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V: vitality

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I'm back into The Solution (by Laurel Mellin, M.A., R.D.) for my v-word. One of the size causes of weight problems she writes about is "poor vitality". And its corresponding solution is "good health".

The point that the author makes is that in order for even a walk around the block to be a pleasure, not a chore, requires vitality, or health! Believe it or not, with my own particular upbringing, this was an eye-opener: I really had to pay attention to my body and what it was telling me, and get some things fixed! I first read this book in the mid-1990's, and I buried my head in the sand and ignored that chapter for another five years!

With my personal background this was a huge hurdle. Those of you who know a little more of the story know there was a religious element involved... I was raised in a faith where you "don't go to doctors". I left the church a full four years before I overcame that hurdle. Trust me, when raised from childhood with non-standard beliefs, it's hard to come into the mainstream. I was over 50 years old by the time I went in for a baseline assessment!

Funny thing, long before that, I had tried various things to address my weight issues. But this was always a hurdle for me: the prohibition from seeing a doctor, having him or her sign off on a goal weight interfered with just about every weight loss program.

Today I stand grateful for having moved beyond those childhood limitations. As with so many things it life, it wasn't easy. But it has been worth it.

May those who come across this contemplate "what's limiting you?" Are you holding on to old prohibitions... way back to childhood? Have you adopted habits and beliefs that don't hold up in your life today? Is it time to let some of them go? Are you ready to take up the challenge?

Here's to a vital and vibrant life, for all of us.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/27/2010 5:54PM

    At the risk of sounding flip-"Been there,Done that." It has been many years since I left, & I still have residual knee/jerk reactions to things. I have learned to stop the old tape in my head-I wonder if you can ever erase it???? Time will tell.

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WALKINGANNIE 10/7/2010 2:22PM

    I'm so glad that you found your vital Spark and grew stronger and healthier.

Your personal journey is a triumph.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/7/2010 1:28PM

    So many words of wisdom in this blog. Thanks, Barb!

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KALIGIRL 10/7/2010 1:06PM

    Here's to vitality, without a doubt. Interestingly I've been finding myself tired (and definitely hungrier) from riding my bike. Part of the reason is lack of good sleep - time on the bike takes time from other things = stress, but part is due to just plain (happy) tired muscles.
As I was stretching after strength training this morning, I remembered how I could barely accomplish one stretch which now only feels good - that's strength and vitality!

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ANDI571 10/7/2010 11:46AM

    I'm glad you have come into your own, and discovered how to get that vitality. It's so important. I need to take a dose of it right now to get me back out there walking. No energy = low vitality = no exercise to get vitality. It is a viscous cycle.

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    I grew up in a religion similar in the limitations, just different ones. Yes, it is really something to give up things that were ingrained in you since childhood! Even if they're not right or true, your mind is trained to go that way! Good for you for recognizing the important things necessary to live a healthy, fulfilled life! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANONALEE 10/7/2010 9:08AM

    It is interesting that vitality comes from proper eating and exercise but the motivation to make that investment is frequently hampered by the lack of vitality -- like the vital get more vital and the non-vital languish. I think the idea of starting with small steps to increase one's vitality (like SparkPeople, the 4 Day Win, etc) can be a real game changer for folks who feel overwhelmed by a major shift. But taking that first step is, er, VITAL for anything to change.

And then there's the whole issue of how vital it is to have people like you blogging so that other people (like me) get the encouragement to take those first steps. Again and again if necessary.

Cheers, Debra
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KATHRYNLP 10/7/2010 8:42AM

    Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Thanks for this thought provoking Blog! emoticon

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MSLZZY 10/7/2010 8:07AM

    Overcoming issues from childhood many years later requires an inner strength that not
everyone possesses. I had issues of self-esteem from childhood and have happily put them to rest. Take care of yourself and do the best you can. With age comes wisdom! HUGS!

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JHADZHIA 10/7/2010 7:50AM

    Good for you for overcoming your childhood limitations, that is very difficult to do, they way those extreme religions indoctrinate you.
Sparks is the last weight loss program you should ever need. I lost my weight (65 lbs) and am currently maintaining with Sparks. Because of my various health issues, I have been under multiple specialists care right from when I was a baby! I wouldn't have survived had I had been born into your religion! Doctors are fabulous!
I wish you all the best getting to your goal!

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A break from the alphabet... because I can't resist these quizzes!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

'FOUR THINGS IN MY LIFE' QUIZ - shamelessly copied from Chris Turtle, MeddyPeddy, and others!

