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Failed the Talk Test

Monday, February 21, 2011

When I was at the gym, riding my bike, reading my book, I got a call. It was my sister! We talked for a few minutes, and at one point, she asked where I was. That's when I realized that I could not possibly have been working out hard enough, because I didn't sound the least bit winded. This is my normal bike workout--I like to read while I'm working out. But in the future, I need to work much harder on the bike, even if it hurts my reading and comprehension. Probably I should stick to the elliptical, it's easier to get a workout while I read.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUTHXG 2/22/2011 2:49PM

    Very cool that Amy's call made you realize this! Have fun intensifying your workout & getting satisfyingly sweaty! emoticon

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 2/22/2011 11:31AM

    Good call! Sometimes we get comfortable in our routines and don't realize how much more we could push it! I have tried to read on the elliptical but it makes me dizzy! emoticon

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MOMMYOMG 2/22/2011 9:23AM

    Yesterday was my first time on the Treadmill watching a tv....I felt a little uncoordinated. I had to really focus. I didn't have my Ipod with me because I thought I was going to Zumba but class was cancelled. Next time, bringing the Ipod. As someone stated above, I think recorded books would be good for you---I'd like to try some myself.

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BOBBIEED 2/22/2011 9:13AM

    I find that the longer I work at something the better I get and the hard I have to work to get that 'working out' feeling. You are doing great. Hang in there hon!

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AMYLONGHORN 2/22/2011 8:37AM

    YAY I contributed to your AH HA moment! SAWEET!!! I know you felt like you weren't doing "much," but just getting to the gym is AWESOME! I know you work hard when you go in there, so keep it up, even if you feel like you need to step it up a bit! LOVE YOU!!!

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SEAWAVE 2/22/2011 8:16AM

    Maybe recorded books would work for you, now that you're ready for more vigorous workouts and can't read. You're doing great, though, if you've gotten to that point without even noticing - thank God for phone calls from sisters!
emoticon emoticon

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SASSACAIA 2/22/2011 8:15AM

    I've always found that I work harder on the elliptical as opposed to the bike - I don't know why that is, or if it's just me. Either way, it's good to shake it up and surprise your body! But good for you for getting to the gym in the first place, emoticon!

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GO-LOEW 2/22/2011 12:03AM

    I like to wear my heart-rate monitor so I can tell when I am in the "zone" and then I settle in for the walk or bike ride. I figure I will get some more intense training when I ride up hills when I know I won't be able to talk and just hope the alarm doesn't go off telling me I have topped out the zone.

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KIMBERLY2313 2/21/2011 10:14PM

    Isnt it funny how something so simple can make have an ah ha moment lol. Why not reading for awhile then putting some music on and kickin butt for awhile..always good to switch up what you doing :) Keep up that great work!! emoticon

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CARLYG8 2/21/2011 7:59PM

    I tried reading once on the elliptical....made me motion sick. I was so dizzy, and thought I was gonna be sick. I do better with music, and will stick to my ipod. Although, the ellipticals at the gym have a tv screen. A couple of times, I have watched tv...that wasnt too bad.

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FRANKIEMOMMY 2/21/2011 7:09PM

    Well that's one way to learn you need to pick it up karmic communication lol! Good luck with all your goals emoticon

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Looking Forward

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I think I've said this in my main SparkPage: I've been "working on" quitting smoking for about seven years.

One of my more recent "work on"s was with a therapist. I wish I could say "addiction specialist," but not only did I really dislike the guy, it turned out when I looked him up on my insurance website, he was NOT an addiction specialist, even though he said he could help me (I called his practice because the director of the practice had addictions listed).

But I digress.

Anyway, while I was talking to the guy, he kept trying to convince me there was still something in smoking I liked or found cool to which I was clinging, which I am definitely NOT. I really, really dislike smoking, but I'm really, really addicted to it, and that's my problem.

But I think there is something in QUITTING smoking that I like. Maybe not quite, but that, after seven years of being in this weird limbo, that it's become a part of my identity. I'm not an ex-smoker, a former smoker, or even a real smoker anymore. I'm just a smoker who's trying to quit. And that's something with which I identify. And that's what's got to change.

So there's that.

