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A&I Gratitude Blog

Saturday, November 26, 2011

When I am feeling crabby and cranky and depressed and unloved, I do something called a "gratitudes". I take a blank piece of lined notebook paper and on each line I write: "I am grateful for (and then write something I am grateful for)" so it ends up looking kind of like:

I am grateful for my family.
I am grateful for my furbabies.
I am grateful for my home.
I am grateful for my job, having a job that pays my bills plus a bit for fun, at a place that I like with nice coworkers doing work I enjoy.
I am grateful for my health.
I am grateful for my nieces and grand niece and grand nephew.
I am grateful for my sisters and brothers.
I am grateful for living in a coutry at peace within its borders.
I am grateful for the abundance in my life.
I am grateful for the love and grace showered on me by diety.
I am grateful for etc. etc. etc.

This year we often reflect on what we are grateful for, but often we are trying to do this while in the midst of family drama, too much to do and trying to find perfection in our own crazy mixed up lives.

I don't. I almost killed myself when I was 16 due to undiagnosed depression and (school diagnosed) untreated bipolar disorder (my parents did not understand mental illness and wanted nothing to do with it), and I came very near doing so earlier this year. I was in so much pain I was depressed and to the point where I was laying in bed thinking, "I can't live like this another 40 years." That was shortly before I laid it on the line with my doctor and demanded she take a holistic look at me and came up with a fibromyalgia diagnosis. I'm now being treated medically for the fibromyalgia and it has, literally, given me a new life. I don't contemplate what I am grateful for at Thanksgiving. I KNOW what I am grateful for and I am grateful for it Every. Single. Day.

My list now, in addition to all of the wonderful things that I have to be grateful for from before, now include being able to get out of bed in the morning without having to lay there for an hour trying to find the strength to move through the pain, having a doctor who is open to new ideas and not afraid to go out on a limb to diagnose based on symptoms even if she doesn't understand the illness, having medications available to me that weren't to my mother, whom I am certain also had this condition, having physical therapy available to me to help me become more stable in this chronic pain condition, knowing enough to be able to research my issues and the confidence that it is NOT just depression and it may or may not be in my head, but that doesn't mean it isn't real (thank you Headmaster Dumbledore!) (For those of you who don't know, Fibromyalgia is pain that is created in the brain and "sent" to the body, where pain is generally created in the body and sent to the brain. Pain killers (which do not work on me) block the brains ability to get the signals from the body. Because FMS pain goes the other way, you have to have a different kind of medicine to stop the pain. I took lots of "good" pain killers and I could have been eating M&Ms for the good it did me.)

So... my biggest gratitude this year is the gratitude of good doctors, good meds and the advances that have occured in the past 20 years so that I can be treated now with something that I've had for the past 14-15 years which finally progressed to an unbearable point this year, and which only now has become diagnosable, and treatable... and for the continuation of my life this advancement in medicine has given me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHYGETSFIT 11/29/2011 1:51AM

    I can understand to a certain extent what you mean. I too am grateful for modern medicine and what it can do for everyone. I am grateful that you didn't commit suicide. I've had thoughts of suicide many times over the course of my life. I am glad that you insisted that your doctor find something to help you. I knew that fibro was painful but I didn't know how it worked. Thanks for the info! emoticon blog Lou!

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AMYBELLES 11/28/2011 6:10PM

    I love your idea about making gratitude lists. Thank you so much for sharing your challenges with us, and how you are able to deal with them now. I am very grateful that you did not give up on yourself, despite your depression and suicidal thoughts. Your determination to find out what was wrong and get your doctor to work with you is to be admired and celebrated. Don't forget to be grateful for yourself - all your special qualities that led you to the answers you needed. emoticon

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TREA241 11/28/2011 9:50AM

    It is extremely sad that this society, with all its freedoms, still doesn't understand depression and the debilitating affect it can have on a person. I am right there with you and am also extremely grateful that I can just get out of bed. This was a humbling blog and I am very thankful that you wrote it.

Many hugs to you! xoxo -Andrea

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SIOBHANKNITS 11/27/2011 8:36PM

    With all of its flaws, I will still take modern medicine over not having it. I'm glad you have gotten some good results!

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IZZYBEBOP 11/27/2011 11:29AM

    I am grateful and thankful that you had the strength to know something was wrong and sought medical help, and that your doctor has helped you. Thank you for sharing your story.

