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Rules for Humans #6 You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions change.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Rule 6: You will know you've learned a lesson when your actions change.
Wisdom is practice. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.

I have definitely seen my actions change in the past three years.

I finally bit the bullet and accepted that I have to track everything. I have learned to embrace the numbers and use them as tools to help get me where I want to go.

I track my food (and use a scale for accuracy)
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_pu
blic_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=25
88275

I track my weight daily (and follow the trend at physicsdiet.com and on my iPod)
I track my % body fat daily (and watch the 6-month trend)
I track my exercise with a heart rate monitor (the Polar website keeps a log of my training load)

To make it easier to do this I use a nutrition tracker on my iPod that works without any internet connection. I have an app on there that also tracks my trend weight for me. More about iPod apps here: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_pu
blic_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=39
60282


And my activity levels have changed. I used to spend a lot of time in the horizontal position reading - and eating. Now my week looks something like this:

M - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Body Pump Class in the evening
Tu - XC ski at lunchtime (if there is snow), Spinning in the evening
W - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Body Pump Class in the evening
Th - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Spinning in the evening
F- Rest, stretching, sometimes a deep tissue massage
Sa - Playing outside (kayaking, XC skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)
Su - Playing outside and 4hr kayak rolling / skills session

I guess the fact that Iím actually DOING this is evidence that Iíve learned that I need to.

For now. Iím sure Iíll lapse again in the future at some point. Life seems to just go that way. But maybe Iíve learned the lesson hard enough and frequently enough that the lapse wonít happen until a long while...

I sure hope so. LOL

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For the past 2 weeks I have commented on the Rules for Being Human. I like their sensible approach and now that I'm transitioning back into kayaking and training for kayaking it seems like a good time to revisit them.

To see all of the blog posts I wrote in this series, go here:
docs.google.com/document/d/1Ci-bdg7_
3CEnBXkc9TxHkgRTsJJt-jL_NfhJDL_nebE/ed
it?usp=sharing


You can see all of the rules by themselves, here: rules4humans.com

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 11/2/2011 7:51PM

    Aristotle said that there is no virtue except in action! By whihc he meant "doing" as opposed to contemplating "the good". And: you're exemplifying that for sure, in every sense of the word "action"!

I am enjoying this blog series so much. Thank you!

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XNANNY 11/2/2011 7:18PM

    If it is a habit it is hard to break, so you might not have to learn this again. I hope so for your sake.

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DDOORN 11/2/2011 3:28PM

    Tracking is SO BASIC and SO ESSENTIAL, as I've been learning *THE HARD WAY!* :-)

Don

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KAYOTIC 11/2/2011 10:21AM

    Good stuff....tracking works for me too...mostly the weight and activity tracking, and I like the quick tracker for fruits/veggies and water, it keeps me honest!

Love all the lunchtime workouts, I keep thinking I may have to give that a try...

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FISHPOND7 11/2/2011 9:23AM

    I wish I could take a look at your food you are tracking. Sometimes it helps to see what others are eating that look like they are on a similar plan re. carbs and protein and about the same calorie level. Keep up the good work.

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SILLYGIRL106 11/2/2011 1:06AM

    Great blogs !!
Would like to read more but I'm getting sleepy it's 1:00am here in Pa.
Thanks for the inspiration to never give up !!!

~AMY~
emoticon

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WOLFKITTY 11/2/2011 12:26AM

    Cool! Thanks for posting the rules4humans link, too!
HUGS!
Jocelyn

(My sister is due to have her 3rd child in February, so I might be coming out to Central NY in 2012, maybe we can visit!)

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Rules for Humans #5 If you don't learn easy lessons, they get harder.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Rule 5: If you don't learn easy lessons, they get harder.
External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state. When you clear obstructions, your outside world changes. Pain is how the Universe gets your attention.

This rule reminds me of the previous one, that lessons are repeated until learned.

Iím not sure why lessons would necessarily get harder, though.

Perhaps what this rule means is that if you donít deal with stuff itíll cause other stuff to happen, making a bigger pile of stuff youíre going to have to deal with at some point.

In an example too familiar to me, if youíre gaining weight and donít reverse the trend youíll feel less like getting fit and end up adding even more weight to that. And so on until eventually youíre painfully lugging around 180+ extra pounds of fat. That are killing you slowly. And causing additional problems on top of what was already there.

So maybe the lessons really do get bigger if we delay in learning them...

--------------------
For the past 2 weeks I have commented on the Rules for Being Human. I like their sensible approach and now that I'm transitioning back into kayaking and training for kayaking it seems like a good time to revisit them.

