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Z: Zeitgeist

Monday, October 11, 2010

What, no foreign words allowed? But Zeitgeist is in my Webster's! It denotes the spirit of the age; trend of thought and feeling in a period.

Perhaps it is overreaching to use it in personal terms. Zeitgeist is huge... usually thinking in terms of the spirit of a century, an era, or a decade.

I've mentioned how my way of looking at my journey and motivation has changed over the decades of my life. That's the sense in which I am thinking of my Z word today... how attitudes and focus change over time, and there are periods in time as well as periods in our personal lives when certain things take focus.

So, question for all of you: what is the spirit of your time, meaning right now? Is it reaching for your goals? Is it defining them? Is it maintaining gains you've worked hard to achieve? Is it basking in gratitude for a life well lived?

As I leave the alphabet blogs behind... and contemplate "what's next" in terms of writing assignments... the spirit of my time is expressed in brief phrases "this time is for keeps", "I think I want to stay here"... and "this really IS the new me". The spirit is to recruit new folks to the neighborhood of health and fitness... not by force, but by example. "It isn't always easy... but it's SOOOO worth it!"

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MNTWINSGAL 10/11/2010 9:10PM

    Well, Barb, that was fun! Thank you for sharing your thoughts all the way through the alphabet. Can't wait to see what's coming up next!

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WALKINGANNIE 10/11/2010 1:20PM

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the content, style and spirit of this series of blogs and the comments.
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I do feel a special Zeitgeist in the spirit of Spark Friends of a certain age.

I never imagined that I would reach such a healthy weight and maintain it with comparative (most of the time) ease. I owe this achievement to new attitudes that I have learnt here from people like you.

Here's to "recruiting new folks to the neighborhood of health and fitness... not by force, but by example."

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KALIGIRL 10/11/2010 12:32PM

    emoticonfor this wonderful series of blogs.
The 'spirit of my time' is gratitude. I have lived such a blessed life and looking forward to more blessings in the future.

May we all live the kind of lives that 'recruit' others to the healthy side!

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REJ7777 10/11/2010 9:24AM

    Zeitgeist is a BIG word encapsulating a HUGE concept! emoticon
I'm not even sure I quite understand the meaning.

On one hand, we seem to live at a time where there's more of an emphasis on health and fitness than there ever has been before, on the other hand, I don't think there's ever been as much obesity and unfitness as there are now. People are starving to death in some countries and people are stuffing themselves to death in others.

I would like to find the right balance between too much and too little. My goal is to develop a healthy balanced lifestyle that includes physical activity and reasonable amounts of nutritious foods. I live in a country where I'm blessed enough to have a choice in the matter.

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ANONALEE 10/11/2010 9:04AM

    The Zietgest of weight loss is a confusing amalgam of competing theories and crackpot get-thin-quick schemes that seem to lead most people around in a circle of confusion and failure, but what emerges most clearly to me from all this is: find your own way. I do not think it is the same thing for everyone and, in fact, may be unique to each one, but in any case, what I have discovered is that I have had to test and re-test several approaches until I found the one that works for me.

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Comment edited on: 10/11/2010 9:04:31 AM

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SAMI199 10/11/2010 7:47AM

    I could not resist reading the end-lol. Incredible-insightful
& I am totally on board with your use & application of the word. That said-I'm off to "B"-YAY!!!! I love starting a new book or blog as it may be.

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MSLZZY 10/11/2010 7:46AM


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Y: yield

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Who, me?

emoticon MY will to the demands of my body?
emoticon my feelings of rebellion to not just obedience but joyful acceptance of my real needs?

What a concept! Now that is the intransitive verb use of "yield"... giving in to pressure. And believe me, when you start listening to it, a healthy body can exert a lot of pressure: it wants healthy food NOW when it's hungry. And it wants to MOVE a certain amount each day. Granted, most of the time, we want our mind to govern what we do... but sometimes it's important to yield to the needs of the body, because that body needs to be healthy to support that wonderful mind!

