All Entries For success story

'I Started This for My Kids, But I'm Finishing It for Me''


Holly Petras (HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE)
Weight Lost: 140 pounds
Hometown: Fairview, PA
Occupation: Patient Advocate
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
Other than my kindergarten picture, every picture I have of myself is of a chubby child, a fat teenager or an obese adult.  As a kid, I used to play soccer, swim and dance, and I was always the biggest one.  When I got to college, I gained even more weight with late night pizza and beer.  Right out of college, I got married to a man who loved me so much, he thought catering to my every desire would make me happy.  All it did was make me lazy and fatter.  This was in no way his fault, but it wasn't helpful either.  When I got pregnant with my kids, it was just another excuse to eat whatever I wanted. I craved French fries with my son and pizza with my daughter, and ate them most nights.  I didn't know it at the time, but when I look back on things now, I was miserable.  I didn't do anything with my kids or our friends.  I stayed inside on the couch while my husband took the kids out to play.  I hated doing anything that made me sweat, and at that size, everything made me sweat.  I couldn't get on amusement park rides, I hated walking around the zoo, and I didn't want to leave the house.  Physically, my back and feet hurt all the time. My asthma was out of control, and I never went to the doctor.  I didn't want to be told I had high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and diabetes.  I especially didn't want to be told to lose weight.  I am 5 feet tall and at my highest weight, my waist was 59 inches around.  I was as wide as I was tall; it's not a surprise that I was miserable.
 
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
At the end of May 2010, I was volunteering in my son's class for his birthday.  We were lining up to go outside and he introduced me to one of his friends.  His friend looked at me, then looked at my son and said "your mom's fat."  My son said nothing.  What could he say?  The little boy was right.  It took everything I had not to break down and cry.  The look on my son's face broke my heart.  I knew right then, I HAD to change for my kids and for myself.  I was NOT going to be "the fat mom." My children have been my biggest motivation since day one.  I was going to get healthy for them because I didn't want them to grow up to be like me.  I wasn't any kind of role model for them.  That weekend, I Googled "counting calories" and that's how I found SparkPeople.  That's when I began the journey that saved my life.  Now as my journey is beginning its fourth year, I can say that getting to goal is a HUGE motivator for me.  I started this for my kids, but I'm finishing it for me.
 
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey: 
Posted 9/8/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 71 comments   14,792 views
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Donna Learned to Love Running--and Herself!


Donna DeGroot (DDHEART)
Weight Lost: 41 pounds
Hometown: Gillett, WI
Occupation: Retired Cardiac Nurse Specialist/ re-retired Passenger Services Manager on a private railcar
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
 I was never hugely overweight, but always heavier than I probably should be.  I grew up being "the big little sister."  My father said he preferred his girls plump (I hate that word!) while my mother had her own weight problems.  Food was the equivalent of love.  No hugging, but here have some ice cream.  Now, that's not to blame my family but it does help to explain the complex relationship with food and the connection with emotional eating.  I love to eat and I eat when I'm unhappy, bored, when socializing, etc.  I have almost no pictures from when I was heavier.  I would avoid the camera like the plague and when I did find that a photo of me was taken, I would often get rid of it if it was unflattering. It's important for me to note, that when I try to look back through photos, I now see pictures where I was not particularly overweight but if you were to ask me I would've said I was ALWAYS overweight.  I did not have an eating disorder, unless you would count the years of yo-yo diets, but during those earlier years, I also wasn't particularly fit.  I certainly wasn't athletic.  Even as a child, I was shy, cautious and aware that I was "the fat little sister.” I was not as coordinated as other children- at least that's what I thought- and I was afraid to try things for fear that I would look foolish.  I missed out on so much.
 
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
A few years ago when I retired, I joined Weight Watchers and had to step on the scale.  My ‘OMG moment’ was stepping on that scale and realizing that this weight gain could not keep up.  I lost about 40 pounds and actually wore a size six very briefly.  Alas, I didn't keep it up.  I should have continued to go to meetings, but didn't and soon even size 12’s didn't fit.  I managed to keep some control but just couldn't seem to get myself on track.  I knew I needed to adopt a different life philosophy if I want to fit inside a different body. I don't know if I will ever be a person who likes to exercise more than she likes to eat, but I sure would like to be someone who doesn't fill the empty spaces with food.
 
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
Posted 9/1/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 18 comments   9,951 views
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Down 158 Lbs., Lindsay Shares Her 10 Best Weight-Loss Tips!


