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P: play

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yes, play!

Remember as a kid running, jumping, stretching, tossing a ball, walking on top of a wall, riding a bike or a skateboard or swinging or see-sawing, or spinning on a merry-go-round? How often as "adults" do we do things just for fun... as play?

That's one of the reasons I set "goals" for 2010 like I did... go back to the beginning of the year and see what some of them were... I wanted to go ice skating (which I did)... I wanted to get on a horse again and go on a trail ride (haven't yet, and the schedule of other activity may defer this one... but it was a good goal), and I want to run in a 5K (for which I am already registered). I haven't stated this one, but I intend to dance at my niece's wedding (and I don't dance)... and not care what kind of figure I cut on the floor.

A few years back, when I belonged to a gym, I was asked to review it and give reasons why. What I said was I felt as though I was a big kid and had rented myself a playground... it had a swimming pool. And these incredible things called elliptical trainers. And an indoor track to walk or jog around even when the weather was bad.

Think about it: what's the difference between "exercise" and "play"? Attitude! That's it!

So here's to having a great day that includes "recess" from being an adult. Let's play some today!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/20/2010 9:48PM


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DRB13_1 9/30/2010 1:13PM

    Yes! More recess! Even for the big kids (adults). emoticon

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REJ7777 9/29/2010 7:48PM

    I love your blog! Playing really is one of the "secrets" of fitness, isn't it! It's a lot more fun to "play" than to "exercise"!

I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself on that dance floor!!! emoticon

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STEPHIEKNITS 9/29/2010 5:12PM

    Play!!!! emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 9/29/2010 4:36PM

    Yay! Let's have a great playtime today!

Life is for enjoying.


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 9/29/2010 11:04AM

    Man, you brought back some good memories of childhood for me: jumping rope and skipping! My, what good shape I was in then compared to now. I'd love to go outside and try skipping again, but I'm not sure my back could handle it. And I really don't think I'm quite that coordinated/balanced anymore. Maybe I can try a few skips up and down the hall. My DH will think I've finally lost it. LOL!

I'm glad you set fun goals for yourself and that you're doing them. Dancing is great. I used to be a "disco queen," but haven't fast danced in over 20 years. Next wedding we go to, I'm going to insist that DH dance with me!

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SUNNY332 9/29/2010 8:23AM

    I am all for Play!

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BUGGYS 9/29/2010 7:55AM

    Attitude is key! Watching my grandkids everyday and playing with them always helps me have a positve, I am getting the exercise I need!

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MSLZZY 9/29/2010 7:42AM

    Thanks for the reminder that we all need to play, even adults! HUGS!

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HEALTHY4JEANNE 9/29/2010 7:17AM

    :) I hope that you have fun today.
:) jeanne

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ANONALEE 9/29/2010 7:08AM

    Playing makes it fun -- the mental attitude makes all the difference, I agree!


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PENNYAN45 9/29/2010 7:06AM

    Yes! And being fit and trim makes it so much easier to enjoy that recess!

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O: observe

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You know I love quirky words and words with multiple meanings. "Observe" is another with more than one sense to it. I chose the verb form of this concept today.

1 to adhere to, follow, keep or abide by (a law, custom, duty, rule, etc.)
2 to celebrate or keep (a holiday, etc.) according to custom
3 a) to notice or perceive (something) b) to pay special attention to
4 to arrive at as a conclusion after study
5 to say or mention casually; remark
6 to examine and study scientifically

Mainly when I picked the word, I was thinking about observing (3b, above) my emotions, and how this journey has involved getting outside of the cycle of reacting to, to a level of paying attention to them.

But I also thought about observing healthy habits, as in following the rules. I ended up writing all six down here, because reading them in the dictionary reminded me of a few definitions I'd forgotten in my initial musings!

Weight and body size tend to be huge touch points for many of us. Some of us are very smart people, who have neglected our bodies while developing our minds (ever notice that a lot of heavy people have really keen minds... ever surprised by this?)

One observation that hit me like a ton of bricks in my 30's was that what I thought my values were and how I acted in day to day life were indeed in conflict. Working my way through all of that to a point where I believe that my life and my values are in harmony (or at least moving in the same direction) has taken over 20 years. In the process, the weight, the fitness level, and how I observe things in myself and around me... have changed significantly. I really count this life journey a lot farther back than joining Spark.

Why bring this values thing up? Because it is an integral part of succeeding: I needed to know what I REALLY value, not just what I thought I SHOULD value. And I needed to make my life and my mind and my emotions harmonize. This is truly hard work. Working on the physical behaviors: nutrition and exercise and medical and dental care - helps it along. Taking care of one's body helps one realize that the whole person has value.

