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The absolute best exercise ever.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weíre constantly bombarded with advertisements for the magic pill or gadget or activity that will allow us to ďmelt away the pounds.Ē I remember this even way back in the 50s when Lucy Ricardo tried to shake away and steam away the extra weight.

Today we have so much more information available at our fingertips. Now we understand calories in/calories out and use our trackers to monitor our behavior and adjust our diet to fit our own needs and lifestyle to find the best balance for our bodies.

Often we do the same with exercise.

Just yesterday at the gym a man told me that he uses the elliptical not the treadmill so he can burn 1200 calories in an hour. Wow! The most I ever burned on a tm was 500/hr. Even given the difference in our weights, maybe I should switch? Wait a minute. Iíve tried the elliptical. I didnít like it. Somehow the motion felt unnatural to me.

When step aerobics was first introduced, I joined that group. It was a great workout, but somehow I was always standing on the leg the instructor wanted me to step with. The same happened with Zumba. How could you not be attracted to the rhythm of that music? What a fun, energetic hour! Sadly looking in the mirror, I saw a pseudo-Latina dance team and one uncoordinated klutz. Not only was I standing on the leg I needed to move, but I was even facing the wrong direction. In both cases I thought Iíd get the hang of it in time, but then they would move on to a different routine.

Itís been a 40 year quest. I was an original member of Spa Lady when they opened in our area. They introduced me to aerobics and those machines. I loved to walk and bike ride with my young family. At age 28 I learned to swim well enough to do 1000 yards at a time. 25 years ago I started running.

I always belonged to a gym and continued to check out their new offerings. Some like those described above were utter failures. Some I enjoyed and continued to incorporate into my routine. Low impact aerobics with weights works well for me. Tai Chi also Ė finally a repeated regimen slow enough for my brain and muscles to communicate and the steps haven't changed for thousands of years. Today there is definitely something for everyone, even organized sports teams for adult women. You just have to look for it.

So what about calorie burn? There was a thread recently asking about the best exercise and many suggestions were offered. I liked and agree with the response of DGYOUNG1. ďThe exercise that you will actually do, is better than the exercise that looks good on paper, but you wonít actually do.Ē My feelings exactly!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNERKDB 10/14/2012 9:57AM

    Agree totally! Find you passion, for me running, and do it consistently! Seems we are always looking for some fancy glamorous but easy emoticon answer to become fit, Great Blog!

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/13/2012 11:09AM

    Big time agree! I was just telling a friend that exact thing -- find activities you enjoy doing because then you are much more likely to stick to regular exercise. I used to love step and regular aerobics, but now they are more supplemental exercises because I tend to get a bit bored. My favorite, do it every day, go to exercise is unglamorous, not high calorie burning walking. I can't even walk as fast as I used to, a mere 3.5 mph. But I love it. The dogs love it. And I am bound and determined to walk 3.5 miles each and every day, getting up early every day to do just that.

Thanks! emoticon




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LESLIE871948 10/13/2012 9:29AM

    Great blog. I am old enough to have Used one of the shake away things. And pretty much every other thing that came along. TODAY the very best exercise in the world is mowing my yard.
Yesterday it was running with my dogs
The day before that it was power yoga and free weights in my dining room
Tomorrow? who knows. Maybe a rest :)

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SUZYMOBILE 10/13/2012 9:27AM

    Couldn't agree more about "the exercise you will actually do." Bill and I were talking about that just last night. I look forward to walking every day because I love it. He has just discovered that he loves doing laps in the pool. We'll never successfully join a gym. Been there, done that, don't stick to it myself, and Bill ends up not going! Sometimes it takes 65 years to get something through your head.

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Did you RUN the whole way?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thatís my favorite example of what NOT to say to someone at the finish line, no matter what the length of the race. I suppose itís a matter of perspective, but I count every step moving forward as distance traveled whether or not it involved hauling my rear end off the ground.

I donít know when Galloway published his run/walk method. Back in 1987 I figured it out for myself. My daughter had just joined her HS cross country team and I wanted to see how far I could run. Not far, it turned out. I could run for 30 seconds. Yes, thatís seconds. This was completely unacceptable. I worked out at the gym regularly and was generally considered quite fit ďfor my age.Ē

My plan was to improve by running 30 seconds, walking 4:30 and repeat until 30 minutes. The following week I added 15 seconds to each run. Yeah, tiny baby steps, but even baby steps move you forward. Fortunately, I was very patient. It took 6 months, but I ran my 1st 5K in 30:51.