Lindsay Pobieglo (LPOBIEGLO)
Weight Lost: 158 pounds
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
Occupation: Risk Management Program Manager
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
I began slowly gaining weight at the age of 18.  My parents separated when I was 17 and I was stuck in the middle.  I went to food for comfort.  After the dust settled, I was addicted to food and I was settled into that lifestyle. Life was plain.  I went to work, came home, ate, watched TV and then went to bed- day after day.  I missed out on lake trips, sporting events and other activities due to my weight.
 
What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My initial motivation to lose weight came in 2008. When my daughter was two, the entire family went to a pumpkin festival.  There was a child's ride, similar to the Dumbo ride at Disneyland, which she really wanted to ride.  As we were about to go on, I was told that there was a weight limit to the cars since they went up in the air.  I alone exceeded the weight limit.  My sister-in-law had to take my daughter on the ride.  I was devastated.
 
My biggest and final motivation came when my co-worker signed up for an at-work weight loss competition.  She wanted support and asked if I would join her.  I refused.  When she asked why, I responded: "I don't want anyone to know how much I weigh".  She quickly retorted: "If it bothers you that much, shouldn't you do something about it?”  That was it.  I realized she was right.
 
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
Posted 8/25/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 147 comments   67,185 views
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Evelyn Beat Cancer Twice and Is Half Her Size!


Evelyn Cruze (EVWINGS)          
Weight Lost: 150 pounds
Hometown: Crescent City, FL
 
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
There are several things that contributed to my weight gain.  One of the biggest was that we had very little gym or fitness training in school. This made it difficult to add it to my life as I grew older; therefore, I spent most of my life in a sedate manner. Next, I became smoke-free, and I gained about 40 pounds. After that, I had major stress in my life trying to juggle my job and caring for my ailing mother. My income suffered, and I was very afraid.  I would eat and eat and eat some more. Finally, I injured my knee and had to have surgery. During physical therapy, all of the work was blown out and I had to be bed bound for over four months, which also contributed to my weight gain.
 
At my highest weight of 274 pounds, life was awful.  I would cry a lot and after my mother died, I gained even more weight. I felt very useless, especially after my knee surgery.  One good thing was that I had a lot of support from my family.  My new husband was wonderful about my knee injury, which occurred only a few months after we were married.  He said it didn't matter to him what I weighed or what he had to do for me.  He said it was called love and he knew I would do the same for him.
 
What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
I felt so miserable weighing what I did. I didn't think it was healthy and my doctor agreed.  He felt my asthma and sleep apnea could be corrected if I lost some weight. He and I talked a lot and I told him that I wanted to do this slowly to ensure that I would keep the weight off.  He agreed and made some recommendations for me.
 
Posted 8/18/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 47 comments   11,406 views
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From Bedridden to Loving Life, 240 Lbs. Lighter


Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)  
Weight Lost: 240 pounds (and counting!)
Hometown: Fishers, IN
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
I have been heavy since childhood.   I became my largest in the early 2000s.    I ate for comfort and refuge from my life.  I had a very controlling mother and watched my father die of a heart attack.  Both were abusive and very heavy, but they sure watched everything I ate.   Then, behind my mother's back, my dad would take me out and challenge me to eating contests.  In my teens and 20s, my weight was kept under control mostly by bulimia.  I always sought comfort in food, and when I got married and things got rough at times, my eating would escalate. 
At my largest, it also was the saddest time of my life.  I lived in my bedroom and could no longer walk.  I became disabled by three herniated disks, two pinched nerve bundles, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease, and arthritis.  I had to stop and rest just trying to get around my house to get to the restroom or kitchen.  I also had to quit my job and could no longer fit behind the wheel of a car.  Days became very lonely, as I stayed home alone for years.  Several times, I became so depressed I called the crisis line.  

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My best friend, Tina, was my biggest motivation to lose weight.  She had weight-loss surgery, which I didn't want to do, but she was out having a life again.  I wanted that too!  Then, I read a book called "YOU: On a Diet."  It taught me how to stay satisfied.  My other friend, Lori, pointed me to SparkPeople and I became an addict.  Every time I feel like eating, I log on.  Let's just say that some days while I'm home alone, I'm on A LOT!