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SUPERGRAN55 11/27/2011 10:25AM

    Congratulations on your attitude readjustment. I know from personal experience that life can give us far more than what we think we can handle. Do you add to your list every day? It helps! 3-5 entries once a day can help us from going into that dark place. Keep up the good fight. Your nieces and nephews need you! emoticon

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48MYYEAR2014 11/27/2011 7:50AM

    i am so sorry to hear about all your troubles i must admit i too am grateful for for wonders of modern medicine

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HUNNNYBEE 11/27/2011 6:45AM

    Finding a good doctor is SO important! I am happy to hear that you have found one who will listen and who will work with you to improve your health! Definitely something to put on your gratitude list!


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SURENDERISNOTME 11/26/2011 10:59PM

    I am so glad that you have been able to find the help that you were needing for fibroyalgia and depression. I know a few people who suffer from both.It is a tough battle you fight.


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BARBIE176 11/26/2011 10:14PM

    What a emoticon blog. I am thankful that you did not commit suicide and that you have a doctor who was able to determine something that was helpful to you. I do not know much about fibromyalgia, but I have heard how painful it is. emoticon emoticon

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A&I Fun Blog - The Day After Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This is a bit shorter than the Night B4 Xmas... I ran out of steam LOL! Hope you enjoy!!

‘Twas the day after Thanksgiving, and all through the town
The shoppers were shopping, laying credit cards down.
The cars were all lined up at red lights so bright,
Waiting and honking to get home before night.

The children were hungry, and tired and bored,
Crabby and cranky from sugar they’d gorged.
And mama was dieting, no food had she had,
And when daddy offered it she just got mad.

First Target, then Macy’s, Kohl’s and Kmart,
Followed by Pennys and Best Buy and Walmart
When, what to our bloodshot eyes should appear,
But a restaurant, not crowded, with parking quite near!

We pulled in and pulled up, turned off the car,
Then headed inside, dad went to the bar.
Mom growled and sat down to devour the bread
And swear that New Years she was reducing her ‘spread’.

"Now Asher! now, Lancy! now, Peter and Trissa!
Off, Janet! up, Stacy! sit Danny and Lisa!
Sit up to the table and put hands in your lap.
If you do not behave we’ll go home for a nap!

We sat and we looked and ordered our food,
And waited and waited, not in a good mood.
Daddy came back and met with a stare,
Mama wasn’t happy, he was in for a scare!

Then he gently reminded her this isn’t a race,
She was there to enjoy, anger is a waste.
So she sat and she thought and said with happiness,
Let’s go home after lunch and stop all this madness!

We ate lunch with laughter, then sprang to the car,
Drove home in a rush, not going too far.
Mama pulled out the catalogs, daddy hopped on line,
They shopped and they shopped, done in no time.

The kids were all happy playing with dolls, cars and jets,
Mom and dad were done shopping and staying in budget.
So Black Friday, some love ya, some wait all year long,
But you’ll find me at home and in peace, right where I belong.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHYGETSFIT 11/29/2011 1:31AM

    emoticonblog Lou! I really liked your take on it!

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IZZYBEBOP 11/27/2011 11:32AM

    Love it!

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48MYYEAR2014 11/27/2011 7:42AM

    emoticon interpretationhun

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BARBIE176 11/26/2011 10:15PM


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QUEEN_REINA 11/26/2011 1:42AM

    Cute. Did you write it?

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AMYBELLES 11/24/2011 9:18AM

    Bravo...well done! Very creative and fun!!! You got me inspired to do my own!

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CJWORDPLAY 11/23/2011 11:09PM

    What fun! I can tell you enjoyed putting this together. And some wise words, as well!

Thanks. Happy Thanksgiving. emoticon

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SUNNYDAZE9 11/23/2011 9:46AM

    Thanks for sharing.

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HUNNNYBEE 11/23/2011 9:24AM

    Love this! And I agree....HOORAY for online shopping!

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48MYYEAR2014 11/22/2011 3:30PM

    interesting take!

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    Fantastic blog!I never shop on Black Friday!


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SINNIBLONDE 11/22/2011 3:12PM

    Love it!

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WOUBBIE 11/22/2011 2:58PM


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A&I Blog : Motivation

Friday, November 04, 2011

"WEEKLY BLOG: “MOTIVATING ADVICE and TIPS” – I'm sure, at one time or another, we’ve all lost our motivation and gotten off track. What advice would you give for someone who has lost their motivation to workout and/or eat healthy? What did YOU personally do to get yourself back on track?"

