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Breakfast is a celebration

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I love breakfast. On weekends, when I have more time, I like to make it a special self-pampering time. When my son was working 3rd shift, he would often call on his way home from work on a Sunday morning, knowing Mom would be up, and we would go out to breakfast together. With him half way 'round the planet, I'm holding to the tradition of making weekend breakfasts special.

This morning I'm having steel cut oats, simmered a quarter cup of oats for half an hour or a little more in skim milk. Once cooked, I add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, a quarter of a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a bit of artificial sweetener. I'm starting to call it "egg nog flavored oats". Add a half cup of grape juice served in a wine flute, and light candles: there is an elegant weekend breakfast!

And now, I'm all set to shovel yesterday's snow, and gear up to shovel tomorrow's as well!

Edited to add the photo. On the left, 1/4 cup of steel cut oats. On the right, 1/2 cup of rolled oats, i.e. "old fashioned" oatmeal. Nutritionally, these are relative equivalents.

I didn't even know these were two different things until about a year or two ago, when I asked someone, because I kept reading such praise of the steel-cut oats. Yes, they are different: steel cut oats take longer to cook, have a grainier texture. I like them both!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 2/20/2010 9:38PM

    Sounds heavenly - I had peanut butter on toast and considered that a treat. (You'll have to post your recipe...)

Here's to more snow... emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 2/20/2010 2:11PM

    Sounds really good. I was impressed with the wine flute trick when you mentioned it before, but when you're doing it at breakfast time it sounds positively decadent!

Great ideas. Thanks - and for explaining the difference in the oats.

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FAHNZMOM 2/20/2010 1:51PM

    Sounds great I will have to try that. Love oatmeal but never thought of adding those spices you are very creative. emoticon

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SHARON2014 2/20/2010 12:49PM

    When can you come over? emoticon

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SUNNY332 2/20/2010 9:13AM

    I love oatmeal also and eat the Quakers Multigrain variety.

We went to a bakery here in Wichita and bought some great home made
Multigrain bread.

Take care. Love the idea of serving the juice in a wine flute.

Hugs, Sunny

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PUDLECRAZY 2/20/2010 8:55AM

    I love oatmeal - a humble, yet nurturing food. How wonderful to get to have breakfast celebrations with your son, too.

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MSLZZY 2/20/2010 8:23AM

    Your breakfast sounds delicious! I'm going to try that. I've heard shoveling snow is a good cardio workout LOL! I've got some to shovel, too.
Have a great weekend!

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JOY1918 2/20/2010 8:14AM

    Thanks for the spark goodie. Have a great weekend!

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JOY1918 2/20/2010 8:01AM

    Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice too. Only I put 1/2c whole oats in a microwave-proof bowl along with 1/4c miller's bran, 1T ground flaxseed, 1teas. cinnamon, and 1C h2o. Stir and into the microwave 50% for about 6 min. I will also have a serving of yogurt for protein. emoticon

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Still breathing...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I didn't realize until Debra_T went on vacation how much it's her morning posts that spur me to post. Seriously, until she started putting those thought-provoking things out there at 6 a.m. my time, I was a once or twice a week blogger.

OK, maybe there were other life things (like work, my son's online games that he drags me into from afar, etc.) that got in the way, but she really got me going and writing!

Anyhow, 'nuff to say, work's a little busy and that's taking a lot of my energy... to the point where I'm not even entering my foods on SP... but fear not, I keep a paper journal, and I'm still working at it. I am determined that this work project is NOT going to take me down the relapse path.

Not this time! This project will last six to nine months and my natural tendency is to sacrifice my own time to get the job done. Well, if doing that ruins my health, not such a good idea, eh? So, I'm enlisting the help of other "mature" workers to push each other to maintain our healthy habits throughout the length and breadth of this challenge!

And I still have a little Spark to keep me going! Good health and good habits to us all.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 2/20/2010 9:40PM

    Here's to 'mature' workers - we know how to get our priorities straight. So glad you're journaling - it works for me!

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WALKINGANNIE 2/18/2010 12:13PM

    Thanks Barb.

It's the big distractions of everyday life that are waiting to trip us up. Once again, you've identified the risks ahead and put your plans in place to keep you on track even when it's going to challenging.

I'm learning a lot from you and am glad you're blogging so often.

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MMICKEYP 2/18/2010 8:42AM

    I miss Debra_T, too! I looked forward to her morning blogs! I hope she's having a great time in Jamaica, mon!!

Life is busy, busy, busy and you're working on a project that could consume you if you let it. Just remember to find your "middle ground" to rest on when things get hurried and harried!

Have a great weekend! emoticon

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CONCHA77 2/18/2010 8:18AM

    Keep Sparking, Barb! Here's to everyone's health!

