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the poison of resentment

Sunday, June 19, 2011

As a recovering alcoholic I have to be very careful of resentment. Resentment is one of the most common triggers for a relapse. Resentment has a way of taking over - it takes over one's thoughts, and influences actions, and spoils moods, and ruins relationships. Resentment relies very little on facts, but draws heavily on opinion and perception. It is frighteningly easy to grow a resentment - it is the morning glory of emotions: one little sprout of anger, left untended, becomes a series of reaching tendrils of resentment which wraps itself around any and everything in its' reach. I know how to deal with resentment, though I sometimes forget this fact. I learned something decades ago that changed my life. It influenced me to stop thinking of myself as a victim in unhappy, unhealthy relationships, and encouraged me to view myself as a volunteer. I participate in most relationships by choice. Some, obviously, are a little more complicated: when joined by DNA, or marriage vows, or paycheck, rather than by attraction or proximity or habit, there is more at stake. I have to be very honest with myself about the resentments I carry. I have to be willing to let them go before they grow and take over. Even resentments I think have been eradicated have a tendency to come back when I am not vigilant. The best cure for resentments: prayer for the person I resent, that they will be blessed with everything that I pray for in my own life. Usually, when I have (gently) shared this advice to someone in the grips of what feels like a very justified resentment, I take a couple steps back because I know their first response is likely to be anger at me. They don't want to be preached at, they just want someone to affirm how the other person has "done them wrong". I know this is true because I have experienced it many time myself. There are people whose motives are evil, or close to evil. People whose mental health, including addictions, makes them impossible to carry on a healthy relationship with, or people whose company we simply endure and will probably never come to enjoy. There are people I am related to that I do not have a relationship with, and, based on serious soul searching, I know this is the healthiest choice at this point in my life. Steering clear of them, not giving them an opportunity to harm me or be a harmful prescence around my children, is a difficult but appropriate choice. This does not, however have to be accompanied by active resentment. "Resentment is like drinking poison, hoping your enemy will die." I can't remember where I read this quote (it's probably Shakespeare, and I can feel dumb for not checking or knowing ;), and it is extreme, but it makes the point, well. I have been on both sides of this. I have written in the past about my eldest son, whose resentment towards me, after four years of estrangement, shows no signs of abating. He does not object to his wife or children visiting me on occasion, which I am truly grateful for, but he does not wish to speak to me or see me. My resentment of his resentment is something I need to be mindful of. I pray that he is healthy, that his marriage is loving and joyful, that his beautiful children are safe and healthy, that he have the material gifts that will keep him and his family comfortable, and that he enjoys the pleasure of good friends and supportive family. I have others for whom I offer up similar prayers, when thoughts of them come to mind and I realize that I am hanging on to grudges. I just caught myself resenting my husband, on Father's Day no less, because he allowed our 7 year old to watch a movie I found inappropriate. This is a long-standing conflict between us. He doesn't see the harm, and I do - it's as simple, and as divided, as that. So, guess who gets to play "bad cop"? I told him that I have been the bad cop with our kids for so long, I want to hang up my badge and gun, and get a gold watch and retire. That won't be happening anytime soon, since I am on the "50 year plan" of mothering. I need to refine my method of delivery - my message is valid, but my delivery (think snapping comments delivered in a less than pleasant tone of voice) needs a little work. Sometimes, I hate being a mature adult. I want to whine, pout, cry, fuss, plot revenge, gossip, complain, kvetch, nag, yell, scream, and stomp my feet at all those who are not treating me the way I want to be treated (and most days I do at least one of the above and somedays I engage in a few of them - yikes). However, I am committed to continuing to grow up, spiritually and emotionally speaking, so I have to rein myself in. I know the antidote to the poison of resentment and when I get tired of the ill-effects of sipping on the cocktail of resentment and anger, I can begin to pray.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIKI0531 6/24/2011 4:41PM

    Resentment. I definitely have it and definitely have a hard time letting it go. I read your blog twice. Your thought as to how we are in relationships by choice, a volunteer if you will makes me really think about some unsettled issues with a very close friend who I felt wronged me in the past. Thanks so much. I will be looking forward to reading more of your blogs. Have a great weekend.

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MARIOLATRY 6/22/2011 9:55PM

    My mother in law once told that me that men are good at the "boil over" style of anger, while women are experts at the "slow burn"- allowing that resentment to simmer and fester. I definitely hear what you are saying.

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SWTHNY- 6/22/2011 12:23PM

    seems a common theme ...Loved the time you took to type it out thanks great stuff!