I personally think that eating is the key to weight loss, not working out. I say this (although many of you will no doubt disagree) because I’ve read a LOT about weight loss and BIOLOGY of the human body, not “diet” books. There’s a lot to be said for hormones (all of them, not just the "girly" ones) and obesity and personally I think it’s fascinating. So… I will put a section on working out, but just know that it’s not my main focus for losing weight.

My motivation and what I would talk about with other people who haven’t any motivation to work out is not, as I stated, focused on losing weight, but on the other benefits of movement.

Yoga is great for being centered, relieving stress, flexibility and pain. There are different types of yoga from breathing to gentle stretches to out and out “fat busters” intensive workouts. I have done a number of different kinds geared towards different things. Even at 315lbs (my heaviest ever) I could and DID do yoga and I have remained so flexible that my physical therapists and doctors have all consistently remarked on my flexibility. Although I have joint issues, I believe that I have a LOT less than I would have if I hadn’t done yoga for a long! time.

Walking is a wonderful way to get fresh air and Vitamin D. It can be very companionable when done with a friend or family member. It is (if you aren’t walking towards a speed goal) something you can do with anyone and the whole family can benefit from it. It also, if used for transportation TO somewhere, can save on gas/bus fair, and is much more green than driving everywhere. It allows time for personal meditation, reduces stress, and helps tone the overall body.

Lifting weights allows one to be strong and resilient and increases their ability to heal if there is a break or fracture of some sort because the muscles supporting the joints and bones are stronger. It also allows for better balance which eases strain and stress on the body in general. It also helps with daily living (lifting, openings jars, etc.) and self-defense. I have very weak hands due to my health conditions, which deteriorates upper body strength, and only by “exercising” my hands daily can I keep them strong enough to open jars! So if you kind of laughed when reading that… think about how you would feel if you lived along and couldn’t open them! It’s not fun.

Swimming and aquatic exercise (think water aerobics) allows people who are overweight and/or have joint or muscle pain to exercise in a manner in which they do not have to support their weight and therefore have less stress on their body frames. I noted in another blog that when they drain the water tank at my physical therapy (I’m in aquatic therapy for fibromyalgia and, now, my knee which I hurt) I “gain 100 lbs”. It’s not a happy thing to be standing there and all of a sudden have 100lbs or more “drop” onto my frame :P

So, now my main focal point… food!! First of all, we all have our own ideas of what is “healthy” and what isn’t… Again, I’ve read a lot of books on this, and I’ve also experimented and spoken with other people about what does or does not work for them. Depending on how long the person had been trying to “eat healthy” and what their idea of healthy is, as well as their own understanding of nutrition and their ability and willingness to explore other options, I would do Nutrion 101 with them if they needed it and then discuss different eating plans and why they might or might not work for them. After all, there’s no sense if encouraging someone if they are simply not eating the right plan for them!

I could never do Ornish because I’m highly insulin insensitive and metabolically resistant and therefore carbs don’t process through my body properly. They just go straight to my fat stores!! If you are someone who can eat carbs with impunity, then you might be better off with a lower fat or “plate portions” plan.

There was a study done by Stanford University where they compared Ornish, the Traditional (American Dietetic Association) plan, Atkins and The Zone. The main guy was (and I presume still is) a vegetarian. He was completely irritated that Atkins actually produced better in all areas (weight, cholesterol, etc.) but beyond that when they broke down the results based on insulin sensitivity, they found that the traditional diet (which the other three, at the end, all ended up being – this was a public health model, not a controlled study) worked better for people who are very insulin sensitive (NOT diabetic or pre-diabetic) but for those who were more insulin resistant (pre-diabetic – there were no diabetics included in the study) the results were drastically better with Atkins. If you can’t “use” the carbs, don’t eat the carbs!

After discussing the program options, if they decided they wanted to stick to the plan they’d been trying to follow then I would discuss their reasons for wanting to lose weight and the challenges they were facing and options to avoid or handle them differently. I read a book, I think it was YOU on a Diet, that explored why one woman wanted to lose weight. She said it was because she wanted to get married and have kids. Well, when he asked why she wanted to get married and have kids, then kept asking why why why to each answer, it boiled down that she was lonely! And she kept eating bad food because “food was her friend”. (See my GOODBYE blog for the hard cruel fact on that one!) By addressing her issue of being lonely, they were able to move past the “food as friend” problem and then she was able to move forward with her weight loss. If you aren’t solving the REAL issue, the answer is not going to be valid.

