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The balance challenge

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This is not everybody, but it is certainly my own history: I'm a project person. I'm fascinated by shiny new ones. Work has me working on one yet again.

Most times in the past when I'm in my element at work, I am obsessed. Yes, I steal time from myself to spend polishing the documentation, helping other folks with their problems and throwing my own time into making up for it.

This has generally been at the expense of my health. The first thing that usually drops is whatever exercise plan I'm on. The second thing that goes is whatever nutrition I'd been getting. The third thing, as a direct result, is my health.

I've managed to be in denial about this for most of 50 years. I would lose weight and "get healthy", then take on a big challenge. Remember the old college "freshman 15"? I got to a healthy weight right before college (although in an unhealthy way)... then wham.

I did it again for pregnancy. I ate healthy while growing a baby, then after he was born, almost immediately started doing both work and school, and the healthy living plan unraveled.

Four years later, during a slow time at work, I joined WW and dropped a whopping 80 pounds, started running, and kept the bulk of it off for nearly 5 years. Then took on a demanding job that involved flying away from home each and every week... and it became hard to keep up the good habits. You get the idea.

Most recently, I'd got to a healthy weight about five years ago, kept it off for one and a half, when an injury combined with taking on a second huge work responsibility tripped me up yet again.

NO MORE! This time it's going to be different. This time it's for the rest of my life.

How is it going to be different: I'm already starting. I'm delegating. I'm refusing to give up my walking breaks. I'm allowing myself to be imperfect in my performance of both work and my habits. I'm jealously guarding my soda-free streak (58 days now). I'm sparking and enlisting support of others with similar goals.

Yes, this time it really is going to be different. This time I have it in my gut that my life really does depend on taking care of me, body and spirit, not just mind.

You, my spark friends, are keeping me honest! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 2/24/2010 3:36PM

    I'm sure you speak for a lot of us Barb. My history has many parallels.

It's great that you've made this commitment and are providing such a good role model. You will be helping me - and many others I think - as you keep recording your progress.

You've identified the pitfalls so well and I'm so glad to be in a network of like-minded people with similar experiences, challenges, distractions and goals. We'll keep each other in line!

Thanks so much.

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KALIGIRL 2/24/2010 1:51PM

    emoticon emoticon I love that you now know you are #1!

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SMARTIEBEE 2/24/2010 1:16PM

    Awsome blog! Balance is the KEY!

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SUNNY332 2/24/2010 8:37AM

    Love it! Glad you are placing life in a balance.

If it is to be, it is up to me!
one of my all time quotes. Author unknown.

Have an awesome day.


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MSLZZY 2/24/2010 12:12AM

    What a positive attitude! This IS your time now!

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FIT-AT-50 2/23/2010 10:44PM

    Thanks for sharing. I'm a project person and can relate completely. I'm counting on my commitment to logging into SparkPeople daily, and the support of SparkFriends to help me stay on this healthy food and fitness wagon. It seems to me that you've made the same commitment, too!

We can do it!


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DEBRA_T 2/23/2010 9:44PM

    The nicest thing about experience is it gives us the opportunity to learn something and you've certainly learned something important about putting yourself and your health first. All the way back where I'm standing, I can see how critical that simple yet challenging effort can be. You're shining a light here for us newbies, Barb!

Cheers, Deb

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SLENDERELLA61 2/23/2010 9:27PM

    Oh, I can relate so much. Balance is difficult when you feel like focus is much more productive. It is great that you are finding a way to get your health as a priority. I admire that soda-free streak! So good for you!!

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NELLIEC 2/23/2010 9:22PM

    Yes, it will be different. Take it a day at a time!


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It's hard to pretend I don't like Mondays

Monday, February 22, 2010

Workaholic coming out of the closet here: What is it that makes it "unfashionable" to like Mondays? What makes our work life so much less "life" than time at home?

For me, and other folks who really love what we do for a living this will ever be a puzzle. Yes, the next six months at work are going to be full of stress (excitement, pressure, striving toward goals), and temptation (to work more hours than is good for me, to turn to food for extra energy, to rob minutes from my exercise to do more at work). But my work is in large part what makes me, me!

I recognize that work is not that way for everyone, but I have to admit that when I get up on Monday morning it's a relief to have got through the weekend and be going back, refreshed, mind you, by the break, to something that makes me feel useful and productive and helpful to others. Something that challenges my mind and lets me exercise strength of mind, character, thought, and imagination.

OK, 'nuff about that... from a Spark / health perspective, one of my challenges in life is to not be absorbed by my work persona. Because that work persona ceases to exist if I don't take good care of the body that houses it.

Cheers to everyone, and have a Sparking good and balanced Monday! And as a side note: Day 57 soda free begins now!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 2/22/2010 8:15PM

    I love my work too, Barb. It is a good thing as so many folks out there don't.

Take care and have an awesome week. It is back to work for me tomorrow.

Won't be long now until your soldier is home. Woohoo! He is going to be so
surprised to see you.

Hugs, Sunny

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MSLZZY 2/22/2010 5:39PM

    Day 57-awesome! I like Mondays as well. Mostly because I know I'll have plenty to do and won't be bored LOL! I do enjoy home time and there is always more to do than weekend to do it in but I make the most of my time and still leave a little for "me". The work will still be there so do what I can and know I am still gainfully employed.