To see all of the blog posts I wrote in this series, go here:
docs.google.com/document/d/1Ci-bdg7_
3CEnBXkc9TxHkgRTsJJt-jL_NfhJDL_nebE/ed
it?usp=sharing


You can see all of the rules by themselves, here: rules4humans.com

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 11/1/2011 8:04PM

    Compounding interest, I think: and not in a good way. (Maybe compounding disinterest, when I haven't taken the lessons seriously enough soon enough).

Been at the 230 pound, though. From not paying attention while those 100 extra calories a day compounded to 10 pounds a year compounded to 90 extra pounds. Yeah!!

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DDOORN 11/1/2011 2:40PM

    Oh yeah...know ALL ABOUT the harder part...lol! Ugh! The WAY HIGH price of being thick-headed!

Don

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SLENDERELLA61 11/1/2011 11:34AM

    Very good one! I will go check out the link. Looks like very important stuff indeed. -Marsha

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Rules for Humans #4 A lesson is repeated until learned.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rule 4: A lesson is repeated until learned.
It is presented to you in various forms until you learn it -- then you can go on to the next lesson.

As Iíve mentioned before, tracking my food is a pain in the butt. I hate it. Disliking tracking and not wanting to commit to doing it is one of the things that deterred me from losing weight in the past.

Sadly, tracking my intake is the ONLY effective way Iíve ever been able to manage my weight effectively. I just donít know when to stop eating. I donít have built-in sensors, or my brain doesnít register them, or something.

And itís not just the calories I need to track. In order to feel good I need to get about 150g of protein per day and limit the starchy things like grains and potatoes, etc. Sugar is off limits. And if I donít track Iíll find myself heading straight for those yummy grains and starchy veggies, together with fat and salt. And sugar. Those things make me want to eat more. They open up a bottomless hole inside me that compels me to stuff more and more and more starch and sugar in there.

The only thing that will eventually stop me is acid reflux. By then itís too late and Iíve had a 6000+ calorie day. Donít laugh. Itís happened. I can eat an entire 600 calorie 6-pack of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches in 20 minutes on the drive home, if left to my own devices. One makes me want another and another and another. Donít even get me started on cheese. Or pizza.

So, my best way to handle this is by tracking, and the best tracking scenario is to pre-plan my meals before I eat them, making sure to balance the macronutrients and ensure that I am going to have enough room in my 1400-calorie day for those 150g of protein.

Iíve made the mistake of going on a ďvacationĒ from tracking many many many times. Always with the same result. So now I just sigh and do it.

Some days I miss. And the next day itís an effort to get back into the routine of doing it. And Iíve tried to make it as painless as possible by using an app on my iPod that doesnít even require an internet connection.

Have I finally learned the lesson that I need to track in order to control my size and health? I hope so. If not then I guess Iíll be learning it again a few more times.

--------------------
For the past 2 weeks I have commented on the Rules for Being Human. I like their sensible approach and now that I'm transitioning back into kayaking and training for kayaking it seems like a good time to revisit them.

To see all of the blog posts I wrote in this series, go here:
docs.google.com/document/d/1Ci-bdg7_
3CEnBXkc9TxHkgRTsJJt-jL_NfhJDL_nebE/ed
it?usp=sharing


You can see all of the rules by themselves, here: rules4humans.com

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 11/1/2011 8:03PM

    Like you, gotta track. Sigh. Pretrack, actually. And: stay not only within my calorie range: avoid all simple carbs no matter what the calories, and ensure I get enough protein.

No point pretending to myself that I can take a holiday from tracking. I can't. But it's something I've had to learn a few times. And maybe a few more to come.

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KAYOTIC 10/31/2011 10:20AM

    It's great that you've found what works for you, and find success in it! Good for you! A tracker you don't need internet for is great too...I'd probably be more likely to use something like that.

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TENACIOUSTIGER 10/31/2011 10:02AM

    interesting LOVE the rules, but I am impressed that you can eat even one of those skinny cow things, I bought a box of these, hoping for a "low cal " looking for something yummy treat, and found i couldnt eat even one as I dont like the preservative taste. i think ive been superspoilt by homemade icecream from work that we make in the nifty gelati machine. i would rather have one spoon of real ice cream than a box of skinny cow. Have you tried frozen raspberries, eating them one by one.Hey i still want to hear all your secrets, you've lost 165lbs and ive lost 5 arrrghhhh still working out though, I win conquer the fat %, all the best

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DDOORN 10/31/2011 9:24AM

    Can SO RELATE to ALL your lessons. You've learned them so well! Still struggling here...done the Skinny Cow thing among other even more treacherous foods in the past. But the lessons are there. They don't change: gotta stick with the tracker if I'm going to stay on top of things! Gotta avoid those starchy sugary things if I'm going to remain in control of what goes into my mouth!