Iím 65 now and still a fan of run/walk. Since personally I donít like to wear a HRM, Iíll walk for a minute every mile or so to check my heart rate, sip some water, and even wipe my nose (darn allergies). I love data and in my case Iíve discovered that after my walk break, I run faster than if I forced myself to keep running so it doesnít make a difference in my final time either.

I understand that for some completing a race without any walking is a personal goal and thatís fine. Competing against yourself and achieving personal goals is what itís all about. However, we know that some people can actually walk faster than others run so I disagree with the purists who maintain that you havenít RUN a race if you included some walking. Thereís nothing to be gained by working toward someone elseís idea of perfection.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRADDIE 4/4/2014 11:51AM

    Well said!!! I can understand the goals of wanting to run the whole way, but it shouldn't be at the expense of anyone going the distance. I have put some goals of 5k running all the way for me. But on a long run, I just don't need to beat my body up like that and can enjoy the recovery aspect that walking brings it. My favorite half marathon was the one I actually had ratio that included more walk breaks than the one I ran as far as I could go then ran/walked as needed. I am still equal proud of both and yet I PR'd on the run/walk interval one!

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DAISYBELL6 10/15/2012 2:41PM

    Our answer should be "yes, I did." !

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FANGFACEKITTY 10/14/2012 9:54AM

    I admit to being a semi-purist...I don't feel that I've done it "right" if I haven't run the whole way. Personally - for me - I don't like the Galloway method, and my goal is always to be able to purely run whatever distance I'm training for.

However I would NEVER even think to apply my personal goals as the "only" standard. I've had my butt kicked in races by Galloway adherents and distinctly remember being passed in my first race by a walker. As you said, as long as you're moving forward you're moving and going the distance. How you get to the end isn't as important as the fact that you get there.

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STRIVER57 10/14/2012 8:40AM

    i totally and completely agree. it's taken me a little while to get over that feeling that i should be straight running -- but actually, this is more like HIIT which is supposed to be best for you -- and i firmly believe i'm likeliest to stay healthy and thus continue to be able to run -- and yes it's running -- with this method. i'm certainly not any slower with it, either.

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SOUTH_FORK 10/13/2012 8:30AM

    When I started teaching my body to run again (for the first time since childhood) my starting point and progression very closely mirrored yours. You SHOULD be able to do those silly, little humanizing things like wipe your nose or even stop to admire the scenery- anyone who says otherwise is missing out!

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LINDAKAY228 10/12/2012 1:11PM

    I am a huge fan of run/walk intervals. I had worked on running a whole 5k and did a few where I ran almost the whole thing and just walked very briefly a couple of times. But then I did one where I alternated 1 min walk, 1 min run and set a PR in that race. So it really did pay off for me. I'm 57, will be 58 in February and never ran unless I absolutely was forced to, like PE in school, until a few years ago.

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MOOSLADY 10/12/2012 12:26PM

    Hurray for personal exercise goals! I have had several people tell me that you can't REALLY be fit(or healthy) unless you run X miles per day. Tell that to my 88 yr old mom who still does everything she did at 60, just a little slower. She hasn't run since PE in high school! I am missing a piece of kneecap and have an atrophied muscle in the same quadricep and while I "could" run, it is not my best fitness option as it causes inflammation of the knee cartilage. 5 years ago I couldn't walk the 1/4 mile to the end of my road without thinking I might die, now I can easily walk 5k, say that was fun and enjoy the rest of my day. Hurray for forward progress!

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PDQ1203 10/12/2012 11:06AM

    emoticon

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/12/2012 11:05AM

    Excellent blog! I can't run at all and am impressed by those who do. But as long as we are moving and improving or maintaining our fitness, we are all succeeding.

Comment edited on: 10/12/2012 11:09:53 AM

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GOTTAPLAN4U 10/12/2012 10:34AM

  Very good blog. Ramping carefully into exercise and sports has become paramount for me in my older age. Your progress with the running is terrific, and inspiring.
emoticon
Kate

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PMRUNNER 10/12/2012 8:08AM

    You do it your way, you shouldn't have to make excuses to exercise snobs! You are going a lot further (and faster!) than those who didn't even get off the couch. You could always tell them not to judge you until they have walked a 5k in your shoes.