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WALKINGANNIE 2/22/2010 1:00PM

    I'm with you 100% here Barb. I know that we're very lucky to have jobs that we love.

I used to think I was a workaholic but have started using the term 'work enthusiast'!

Hope you have a great working week!

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VSWINGLE 2/22/2010 12:27PM

    Sounds like you have a great job! Way to go!!

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WILMASOTO 2/22/2010 10:58AM

    Way to go girl!! First 57 days soda free is awesome!! GO GO GO!!

As far as loving Monday's that is awesome. It is so wonderful when we love what we do and look forward to it!!

Continue to enjoy you Monday's and thank for sharing.

Keep smiling it's still Monday!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/22/2010 10:59:13 AM

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PATRISNA 2/22/2010 10:39AM

    Wow! 57 DAYS without soda! Give yourself a gold star for every day! I am sure you are feeling much better without it.

I had jobs I loved. Life was good. But I also had some jobs that were extremely stressful. Sometimes to the point of making me ill. Those were some tough times. Loving what you do is very important.

I am happy you have a position you enjoy. It really does make all the difference in your feeling of self worth and your overall health. Hope you have a great week.

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KALIGIRL 2/22/2010 9:34AM

    Here's to day 57!
You're blessed to want to go to work, when so many are under-employed.
Sounds like you are reaching a balance between work and play personas.

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    I don't mind Mondays either ... so you're not the only one emoticon

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JGOLFER 2/22/2010 9:06AM

    That's wonderful that you love your job. Sometimes I am anxious to return to work (you notice I said sometimes?).
Great job on the 57 days without soda! I am working on 21 days without a diet coke. It's hard!
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XINIXINIX 2/22/2010 8:16AM

    :::::::standing ovation:::::::::
on day 57 - fantastic! My streak has been someting in the lower double digits so bravissimo !

As for work and Mondays - wow, what a gift that you l-o-v-e what you do for a living. I don't mind the day so much myself but can't say that I'm quite there with you on the reasons why.

Have a SPARKtacular week!

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DEBRA_T 2/22/2010 7:56AM

    I think it's awesome that you like your work, Barb! That makes you a person with a rare chance for happiness since work consumes (at least) half of all our waking hours. I applaud your efforts to seek balance in your life, too, and I hope that every Monday continues to be a happy occasion for you!

Cheers, Debra

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P.S. 57 Days without Soda! WOW-eeeeeeeee!!!!!

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Sunday morning - feeling good

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This morning's pamper myself breakfast was half a grapefruit, an egg-beaters veggie omelet, and warm milk flavored with amaretto coffee. It was very filling, as well as healthy.

Topped that off with a satisfying exchange of instant messages with my son. I'm counting days... a week from today he'll be staging to come home on a two-week leave. It's been three weeks since we've had an exchange of this length, and it makes my mom's heart soar to hear him talking positively about his future beyond deployment. He left to go have his supper, but the glow stays on after every such conversation.

Yesterday I finally went out on Spark and read the help on how to reset my goals / program, so I may have lost some history, but I'm following the steps, even though I am very close to "home" weight. You see, I think of maintenance as a kind of fresh start. I'm trying to infuse it with a sense of purpose I have not always given this phase of healthy living. I have always been reluctant to do this (reset my goals) before, but it feels good.

Here's to the journey ahead, as well as the journey up to this point!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRA_T 2/21/2010 10:24PM

    Hi Barb! It's wonderful to hear that your son is getting ready to come home for a visit; I can feel the glow from over here. I've been thinking a lot about the ways in which taking care of ourselves is a lifetime project and I think you're very wise to see maintenance as a fresh part of that project -- it really is! This is where the women and the girls get separated and I just know that you're going to come down on the right side.

Cheers, Deb
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SLENDERELLA61 2/21/2010 10:09PM

    Breakfast sounded yummy and the contact with your son -- well, wonderful! Having him home -- won't be long.

Starting over on maintenance is a great way of looking at it. Hope you'll blog more about your new goals and new program.
Take care, Marsha

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KALIGIRL 2/21/2010 9:37PM

    Sounds perfect - so excited your son is coming home!
Maintenance is a new beginning and we're excited you're joining us.

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WALKINGANNIE 2/21/2010 4:27PM

    Sounds a lovely start to the day. I'll definitely be trying a 'pamper breakfast'.

I'm so pleased that you'll have your son for a two-week leave as well. That would definitely brighten your day.

It's great that you're planning ahead and setting a sense of purpose for maintenance and are preparing well for the rest of this lifelong process - especially with your big project to contend with as well.

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MSLZZY 2/21/2010 2:04PM

    It will feel so good to have your sone home on leave and I'm sure you will surprise him with the "new you"! Have a wonderful week and get ready for some quality time with your hero!

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RUMBLETIGER 2/21/2010 12:15PM

    Sounds like a wonderful day so far! Keep that smile on your face, and have a great rest of the day too!

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SUNNY332 2/21/2010 12:07PM

    I am so happy for you and rejoicing with you as you await your son's visit.

Take care and keep those wonderful memories close this week.

Hugs, Sunny

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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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