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Newspaper carrier
2. Baby-sitter
3. Telephone operator
4. Computer analyst/programmer

Four movies I have watched more than once:
1. Apollo 13
2. Chariots of Fire
3. You've Got Mail
4. Sleepless in Seattle

Four places I have lived (all US):
1. Fairbury, Nebraska
2. Endicott, New York
3. Indianola, Iowa
4. Lincoln, Nebraska

Four Places I have been:
1. Rome, Italy
2. Baltimore, Maryland (USA)
3. Lewiston, Idaho (USA)
4. Boston, Massachusetts (USA)

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Broccoli Sandwich (from the YOU: The Owner's Manual book)
2. Runza
3. Omelets with lots of fresh veggies
4. A good cut of lean beef (steak)

Four TV shows I watch:
1. NCIS, Los Angeles
2. The Big Bang Theory
3. Big Brother (addicted, now the secret's out)
4. Bones

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Quite happy to be where I am right now.
2. On a beach, gathering shells and watching the sun rise (so that means an East coast, somewhere)
3. Snuggled under the covers, sleeping in.
4. Hiking around a State Park with companions... but maybe not RIGHT now... about mid-day!

Four things I am looking forward to this year:
1. My niece's wedding
2. The Run to Remember at Fort Hood
3. Enjoying the holidays with a PEOPLE focus, not a food focus.
4. Knowing I have the strength to shovel the snow this winter. Again!

Enough about about you???

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 10/6/2010 10:17PM

    Broccoli sandwich????
Looks like a great year ahead, sans the shoveling snow, but if La Nina works her magic it will be powdery...
Glad you're happy to be where you are (there is no place like Nebraska)

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TURTLETALK 10/6/2010 9:39PM

    I knew you were from Nebraska as soon as you used the work Runza. I love Runza's but have stayed away from them since sparking. I make a homemade runza (bierock) with a portion of frozen roll dough (thawed), 1/2 cup of cooked lean ground beef, 1/2 cabbage, and 1/4 cup of onion. Flatten out the dough ball, fill it with the other ingredients, let it raise, then bake until brown. Yum, I'm making myself hungry.

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WALKINGANNIE 10/6/2010 3:07PM

    'Sleeping in'?!!!! Now that was a surprise given your habits as an early riser!


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PEGGYJEAN13 10/6/2010 3:03PM

    Interesting way to get to know more about someone. Thank you.

I like runzas too. Is this a Nebraska novelty?

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ANONALEE 10/6/2010 1:47PM

    Thanks for posting, Barb! I did it too -- hard to resist!!!


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PATRISNA 10/6/2010 10:05AM

I love reading the Four Things quizzes I have seen posted. I agree with Christurtle's comment. I am also curious about Runza. I'll have to look that one up.


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    Now I have a song in my head - "Getting to know you..."

have a great day!

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MSLZZY 10/6/2010 7:11AM

    I'll save this and work on it if it stays quiet today LOL! HUGS!

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CHRISTURTLE 10/6/2010 7:05AM

    I love all of these I've read today, cos they are such a great way of getting to know each other better than we did. I just have one question - what on earth is runza? You have my curiosity aroused, and I can't stand not knowing something...

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U: usable

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ever find one of those words that you can't define without using the word itself or its root or derivative? "Use" is one of those words!

As a software designer (one of my hats), I once took a course in "usability". Bear with me, this does have a Spark connection. In this course, about 20 software / hardware engineers sat together and were asked as an opening exercise to design a "usable" hot and cold water faucet: what direction the handles would turn, which side things would be on, etc. Also included were controls for a stove-top.

So, any predictions for what designs came out? Did I hear a voice in the back saying, "you designed what you already used!"? In fact, that's true. Each of us ended up drawing the faucet control or stove controls that we had at home. Whoa! To US, they were usable. But they certainly were not identical.

This exercise was to wake us up to the fact that to design something usable, you needed to understand who was going to be using it, what their background and experience was, and so on.

Which brings me to Spark, diet, and exercise. Each of us brings to Spark a wealth of experience. There are a lot of content experts here on Spark who know nutrition and know exercise very well. But each of us will find the tools here more or less usable based on what we have already experienced.

Extending this to eating plans and exercise plans and mind-work: nobody knows YOU better than you! (Well, maybe your mom or your spouse... but I digress!) Tools and programs have to work into your life. I just saw a blog by SLENDERELLA61 yesterday where she was adapting her schedule to fit in the things that have become priorities to her program, so that she can continue her maintenance journey successfully.

I had to do something similar last Winter / Spring / Summer when a large work project interfered with my energy levels... I had to adapt my expectations and my plan to fit the way my life needed to work for six months or so. Change isn't always easy. But it's seldom absent. Adapting things in a program to make them usable where I am RIGHT NOW in my life is essential to long term success.

