 7/31/2013 2:48PM

    You are definitely inspiring Barb! I've talked about doing a tri for a couple of years - I feel fairly confident on the running and biking. And now that I've made my way back to the pool, it will probably happen. There's a small local one that happens the first week of September, and I think I'll go check it out, just to see what those scary transitions look like. Then maybe target the one they host in the spring, or do that September one next year. I'm never going to set any records, but I do love the idea of 1) training for something new and challenging and 2) being able to say "I did it!" when I'm done. You make this 52-year-old feel that it's never too late to take it on!

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LESLIELENORE 7/31/2013 2:36PM

    Great pictures! So, is that better than last year's time? You did awesome, and it looks like you were having fun.

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MARGARITTM 7/31/2013 11:51AM

    Nice time and great pics - now you have me wanting to do another one!

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LEWILL1982 7/31/2013 9:55AM

    Love the pics! You know I'm in, mine is in 19 days! What were the distances for your events? I'm really worried about my transition and how all that works out. I dont even know what a good finish time would be.

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KALIGIRL 7/31/2013 8:11AM

    Tempting, Barb, tempting.
Glad to see no need for emoticon this year. emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/31/2013 7:44AM

    So awesome to see such fun :-)

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FITFOODIE806 7/31/2013 7:23AM

    Super fun blog! Thanks for sharing.

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BLUENOSE63 7/31/2013 7:23AM


You rocked it woman! Looking strong throughout the whole race! I love that pink swim cap.

Glad to see you went the camelbak route for water...I swear by that and don't understand why more people don't embrace it yet to each her own.

I accept your invitation and will be participating in the Iron 70.3 Canadian here in Ottawa Canada on August 31st. I have already signed up for next year's Iron 70.3 in Mont Tremblant Quebec....

You should be very proud and I say....go buy yourself something you really want!

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MARINEMAMA 7/31/2013 7:19AM

    Amazing ! WTG

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PMRUNNER 7/31/2013 5:49AM

    That's really great! Way to go!

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NEW-CAZ 7/31/2013 3:51AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KRISZTA11 7/31/2013 3:33AM

    Thanks for sharing your race photos,
they always inspire me!
You look fantastic on the pictures: a strong and healthy woman in great shape, having fun.

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TIGER_LILY_613 7/30/2013 11:44PM

    Congrats ! emoticon

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EBEAMS 7/30/2013 10:42PM

    You are so AWESOME! Congrats!

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SHARON10002 7/30/2013 10:17PM

    emoticon time, and emoticon on finishing another! I'll have to pass on the tri due to hip replacement, but I am experiencing it vicariously through you. Thanks for sharing all your adventures, Barb! Hope your feeling much better today.

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DALID414 7/30/2013 9:58PM

    You should definitely invest in the clip on shoes they'll help with the transition, you can leave them clipped on the bike. emoticon or so I've seen done.

I'll pass on the TRI. I haven't gotten to the swimming lessons yet. I've gotten as far as checking the pricing for it emoticon baby steps.

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MSLZZY 7/30/2013 9:38PM

    emoticon emoticon You rock!

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WATERMELLEN 7/30/2013 8:24PM

    What an inspiring set of pics!! So impressive, and the big grin is particularly engaging! Appreciate the invite, but this is not for me: so glad that it is for you, however!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 7/30/2013 8:13PM

    Great race and great photos! Before I can TRI, I'd need to get over my fear of swimming in open water. It would probably take hypnosis!

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1CRAZYDOG 7/30/2013 8:11PM

    Awesome, Barb!!!

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DLDMIL 7/30/2013 7:38PM

    Great pictures, and I will pass on the tri invitation. I will leave that to you. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Ah-one and ah-two and ah-three

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ah-one: Decision to TRI. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Ah-two: The day after aha moment... you really WERE coming down with something. emoticon

Ah-three: arise and shine, and appreciate that the fitness you have worked so hard to achieve speeds recovery from illness. emoticon

I'm up. I'm rested (of course staying in bed most of yesterday probably contributes to that, along with going to bed on time last night). The bag with the snacks and lunch is packed. The Spark mug is full of coffee, and breakfast is on its way.