Once we had done that, if it still did not identify the problems that they were having with motivation, then I would have a ‘tough love’ discussion on if they really wanted to lose weight. I had to have this with one of my nieces when it came to smoking. She “tried” numerous times, and finally I said point blank, do you REALLY want to quit. She didn’t. At that time it was too hard for her to give up her crutch. Now she has moved on and gotten to a point where she did want to quit, and she’s been smoke free for about 4 years now. Sometimes you just have to face an ugly truth about yourself that you really DON’T want to improve whatever it is you are working on… and that’s okay too. Not everyone is going to succeed. Not everyone is going to be thin and healthy. And while that’s not good for them, sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to tell them it’s okay to be overweight, out of shape and unhealthy, because THAT is the BEST they can do in the situation they are in. I would never tell someone going through drug or alcohol withdrawal, or cancer, or abuse, or a devastating life event, that their main focus should be diet and exercise. REAL life isn’t that simple.

There is a book on women’s health from the Boston Women’s Health Cooperative I read once that actually said at the end of their chapter on weight loss that if you decide to not lose weight, it is okay! When I read that it was actually very liberating. I was at last!! after so long – told I could love myself the way I was. There wasn’t anything “wrong” with me and I wasn’t bad! I had spent YEARS hating my body, hating my life, hating myself! Because I was “fat, ugly, wrong, lazy, a pig, etc.etc.etc.”. But it wasn’t my lack of will power, or my being a pig, or lazy, or wrong. My mother told me after I went through all this that I had ALWAYS had a problem. I was born 4lbs and then failed to thrive. I almost died because I was starving to death. I had numerous food allergies and had reactions to milk AND soy and her breast milk was insufficient due to lacking nutrients so I didn’t have anything to eat. Then when I became a toddler into my childhood my mother would feed me and my 1 ½ year older sister the exact same food and portions, but she was thin and I was “chubby”. I ran around like crazy outside and my sister played dolls… but I gained weight eating the same thing she did. Ends up it was my thyroid. I have autoimmune disorders and have had ever since I was born, but back then they didn’t know about the connections and the thresholds for “normal” thyroid has been severely changed through the years. NOW they would have recognized me as having a problem when I was a baby, but back then they just didn’t know better. You can’t say that I was lazy (I ran around constantly) or was a pig (I ate the same exact thing as my "thin" sister) or anything else. It was simply the way my body acted. I was sick. I only found out last year that this stemmed from my in-utero life, because they are only now realizing that thyroid issues and diabetes (which my mother had when pregnant with me) affect the baby and the baby’s metabolic and immune systems, which are run by hormones. They also now know that soy is bad for the thyroid, and since my milk reactions were worse than my soy reactions, that's mostly what I survived on.

So… now that I’ve written a book (LOL!) I’ll draw to a close… hope this gave you something to think about :) Writing it gave me a LOT to think about!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMYBELLES 11/7/2011 10:47PM

    Wow, your blog had a LOT of "food for thought!" I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing all the info on exercise and the studies done on the different diets. I do better on low carb myself...everyone has to find out what works best for them. Also, understanding why you want to lose weight in the first place is very important. Many times you have to work on the underlying issues first. Loving and accepting yourself is definitely the most important thing!

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TREA241 11/7/2011 11:39AM

    Wow- this could be in an article here on Spark! That was an amazing blog. Thank you so much for that!

xoxo -Andrea

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IZZYBEBOP 11/6/2011 10:21AM

    You definitely put a lot in here to digest. I think the part I love the most is learning to love oneself regardless of appearance, etc. Maybe that's been my problem, I've lost the ability to love myself and, in doing so, have lost my motivation. It's time for me to LOVE ME no matter what!

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HUNNNYBEE 11/6/2011 6:41AM

    This blog has SO many good points! My favorite is when you point out that diet plans are not "one size fits all"! I believe that finding a way to eat that "fits" you is so important!

Thank you for sharing your insight!

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CATHYGETSFIT 11/6/2011 1:20AM

    Wow! Lots of information here! I've never heard that soy is bad for the thyroid. I would have to say that what you eat is just as important as exercise, for me anyways. Exercising doesn't do any good if you eat a bag of potato chips. For me, I know that eating right alone doesn't work. I've been thinking about trying a low carb diet to see if that might help me to lose more weight. Thanks for writing your "book". It definitely gave me some things to think about! emoticon emoticon

emoticon emoticon

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QUEEN_REINA 11/5/2011 12:07AM

    It is a lot of info. I figure everyone on spark has read a lot about weight and eating and metabolism and such, some good some not so good, and it's nice to have some of the info compiled like this now and then.