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
Posted 8/11/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 196 comments   25,631 views
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Down 72 Pounds, Crystal is a 'Fun Mom'


Crystal Turney (CRYSSYBUG)
Weight Lost:  72 pounds
Hometown: Gallup, NM
Occupation: Church secretary

What was life like before your weight loss?
I have pretty much always been overweight.  In college, I lost a lot of weight and kept it off until after I was married.  However, it slowly started creeping back up on me for various reasons.  First, I ate when I felt stressed, and I was stressed a lot during my first year of teaching.  When I got pregnant with my first child, I started eating healthier and trying not to gain too much weight.  After I had him, I stopped eating so well and--you guessed it--gained weight.  About the time I decided to start trying to lose the weight, I got pregnant again.  After I gave birth to my younger son, I continued to eat healthier foods, just way too much of them! I reached my highest weight of 222 pounds. I felt fat and, let's face it, I was fat.  I was a stay-at-home mom, and while my boys played together, I would play on the computer.  I didn't play outside often, and when I did, I usually sat on a chair and watched, instead of joining in.  My clothes no longer fit, and I had to buy or borrow bigger sizes.  I was miserable. 

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My boys were my biggest motivation to lose weight.  They often called my dad "lazy" because he would come home from work and sit in his chair instead of playing with them.  He didn't mind so much that they called him lazy. Then one day they called me "lazy like Grandpa."  I couldn't take it!  I'm their mom; I am supposed to be fun and exciting. I am supposed to play with them and show them I care by doing things they love and enjoy.  I shouldn't be sitting on my butt for hours at a time playing on the computer. I decided it was time for a change and nothing was going to stop me.  
Posted 8/4/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 66 comments   17,930 views
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Former Figure Skater Reclaims Her Fitness


Pattie Ball (PUPPYWHISPERS)
Weight Lost:  54 pounds
Hometown: Middle Grove, NY
Occupation: Executive secretary

What was life like before your weight loss?
I was an active kid--I was a figure skater and played high school sports, so I was always in good shape. Because of my activity level, I could eat anything and not gain any weight. Once I entered college, I suffered a knee injury that ended my skating career, and caused me to be much more sedentary than I had been in high school. So I began to gain weight. I had knee surgery, and I was off my feet, using a cane for about two years. Gradually, through my own physical rehabilitation program, I was able to walk without the cane. However, I was never able to master the art of losing weight and keeping it off. I was unhappy with myself physically and emotionally. It was hard just to walk or to climb stairs. I missed being active, especially ice skating. I was embarrassed about how I looked. I tried to hide my body under oversize clothes.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
First, I saw a picture of myself and I thought, "Do I really look like that?"  That's what got me going in 2008.  I lost 60 pounds, but then some personal issues caused me to start gaining it back. Last year, my 30th high school reunion was approaching, and that was the kick I needed to start eating healthy and working out again.  I wanted to be in the best shape possible before I faced my high school friends, who hadn't seen me in 30 years.

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
Posted 7/28/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 54 comments   13,701 views
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Sparking Others Helped Her Lose 142 Pounds


Barbara June (ARKPLE)
Weight Lost:  142 pounds
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
I gained the weight by not paying attention to my food choices, not weighing in, not moving my body, not putting myself first, not dealing with clinical depression, inviting temptations into my home and totally neglecting the wisdom that is my body for many years. I felt depressed. I relied on a cane to walk even a short distance. I could not climb stairs at all. I had difficulty completing daily tasks with ease.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
When my weight climbed over the 360-pound mark, I vowed to lose weight. Enough was enough! I wanted to put myself first--that was my biggest motivation for weight loss. Putting others ahead of me led to clinical depression and weight gain. I was tired of remaining on the sidelines. I wanted to participate more fully in life.  I knew I would not have a perfect journey, but I vowed to start where I was and to make slow changes in my eating patterns and gradual changes in movement.

Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
To lose the weight, I relied on SparkPeople.com. I weighed in weekly, enjoyed my food choices, savored every bite, competed against myself, engaged in joyful movement, and more!

I believe in the Arthur Ashe quotation, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." I also believe that we are each capable beyond our imagination and that we need to be compassionate toward our bodies; right where they are, even carrying excess weight. It's so important to stop feuding with our bodies and to thank our thighs and grab those hips to express gratitude versus wishing them away.  Also, I heartily believe that calories don't always account for everything. Outlook counts too!

And, as Maya Angelou says, "Nobody, but nobody, can make it alone." So the journey is best accomplished by buddying up, sharing knowledge, jointly inspiring yourself and others, joining a new SparkTeam, sparking today and sparking often!

