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Coming clean

Saturday, August 31, 2013

So... this morning, I decided to spot clean the carpet in my main living area. (I have a dog who has been sick & is still learning the whole housebreaking routine, and I thought it would be a brilliant idea for me to spot clean the areas where she has been most likely to have her accidents.)

So I borrowed a Bissel "Little Green" steam cleaner from a friend. It's small cleaner that consists of a base unit with a reservoir for the water/cleaning solution, a container for all the dirty water it pulls back in, and a small (4 inch) hand held tool attached to a short hose.

And life was good. At least... at first. I felt like the Queen of Clean. I moved my furniture around so I could get to the offending area, and I vacuumed first, as per the directions on the "Little Green" box. And since there was a large window in that area, I also grabbed the Windex and cleaned the windows & sills while I was at it. Look at me being all responsible and adult and... well, clean!

I'm on my knees cleaning the carpet when I accidentally snag the cord for the vacuum cleaner, which in turn falls over and knocks the Windex off the coffee table... and the windex bottle opens and spills half its contents onto part of the carpet on the other side of the room. Where I never intended to spot clean. Especially not with copious amounts of Windex. There was so much Windex on the ground I could see it running dangerously close to going under my makeshift entertainment center: a piece of furniture that I did NOT want to move.

But hey, I have the perfect liquid spill cleaner-upper already in my hands -- so I jump up and reach for the puddle of windex with the steam cleaner. And it's working. At first. But as I reach further... the "Little Green" tips over and promptly dumps both the remaining cleaning solution AND the accumulated dirty water onto yet ANOTHER part of the floor.

I jump up and pick up the pieces of the Little Green and set them back up -- in the upright and locked position, and move it out of the puddles of clean and dirty water that I have now created, a little closer to my Windex carpet swamp. I turn my attention back to the Windex spill and spend another 5-10 minutes cleaning that up. Then I look back at the Little Green. Apparently, it doesn't like Windex. Now... I have created a sea of soap bubbles... coming out the top of the steamer and flowing onto... you guessed it... yet ANOTHER part of the carpet.

So... I spot cleaned my entire carpet today. Some areas, multiple times. With a 4" hand-held tool. And I can tell you with extreme confidence that cleanliness is NOT next to Godliness. It's next to impossible. And it more closely resembles insanity...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRTOVAH 9/1/2013 12:09PM

  so sorry to hear about the mishaps, happens to me often!

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RUKIDDINGME123 9/1/2013 8:54AM

    Yikes! This is exactly why I don't clean my Noting like a small job turning into a major project.

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GINAC0 8/31/2013 11:09PM

    Oh no! I wonder how many calories you burned?? Well, there's gotta be a bright side, right?

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LUANN7 8/31/2013 10:47PM


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Surgical Weight Loss

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My father was the first person I ever knew who had surgical weight loss. He lost a tremendous amount of weight in a relatively short time, and managed to keep it off for the rest of his life.

But he didn't have weight loss surgery.

He had open heart surgery.

It was the early 1980s. I was only 8 years old and he was only 40 when he had a massive heart attack. I don't know how much he weighed at the time, but he was a large man. I don't remember him being "fat", but I remember him not having much of a neck and having a "Santa" stomach. Open Heart Surgery was a cutting-edge procedure back then, it was still being developed. After the surgery, he was kept in the hospital for a long time -- months -- and he couldn't smoke or eat what he wanted. He had to go to cardiac rehab. He learned to exercise. His lifestyle was forcibly changed, and accompanying weight loss was dramatic. It was a very long and difficult recovery process, but he wound up being healthier after that heart attack than he had ever been before it.

I'm almost 40 now. I'm all of 5'2" or 5'3", but I probably weigh more than my 6'2" father did at his heaviest. And as much as I long to follow in his footsteps in many other ways... I really don't want to follow his lead in weight loss. But the reality is that I'm not very healthy right now. I'm not "sick" per se, but neither was my dad before he had his heart attack.

My dad passed away in 2009. A couple of years before, he challenged me to lose weight. Specifically, 50 pounds. Unfortunately, I was heavier when he died than I was when he gave me the challenge. I'm about 15 pounds lighter now than I was at my very heaviest, but I still have a long way to go. I've had temporary weight loss successes -- dropping ~30 pounds on at least three different occasions, only to gain it all back. I've never made it to 50 pound mark.

But I'm optimistic. I don't think I've ever had the kinds of tools that I now have at my finger tips. And this time, I'm not looking for the miracle product or the quick fix. And with the significant milestone of my 40th birthday looming on the horizon... I'm motivated. I'm determined to lose the weight in a way that would make my dad proud: by NOT following in his footsteps.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAPPYJUNEBUG 8/31/2013 11:44PM

    You'll reach that goal! I'm glad you are making the right steps and right decisions in weight loss.

So sorry you lost your dad....

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LINWASH23 6/20/2013 3:37PM

    Thanks for sharing, it helps me to concentrate on my journey to a healthier lifestyle by making healthier choices one day at a time. Losing weight is just one jewel for making better choices about my health and choosing each day, week or month to move 5 minutes more. I am glad you are here. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IAMFAT4NOW 6/20/2013 12:07PM

    Wow...this really made me think. Thank you for being so open in your blog. Losing weight is tough and it takes time, but we HAVE time now. A years will go by anyway, right? If we don't do this, well, we rob ourselves of time alive. You're doing terrific. Hang in there!