But then, there is the another meaning of yield (you know there always is). In this case, I am thinking of the transitive verb. Webster puts it this way:

1 to produce; specif., a) to give or furnish as a natural process or as the result of cultivation [an orchard that yielded a good crop] b) to give in return; produce as a result, profit, etc. [an investment that yielded high profits]

Yes, good old 1b! What is your investment in SP yielding for you? Are you profiting from your time here? I am! The yield for me of participating in SP is confidence, and motivation to keep going. The yield of my nutrition and exercise program is a healthier body... my doctor smiled a LOT at my annual physical. (Notice I'm now using it as a noun?)

Hopefully, my blogging my way through the alphabet will yield a greater understanding of what's going on!

May each of us yield to healthy impulses today, take care of body, soul, and spirit today... and yield blessings in the process! One day at a time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 10/11/2010 12:34PM

    Well said.
I have yet to learn to yield to exercise. (No - it's not play to me - I was a bookworm.)
Can't wait until my body wins out over my mind. Maybe JUST_TRI_IT's jumpy leg syndrome will someday be mine!

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MSLZZY 10/11/2010 7:45AM

    Very positive and good food for thought! HUGS!

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WALKINGANNIE 10/10/2010 5:00PM

    Another marvellous blog Barb. I'll be sorry when this alphabet ends. I've enjoyed your thoughts as you have progressed through the letters with your individual observations.

I have spent too much of my life yielding to the wrong things - like carb cravings - but now I have a wonderful yield from my investment in SP.

Thanks for examining the word and sharing your thought processes.


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REJ7777 10/10/2010 12:22PM

    "And it (the body) wants to MOVE a certain amount each day." I had so lost touch with my body that I no longer felt this natural need. I'd sit almost all day and not feel the need to move (I'm a secretary). When I first started wearing a pedometer, I was flabergasted to see that on some days, I walked less than 1000 steps in an entire day, and it felt OK. Now if I don't move enough, my healthier body lets me know it wants to MOVE. I'm so glad that I can hear my body again!

It becomes a healthy cycle, the fitter we get, the more we can feel our body's true needs, the healthier we get, etc... What a great yield!

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JHADZHIA 10/10/2010 10:42AM

    Great ideas! I am at goal and am very thankful to Spark People and my Spark buddies for all the help and support along the way. I don't intend to leave here, as I still like to track, but most important, pay it forward and help others as they have helped me. Even though I am very experienced in health and nutrition, Sparks still teaches me something new.
My down trend is I have trouble yielding to my body when it says its had enough. I don't give myself enough rest I know, and with my lack of sleep 3-4 hours which I haven't been able to solve, I know I could cause myself problems. I thinks its my very stubborn and strong will that keeps me moving past my body's pain.
Hope youhave a Sunday full of positive yileds!

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CONCHA77 10/10/2010 10:01AM

    Great Point(s), Barb, and great Blog! Have a wonderful Sunday! 10-10-10

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/10/2010 9:24AM

    SP has helped me tremendously. I still need to learn how to yield to my body's limitations, however. I'm a work in progress. (As opposed to a piece of work. Well, maybe I'm that, too. LOL!)

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X: xenophobia

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Yes, gang, she's back on the topic of body image! And from the direction of xenophobia, an honest to gosh real word that starts with "x".

It means "fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything foreign or strange". Well, what better word to describe how we might feel when we find ourselves in a "strange" size or shape? I rejoice that I've reached a goal, but I may not feel quite at home at first. Perhaps I'll try to hang on to some old comforting habits (or clothes) that remind me of where I came from?

emoticon lies that way, for some of those comforting old habits were what kept me in the land of unfit and yes, fat.

Assimilating into the "melting pot" of healthy lifestyle takes longer than just the time to drop the pounds. It takes living here for a while and becoming comfortable with the newer habits, levels of activity, and even sizes of clothing.