Just because you have a good mind, doesn't mean you should neglect the body that houses it! So use that mind: observe yourself. Are you living in harmony with your true values? Are your goals in alignment with them?

When they all are, life gets a whole lot easier. And each and every human being deserves a life in harmony.

May you have a day of observant peace!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/20/2010 9:32PM

    It is so important to figure all of this out...


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PENNYAN45 9/29/2010 7:04AM

This blog really spoke to me
-- so much so that I wrote a short blog of my own in response.

emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 9/28/2010 9:04PM

    Lots to contemplate. Integrating mind, body and soul seems to be a life long journey for all of us. While we travel may we be aware and observe our transformations.

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WALKINGANNIE 9/28/2010 3:42PM

    Well said, as usual!

We all have to MIND our BODIES.

emoticon emoticon

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TURTLETALK 9/28/2010 10:33AM

    I love the line about neglecting the body that houses your good mind. How true.

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ANONALEE 9/28/2010 9:12AM

    Great post, Barb. Here's to a great H - Harmony!

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MSLZZY 9/28/2010 7:52AM

    I like the idea of perfect harmony in life! Better start working on some harmony today! Thank you! emoticon emoticon

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ALYFITN 9/28/2010 7:44AM

    You hit it spot on with your blog! I spent years in educational programs and a profession that dictated to me what I SHOULD value. The internal conflict rips you up. Now I've got it figured out -- and there's no stopping me now!! Great blog!!

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KASEYCOFF 9/28/2010 7:43AM

    Your thinking - as you work your way thru to what you want in your life - is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. (I know that's become somewhat of a cliche, but it springs from a genuine appreciation for what you have said.) :-)

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N: No!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Every two year old I've met knows the power of this little two-letter expression of rebellion. I don't know what it is in growing up that makes some of us think we can't use it in certain circumstances or with certain people in our lives.

But it's a good, healthy, wonderful word... to be used in moderation, like most things.

So, let's talk about when it SHOULD be used! For starters, for me, it should be used when it's what I really mean. If someone invites me to something I really don't care to attend, I should say "no", rather than agreeing and then having my reactionary eating kick in. If someone asks me to do something that is going to drain my restore time for the second or third weekend in a row... I should use it.

Get the idea? It isn't just about saying "no" to "bad" foods or excess eating! It's about taking charge of our lives, cherishing ourselves and our overall health. It does nobody any good if I extend myself beyond my limits, wear myself out, and am then unable to be my normal cheery and helpful self.

OK, all together now, let's practice: "Thank you for the offer, but I won't be attending." (i.e., "NO!")

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/20/2010 9:27PM

    As always you make perfect sense. I will be putting the "No" word to work.


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PENNYAN45 9/29/2010 5:41AM

    To myself:
No, I won't sabotage my efforts.
No, I won't let myself down.
No, I won't fail.

To others:
No, I won't put your needs and wishes ahead of my own.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 9/27/2010 11:25PM

    Time to take charge and learn to say no. What a capital idea! Gotta go practice in front of my mirror LOL! Thanks!

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REJ7777 9/27/2010 4:29PM

    I've gotten a lot better at saying "No" through the years!

I regularly have to work with volunteers. I always prefer for someone to give me an honest 'no' than a dishonest 'yes'! I thank those who say 'no' as sincerely as I do those who say 'yes'. I don't WANT people to say 'yes' when they don't want to do something, or if it's inconvenient for them! Just say 'No'.

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PATRISNA 9/27/2010 4:04PM

    I have been getting caught up reading your blogs. Chris made comment about your blogs and I agree with her. Your blogs always give me something to think about. I am so glad I read blogs J thru N today. I know you always say these are written just for you, but we are learning along with you. Some days your thoughts mirror mine, but you write it so much better.


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WALKINGANNIE 9/27/2010 3:20PM

    "Thank you for the offer, but I won't be feeding my face mindlessly."
"Thank you for the offer, but I won't be having another double expresso."
"Thank you for the offer, but I won't be staying up too late tonight."

Yes I can do this. I think I can. i know I can.


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TURTLETALK 9/27/2010 2:39PM

    I am certainly finding it easier to say know in this 5th decade than I did for the last 4. I am starting to better recognize the value of my time and effort.

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STEPHIEKNITS 9/27/2010 2:22PM

    This is one of those lessons you have to keep learning each day. Thanks!