Don

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CIRANDELLA 10/31/2011 8:41AM

    Ahhh...I'm glad I'm not the only Sparkster to have partaken of a six-pack of Skinny Cows before! It really doesn't take much effort on my part (!)... I've got the ruminant stomach of a mutant cow - seriously, it took the X-ray tech THREE SHOTS to capture it all on film when I was being worked up for an ulcer ... emoticon Happy Halloween, indeedy! ;)

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FISHPOND7 10/31/2011 8:17AM

    Boy, can I identify with that!!!
Totally. I really get tired of the tracking, but if I don't do it, kaplowee! A bad day w/o tracking can turn into a bad week (or a bad month). And the grains and sugars. What's up with that? I LOVE that stuff, but it does me in every time. It makes me crazy and all I want to do is eat more of it--and more of anything. Thanks for reminding me to keep on tracking.

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SLFGOLF 10/31/2011 1:01AM

    Practice, practice, practice...that is what helps us learn a lesson. Tracking is definately the key to success with weight loss. So is planning. As you have learned I also need to plan my meals and track or I go over very easily. I've been doing this now for 4 months. I found myself slipping the last 10 days, so I'm now rededicating to planning and tracking as I did when I first started to make sure I continue successfully along my path.

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Rules for Humans #3 There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rule 3: There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Growth is a process of experimentation. "Failures" are as much a part of the process as "success".

Iíve just been thinking about this one recently in the context of weight maintenance. Weíve even been discussing it in the At Goal and Maintaining Team
//www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_m
essageboard_thread.asp?board=0x1111x44
553947


I failed spectacularly the first time I tried to maintain a 100+ pound loss. It was in my 20s and I thought I was ďcured.Ē That doing it through diet and exercise not drugs had taught me what I needed to know in order to keep the weight off. Everyone told me so, and I believed them. They were wrong.

ďLifeĒ happened to me in the form of grad school demanding more hours and more of my time. I had a boyfriend who liked to Eat. The weight snuck back on in an insidious way, such that I kept thinking, ďitís only 5 lbs, I can get it back off in a couple of weeks.Ē 5 pounds plus 5 more, plus 5 more, and, well, you get the picture. After a year I probably put back on 30 lbs or so. By then I felt really bad about the way I looked and how my clothes didnít fit anymore and my already low self esteem went into the toilet.

So I eventually pretty much gave up and gradually gained more weight. There were halfhearted attempts at Weight Watchers which led to sometimes as much as a 20 lb loss. But the attempts never stuck and Iíd always regain the weight and often gain back even more. And I became less and less social because I did not want to go outside and feel judged, and see my image in mirrors and shop windows and other reflective surfaces.

Having known what it was like to be slender and healthy and knowing that Iíd tossed away the fitness Iíd attained in my 20s, I felt like an abject, miserable failure. Which often led to more eating. And less activity.

A few things finally triggered me to turn the situation around after living like this for about 15 years.

Now that Iíve gotten back down to a size where I mostly like how I look and I feel energetic and I get to do fun things, I am extremely determined not to go back there. I think Iím MORE determined not to go back there now, having failed at it once already.

Iím not taking for granted the insidious sneaky slide back to obesity. Iím tracking everything and exercising on a schedule whether or not I feel like it. I donít think Iíd have this kind of discipline if I hadnít lived through that first failure.

So, yeah. In a weird way the previous failure to maintain my weight is fueling my current success at it.

--------------------
For the past 2 weeks I have commented on the Rules for Being Human. I like their sensible approach and now that I'm transitioning back into kayaking and training for kayaking it seems like a good time to revisit them.

To see all of the blog posts I wrote in this series, go here:
docs.google.com/document/d/1Ci-bdg7_
3CEnBXkc9TxHkgRTsJJt-jL_NfhJDL_nebE/ed
it?usp=sharing


You can see all of the rules by themselves, here: rules4humans.com

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAVYMOM133 11/1/2011 9:53AM

    Excellent blog thread!
I recently had my first real "hit" of old, insidious behavior due to a Nor'easter this past weekend. Wow - "a storm is coming!! we need snacks!!" really? Yup, it wasn't an impressive showing this past weekend BUT I have identified two situations that need very special attention and am back to my whole foods. Day #2. Hopefully the worst of the cravings are behind me with yesterday's good showing.