I shall treat myself gently today... it's back to work. VERY grateful I took yesterday as vacation, planning ahead for recovery is a good thing. Today, we shall see what things were discovered during testing yesterday, and hopefully have a determination as to whether the OT has been backed off to optional, not mandatory.

Fitness is SO worth it. It helps in just about every area of life. Doesn't stop one from succumbing to illness, but certainly helps in the recovery!

Take good care of YOU today. YOU are worth it! LIFE is good. Spark on.

Oh, yeah, and especially important today for me: HYDRATE! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON10002 7/30/2013 10:26PM

    Glad to read you are feeling better, Barb! emoticon Hope your OT is no longer mandatory so that you can restore some balance to your life. emoticon

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MOBYCARP 7/30/2013 8:09PM

    Oh, yes. Taking Monday off after a big weekend is a wise decision, even if your Monday isn't spent quite as you had envisioned. Glad you could bounce back quickly, and it's good you could rest yesterday!

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SPINNINGJW 7/30/2013 12:34PM

    So sorry you had a rough "day after." So glad you had the day off to rest and recuperate. Hope you are feeling much better today. Remember to go to recess.

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DLDMIL 7/30/2013 12:19PM

    Glad to hear you are feeling better, have a great day (gentle work day).

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NEW-CAZ 7/30/2013 11:47AM

    Gently indeed Barb emoticon

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GABY1948 7/30/2013 10:48AM

    Glad you are feeling good today and have a very positive attitude! Have a great day!

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LESLIELENORE 7/30/2013 9:36AM

    Treat yourself gently!

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1CRAZYDOG 7/30/2013 9:28AM

    Glad you're getting back to feeling better! HUGS and here's to a good Tuesday.

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MSLZZY 7/30/2013 9:24AM

    By taking care of yourself yesterday, you have made it possible to feel better today. Make it a productive day and continue to treat yourself gently! HUGS!

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WATERMELLEN 7/30/2013 8:48AM

    Gently indeed: here's hoping that OT is going to be reduced. And: so true that fitness helps absolutely every area of life.

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EBEAMS 7/30/2013 8:45AM


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KELLIEBEAN 7/30/2013 8:23AM

    Wishing you healhty, over-time free days very soon!


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MIRAGE727 7/30/2013 8:20AM

    Barb, wait until you see my race report! I think it will sway you to the Tri side! Hope you have a road bike!

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MJREIMERS 7/30/2013 8:17AM

    I'm glad you are feeling better! Exercise is the key to so much in regards to our health! I hope the OT will be coming to an end sooner than later and you can start to spend more time the way you'd like. Take it easy a day or two more to get back to 100%. Drink water and have a great day!

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KALIGIRL 7/30/2013 7:52AM

    Glad you are back in the 'pink' - hope OT is voluntary and you can get back to 'normalcy' - whatever that is...

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DEBRITA01 7/30/2013 7:31AM

    Glad you're on the road to recovery...take care and have a good day! emoticon

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BLUENOSE63 7/30/2013 7:24AM


Glad to here you are better! Take it easy and make sure you are 100% before going at it again.

Love the Aha's -- sign from above that I read the first one -- off to TRI once more again today!

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GOLFGMA 7/30/2013 7:23AM

    Glad the illness was very short term. Being fit certainly helps! emoticon

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JSTETSER 7/30/2013 6:48AM

    Feel better
and Better
and better.


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PATRICIAAK 7/30/2013 6:47AM

    glad you've improved

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LEANJEAN6 7/30/2013 6:41AM

    Oh Barb!--You ARE better--sorta!--Happy to hear that!---Take-er cool!-Lynda emoticon

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