I like running and feel blessed that I am healthy enough to run through most of a race. I have done my share of run-walk (my last marathon, where the weather was much hotter than it was during most of my training runs!). I don't take being able to run for granted and try not to judge others who are out there challenging themselves.

Comment edited on: 10/12/2012 9:37:13 AM

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CELIAMINER 10/12/2012 7:19AM

    Love this! I recall talking to my trainer one time about my efforts to keep running, even when it would be faster for me to walk. I'd force may feet to make jogging motions, but the steps would be so tiny and slow that walking would have been better. I can jog a 5K now, but I'd like to work up to 10K. Will keep run/walk in mind.

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JGRAY76 10/12/2012 7:14AM

    Your blog confirms what I have thought all along. Thanks for the reinforcement!

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Women, Pre Title 9 (1972) - Were we really that active?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

One of the reasons often stated as a cause of the sudden increase in obesity over the last 20 years is a reduction in activity levels. I want to take an honest look back.

While my friends and I actively played outside during childhood, for girls that pretty much ended by age12. We may have been outside, but there was more sitting on the ďstoopĒ watching the boys who were still out there playing actively than personal participation. For those not raised in the city, a ďstoopĒ refers to the stairs in front of your house. There we would sit and talk for hours.

Most of us walked to school, but if you lived more than 1 mile away, you got a pass to take public transportation. In my parentsí rural hometown school buses performed the same function for almost everybody.

I remember wanting to participate in sports, but if there was anything organized for girls, it sure wasnít very visible. In high school I was proud to have made the basketball team. But we played 6 on 6. You were only allowed to dribble twice and then you had to pass the ball and NEVER were we allowed to cross the center line. I suppose we were considered too delicate to really run hard. By my college days the rules had changed to allow a ďroving forward,Ē one girl who was allowed to run full court. I graduated in 67 and donít know much beyond that.

We had PE in high school for 4 years, but the activity level wasnít very high. I found this picture in a yearbook.

Even at that minimum level, shirking requirements was an art form among the girls. We were excused from participation for having our period. 1964 was the first physical fitness tests prompted by President Kennedy's program. I surprised my PE teacher with a 7í1Ē standing broad jump when the class average was less than 5í. My girlfriends thought I was freaky. I was one of the very few to earn the physical fitness patch.

We didnít have video games, but TV was new in the 50s and we spent a lot of time in front of it. There were dire predictions for our future including how it would ruin our eyes. Judging from the number of shows I remember vividly, it was a major pastime.

As a young mother no one I knew belonged to a gym. While in the city we pushed our children in strollers to the park where we sat and talked. Noone was jogging with them. After moving to the suburbs even that ended and we strapped the kids into car seats and drove everywhere.

So although I would like to remember an idyllic time of activity, I donít think it was true. While I was more active than most and stayed that way, by todayís standards, it was hardly anything. Yet looking at all my class pictures, I can only identify one girl with a weight problem and no boys.

American women began to gain weight at a tremendous rate beginning in the 80s at a time when there were many more fitness opportunities than before. Our eating habits changed too as did the ingredients in our food, but thatís another well documented topic.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOOSLADY 10/12/2012 12:40PM

    I never played sports in high school(80-84) but my mom didn't drive and kids didn't all have their own cars so I walked 3-5 miles/day just as part of life. I rarely ate out and my parents didn't allow snacks or unlimited desserts(they should have been Puritans, they thought fruit juice was decadent) so overeating wasn't appealing. College I was broke and living on my own is was trying to eat on $5/week- think pot pies, ramen noodles and cheap cereal(back when cereal was cheap). Oh and I had no car so long bus ride plus 5 miles to get to classes. Got way too thin at one point and had a bad knee injury that didn't heal well. Even after college when I was mostly sedentary I didn't gain weight until I was hugely stressed by my marriage ending. So not sure people were really more active at an earlier time once they were adults, but definitely were eating less processed food and having less stress.

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NANCYANNE55 10/11/2012 5:21PM

    I posted a blog several years ago titled "Super Size Is Now Regular Size", and I think that's the issue, not inactivity. And the super-size started in the 80's.