Then, this week, something really awful and tragic happened to someone I really care about. I went to be with him, and he was really hung up on what had happened, and he was overcome with guilt. I sat with him, and I talked to him and tried to make him understand that we can't live in the past, even if it was just yesterday, that we can only look forward. Later, I heard from someone geographically closer that he was beginning to forgive himself.

After I left him, I realized that I need to understand that, too. What's past is past. I can't change the last seven years. I can only look forward, and I don't have to identify myself as anybody from before. I can shake it away and start right now. And that's what I will do.

Thank you, kiddo.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMYOMG 2/22/2011 5:16PM

    My parents have smoked for 30+ years and I wish sooooooo badly that they could quit. I have never smoked and am so thankful. My mom really wants to quit right now (she is a 3rd year survivor of breast cancer) and even that did not motivate her enough to actually quit. So I am hoping and praying for her now which is all that I can do. I will do it for you as well. If you believe in your heart you can do it...I think you truly can! SO GO FOR IT!

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RUTHXG 2/22/2011 2:46PM

    I left a comment here a day or two ago but don't see it now! I must have forgotten to hit "post comment." What I remember saying is that here at SP we don't think of you as a smoker. We have never seen you smoke--every time you mention it I get a little jolt of surprise, because I DON'T THINK OF YOU WITH A CIGARETTE IN YOUR HAND! That's not your identity here. I hope that fact strengthens you in your hard work to be who you truly are!

So proud of you! emoticon

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KJNLDE 2/21/2011 5:09PM

    YAY to looking forward! You have SUCH a positive outlook and this blog really is uplifting! Just realizing these things is such a huge step towards quitting!

I don't know if this helps or not, but my dad actually went to a hypno-therapist when I was around 10 or so to quit smoking. And it actually worked! He hasn't touched one in over 20 years!

Whatever the route you take, you are def on the right path!! emoticon

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DESERTNATIVE1 2/21/2011 12:33PM

    "What's past is past" - i need to remind myself of that several times a day! Like yourself, I, too, cannot change the the last two years. We must continue to look forward. I really like the comment by Julighter - the observation that the review mirror is smaller than the windshield! I guess that means we are supposed to be looking FORWARD!!

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AMYLONGHORN 2/21/2011 10:40AM

    Still thinking of you and your student...I know he appreciates your support, and probably doesn't even realize how much he helped you, too, while you were helping him! BIG HUGS to ya and good luck with the smoking...I hope you can stick with it.

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JMCADE 2/20/2011 9:45PM

    I have never smoked, but I do understand from family members how addicting it can be. So I can understand the difficulty of quitting. But more importantly, I think you have had an AHA moment (just like the one that brought us to Spark). I hope that this will be the spark that helps you over the addiction.

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KAREN_NY 2/20/2011 8:48PM

    Cheers to a fabulous future! Adventure & good spirit,

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JULIGHTER 2/20/2011 8:48PM

    This is great! I once heard the rearview mirror is really small, but the winsheild is so much larger! Who drives backwards?

Have you ever tried cutting back on smoking like 10-9-8 etc.? I hear that works.

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CONTESSA63 2/20/2011 7:05PM

  Here's to looking forward.

What a wonderful blog. You gave me something to think about and made me smile.

Thank you! emoticon

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CARLYG8 2/20/2011 6:35PM

    You know something that helped me...I watched other people smoke after I quit. Seriously, watch somebody smoke. They are rather funny looking...the big inhale...I pictured them as cartoon characters in my head and made it all look so way I could be a smoker and have somebody watch me look funny...

Try it...and stay strong...YOU CAN DO IT!!

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MELLIL 2/20/2011 4:26PM

    I quit smoking 14 years ago. I was smoking 3 packs a day when I quit, and I quit cold turkey. I bought myself 2 bags of hard candy, and MANY skeins of yarn, and I kept my mouth and my hands busy ... at ALL times! That was all it took for me... but understanding that THAT may not be enough for you, I will share that a local friend of mine is having a REALLY hard time trying to quit - but she found out that there is a program through our local hospital that will give her Chantix FREE - if she take the ALSO FREE smoking cessation class there. Maybe you should contact your local hospital and see if they have such a program. I have heard that Chantix is VERY GOOD! Blessings on your efforts!