I have been very active in the Biggest Loser Challenge SparkTeam (completing nearly a dozen rounds) and I am also a co-captain of a private team. My success was enhanced by my role in encouraging others to eat mindfully, to not seek perfection and to lose pound by pound, inch by inch, bite by bite and step by step.
Posted 7/21/2013  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 140 comments   23,223 views
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'I Became a Fitness Instructor in My 50s'


Sue Carson (BCARSON11)
Weight Lost: 71 pounds
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Occupation: fitness instructor

What was your “a-ha” moment that made you decide to lose weight?
I gained the weight over the years by overeating and not working out. I was tired all the time. I felt like I was getting really old while I was still only in my 40s.  By the time I turned 50, I weighed 175 pounds.  Not long after, a friend of ours had a massive heart attack when he turned 50.  He was a few months younger than I was.  My husband is a couple years older and also has a history of early death from heart problems in his family.  We both had borderline blood pressure and were both overweight and out of shape.  We decided if we wanted to have a longer life we should try to correct our eating habits.

Can you tell us about your weight-loss journey?
My husband and I started slowly trying to eat better.  I used SparkPeople.com to track my food intake and learn more about healthy eating.  Then, our son was home for the holidays and pointed out that we needed to work out if we wanted to really be healthy.  My comment was "I'm too old to start that!"  However, we joined a gym, and we both went every day.  My husband liked to use the machines, and I preferred group exercise.  It was about 6 months before I started doing strength training, and I saw an amazing difference. I had already lost quite a bit of weight, and adding weight training really toned things up.  It took over a year to reach my first goal, which was just at the upper end of my "normal" weight range.  I continued to work out and eat healthy.   Now, at age 66, I weigh just a little more than I did in college and am much more toned.
Posted 7/14/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 54 comments   14,380 views
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'I Wanted to Live Life & Have Fun with My Family'


Name: Elizabeth Tiedemann (MOONBIRD)
Weight Lost:  153 pounds
Hometown: Chesterfield, VA
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom

What was life like before losing weight?
I started to gain weight in the first grade, and I continued to gain throughout most of my life. For me, I ate when I was sad, anxious, lonely, or any emotion in between.  Growing up in a family where almost everyone was overweight didn't give me much motivation to be different. It was who I was supposed to be.  But, deep down, I was not happy. I loved my family and had everything I wanted, except for control over my weight.  After the birth of my kids, I was exhausted and would sometimes go all day without eating.  By the end of the day, I was starving and would eat everything in sight.  I didn't believe in myself and didn’t take care of myself, which is why I allowed myself to gain so much weight.       

For so long I missed out on things I wanted to do.  I couldn't ride a lot of the rides at theme parks.  When we went out to eat, I could barely fit in most of the booths.  During the day, I started to have pain in my legs and feet when I'd stand a lot.  I went to bed worrying that every little ache or pain meant I could be dying.  I love bird watching, and I'd hear of bird walks at parks but not go because I knew it would exhaust me.  I'd sweat profusely and be out of breath.  It was awful.  I rarely felt comfortable in my own skin.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation was, and still is, my family.  I wanted to live life with them!  I wanted to ride bikes with my kids, play at the playground and fit on the rides at amusement parks.  My motivation has mostly been to feel good and be healthy, because when I was so much heavier I felt tired ALL the time and generally unwell. In April 2010, I decided that I’d had enough of being overweight and unhealthy.  I wanted to change my life!      
Posted 7/7/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 116 comments   23,731 views
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WATCH: Tracy's Weight-Loss Story Featured on TV!


Many of you will remember Tracy (TRACY31502), the stay-at-home mom from South Bend, Ind., who lost 200-plus pounds (100+ shed using SparkPeople). We shared her story a couple of weeks ago, and the outpouring of support was incredible!
As a result, Tracy, who had "always been obese," has been featured on her local news. A journalist who is friends with another SparkPeople member reached out to her to ask her to share her story with her hometown after reading about her on the SparkPeople Blog. Tracy made her TV debut recently, and we wanted to share it with you:

"I'm still pinching myself from all of this," she said. And Tracy has lost another three pounds, bringing her total to 215 pounds gone!
Posted 7/3/2013  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 67 comments   23,151 views
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50 Pounds Down, Kristen Feels Good about Herself


Name: Kristen Webster (KRISTEN_SAYS)
Weight Lost: 50 pounds
Hometown: Oneonta, NY
Occupation: Sales associate at a local furniture store