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CHRISTINECE 6/22/2011 11:55AM

    I followed Jennswims here. This is the first I have read of your blog and the part about always being the heavy - wanting to hang it up for good, but you are on the '50 year plan'. Wow. So true! I'm always the bad guy. Thank you for reminding me that I need to do a little more forgiveness and check that tone/snarkiness at the door sometimes :)

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CAALAN23 6/22/2011 11:15AM

    I am very guilty of the snarky resentment when it comes to parenting. I am always the heavy. I try to temper that with silliness and fun, but the resentment towards my husband simmers. Not good to hold on to, I'll be taking this blog to heart.

Thank you,
Tina

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STLSUE01 6/22/2011 11:02AM

  I followed Jennswims here.... This resonated with me on so many levels. This is something I need to re-read and contemplate deeply. Thank you.

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CUPCAKE2CARROTS 6/22/2011 10:58AM

    WOW...... Thank you so much for writing this blog. THere are some issues/resentments that I need to step back from and do some serious praying.. It's funny how things you need come into your life in different ways. The timing could not be better.

emoticon

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HKARLSSON 6/22/2011 10:49AM

    Wow! Great blog! I needed to read this.

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JENNSWIMS 6/22/2011 10:28AM

    This is great. Really great. It is clear to me that you've really done your hard work of being instrospective and learning what makes you (and others!) tick.

I love that like that may or may not be Shakespeare, it is so true. I'm going to remember this blog the next time I feel resentful (which can be frequent) and follow your advice.

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KELLYD1958 6/21/2011 7:43PM

    Cannie! Wow! I will be working this one big time. You have really inspired me.
I'm coming to Olympia tomorrow! Getting awfully close to you...

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ZOOKEEPERMAMA 6/21/2011 1:13AM

    Great blog. It is clear that you have spent quite some time in introspection. As far as the gossip goes, it makes me think of something my old pastor said once, "How you talk about someone is how you will come to think of that person." It really hit me hard because I had been gossiping about my husband with my girlfriends and I realized that they thought of him as I was portraying him (while vomiting my resentment all over the conversation) and they fed back to me what they thought I wanted to hear, which only fed my resentment more and it really did effect how I thought of him. I had bulimic resentment. I have stopped talking about him in that way. It may very well have saved our marriage, though he never knew how horrid I had been behind his back. It's shameful, how I behaved. Thank you for this post.

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2BFREE2LIVE 6/21/2011 12:43AM

    I know all to well those feelings, I just celebrated my 5th year of Sobriety on June 9th. My blog that day was voted most popular blog, yours should be voted as most popular for this day. My Daughter is the one who has disowned me and will not allow me to see my grand daughter and will not speak to me and continues to be a stressful cause of resentment but none the less I will not allow this to trigger a relapse.
Congrats for staying on the healthy side of life. Your blog is very interesting and insightful.
Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. Sandy

Comment edited on: 6/21/2011 12:48:44 AM

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SPINNER520 6/20/2011 5:29PM

    This is the first time I am reading one of your blogs and it certainly resonated with me! I am using meditation and yoga to overcome my discontent and am learning to be at peace with the life I have. Recognizing the unique qualities of others and acknowledging their right to alternate viewpoints is freeing.

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DOODIE59 6/20/2011 5:05PM

    Hi Carole
Oh, I do love your blogs:) That resentment lesson is one that I need to learn and relearn.

One big lesson I've learned that was life changing, not to mention freeing, was the lesson of forgiveness. We have to forgive so OUR hearts are clear and we can move forward. Not being able to forgive/holding on to anger -- that is the poison we drink to try to kill the enemy -- it will choke us to death. Resentment shuts down the soul; forgiveness is freeing.

Here's to lightness and joy on your journey:)
Deirdre


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DEE0973 6/20/2011 4:04PM

    What an amazing blog. I see myself in some of those things you called out. Yesterday, I do found myself a little upset with my husband, but only after he asked if my concerns were that big of a deal....go figure. Thanks for sharing, and I will continue to grow with you. Be Blessed

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MRSSCHENCK 6/20/2011 3:52PM

    Cannie,

Your blogs are amazing. I look forward to reading them. I come on Sparkpeople to get some weight loss motivation and when I read your blog, I come away with so much more. Thanks. emoticon

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VEGGIE8 6/20/2011 12:39PM

    Wonderful blog! I too have found prayer to be helpful in overcoming resentment.

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ON2GOALS 6/20/2011 12:16PM

    Oh, thank you for this blog. Your timing is perfect for me with this subject. When we let grudges fester, the one we are hurting is only ourselves.... Thanks for the insights - tough to hear, but freeing.