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4LEEFCLOVER 2/20/2011 4:15PM

    If you are smoking right NOW, stop. You can change the now; choose something else to do now, over and over. When you find yourself smoking again, stop, don't finish the cig. Do something else. Make a list of other things you can do, and put it in your pocket or wallet. Maybe write down how you are feeling, why you want or don't want to smoke or something completely different. Make yourself walk up and down the stairs for every time you want to smoke. Play with your dog. Make lunches for the week. Do deep breathing. Every time you are aware, it is a new NOW. You have some great NOWs ahead of you. Good Luck!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RUTHXG 2/20/2011 3:53PM

    Isn't it cool how sometimes the words we find ourselves saying to help others reverberate & turn out to be exactly what we ourselves needed to hear . . .

I only know you virtually, BT, & every single time you mention smoking it takes me aback! I have never seen you smoking, & for me that's not part of your identity. Don't know if it helps at all, but I'll say it plainly: HERE AT SPARKPEOPLE YOU ARE NOT A SMOKER. (Do starfish ever smoke? Why no, they don't!) You are someone who is working on becoming healthy & strong. And you're already clever & cute. So there.

Hey, it will be WAY cool if your OTHER sis joins SP too! And thanks for clarifying about the 191. Let's see, if I exercise 5 days that's a little under 40 minutes per session . . . doable!


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KRISTA64 2/20/2011 3:36PM

    You are a beautiful and insightful person...your friend was lucky to have you around to help.
Your future looks bright!!!!

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Getting my 10-pointer!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So for 5% Challenge, we get a 10-point bonus for doing a blog that says the following:

Your expectations (3), goals (3), and your reasons for changing your life!

So, here I go. I had the pre-Challenge assignment, but it wasn't in this format, so I want to do it this way, too.

Expectations. This one's weird. Expectations for myself? Or the Challenge? Or my Team? I dunno. I'll do for myself. It's the one thing over which I have control:
1. NO SMOKING! No matter what. Not an option. Period.
2. Pull my weight on the team with regard to exercise. This week, it's 191 minutes.
3. Stay within my calorie range recommended by Spark.

1. Get two months smoke-free under my belt during the Challenge.
2. Lose 5% of my weight.
3. Build a consistent fitness program.
4. Learn to stay within my calorie range everyday.

Reasons for Changing My Life:
1. Living longer
2. Being cuter
3. Feeling better about myself
4. Moving forward and becoming someone who does new things and learns more

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMYLONGHORN 2/21/2011 10:37AM

    I think you're cute already! LOL

Let's do it to it, sister! I love you tons and am so glad we are doing this TOGETHER! We're already off to a GREAT start...keep it up!

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KAREN_NY 2/20/2011 8:47PM

    You are so cute! Love your plan - totally sound and really ADMIRABLE. Quitting smoking is so hard... I quit 20 years ago, but it was running and making other healthy choices that made me really give up the very last smoke. You'll be fine, and we'll be tellin' ya... ROCK THE DAY!!!


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KJNLDE 2/20/2011 1:09PM

    Great goals!! I want to be cuter too!! Yay for the better looking us!! Cigarettes are no match for you! My hubby quit cold turkey about 8 years ago. He said after about 2 weeks it was easier and the dreams went away after about a year. You can do this!!

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LOUANN22 2/20/2011 12:33PM

    Thank you for the blog comment. Much appreciated! You can make you goals I know it! I'm here for you and if you need any help or support with the no smoking I am here for you! I'm almost 2 months smoke free now GO US!! emoticon

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RUTHXG 2/20/2011 12:27AM

    This is a great blog post. Only thing is, as a professional editor I have to tell you that one word is missing.

The word is "even," in reason #2.

Being EVEN cuter!

We emoticon you! You are going to do GREAT in this challenge! And how cool is it that you recruited your sister to the team?!

P.S. No one else has remarked on it, but I find the number 191 quite hilarious. emoticon

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 2/19/2011 8:50PM

    emoticon emoticon
Lean on us when you need support!

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CARLYG8 2/19/2011 7:41PM

    I know that it is not easy to quit smoking, but you have to do the time, and it gets a little better every day. I will warn you that at around six months clean...all of a sudden you will want to smoke..and you will want it BAD...but you have to resist. I think that it is your body's last attempt to make you give it what it wants...and then it is gone. I quit cold turkey on Mothers day 2000, and haven't had a cigarette since. YOU CAN DO IT!!!

emoticon GO STARFISH!