I think weight loss is a great deal what we eat but also how much we move (exercise). Just changing one thing, nutrition intake, can help but not as much as changing intake AND output. Plus, just losing weight doesn't = healthy.
Fitness might be more important than leanness.

I think maybe just any small change someone makes that brings them closer to healthy is good. Eventually all these changes are going to add up to a lifestyle...

You've lost a great deal already. I'm really proud of you. Plus, it shows that you are doing something right! =)

Comment edited on: 11/5/2011 12:07:24 AM

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CJWORDPLAY 11/4/2011 11:20PM

    You have pointed to a very real issue - we need to know our own bodies - what helps them and what doesn't. Then we can make good decisions about weight loss and exercise - and get back to caring for the bodies that are working so hard for us every day.
Thanks. CJ emoticon

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    I am diabetic, with a hypothyroid condition! Accordeing to my doctor my body actually produces to much insulin an I take meformin to helpregulate it. For the past year I have been on a low carb diet 135 carbs a day. It has brought my blood sugar readings have been in the normal range since starting this program. The dietician told me not to worry so much about the calories as long as I kept withing my carb range. She gave me a list of foods that helped me do that. What you eat is important but since I am on a low carb diet. I need to make sure I use those crabs for energy.


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48MYYEAR2014 11/4/2011 6:29PM

    wow! emoticon this" book" has given me alot to consider

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BARBIE176 11/4/2011 5:05PM

    Awesome blog with so much information. I will definitely have to come back and re-read it just to digest it all. Thank you for writing your book as it sounds like you have a lot of information to share. I am hopefully I will find something that helps me in my journey. You are emoticon emoticon for sharing! emoticon emoticon

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

I was reading one of the "featured blogs" just now and it was talking about water and how when you are in it weight doesn't matter. That is SO true! I posted in one of the groups recently that I'm doing water therapy (aquatic physical therapy) for my fibromyalgia and when they drain the tank I gain 100lbs! It is such a weird feeling. You don't really notice the weight disappearing as they fill the tank, but when they drain it man you sure feel it coming back on!! It makes you really realize how much "fat" weight you are carrying around that you wouldn't be if you weren't fat.


DAY 40 - Goodbye

Friday, October 28, 2011

I saw a "what's your break-up letter" thread and posted... I had no idea how angry and bitter I was!! It was amazing until I had to stop because I was getting REALLY upset... anyway I don't want to "lose" my posting because anything that makes me that angry has to be "baggage" that needs to be worked on ... so I'm blogging my response.

Dear chips... potato, corn, tortilla, dorito, cheeto, and all your other sisters and brothers,

It is time to say goodbye. You were a huge part of my life. You made me feel better when my feelings were hurt, you made me happy when I was depressed, you were always there for me when I was broke, hungry, sad, angry, feeling like no one loved me. You soothed me and told me that YOU loved me and YOU cared...

Only I found out you lied.

You hurt me and all the while you were lying to me, saying you were my friend. You were never my friend. You were only a scammer who wanted my body and my fat cells and my blood cells to stick your glucose on to. It was all a big scam, a trick to give you access to my body.

No more.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SURENDERISNOTME 10/30/2011 10:45AM

    Oh so true! Problem is I just bought a bag of Cheetos at the store yesterday, Quess I shouldn't have opened it.


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EVERLEARNING 10/29/2011 11:29AM

    Well done! Just walk away from those lying pieces of chip!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WOUBBIE 10/29/2011 10:37AM

    Grains are like the sociopaths of the food world. They make you love them, but they don't return the love because they can't. *waves goodbye*

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SOXYINMO 10/29/2011 9:35AM


No nastiness, just the honest truth. A PERFECT break-up letter!

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CATHYGETSFIT 10/29/2011 1:31AM

    emoticon emoticonblog and good for you for saying goodbye to those unhealthy snacks!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TREKPURRSON 10/28/2011 6:24PM

    emoticon emoticon empty calories! emoticon blog! emoticon

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SABLENESS 10/28/2011 6:05PM

    emoticon emoticon to those nasty things that sabatage our healthy goals! emoticon It's not nearly as hard as I expected to do without that stuff when I'm full of healthy things. emoticon

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POSHAMY 10/28/2011 2:57PM

    emoticon Loved this!!

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ELSEYGIRL 10/28/2011 2:54PM

  This made me giggle, but it's so true! emoticon to the lying snacks!

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