That means considering, re-considering, and adjusting... you know, those that I see setting monthly goals have something there. When I sit down with an adviser (maybe even that internal adviser in my brain) and discuss upcoming events in life and how I will fit my program around them, I am doing the same sort of thing: planning and adapting.

So this is my wish for all of us today: Here's to keeping our weight management and fitness and nutrition plans fresh and usable... with periodic reviews of "how it is going".

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/22/2010 9:26AM

    Time is all we have ,so we better "use" it right!
It's all up to us-each & every moment-Be useful& win!!!!!!!

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KALIGIRL 10/6/2010 1:06PM

    I love that this site provides so many usable ways for so many different people to become healthy.
Here's to finding what works for us and helping others find what can work for them.

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MSLZZY 10/5/2010 5:29PM

    Adapting and adjusting to life's circumstances-yeah. Thank you!

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ANONALEE 10/5/2010 8:27AM

    Definitely! There is no "one size fits all" plan despite the confident assertions of each diet book writer. Each of us has to use what we know about ourselves and our lives and fit in new ideas and information in a usable way. If it doesn't fit, we must shift to what does!


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MICKEYMAX 10/5/2010 8:07AM

    well said1

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REJ7777 10/5/2010 7:48AM

    Great analogy! emoticon

"Here's to keeping our weight management and fitness and nutrition plans fresh and usable... with periodic reviews of "how it is going"."

You can count me in! emoticon

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    Great blog - thanks for sharing your insights!

I guess I am doing the same thing - working my program around life.

We are making this happen!


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T: Time

Monday, October 04, 2010

Time. We only have so much of it. Yet each of us has exactly the same amount each day. How we use it is important to our health and well-being, but also to those who rely on us. There are a vast number of "time management" systems, from the Franklin Covey systems to the One Minute Manager system to you name it that purport to help us learn to better manage the time that we have. But it dawned on me this morning (yes, in the shower, post-workout, endorphin-influenced)...

I do one of three things with a given moment in time: I think, I avoid, or I act. OK, that IS an over-simplification, but it will do for the purpose of this entry.

Thinking in a moment can be simple observation of my surroundings, but it often involves the past, the future, and judgment of what I am observing or thinking about. The "thinking" is where those of us with problems beating up on ourselves get in trouble. This is when we don't just observe our behavior, remember the comment someone made to us yesterday, or contemplate the wedding that's coming up in a couple of weeks: we make judgments about it!

More acceptance, less judgment in thinking about what's going on in my life has been a blessing of my program.

Avoidance is something that I do. I think others with compulsive issues (be it eating, drinking, cleaning, gambling, working, whatever compulsion is your favorite) do this too. We behave compulsively to avoid facing something. Or to avoid doing something we consider unpleasant. My little "binge" on Saturday was partly avoidance behavior: if I'm eating I can't be doing something else (cleaning).

By the way, for those of you waiting for the next chapter in THAT saga, I spent a good deal of Sunday doing what I had been avoiding on Saturday. That leads right into the third thing to do with my time: act. Since I have a new furnace and hot water heater getting installed today, I needed to get the area of the house where they are going to be cleared out to give the workmen space to work. And while I was at it, I started in on another chore I've been avoiding... for three years!

Yes, the kids moved out three years ago, leaving a lot of clutter behind. It has taken me until now to address parts of that clutter, and yesterday I did! emoticon It just so happens that a good chunk of that clutter was near where the work needs to be done today. I'm rather pleased with myself.

Moral of the story: thinking does not require one to stop acting. You can think while acting, and sometimes that casts a more positive spin on the thoughts. It helps work out anger. It helps wash grief. It helps heal the scars of that "beating up on oneself" that some of us are so prone to inflict.

This is not to minimize the importance of restoration thought, meditation, relaxation... those are needed too. To STOP the thinking. To relax the muscles that have worked well today. To rest and sleep. And I did, very well, after my day of action. emoticon

Here's to a healthy use of our 24 hours today! May we nourish ourselves, have some activity, and take time to restore... may we live a life of Mastery, just for today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/22/2010 8:41AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 10/4/2010 7:32PM

    Great reflection on time!
Speaking of which, I'm sitting here Sparking when I should be washing the dishes. So, gotta go! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 10/4/2010 1:35PM

    Like the idea of thinking while acting (and not thinking while restoring). Your three modes of living may not be as oversimplified as you think...
Here's to living life to the fullest!

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TURTLETALK 10/4/2010 12:44PM

    We are all great masters of avoidance. I am impressed that you are starting to deal with the kids clutter. My baby has been gone from home now for four years and I still haven't addresse that challenge.

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LEANJEAN6 10/4/2010 9:35AM

    Good for you----Sounds like you are good at managing time!!!---Nice to read yer blog---You are doing well!