Having said that, kids were I grew up were indeed more active than my own kids were/are. I rode my bike EVERYWHERE (often miles away), starting in about 5th grade. I think this was the big thing- My mom wasn't going to drive me, so I got myself there. We kids walked to each others homes, often a mile or more away, and we had a 24-foot above-ground pool in our backyard, so a lot of time in the summer was spent seeing how many times I could swim across it and back without coming up for air. Not surprisingly, I had beautiful legs. Unless a kid is in a organized sport these days the odds of them getting that kind of activity are really slim, safety being a big factor for a lot of parents, I think.

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HEALTHIERKEN 10/11/2012 3:22PM

    Increased disposable income, less time, more restaurant- and processed-foods : (

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CATMAGNET 10/11/2012 1:25PM

    I didn't even start kindergarten until 1976, so I was part of the first generation that was able to take full advantage of Title IX. However, there still wasn't much as far as youth athletics for girls back then, so my activities were restrictly mostly to musical pursuits during my childhood. By the time I got to high school, I wasn't really athletic at all, and hated PE. It really hasn't been until recently that I've really started to love exercise in multiple ways and forms.

I'm glad that you shared your experiences. They're a real eye opener!

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NELLJONES 10/11/2012 9:15AM

    Actually we were a lot more active back then. We walked to school, walked to the store, walked to our friends, because kids didn't have cars. There was only one phone in the house that we had to share with everyone, so it was easier to walk to your friend's house. We had to hang laundry out on the line and wash dishes by hand.

I think the big difference was in what we ate. A Coke was a 6 1/2 oz bottle. Juice glasses were 4 oz. Dinner plates were smaller and we had much smaller servings. Check out old cookbooks to see what constituted a serving size back then. I was the fat girl in high school and that was because I snacked. People just didn't snack much back then, but I sure did and paid the price.

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SUZYMOBILE 10/11/2012 9:11AM

    We're about the same age, and I was dismally inactive until my ex-husband got me into fitness and weight loss in the early seventies. That was the beginning of the jogging boom, right around the time Jock Semple chased the first woman who tried to run the Boston Marathon to the side of the road. Runners were still viewed as borderline freaks, the Jack LaLannes of the road. And lifting weights?? I never told anyone that I was pumping iron in the basement!

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MJZHERE 10/11/2012 8:48AM

  From the 70's - my activity level was extremely active. We weren't allowed to sit in front of the tv - my mom made us go outside. Weekends as a teen, GF and I often rented a bike for two and rode everywhere. We were expected to pass the physical fitness - and God help the one or two who didn't. Maybe it is because we were rural? There were only one or two overweight kids in our age group - I graduated with most of the same kids I started kindergarten with. There were the "thin little girls" and they were the ones who "watched" the boys, didn't play sports and never seemed physically strong. I always felt "big" around them but the pictures from then show a thin, muscular strong girl.

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How I eat when on vacation

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When in Rome, Iíll eat the gelato.
When in Germany, Iíll eat the strudel.
When in Athens, Iíll eat the baklava.

Thereís a pattern here. Obviously, I have a sweet tooth and part of the fun of visiting new places is eating the specialties of the culture. My photo album includes lots of pictures of my eating my way across Europe.

Yet the lessons of healthy eating stay with me. Although I ate lasagna, bratwurst and moussaka in the cities mentioned, it wasnít an inordinate amount. Basically, I ate like the locals.

Fortunately, vacations to us mean a lot of active sightseeing. You really get a feel for the place when on foot. Castles, we discovered, are mostly situated straight up the mountain. Whew, Iím glad I wasnít wearing armor.

It was different though when traveling through the USA by car. Last year by coincidence we had a group of special occasions to attend in different cities across the country. We drove 4000 miles over 4 weeks. I made the best choices available and still came home 6 pounds heavier. Once back to tracking, the extra weight disappeared, but not quite as quickly as it had been gained.

Some of my vacations include a search for my ancestral roots.
So when in Slovakia, Iíll eat the kolach, but once home again Iíll skip the pop tarts.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOUTH_FORK 10/11/2012 7:15PM

    I agree- there are local treats that are just too good to pass up! Since two young kids (and a light wallet) will likely keep me stateside for a while, I'm thinking about doing a monthly "culinary tour" night, so I can share some of those goodies with the wee ones and teach them about geography!

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ROSEWAND 10/10/2012 1:07PM

    I have never gained weight one time when traveling
in Europe. Walking, walking, walking is the key.
I always eat whatever I want. Gelato and pasta every
day is a must in Italy, baguettes and cheese in
France, and wine everywhere.

The food is always great and walking through
Europe is wonderful.