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The Spark Chapter 7: Stage II - Healthy Diet Habits

Monday, February 15, 2010

Having set my Stage I goals realistically and in harmony with how life is going... stage I was good. I did my pep talks, and I stayed with my nutrition and exercise plans... the one bit I might not have hit a home run on was tracking the water consumption... so I'll take another shot at that in Stage II.

Stage II focus is on healthy diet habits:
- Five fruits and vegetable servings a day
- Eat breakfast every day
- Drink 8 cups of water every day
- Track food most days
- Consistently exercise 10 minutes a day
- Get adequate sleep (7 - 8 hours a night)

Since these are already things that I do, this is pretty much a re-commitment to keep at it. Fits right in with entering maintenance, eh? They are all things the body craves. All that remains is to track it.

It's a holiday for me today (President's Day - U.S.) so perfect time to shift from Stage I to Stage II.

Thinking of all my Spark-ling friends today. May your day be full of hope and peace.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 2/17/2010 9:24PM

    Sorry I missed this on the 15th - you were my inspiration for buying the book - came today, so I'll follow in your footsteps...

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MSLZZY 2/16/2010 6:43AM

    A recommitment and a refocusing on healthy habits is a great place to be. Hope your day was peaceful as well,

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WALKINGANNIE 2/15/2010 12:25PM

    It's great that you're so organised and focused, Barb. You've really thought about this and planned your way to further success. Thanks for sharing your plans.

Hope you had a good holiday.

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Equine Metaphors

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I rewarded myself yesterday with a premium ticket to see "The World Famous Lipizzaner Stallion Show". It was wonderful, and I am musing over the show as motivation to continue my own efforts at training.

What athletes these horses are! What patience their trainers have to train them in the gentle way they do, in the great tradition of dressage and the Spanish Riding School. Although this is an American show, they use the same principles of training that have been used for centuries by that great institution. And of course, the same breed stock.

I'm a great fan of "being there" whether it is standing in the Sistine Chapel looking up at Michaelangelo's "Creation of Man", in Florence gazing on his statue of David, riding a jet boat up the snake river through Hell's Canyon, walking up Scott's Bluff, attending a major league baseball game, or, in this case, seeing a live horse performing "airs above the ground". It lifts the heart, more than a photograph or a movie can do.

I think these things help me feel present and alive on the planet. Obviously they are not something that I do every day, or all the time. They are the jewels scattered throughout a lifetime, making memories to look back on, or dreams to look forward to.

When putting together a plan for fitness and healthy habits... having things like this to look forward to makes a difference.

As for the training of the athletes themselves... none of these horses do anything that was not a natural move they performed in play as colts. The same is true of us... being fit and healthy is what we were born to be, but it takes training to bring out our best performance on cue. It takes patience, and gentle persuasion... rewards and correction... you cannot punish excellence into being. But you can coax and encourage it.

May we remember this as we encourage excellence in ourselves!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONCHA77 2/15/2010 9:21AM

    Thanks again, Barb, for sharing. Such a great storyteller! Have a nice day off today.


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SPENCEMOMOF5 2/14/2010 11:00PM

    loved the reference to Hell's Canyon, my neck of the woods! Would love to see these horses in 'person'. Great blog.

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MSLZZY 2/14/2010 5:38PM

    You are so wise! Thank you for sharing! This was very inspiring!

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KALIGIRL 2/14/2010 3:40PM

    Here's to coaxing excellence in everything we do.

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SMARTIEBEE 2/14/2010 2:06PM

    barb, The show sounds wonderful! And the inspiration you gained, and shared is priceless! Thanks for the inspiration to be what we were meant to be!

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SUNNY332 2/14/2010 1:54PM

    The Lipizzaner Stallion Show will be in Wichita while we are there but we have tickets to see them in March in Quincy.

I love all the metaphors today and as always enjoyed reading your blog.

I am off to put some laundry in the washer and walk on the treadmill. It is snowing and blowing here today. Burrrrr

Have a GREAT day.


Comment edited on: 2/14/2010 1:55:46 PM

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WALKINGANNIE 2/14/2010 12:46PM

    Another great blog Barb.

Glad you enjoyed the show and gained such inspiration from it - and then shared it with us. You're definitely encouraging excellence in yourself and in others.

Thank you.

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Today's pep talk

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm sitting watching a myriad of emotions wash over me. Coffee mug by my side, TV show on netflix on another window. I put the TV show on pause, to deal with emotions that are flitting around and competing for top position in the brain.

* Valentine's Day (and being "alone")
* My ex (and of course why he's my ex)
* My son (deployed, and whether I'll even get an IM from him this weekend - can we say impending self-pity?)

* Work (and the big stress-inducing project just getting under way... a huge source of past relapses, by the way. Can we spell f-e-a-r?)