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CONCHA77 10/4/2010 8:18AM

    emoticon AND emoticon

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S: "should"

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I'll bet you thought I'd say "sleep"! I kind of set you up with that expectation yesterday when I mentioned starting the better sleep challenge, but I'm not ready to blog about that just yet. And as often happens, life intervened and told me I need to write about the "should" game, and how it can really kill a healthy living program.

Lots of voices, inside and outside, tell us what we "should" do. But, how often does even casting that thought in terms of "should" have a negative impact on whether I act on it? I don't know about you but it seems to me that every time I start out with "I should clear out those weeds in the back yard..." it's followed by a "but I don't feel like it!" It's like the very word "should" sets me up for rebellion.

Yesterday I had a minor binge episode, and it started with a "should". In this case it was a whole bunch of "should"s. I should vacuum. I should clean the tile floors. I should dust. I should weed. I should organize.

And the list got so big that I overwhelmed myself. I rebelled. And I got into some procrastination eating. I'm sure I'm the ONLY person who ever does that!
emoticon I don't want to do this thing I should do, so I'll eat, instead?

In looking back, the anatomy of the binge involved some drowsiness, some procrastination, and some fear of losing too much. It wasn't the terrible tear of a binge I am capable of, but it was a red flag. I was aware of what I was doing, even as I continued to act on it. And I stopped and brushed my teeth and didn't continue it past supper. By bedtime, I pretty much knew what it was all about. And I am not giving myself a hard time about it, but I am determined it's over.

Today is a recovery day, an introspection day... and a day to examine those "should"s and prioritize them into what I shall and shall not do today.

After all... today is all I have!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/22/2010 8:36AM

    I should stop saying should! emoticon

It's uncanny how you can read my mine-wooohooowooohooo.


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CONCHA77 10/4/2010 7:44AM

    I find myself "SHOULDING" more than I should. Thanks for bringing that up to my attention. Have a great Monday and thanks again for another great blog.

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ANONALEE 10/3/2010 7:41PM

    I think I'll write about "shoulding" all over oneself -- an almost sure fire way to freeze oneself into an endless cycle of procrastination and guilt induced eating. Ugh! Too familiar with this!

Thanks for the great reminder and congratulations on stopping the binge.

Cheers, Debra
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WALKINGANNIE 10/3/2010 4:22PM

    Another excellent blog as usual.

One of the most profound differences that SP has made to me is changing a few "shoulds" into "want tos".

I "should eat healthy foods" has become I "want to eat healthy foods."
I "should move more" has become I "want to move more."

But, of course, you're right and this has't yet touched every aspect of my life yet. I should do all sorts of household chores but......

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DEBRITA01 10/3/2010 2:09PM

    Thinking of all those "Shoulds" can get overwhelming. Being a rebellious person, at times, that can cause me to go in the opposite direction. Then the guilt for not doing what needs to be done. Yes, a vicious cycle...which often ends up in the kitchen.

I'm taking all the advice and support you've gotten here and applying it. I really do learn from reading blogs...thanks for sharing yours!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/3/2010 1:41PM

    Self-awareness. I think if we could be present and self-aware 100% of the time that we're awake, we wouldn't be having the mega-binges. Reading about your episode and how you were aware of what you were doing, even while continuing, struck a chord with me. It's unrealistic to think we'll never binge or eat something we "shouldn't," but being aware that we're doing it? Well, that will probably make the difference between going way overboard and allowing a small indulgence. I admire your attitude and hope I can get to that point (instead of beating myself up) at some point. Have a great day, Barb!

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KALIGIRL 10/3/2010 11:07AM

    Shoulda, woulda, coulda...
The words that haunt us.
I can relate to your binge day. Mine was Friday - watching TV into the late hours of the morning along with food and drink (and there wasn't even anything worth watching). Thank goodness for an early morning bike ride with the girls - all the plants are in the greenhouse...
Hope your day goes well.

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DIANE7786 10/3/2010 10:04AM

    I could have written that blog a few years ago. It took some time, but now I don't have any "shoulds." It's a liberating feeling. I know how many hours each day there are for cleaning, organizing and maintaining and I know how long each task takes. The trick is prioritizing and not overbooking. I suggest you look at It's a free site that does for our homes what Sparks does for our bodies!

Comment edited on: 10/3/2010 10:10:47 AM

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JHADZHIA 10/3/2010 9:03AM

    Shoulds never get things done. What you do is when you get up in the morning and realize you have things you need to do, take the one thing you want to do the least and just get out and do it before thinking can set in. Tackle them one at a time until they are all done. Then the rest of your day is free and your conscience is clear and no stress eating is needed..
Good luck with it, and your sleep challenge.

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