Last weekend my younger sister and her daughter took me clothes shopping for our niece's wedding next weekend. The "petite" department still feels a little foreign to me. I kept being drawn to the "plus" side of the store, seeing things that were cut in styles that flattered my former shape!

Still, I tried things on that really do fit, and I brought home a lovely little frock for the wedding. I'm looking forward to wearing it: but I also detect a warning message in the back of my mind: "You're a fraud, you're not REALLY this small". So, a "don't get cocky" and a dose of humility are in order. I think of all the times I have worn "cute" smaller-sized clothing only to blimp right back out of it, not feeling quite at home. Like an immigrant assimilating into the culture, I must adopt my new "home's" customs! Eating well, and being satisfied with "enough"; and giving in to the craving to be active are all customs of my new home!

Here's to reinforcing that this body size IS "home", not "foreign"; here's to overcoming xenophobia!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 10/11/2010 9:46AM

    I'm not there yet at my goal weight, and I also feel as if I don't belong in the new lower weight that I'm at. It feels very temporary.... even though I'm determined that it is permanent.

I agree with everything you said in this blog. Thanks for putting your thoughts down and sharing them so we can benefit from them as well.


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SAMI199 10/10/2010 1:22AM

    Wow! You are really good-I love your blog so much I'm going back & starting with "A".So, if you need to find me ,that's where I'll be- emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 10/9/2010 3:45PM

    You express these thoughts so well. I feel just like this now that I am small.

Yesterday I found myself absentmindedly patting my midriff wondering what was missing. It was my spare tyres of fat! Even after a year at maintenance there are times when my body feels foreign.

I agree about feeling a fraud as well. It is a strange feeling.

Thank you for showing me once again that I'm not alone in this foreign land - where I want permanent residency,


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/9/2010 11:08AM

    I love your ABC series of blogs, and most especially, this one you wrote today. It hit home for me. And, for me (and probably you, too) the difference this time is that with SP we are changing more than just body size. I am confident that you'll have no problem staying at your new/permanent small size. So that frock can be worn until it's falling off in shreds!

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REJ7777 10/9/2010 7:29AM

    I feel strange in my fitter body too. Don't get me wrong, it feels emoticon, but strange nevertheless. It doesn't feel like "me". I'm a bit surprised that you still feel that way after being near or at goal for so long. Thanks. Forewarned is forearmed. I wonder how long it takes for small to feel normal.

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MSLZZY 10/9/2010 6:49AM

    Overcome it and believe that this is "home"! You can do it! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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W: wholeness

Friday, October 08, 2010

I chose "wholeness" as my W concept to remind myself that none of us is one- or two-dimensional. Any program of self-improvement, be it weight loss, organization, time management, or education has to consider the whole person.

Whole is another of those interesting words with many meanings:

1 a) in sound health, not diseased or injured b) healed
2 not broken, damaged, defective, etc.; intact
3 containing all the elements or parts; entire; complete
4 not divided up; in a single unit
5 constituting the entire amount, extent, number, etc.
6 having both parents in common
7 in all aspects of one's being, including the physical, mental, social, etc.

I'm mostly thinking in terms of definitions 3 and 7: the completeness of a program, addressing all the elements that make up a meaningful life. Hopefully addressing physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of life in a healthy lifestyle program leads to both 4 (a whole night's sleep, on a more regular basis) and 1 sound health!

So in thinking about my journey over the decades, these are the things I have been seeking - a program that doesn't just give mechanics of what to eat and how to exercise and so forth to drop pounds. It has to also address the fact that I eat for reasons other than physical hunger! It has to included "what do I do with all these emotions?" It has to include some social support that goes beyond applause for numbers on a scale.

I believe that a good deal of what I love about SparkPeople is the social aspect of the blogs and teams: we support each other. We've been there. We speak our individual truths, share our struggles and triumphs... we're almost... dare I say it... a "spiritual" community of sorts. This is an element that commercial programs nod at but rarely achieve.