* Reflections on recent and past successes in establishing healthy habits (and how I really feel about that)

* Pride in what I see in the mirror this morning (imagine a look at a full-length image and the words "d*mn I look good!" flitting through the consciousness)

* Fear that like all past efforts this will unravel under the pressures of life

* A touch of loneliness

* A touch of defensiveness

So, on to the pep talk, to address these things:

Barb, you've got to keep it green, and re-motivate, here. A lot of times you used to eat large volumes of food to stop feeling these feelings. Now they are here in force!

Let's review strategies that have worked in the past.

* Distraction (the horse show this afternoon might be a good one of that nature, so take full advantage of that, but prepare to deal with the aftermath... when the distraction ends)

* Reasoning (hey, I'm doing that now). I've learned from every past "failure". I'm learning more now. This time, I can do even better. Just because something has always been does NOT mean it will always be!

* Planning, accepting that these emotions are OK, that I will feel them, but that they do not necessarily require action, just acknowledgment.

* Experiencing and enhancing the emotions: if there's sadness, watch a sad movie and let the tears flow. It's OK. That's a bit of transference, and if it works, go for it.

* Giving myself permission to fail. Seriously... if you never failed, you never tried.

* Giving myself permission to succeed! Yes, it IS OK to be the best me I can be, even if it is "not perfect", and even if my life seems consequently "better" on some scale than that of others I care about. There will always be differences... comparison to others is fatal to living your own life!

This last is a very important point for me. I have spent a good deal of my life trying to avoid having people envy me... wanting everyone to like me. I think part of keeping weight on, or relapsing is a "don't envy me" message I try to put out there. It is OK to succeed. It is OK to be pleased with a healthy body. It is OK... I am OK.

There, I think I'm done. And I DO feel better. Here's to staying strong, my friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 2/14/2010 5:40PM

    You addressed the issues in a straight-forward manner! You are OK! You are just now recognizing it because it is real!

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DAMOTIVATION 2/14/2010 7:21AM

    Congratulations on being where you are. Being your authentic self even in times of great challenge is job #1.

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SUNNY332 2/13/2010 8:47PM

    What a great post today.

Keep up the good work and GREAT attitude.

It is quite OK to succeed.

Hugs, Sunny

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CARO1YN 2/13/2010 6:42PM

    Wow,I can relate to most of the things you wrote. Good for you for being true to yourself. I have found a lot fear in my losing weight and why I have not been able to lose the weight in the past, i realized I was afraid to succeed and the possible responsibilities that come with it. I am at a stand still right now and I know it is that ugly fear raising its head again. I am very proud of you and you have every right to be proud of yourself, you look wonderful. I still have 55 more pounds to lose but I know it will happen. Thank you for sharing and Happy Valentine's Day.

Comment edited on: 2/13/2010 6:43:33 PM

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SPENCEMOMOF5 2/13/2010 3:09PM

    Great motivational insight! I am mirroring several of those emotions myself...feel the emotion, it doesn't have to be justified or changed or ate at nor does it require action! Thanks!
emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 2/13/2010 1:47PM

    What a wise and honest blog. Success is all the sweeter when it doesn't come easy and you've shown this week how your sensible planning has helped you to deal with stressful situations.

There's no doubt that you've helped others to work through their own temptations, frustrations, worries and disappointments by sharing some of yours along with your strategies. It's great that you've given yourself some answers and advice.

Thank you - and for your kind comments on my blog.

By the way, I envy your abs but I still like you!


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JAKEANDNELLIE 2/13/2010 11:01AM

    Self-conversation can make all the difference in a good day versus a bad day!
You made some excellent points that I need to remember and use with myself frequently.
It's important that you shared them here on Spark ~ a place where you are never alone. You have friends here and today, by sharing like you did, you have helped many of us learn how to deal with "down" times in our own lives.
Thank you for being so open and honest and providing us with a way and words to fight our battles.
Sheila emoticon

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 2/13/2010 10:28AM


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MMICKEYP 2/13/2010 10:09AM

    There are many times in our lives that we must talk ourselves down from the "ledge". That's exactly what you just did.

I hope that whoever reads your blog today takes away a little something to help them when they come to difficult crossroads in their lives.

Crossroads don't have to be big major ordeals..but can also be small things that we run into in our daily lives.

You took a look at your thoughts, emotions and fears and instead of dwelling on looked them in the eye and made a decision to review what has worked for you in the past and you ended by making another decision to keep moving forward.

That's how we encourage ourselves and others!

Good blog..Thanks! emoticon

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CONCHA77 2/13/2010 9:19AM

    Sounds very reasonable to me! Great blog. emoticon

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OZINBELG 2/13/2010 8:59AM

    well done - you'll be fine this time 'round!

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