I am definitely signing up for the challenge. I think I'll do that now!

Melly

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FISHPOND7 10/31/2011 8:33AM

    Good blog. So true.

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SUNSHINE20113 10/31/2011 3:59AM

    I must agree with Mobycarp. It's those first 5 pounds!! I've been steadily gaining 5 pounds a year over the last three years. And over those three years I've probably lost and gained the same 5 pounds three times over!!
I'm not sure how it slips in, but the shock to find that suddenly I'm nearly twenty pounds overweight is unbelievable.
I realised something had to change otherwise in ten years I'd be fifty pounds overweight. I can't do that to myself.
I tend to dwell on the mistakes I've made in my life. I'm going to spend some time today thinking of them as lessons and see what happens!
Lovely blog series, thank you.


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MOBYCARP 10/29/2011 4:13PM

    It's those 5 pounds at a time that worry me.

In 1991, I gained 5 pounds.
In 1992, I gained 5 pounds.
In 1993, I gained 5 pounds.
In 1994, I gained 5 pounds.

After that, I tried to avoid gaining and sometimes lose; but it was an awful long journey (with some serious detours in the wrong direction) before I got back to where I was in mid 1991. Then with SP, it was a pretty quick journey to drop another 10 pounds to be where I ought to be.

But those 5 pounds can come back on quickly, or stealthily. And the range that came on by stealth was the hardest to take back off.

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KAYOTIC 10/29/2011 12:39PM

    lots and lots of lessons....Great blog series, and links, looking forward to the rest!

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WATERMELLEN 10/28/2011 8:30PM

    It takes such tiny mistakes to trigger weight regain -- 100 extra calories a day (even healthy calories, an apple, doesn't have to be French fries!) adds 10 pounds a year -- and 10 more pounds next year -- and 10 more pounds the year after that . . . and that's how my weight hit 230 while I did three law degrees!! And why only 5% of people who take weight off keep it off. Losing weight and keeping it off being for me more of a struggle, more of an accomplishment, something I'm prouder of every day than the academic qualifications which don't actually matter that much (and which I sacrificed way weigh too much to achieve: what a lesson to figure that out!!)

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MIRAGE727 10/28/2011 3:21PM

    I must be a friggin' PHD genius! At 61, I've made a lot of mistakes! Thanks for sharing, Anja!
emoticon

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DDOORN 10/28/2011 12:16PM

    My wording for #3 is:

Mistakes are opportunities for learning!

Insidious and sneaky are great words to describe the devious ways we can make horrible choices that lead toward a backslide! Been there, done that WAY too many times and yes, STILL fighting those trends and accepting that I will ALWAYS have to be vigilant about this!

Don

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Rules for Humans #2 You will learn lessons.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rule 2: You will learn lessons.
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life on planet earth. Every person or incident is a Universal Teacher.

I have a lot of experience with formal learning. I spent 27 straight years in school (K-PhD, not counting preschool.) You could definitely say Iím overeducated.

Life lessons, however, have always come less easily to me. I find them frustrating. WHY do I have to go through the motions of tracking, day after day, to learn how to do it? Canít I just read how to do it somewhere online or in a book?

The problem here is that some things have to be learned by DOING. You canít grasp all the nuances of a new habit or behaviour by reading about it or imagining it. You have to put it into practice to really ďgetĒ it.

Situations can be great teachers. Some of the life train wrecks Iíve experienced were due to compounded issues, or not grasping the true difficulty of something.

For example, my first job out of grad school involved working for a nut case. Sheíd have screaming tantrums in the lab and throw things. She was unstable and periodically went to therapy for drugs and counseling. When sheíd stabilize sheíd assume she was Ďbetterí and go off treatment. With predictable results. She was paranoid, and insecure, and had an inflated ego. In the end, just to keep my own sanity I started going to a counselor just for tips on how to deal with her. Through my descriptions of her behavior he diagnosed her with ďnarcissistic personality disorder.Ē Who knows if his diagnosis was correct. But the tips did help me marginally keep my sanity.

My mistake? When I met her I noticed she was eccentric. Really eccentric. And she broke some basic interviewing rules, like asking if I had any substance abuse issues. (This is illegal. As it turns out, SHE had substance issues. That I didnít ask about.) Someone at the institution took me aside and gently suggested I look at the turnover sheíd experienced in her lab. I took all of this information, figured sheíd be a handful, and accepted the job anyway.

I will not make that mistake again. Life is hard enough without choosing to work for an unpleasant, demanding, unstable boss. I wonít assume that I can handle something like that and throw myself knowingly into a situation like that.