So... is your program "whole"? Do you feel supported in it here on SparkPeople? I certainly do!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/27/2010 6:01PM

    I can only add my praise for the SparksPeople program. I would never have guessed that I would have opened up the way I have-but the support,concern & yes,friendship that has been offered is truly incredible.You guys mean alot to me.

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REJ7777 10/8/2010 4:35PM

    "Wholeness" - What a great concept! I think that we often overeat to compensate for some unhealed and broken part of ourselves. As we heal and become whole, it's easier to let go of food as a crutch. I aspire to wholeness and balance in every area of my life. I haven't attained it, but I aspire to it!

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WALKINGANNIE 10/8/2010 3:52PM

    Wholeness used to mean that I would eat the whole lot of whatever food was available!

I agree with you about the spiritual element here. SP has changed me as a whole person in a way that a diet and exercise programme wouldn't do. Considering elements such as gratitude and mindful eating have made a big difference to me - as have thoughtful blogs like yours that have made me challenge my attitudes.


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/8/2010 10:56AM

    Oh yeah! SP is the real deal. The whole package. I have never felt so calm and peaceful on a weight loss program before. SP, with the trackers, information, and social networking is the reason why. I LOVE SP!

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    Amen, sister! I LOVE SparkPeople and what it has done and is doing for me! Life-changing is what it is for me... I can look at facts all day, but implementing them into my life is what I really needed! SparkPeople gave me that! Good blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHRISTURTLE 10/8/2010 8:49AM

    I have never known a community such as we have here on Spark People, be it for any purpose. I have never felt so supported, so encouraged, so motivated, as I have here in my journey towards a new and healthy lifestyle and at a weight that is in the middle of my healthy range.

I lost weight when I was first at Spark People, but I did it alone. I didn't join any teams, I didn't have any Spark Friends, but I did lose weight. I was pleased with my weight loss, and yet there was something missing, and when life became more demanding I gave up the things I felt were the least meaningful to me, and Sparking was one of them. Result - I gained all the weight I'd lost plus extra, and I returned within a few weeks to my old, unhealthy lifestyle. The program worked well, in that I learned how to lose weight in a healthy way, but it didn't offer the support or companionship that I needed.

When I returned, I decided this was it, I needed the support of Spark Friends and team mates and before long I realized what had been missing the first time I Sparked - the essential ingredient - support of those who knew first hand what taking this journey was about. At each hurdle I stumbled but I was soon picked up, dusted off and set back on my path by fellow Sparkers. Before long, losing weight became secondary to changing my life, and although the transformation is still a work in progress I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I am a far different person than I was when I returned.

So yes, my program is whole, and I am so incredibly supported here on Spark by some wonderfully caring and encouraging people. I too have to say emoticonand it amazes me every time I think of it, that with all Spark People provides us with, it does it all at no cost whatsoever to us.


Comment edited on: 10/8/2010 8:51:54 AM

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KALIGIRL 10/8/2010 8:40AM

    I couldn't agree more.
Spark gives us the resources - up to date and from experts + allows us to learn from each other.
That's what I call a 'whole' life approach!

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PATRISNA 10/8/2010 8:13AM

    Hi Barb,
I didn't comment on the other blogs, but I got caught up by reading blogs T-W today. I enjoyed reading them all. The blogs you write always give me something profound to think about.

You are right about the support and community feeling Sparkpeople gives us. Believe me I am sure I would have given up my program sometime last year if I had not found Sparkpeople when I did. This group of friends has really helped me by being so supportive.

I have learned so much from following your journey through your blogs. I know that when I finally get to my goal weight there will be some emotional issues that I will continue to address. We all seem to have some inner turmoil. If nothing else we have learned our program is for life and we will be a work in progress for as long as we live.

As always your blogs were emoticon

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MSLZZY 10/8/2010 6:57AM

    SP is the whole program! I feel so much support that it makes it much easier to succeed. So many others have used the same tools and the success stories prove it. emoticon
Thanks for sharing! Many members with the same goals! HUGS! Have a GREAT Friday!

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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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