(I am going to wear out that little starfish emoticon during this challenge...laughs)

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LINDEE6 2/19/2011 7:07PM

    Such admirable plans! You are certain to succeed!

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GO-LOEW 2/19/2011 5:17PM

    You will feel so much better without smoking and losing 5%. Let the team help you if you need us.


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BOBBIEED 2/19/2011 5:16PM

    Great goals hon. But you are already as cute as a my mom would have said *LOL*
Go emoticon

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JMCADE 2/19/2011 4:21PM

    What good goals for you. You WILL do well this 8 weeks I feel it. make things happen for you. See it and it will happen.

Go fellow Starfish, together we will get there.

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SHREKWARD 2/19/2011 3:48PM


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MEZZOJO 2/19/2011 3:42PM


Good luck with the challenge!!!

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DOLPHINFAN1334 2/19/2011 3:36PM


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Trying to Climb Out of a Hole and Sliding Back In

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Meal planning. It's driving me insane.

I don't really know what to do. For 5% Challenge, I had decided I was going to use Spark meal plans, but then, when I tried to organize them, I realized they kind of blow. I'm sure they're good for some people, but some of it was weird. Like, applesauce at dinner, and drinking glasses of milk like I'm five. Plus, I figured with two grown men, one of whom is 23 and appears to have a hollow leg, living in my house, I'd need to quintuple the amounts for the grocery list, causing the grocery list to have ridiculous things like "80 stalks of celery."

So I figured I would see what the calorie ranges, carbs, fat, protein, fiber and sodium were, and then I'd prepare around that. And that was HARD. I found about 25 good recipes in SparkRecipes, then I tried to maneuver them around, so I could have the grocery list. I got through breakfast and lunch of one day, and then the tedium set in. And I couldn't imagine planning anymore.

At this point, it was 4pm. And I'd been at this almost nonstop since 9am.

How did I waste an entire Saturday? And what am I going to do?

Add to this that I am a good grocery shopper--coupons, shopping around circulars, saving boatloads of money, and my head started to spin. It's completely overwhelming, and it makes me hate grocery shopping. A year ago, it was my hobby, and before today, I was already feeling grocery fatigued. Now, I've almost developed a phobia.

So what the hell am I going to eat for the next nine weeks? How am I going to plan it? Now I understand the draw to those meal plans where they deliver the meals daily to your house, but the shopping ninja in me cannot conceive of spending that kind of money.

If anyone can toss me an insights, tips, and a rope, I'd really appreciate it, because I feel like I'm right back to where I was this morning, with not even a change in attitude towards food. At this rate, I'm going to be overeating for this challenge just like I did for the last one.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARLYG8 2/19/2011 7:50PM

    I have found it difficult at times to plan, being a vegetarian and my family being meat-eaters, and trying to eat healthier...and well it is enough to make a person crazy. I just kind of went simple with it. We know what we should and should not be eating. We know how much we should be eating (portion control). So I basically eat what I know to be healthy and nutritious, in smaller portions and I seemed to be able to stay within my calorie range almost everyday (sometimes under)with little or no thought involved...well, there is some thought...but I'm not as crazy....(laughs!)

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MISSMOONROCK 2/12/2011 8:03PM

    I wanted to try meal plans but then I don't always know what I feel like making until that evening, or whichever. Sounds far to complicated.

What I do is just track my calories & nutrition. Get the basics if you don't already have them, and anything extra if you want to make a certain dish. Then calculate the calories in the whole dish before eating any of it. That way you still know what's up.

Remember, doing everything perfectly to the book doesn't typically work. If it gets too complicated then you'll likely be tempted to throw it all out the window. You have to take each day as it comes and just work with it =)

p.s. Also remember that the less one thinks about food is generally better.

Comment edited on: 2/12/2011 8:03:44 PM

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RUTHXG 2/12/2011 7:57PM

    I think the trick is to identify some go-to recipes that are really good for you & that you really like! Here are some of mine: dhal, red-lentil-cauliflower-coconut curry, Boston-style baked beans, vegetarian chili, sweet potato chicken stew. Those work for either lunch or supper.