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JOHGLO2011 6/20/2013 10:17AM

    Best wishes to you on your journey to better health! It isn't an easy road, but it is so worth it! And you have a great motivation - go for it. You can do it!

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RIDLEYRIDER 6/20/2013 7:42AM

  This is a poignant and touching story. There is indeed an important message to be learned from all your dad went through. Only you can lose the weight. There is no quick fix, as we all know. If you think you can, or if you think you can't, either way you are right. Good luck. emoticon

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Adopted a shelter dog today

Friday, June 14, 2013

This morning, I got up, ate breakfast... then went to the city pound and adopted a dog. I'm hoping she'll turn out to be a great playmate for the dog I already have. She's about a year old and she's really sweet... but she also comes with challenges. Aside from the normal shelter dog struggles, when I took her to the vet, I found out that she is heartworm positive. That was devastating news.

A dog her age has a pretty good chance of coming through the treatment and recovering. But it's a long, difficult, expensive treatment. And there are no guarantees. The vet asked me if I wanted to keep her and start the treatment. I almost surprised myself with how emphatic my answer of "yes!" was! This little dog deserves a chance, and I want her to have it.

Funny how easy it is to be decisive when it comes to animals, or even other people -- how willing I can be to step up and make the difficult decisions -- but how unwilling I am to do the same for myself. It's time for me to decide just as emphatically to make the tough decisions for my own wellbeing, to willingly take a long and difficult journey, to say no to the junk food, to get off my rear and exercise, even though it could be painful... because that's what I need to do to give myself the best chance possible.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINWASH23 6/16/2013 8:20PM

    Don't be so hard on yourself, you have shown that you have what it take to have a successful journey to a healthier lifestyle--so do it. We will be here to encourage you along the way. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    I am sorry she ist well but glad it is fixable. You are so right that it is easier to take cae annd make the right choices for others. Make sure to make the time for you.

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1BEACHWALKER 6/14/2013 11:17PM

    I just joined the Fitbit Team and saw your blog in the huddle. Wanted to check out the info on your new dog! I am an animal lover and our family has gotten shelter animals in the past. Congrats on your new dog and I am sorry to hear about the heartworm. I think she will do fine-stay positive. You two can get out there and be fit together! Hoping for a speedy recovery for your dog!
Lifestyle changes take time and take it one day at a time! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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More new toys & motivation

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I added a new toy today: the FitBit Aria scale. I say it's a toy, but in reality it is likely to be an instrument of torture. In a good way, of course. I've never had a scale with a wifi connection before. So now, instead of tracking my weight manually (where I would be tempted to "fudge" the numbers a bit if I had a bad weigh in), my numbers will be transmitted to FitBit and Sparkpeople automagically... so, for better or worse, I have a new accountability tool! Now I just have to force myself to get on it every morning...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COMEONMA 6/12/2013 10:16PM

    sounds like a great motivator. Good luck with your new toy!

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New to the site

Monday, June 10, 2013

Not really sure what to write here. But I thought I'd give it a try anyway :)

I'm terrible about starting things and not following through... hoping I can break that habit.

So far, I've installed the app, linked my sparkpeople to my fitbit account, and started tracking my food. At this point, I'm not even trying to eat healthy -- I'm just getting what I'd normally get and trying to enter it faithfully. Facing the facts about what I'm actually eating is a bit sobering. Looking up the values for some of my fast food choices has been eye-opening. But I guess that is the point... to make you start thinking about things.

I'm also carrying around my fitbit, but not really making a special effort to exercise. I wanted to let it run for a week or so, just to see where I was as a baseline. It's going to be interesting...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGGEL40 6/11/2013 7:24PM

    emoticon and it's a journey but so well worth it..Good Luck! emoticon

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AMYTRIPP 6/11/2013 8:24AM

    I think it's a great idea to take a week and assess.

I've quit many a weight loss program in my life, but I've been with Spark for over a year. I'm losing slower than I would like, but since I"m edging toward 50 and don't want to set myself up with failure by always feeling deprived, I'm proud of that 35 pounds I've lost.

Best of luck on your journey!

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TXPATRIOT 6/10/2013 11:09PM

    Little changes can change everything.


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USMAWIFE 6/10/2013 10:54PM

    welcome. let the fitbit be your guild. each day try to do a better better than the day before. use it a challenge... like I have to get 2500 steps in before lunch.

I had mine for year now and it challenges me each day

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133ANDHOLDING 6/10/2013 10:21PM

    I too am a new spark person! Keep is surprising how the calories can sneak up on you in a day! It is good to be aware, and when you are ready you will get on plan with your daily healthy requirements. It's fun emoticon and there are great quizzes and articles to keep you on track too! emoticon Lots to learn to be a sparkster!

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SCRAPBECCA 6/10/2013 10:17PM

    Glad you are here! emoticon

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KBEHNKE81 6/10/2013 10:11PM

    I think you're smart to baseline your eating and exercise habits. Peruse the site for a little while and get up a good head of steam. Don't try to make every change all at once. Prioritize, execute, then add as you build success. This is a great site for information and encouragement. I hope you find it as helpful as I have,

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