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SBATES63 6/20/2011 6:29AM

    I am never too aware of the dangers of resentment. I had a good one when I was about a year sober, and I was told to pray for good things for that person for 30 days. I did that and voila! the resentment went away. And that person is not really any more well than they were 5 years ago. I often find that if I find a resentment starting, talking about it out loud to my hubby or sponsor makes me realize how trivial it is. At this stage of my recovery, it all boils down to things in life taking their proper perspective.

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DAISY443 6/20/2011 3:51AM

    Your blogs always make me think! Resentment, hmmmmm! In the very back of my mind there lurks some resentment, but I have long since learned to bring it to the forefront, analyze and decide if it is warrented. If it is warrented, I will hold on to it and decide a course of action, if not warrented, let go of it! Your attitude is truly inspirational!

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MAMADWARF 6/19/2011 11:40PM

    You know, Cannie, you are always so self aware and quick to recognize your "flaws". I love that you know your self so well and you are always striving to be a better person. I love that about you. I wish all the wonderful things for you that you pray for others. Jan

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WINACHST 6/19/2011 11:10PM

    I find that resentment is often a trigger for me to overeat. I am so glad to have ready your blog today because I am fighting keeping my resentment from growing into something unmanageable. I agree, resentment is a poison and it destoys many relationships.

Thank you for your blog.

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JITZUROE 6/19/2011 8:57PM

    This was very insightful. I think I was having this struggle earlier this week about Father's Day. My uncle was really my father figure since my dad didn't really seem to want the job after the divorce. I was mad for a while and very resentful for a long time. I gave that resentment to God to take care of years ago, and am better for it, but we still don't really connect since he doesn't really want to (still). I was about to just pas through dad's day without really acknowledging him, but decided that would show that I was not in the right mindset, so I sent him an email this morning wishing him well on this holiday and told him I was thinking of him. I probably won't get an answer back, but that's ok. And I'm ok with that.
Awesome blog and very appropriate for today!!!
: )

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LILYBELLE8 6/19/2011 6:32PM

    Resentment comes in many sizes, shapes, colors, and intesitities - and it truly is the poison that you describe. I have a friend who's daily mantra is: "When you get tired of the pain, you'll choose peace" - and I interpret that to mean that I do have a choice in life - in fact, I have many choices - just as you do. You've made some incredibly insightful choices - and for sharing your story, I thank you!!!!

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1CRAZYDOG 6/19/2011 5:54PM

    First of all I absolutely LOVE your blog. Love it.

I can help you out a little with the author of your quote -- actually there are two versions:

"Resentment is like drinking poison hoping your enemy will die" (the one you used) and that is from Carrie Fisher in her book.

"Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die" is a somewhat earlier quote (that I used in the status bar on my page one day) and is from Malachy McCourt.

Hope this helps!

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FLAME42 6/19/2011 5:10PM

    Just happened upon your blog, really I think it was a plan for me to see it. I have held some resentment in for a long time, just lately trying to let it flow out. Think I need to really put some time in with prayers, do have an meeting scheduled with our pastor. Think that is a good start. Thank you for posting.

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DEELYNNE1 6/19/2011 4:11PM

    I am so glad you posted this and I read it today. I've been finding myself today resenting my grandson,much as I love him, because his doctor has prescribed a new plan and because he spends his weekdays with me in summer, I am going to be the one who has to come up with his activities and coaches him in how to do certain skills and spends a LOT of time and effort implementing this plan. I've been feeling a little put-upon because it's all falling on me to do and I'm not even his parent. Your blog really spoke to me and reminded me that I'm really glad to have the opportunity to help out his parent and him and I'll probably end up getting as much or more out of the experience as he will. Thank you!

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EMILYULM1 6/19/2011 3:57PM

    Thanks so much for your blog. It is a great reminder for me. I have step-kids who I often resent. I will pray for them whenever I think of it. I am a member of alanon, and I know that comment about resentment being the poison I drink hoping you will die comes from one of our daily readers. Not sure if it's the original, however. It was good to read a blog from someone in a 12-step group. I have been a member of SP for just about two months, and I was wondering if there were other 12-steppers on here. Thanks for sharing!!

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RUNNER12COM 6/19/2011 3:53PM

    Thank you for sharing all of this. Your caution to be mindful of resentment is timely for me.