Simplify your choices for breakfast & lunch. I periodically make a big batch of nutty muesli (a recipe I invented), & then have it every morning with milk, an organic banana, blueberries if I have them, extra cinnamon, skim milk. Maybe a tangerine or a small glass of juice. That's breakfast--often my biggest meal, but simple & quick.

For lunch, I might make a batch of tuna salad & have that on sandwiches for a week, with a few baby carrots & a piece of fruit. Or I might take a serving of one of the hot foods of the week, plus the carrots & fruit.

For supper, I make a couple of batches of favorite dishes, plus a batch of brown rice or quinoa, & then take turns eating them down. If I feel like something different one night, I might scramble eggs with mushroom & spinach or kale.

This gives me variety from week to week, though not lots of variety day to day. I'm fine with that! There's always the option to go out occasionally too. (Remember my trick for that: pretty much ignore the high-carb foods & just focus on protein & veggies.)

If you look over the calories & other nutrients for a day on Ruth's Good Food Diet, you'll see that they pretty much add up to what you want. For the grown men, two or three times what you eat should suffice, but this isn't super expensive fare.

Does any of this help? You can figure out BeatleTot's Good Food Diet too, I have no doubt!

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5% Challenge Goal Blog

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What do you want to change? Well, that's purely vanity. I want to change my shape, and be cute again. I used to be super-cute, and you know what? When I was super-cute, I didn't even realize it.

How do you want to look? Mostly thinner, but I'd also like to have toned arms. I'd like to be able to show my belly button ring off. I love it just for me, but I don't think I've bared my midriff in at least five years.

How do you want to feel? Cute. On par with all the pretty girls at work. There are so many gorgeous girls at my office! I feel like I'm working at a beauty pageant. I could never wear as much makeup as the "pretty girls" do, but I'd take having a figure closer to one of theirs.

What things will you be able to do in the future with a slimmer healthier body? Bare my midriff (see above), take a good photo, go to my high school reunion this year and be a bit close to how I was in high school, at least so I won't feel like people are talking. You know, it's odd, though. In high school, I was super-cute (see above), but no one paid much mind to me in that regard. But I'd still be nervous they'd think, geez, look at all the weight BeatleTot gained...and in a bad way, I want to have the schadenfreude for myself. I feel a little guilty saying that. But I can't be the only one--especially at a high school reunion! And, as Karl Marx said, "There is something in the misfortune of even our closest friends which does not displease us."

Okay, and this is going to sound crazy, but here it is. When I'm at my goal weight, I want to go on a pizza diet. Seriously. It started when I was talking to my exchange student, and I made the comment that I thought it was impossible to get sick of pizza. And once it fell out of mouth, I decided that I would like to take it as a personal challenge. I will eat nothing but pizza for as long as possible, and then see how long it takes to get sick of it. It does sound crazy. But if I get to my goal weight, I will have the tools (portion control, discipline in working out, etc.) to be able to control my weight even if I do the pizza diet. Now, I am very excited about this, not gonna lie. But I can wait till I'm there.

I recognize the dangers. Too much fat, spiralling out of control, and most seriously, the possibility that by the time I'm done, I may not want pizza again for the rest of my life, like an ex-McDonald's employee with Big Macs. But that's a risk I'm willing to take. So there you go.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROCKPORT9 2/19/2011 1:11PM

    You have been so excited about thiss 5% challenge. I know you will stay motivated throughout. I bet you are already cute!!! Look closer. emoticon

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JMCADE 2/13/2011 12:38PM

    Sounds like you just want to be happy with yourself again and you can get there. Stay with us this next 8 weeks and we will try and keep you motivated. You sound so ready to make this happen and you have lots of reasons to do it for yourself. You can do it.

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RUTHXG 2/12/2011 8:03PM

    P.S. Pizza diet? I do love pizza, but I would get sick of it right away--not to mention having digestive problems because of insufficient fiber & such. But hey, it's something fun to look forward to, & you can track so as not to go wild on calories--so why not?

You ARE a very silly person! (For me "silly" is not an insult--quite the contrary.)

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RUTHXG 2/12/2011 7:43PM

    OK, let's tease this out. I think of it as restoring BeatleTot to herself. She was small & super-cute back then? Regardless of whether anyone noticed, she was! So now she can be so again, getting back to who she really is. Will others notice? Probably--but whether they do or don't, she is going to feel really great because she is reclaiming her self & her life!

You go girl!


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