Enjoy!


Comment edited on: 10/10/2012 1:08:14 PM

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62NVON 10/10/2012 11:00AM

    Love your attitude!

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WILSONWR 10/10/2012 9:14AM

    Sounds like you had a great time travelling. My eating on vacation is similar to yours, but I go for the meats. I love a good schnitzel or brat when I'm in Germany, but I also do a lot of hiking there. It's worth having to lose a few extra pounds when you get back to really enjoy the local culture and food while you're away!

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/10/2012 9:12AM

    I am also usually very active on my vacations and even eating more food, tend to lose weight. Long before the book came out, I joked about the Paris Diet where I ate a good deal but walked all day and came home lighter. I also find when I am not working, I eat less since I do not feel bored, stressed and/or trapped. I figure when I retire, I should go down at least another size LOL.

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NELLJONES 10/10/2012 9:09AM

    I'm glad you found your key to successful vacationing.

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MAHGRET 10/10/2012 9:06AM

    Great attitude!

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CELIAMINER 10/10/2012 8:57AM

    So agree! In Germany, despite the beer and giant pretzels, I ended up lighter (after eliminating the water weight) than I was before I left because we walked everywhere.

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I will not drink another calorie

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I made that decision over 20 years ago. At the time it was a reflection of my frugality, not aimed at weight reduction. I was annoyed that restaurants charged so much for a drink. I began to order water since the soda was half water (ice) anyway. Then I discovered that although I really like to eat, it didnít really matter to me what I washed it down with. I began to drink water at home too, except for my morning coffee and orange juice.

I wasnít counting calories in those days, just money. I happily realized that I was saving a bundle not filling my shopping cart with cartons of soda. Thinking about it now, that is how a reformed smoker must feel once their hard earned cash isnít going up in smoke.

Cutting out soda or other sugary drinks is one suggestion made to lose weight. By the numbers even saving 100 calories (1 drink) per day results in a 10 lb weight loss in a year. Since I continued to eat as I wanted over those 20 years, would I have GAINED 10 pounds per year if I had continued to drink the soda too? Of course the numbers are an approximation. I understand the variations in metabolism etc. Still, looking back, that lucky decision was partly responsible for my only having 20-30 lbs to lose instead of a much larger number.

This makes me think about how the decisions I make today will affect my life in 20 years. Yes, I realize how old Iíll be, exactly what I want to be Ė a healthy, active 85 year old woman, maybe even still posting here.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMARILYNH 10/10/2012 5:22PM

    I couldn't agree more - the prices restaurants charge for a glass of iced tea these days is insane!! And we quit buying soda when my daughter was little - she didn't need that sugar or caffeine and neither did we!!

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GOTTAPLAN4U 10/9/2012 5:20PM

  Yes, I agree with you totally. One of the luxuries of my life is that I don't have to buy and lug containers of beverages. And yet there is always plenty to drink. lol

Also, as you say, there is no more straightforward advance in a fitness plan than to swap water for soda (or beer).

Thanks for visiting my page.
Kate

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MJZHERE 10/9/2012 2:34PM

  Me too in the frugal corner - always only water at restaurants for me. Back and forth giving up coffee at home in am - at least it is half decaf, half normal.

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NANCYANNE55 10/9/2012 1:31PM

    I rarely order diet soda, which is zero calories, either. I think the chemicals are probably worse than the sugar.

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KANSASROSE67 10/9/2012 11:50AM

    I almost always order water in restaurants and quit buying pop years ago. Like you, I'd much rather eat my calories than drink them! My two teenagers don't drink soda or energy drinks and I'm so glad...it's milk or water for them.

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MAHGRET 10/9/2012 10:15AM

    Great way to think about it, people think, oh its only one drink. It is good to realize how things add up over time.

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KAYOTIC 10/9/2012 10:13AM

    I feel fortunate that my favorite drink is water...it sure makes it easier to avoid those sugary, nutrient-free beverages!

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SWEETYOUNGTHING 10/9/2012 10:01AM

    I, too, have adopted the habit of ordering water instead of soda or coffee - cheaper and better for you and a great way for me to get in my daily water. emoticon

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WILSONWR 10/9/2012 8:52AM

    I also drink water every time we eat out. I can't see spending the money nor the calories.

Take care!

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LOSE4LIFE47 10/9/2012 8:47AM

    emoticon emoticon

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