Hereís another example, this one involving kayaking. There is a whole blog post about it
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3506672


Or you can just read the summary below.

Halfway through my first season of white water kayaking I decided to go to a river festival with a friend and paddle a class III-IV river. Iíd paddled things close to that level but never quite as difficult. Thatís #1. I was trying to step it up a notch on an unfamiliar river, as a pretty inexperienced kayaker.

I had been spending a lot of time in my playboat which has a flat, planing hull and not so much time in my creeker (which has a rounder displacement hull and requires a different paddling style). Thatís #2. I was going to be in a boat I hadnít used in a while. I also hadnít practiced my roll in a while.

I had just spent two weeks with a visiting friend, doing a half-iron aquabike portion of a triathlon and driving around Canada. I didnít have time to boat in white water while she and her kids were there. Thatís #3. I hadnít even boated in 2-3 weeks.

The festival was in Massachusetts, a long way from my house. The friend coming too lived an hour away. I had to leave the house at 4am to pick him up and then get us there in time for the dam release at 10-11am when other friends would meet us. Thatís #4. I was going to be very tired before I even got on the river.

This particular river starts out easy and gets progressively harder. Thatís #5. I allowed the easy rapids at the beginning lull me into complacency and didnít pay attention to each new one as a new experience.

My two runs down that river were a train wreck. I went under a strainer on the first run (and fortunately didnít get caught in it), and swam out of the bottom rapid. On the second run I swam and was dragged involuntarily up into a raft with one of my feet tangled in my kayak over the side of the raft. As we went through the rapids my body was flipping around trying to follow my foot, and the raft guide had to cut the entangling strings.

Fortunately my leg was OK (I was seriously afraid it would get broken) but I ended up twisting my shoulder and getting bashed around on the rocks while I was upside down. I spent the rest of the weekend in an impromptu sling, feeling crappy about my boating skills and the situation in general.



It took me 2-3 weeks before I got my nerves back and could boat again without unreasonable fear.

So from that situation I learned to respect the river, be more conservative in my judgement of my abilities, make sure Iím not tired and sleepy before I even get on the water, and to practice my roll whenever I have the chance.

Life is still throwing lessons at me, and Iím trying to absorb them. I have a feeling itís going to be like this forever until I move onto the next plane. There is always more to learn.

--------------------
For the past 2 weeks I have commented on the Rules for Being Human. I like their sensible approach and now that I'm transitioning back into kayaking and training for kayaking it seems like a good time to revisit them.

To see all of the blog posts I wrote in this series, go here:
docs.google.com/document/d/1Ci-bdg7_
3CEnBXkc9TxHkgRTsJJt-jL_NfhJDL_nebE/ed
it?usp=sharing


You can see all of the rules by themselves, here: rules4humans.com

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 10/27/2011 7:11PM

    Love this one too -- and those of us with way too much "book larnin'" education do tend to underestimate the necessity of learning lots and lots of other more important stuff by doing. And then relearning it when we stop doing because we think we got it already: but, we didn't. How many many times have I had to re-learn the "track everything I eat" lesson? Yup: too many. Slow learner on that one, for sure.

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DDOORN 10/27/2011 6:40PM

    These rules are just solid, good common sense...something that can be very fleeting for yours truly sometimes...lol! They oughta replace the Pledge of Allegiance with these Rules in school! :-)

Don

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SLFGOLF 10/27/2011 1:05AM

    Working as a teacher, we learn that we have to have students practice over and over and over again before they learn something. It must be practiced and repeated many times before it is a learned trait. Why we don't realize this is true in our own lives I don't understand sometimes. It only makes common sense. Almost 4 months into this program I finally feel comfortable when I sit down at a restaurant or at a party that I will make wise choices. It took a lot of continued work and practice over these last months and I have learned a lot. I will continue learning a lot about healthy eating along with learning about myself in this journey.

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REDSHOES2011 10/27/2011 12:03AM

    WHY do I have to go through the motions of tracking, day after day, to learn how to do it?
Why do we take a shower daily? Why do we make breakfast? Why do we take care of a job? They are things we have to do- why do we go through the motions of tracking day after day- the lack of it got many of us fat- it is a mastering tool we have to take to us with kiss on the hand to avoid disliking ourselfs.. If we don't take a shower people avoid us or say we smell and if we don't eat breakfast we get hungry and over eat.. Logic is difficult to get angry at -it is a question of taking another good habit and getting it running like all other life vital functions we are taught because we know what happens if we don't..
emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/27/2011 12:07:27 AM

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