What was life like before losing weight?
I was always overweight--all throughout my childhood, high school and into college. I grew up on mac & cheese, chicken nuggets and big, fat bagels. I steadily gained weight throughout high school and into my first three semesters of college. I was always extremely insecure about my appearance and how out of shape I was.
I dreaded going to classes that were on the third floor of the buildings. I refused to take the elevator because I didn't want other people to look at me and think that I couldn't make it up three flights of stairs because I was fat and out of shape. But by the time I got to the second landing, I was exhausted and by the time I got to my classroom, I could barely breathe, and I would try to hide it. It was embarrassing.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
When I was 19, I was at my heaviest weight (160 pounds on a 5'1" frame; 30.2 BMI). My grandfather, who is very overweight himself, told me I was too heavy and that I had no excuse for it. He wasn't voicing his concern for my health; he was simply judging me on my appearance. My own grandfather! I was used to kids teasing me about my weight throughout my childhood and adolescence, but my own grandfather?

I was upset but finally, about a week later, it clicked. I was, in fact, too heavy. I let myself go, and I had to put a stop to it before I got any bigger. I finally realized that I was done being the fat girl.

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey.
Posted 6/30/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 49 comments   17,207 views
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How Carley Got Healthy--Mentally and Physically


We just heard great news about one SparkPeople member: Carla "Carley" Cooper (SPARKYCARLEY) was featured on Huffington Post Canada this week. Carley lost 60 pounds and has kept it off. Way to go, SparkyCarley!
 
Posted 6/26/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 32 comments   15,492 views
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Down 212 Lbs, Tracy Had 'Always Been Obese'


Name: Tracy Meuschke (TRACY31502)
Weight Lost: 212 pounds
Hometown: South Bend, IN
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom

What was life like before losing weight?
I have ALWAYS been obese! At the age of 12, I was 255 pounds and on the Jenny Craig program. I stayed on for about four weeks, losing about five pounds, and then quit. I just kept going up and up from there. I was 325 pounds in high school. I was around 300 pounds when I got married and then gained 73 pounds within the first two years of our marriage.  I had lost two pregnancies and just hit an all-time low and didn't take care of myself. I'm sure my weight played a big role in having my miscarriages.

At my highest weight, I was happy with everyone around me, but not happy with myself. I honestly didn't realize I was as big as I was and I didn't realize all the things from which my weight was holding me back.  I mean, shaving my legs or even putting on my shoes was a chore. Walking just a half mile was huge for me. I would breathe heavily even when doing nothing.

What was your "A-Ha moment" that made you get serious about losing the weight?
One morning, I just broke down. I felt like no diet was working and I didn't know what to do. I actually contemplated surgery. But after some praying about what to do, I just started cutting down on what I ate and started moving!

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation was that I wanted to have a healthy pregnancy and baby not just for myself but also because my husband wanted to be a dad so much. Our losses were the toughest thing we had ever been through, but they made us grow as a couple and got me on the track to healthy living! 
Posted 6/23/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 296 comments   216,620 views
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Success Story: 'It Was a Really Dark Place for Me'


Chrissy Kellems-Silvas (CHRISSY-50)
Weight Lost:  55 pounds
Hometown: Blaine, WA
Occupation: Human Resources/ Workforce Planning Specialist

How did you gain the weight?
I am an emotional eater. During my 30s, I lost my father to hepatitis C and got married to a person that was emotionally and physically abusive to both my daughter and me. My daughter subsequently got involved with drugs, dropped out of school and left home by the time she was 17. In 2008, I left all my possessions and my ex-husband behind and moved 2,000 miles across the country for a fresh start near my biological mother, who had also been diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

My daughter, who was 16 at the time, further rebelled once we moved and spiraled out of control. Subsequently, my biological mother ended our relationship.  In that stress-filled year, I put on at least 25 pounds. At my highest weight, everything felt uncomfortable, including my own skin. I had never weighed that much in my whole life. I hated myself and what I had become. It was really a dark place for me.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation to lose weight was to heal. I just wanted to be a happy, healthy person again.  I quit smoking, took a firm stand with my daughter and took responsibility for my actions.  I had a lot of guilt for what my daughter was going through because I allowed her to be exposed to someone as awful as my ex-husband. I hated myself for what she was doing to herself. I had to start loving myself again. I had to show her by my actions that a healthy, happy life is a choice, not some random thing. 
Posted 6/9/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 119 comments   19,857 views
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