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KALIGIRL 9/27/2010 2:15PM

    Here's to taking charge!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 9/27/2010 10:59AM

    Ah, the power of that two-letter word. You are right -- until we learn to stand up for ourselves, we will constantly be taken advantage of. Good blog, Barb!

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KASEYCOFF 9/27/2010 9:20AM

    The other part is to learn to say 'No' to OURSELVES: 'I can have a second helping of--' NO! 'It will be okay if I skip the exercise today--' NO! 'Just this one M&M then I will leave them alone--' NO! And my own favorite, when I tell myself 'It's getting late, it's bedtime--' NO! lol... Good blog, hon!

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SUNNY332 9/27/2010 8:47AM

    Saying No does give us a freedom that we would not have otherwise. It is OK to say no. In fact it is better to say No to begin with than agreeing to something we don't want to do and in doing so, we feel trapped.

When I was younger, I was a "yes" person but as I got older, I learned the importance of saying Yes only when you really want to do something and have the time.

GREAT post today.

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CRROCKERGIRL 9/27/2010 7:51AM

    This is very true, and something I'm also bad at. I hate dissapointing people, but when I really stop to think about it- how many of those people have no problem dissapointing me? Here's to that one little word... NO! :)

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BUGGYS 9/27/2010 7:51AM

    When I was younger, with kids in the house, running a daycare out of my house, the word "no" never entered my vocabulary. I was always the one who drove carpool, picked up extra kids, did all the baking for school, etc. I realized that many times I was being used, although I thought I was doing a good thing. Now I have no problem saying no when something doesn't fit into my schedule, when I don't want to do something and I am working on the big one, saying no to unhealthy portions and certain foods. Great blog!!!

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M: mastery living

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This phrase harks back to a book I've referenced in a couple of blogs before: The Solution, by Laurel Mellin, M.A., R.D. In this book, the author discusses six causes of weight problems, and six cures (one per cause - go figure). emoticon

The sixth cause: "Stalled Living"
Its cure: "Mastery Living"

So, just what IS Mastery Living? It is a cycle of daily living that includes:

1. Exercise
2. Meaningful Activities
3. Time to Restore

Mastery living sets its focus on each day, seeking completeness. Ever notice how (once you've got used to it) missing any of these elements leaves your day feeling unbalanced? If I don't get my steps in, I feel incomplete... by the end of the day, I'm restless. If I don't take some time to breathe and sleep or even take a mental break from work? I feel worn down, possibly anxious, like something is missing.

"Meaningful activities" can be whatever you define them as. This acknowledges of our human need for purpose... we need to feel useful and as though what we are doing with this day matters. If I see what I do TODAY as having value... I feel complete. If I'm NOT doing something that means something to ME, maybe I need to change what I choose to do with my days.

If my day includes all three elements, I am living a life of mastery, one day at a time.

May today be a day of Mastery Living for all. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/20/2010 9:23PM

    Thanks for sharing-this makes perfect sense.

emoticon emoticon

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CHRISTURTLE 9/27/2010 3:39PM

    What a great blog! I know exactly how you feel- one element missing and the whole day seems wrong somehow. Loving this series of blogs, they always give me a little added insight. I read what you write and suddenly find myself thinking 'Yes, that's right!' Thank you.

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VALERIEMAHA 9/27/2010 12:29PM

    Your blogs are always SO full of wisdom. Don't know how I got unsubscribed! KaliGirl got me over today...such substantive stuff, Barb. One of the great Yoga teachers, Master Sivananda, uses a similar term to Mastery Living (with a slightly different emphasis), which gives it special power for me!

Thanks for shakin' me up! I needed that.

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MSLZZY 9/26/2010 10:23PM

    Awesome-thank you!

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KALIGIRL 9/26/2010 9:19PM

    This was perfect for me today - I've been out of 'routine' since returning from Seattle and restless as a result.
emoticonfor getting me back on track!

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ANONALEE 9/26/2010 5:15PM

    Laudable goal well worth achieving. I know that when I live my life "on purpose" I include all these things naturally and I feel better. And, of course, practice makes progress, right?

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STEPHIEKNITS 9/26/2010 3:39PM


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KASEYCOFF 9/26/2010 3:27PM

    When I make a note of a book, I figure it's a blog worth reading, lol - thanx for the recommendation, kiddo! :-D

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LIBRATAH 9/26/2010 1:49PM

    I liked this! emoticon

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CAROLJEAN64 9/26/2010 1:36PM

    I love when profound ideas are phrased simply and succinctly. Exercise ( keeping this body I have been given healthy and erergized is vital). Meaningful Activities (my life has purpose and I find my gifts and share them). Time to Restore (balance in all things.)

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WALKINGANNIE 9/26/2010 1:31PM

    What a perfect summary of how Sparklife should be.

Here's to Mastery living!


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SUNNY332 9/26/2010 1:13PM

    Good one. I am enjoying my Mastery Living today also. Just got home from Church, feel so blessed, almost packed for our trip this week, and off to ride my bike. Life is good!

Hugs, Sunny

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REJ7777 9/26/2010 10:43AM

    This goes well with what I'm reflecting on today. emoticon

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JWADDELL2 9/26/2010 10:42AM

    Sounds like good advice - thanks! emoticon

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L: listen and learn

Saturday, September 25, 2010

... as in "listen to your body" and "learn to identify what its real needs are"!

This is a vital skill for those of us who have a history of not being in touch with the true physical needs of the body. For whatever reason, we have suppressed the natural signals and replaced them with willful or mistaken responses and reactions. Even the weird clues (as in sugar makes me hungrier and gives me cravings) are worth listening to and observing.

This has to be one of the greatest lessons in getting healthy... and it can be a slow and repetitive process. At least that has been my own experience.

In my teens and twenties, I just wanted a slim body, and had NO clue there were other things going on between my ears. In my thirties, I wanted to be healthy for the child I was growing in my womb and I just followed directions handed to me from someone else. As I approached 40, I was fearful for my own health (as were loved ones close to me). At fifty plus, my effectiveness as a parent for my upper teen son was a motivation. And now getting ever closer to 60, it is quality of life, not just longevity that is motivating. Each passing decade has had things to teach me, and with each iteration of the cycle of losing weight and trying to keep it off, I have got a little better at discerning what's really going on.

Right now I feel as good as or better than I ever have. No, I'm not 20-something any more. But I'm as healthy as I can be right where I am. And that is enough. I LOVE the concept of enough!

Life is worth living. Our bodies are deserving of respect and dignity. And amazingly, underneath it all, those bodies DO know what's good for them, if we get the marketing and the mind-speak out of the way, and listen.

Here's to listening, learning to listen better, and loving who we are! We are worth it. We deserve lives of dignity and purpose, health and the pursuit of happiness.

Blessings to all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/20/2010 9:19PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ANONALEE 9/26/2010 5:16PM

    If I could go back and do it all again I would Listen to my body and my feelings with a lot more trust as I've learned through the years that the result of that listening is far superior to my attempts to follow some crafted idea of what should be.


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PENNYAN45 9/26/2010 4:50AM

    I love the concept of enough too. That's a good one.
Listening to and learning what the body needs is crucial to long-term success here.

Thanks for your good insights.


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KASEYCOFF 9/26/2010 3:37AM

    The concept of 'enough'... There's a line in the original 'True Grit' (I say 'original' as I understand there's a remake on the way) wherein Mattie says 'no thanks' to a second helping, adding 'Enough is as good as a feast.' I don't keep that lesson in front of me as often as I should (!) but I think it's as applicable to most things in life as it is to the table, lol. I like your perspective, kiddo!

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PEGGYJEAN13 9/26/2010 12:29AM

    I only wish I had listened to my body years sooner or listened to those who told me take your calciun, use mosturizer, and stay out of the sun.

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MSLZZY 9/25/2010 11:32PM


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REJ7777 9/25/2010 8:15PM

    It's so important to listen to our body! I used to be unbelievable sedentary. I didn't realize my body craved movement and needed it. As I get fitter, I can read my body's needs better. I can now feel my body asking for movement if I sit too long. I can FEEL the need to move now, whereas I didn't before. I'm learning to listen to my body, and I like what I hear! emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 9/25/2010 3:35PM

    This is so well put Barb - as is this whole series. I love the way that you write about feelings that many us recognise.


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 9/25/2010 1:23PM

    I love this blog and can totally relate. I especially liked your comment about when you were in your 20s. I was SO there!

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STEPHIEKNITS 9/25/2010 12:12PM

    Elegant post and very thought provoking. Thanks!

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THIAGRAM 9/25/2010 12:09PM

  This is so true and you said it well! Stop and listen! I like what Mary Poppins said "Enough is as good as a feast!"
Thanks for sharing!

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SUNNY332 9/25/2010 11:23AM

    Me too, Barb, healthier and happier than I have been in years - even in my early 20's when I was skinny.

Life is good.


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KALIGIRL 9/25/2010 10:59AM

    Another great blog, Barb.
I find myself not listening enough, being mindless most of the day.
Ego? emoticon
Thank goodness for the moments of awareness and the potential for them to grow.

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