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Sweet Melissa

Friday, June 17, 2011

I met Melissa four years ago. It was the first day of Boot Camp. She and I and another woman were the only chubby people in the room. Melissa and I exchanged terrified glances and, when people had to split into groups of three for the fitness test, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who gravitated where. I did exactly 0 proper crunches that day, and one half of a push-up. Since that scary day, Melissa and I have become good friends, despite the fact that she is 20 years younger than me. We did many boot camp sessions together after than initial one, and we have sweated through countless crunches, push-ups, runs, strength training sessions, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, and any and every other kind of exercise our (now beloved) boot camp instructor could dream up to torment us with. I no longer attend regular boot camp, though I do supplemental strength training there two days a week. Melissa and I have cheered and encouraged each other through injuries, weight gains, weight losses, issues with kids, frustrations with husbands, and any and every kind of challenge life throws our way. We are friends, we are exercise partners, and we are "cleaning buddies". Once a week, we meet up for a hike either near her home or mine, and after hiking for an hour or so, we go back to her home or mine, and we team up to clean. It is magical - while I am cleaning downstairs, she is upstairs sweeping, vacuuming, mopping (I detest doing floors, she does not mind) and just generally making my life easier. We do most of our chatting on our hike so that when we are cleaning, we are focused. While I may detest doing floors at my house, I enjoy cleaning her cute house. At her house, she focuses on the upstairs bedrooms and folding and putting away laundry, and it gives me great pleasure that when she comes downstairs, her dishes are done, her kitchen is clean, her living room is freshly vacuumed and dusted, and basically, for that moment, you would never know two busy kids and a trail-leaving husband live there. We do this on Friday so we go into the weekend with a clean slate, and re-energized from spending time with a good friend, and in the fresh air.

It was with Melissa, that my Sparkjourney was launched. I had dabbled in SP before but I allowed myself to be whiny and wimpy about tracking my food and/or making any real nutritional improvements, and selfish by focusing more on my struggles than on encouraging others (thus also depriving myself of encouragement in the process). But this past January, at my lifetime highest weight, feeling SO hopeless and desperate, while cleaning Melissa's downstairs bathroom, I stepped on the scale. I had been avoiding the scale, as if not looking at the scary fact would alter it somehow. I saw 200 looming - I was in the neighborhood, just an ice cream binge or three away from crossing that border. I never dreamed I would weigh 200 lbs. I am short and petite and have a very small frame - 200 lbs is unacceptable, unhealthy, unthinkable, but there it was. I called Melissa in and asked her to look at the number on the scale, so that my denial was officially over, and there was a witness to the crime I had committed against my body by stuffing it day after day, night after night, with items that barely qualify as food. My journey began that moment. No one has been more thrilled about my progress than Melissa. She has her own weight issues and has lost a significant amount of weight since that first boot camp. Our relationship required we set aside false pride from the very beginning. When you sweat together, and struggle together, and clean each other's toilets and dust bunnies, there is not a lot of room for pretense. I have overcome another struggle lately (it deserves it's own blog) by beginning to work in my yard again, and one of the plants I will be planting is "sweet Melissa". I will happily water and nuture and encourage its' growth, just as my friend, sweet Melissa, has done for me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 6/19/2011 1:50PM

    What a great friendship! You're both are so lucky to have each other. emoticon emoticon It shouldn't surprise me, that you would come up with such a wonderful way to bond and support each other. After all, you are an amazing friend to me, always the first one in with a cheer, a hug, a little advice, or whatever else I might need to help get me through the day!
emoticon

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JITZUROE 6/18/2011 5:19PM

    Wow - that was so great! And you are super blessed to have a strong friendship like that near home. My best pals are scattered all over. I am sure she feels the same way about you (and her home too) : )
Bren

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ON2GOALS 6/18/2011 9:15AM

    What a wonderful friendship! Cleaning buddies too - love it! Why not make chores fun....

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ZOOKEEPERMAMA 6/17/2011 11:06PM

    How wonderful to have such a supportive friend!

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REBELBLITZ 6/17/2011 8:28PM

    That is a great idea. I have a walking buddy, but I would have never thought about the cleaning part. Housework burns lots of calories too, so you get extra exercise in too.

Thanks for sharing!

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SUZWARNR 6/17/2011 6:28PM

    What a great relationship you have with your friend. It's so wonderful that you guys have had each other through all sorts of things. I think one of the best things you can have is a running buddy/exercise partner. Someone to help keep you motivated and vice versa. Someone you can comiserate with. Someone who you can experience firsts with, like races, speedwork, hill training, suffering through tabatas and all sorts of new challenges. I love that you have someone to do this with. I have an awesome buddy too whose name is also Melissa (she goes by Missy). What lucky people we are.

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JONICACALDWELL 6/17/2011 6:11PM

    Beautiful! You are lucky to have each other. emoticon

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MRSSCHENCK 6/17/2011 5:28PM

    I loved this blog! The title drew me in, my middle name is Melissa emoticon and the story of friendship captured me. I have a friend like that but she has moved away. However, we still motivate each other through daily emails. Hmmm.... we've been friends for many years, since we were 14 and I have no memories of her ever cleaning my toilet! I see we must have a chat about this. emoticon


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MAGICNUMBER180 6/17/2011 4:11PM

  True friendship indeed! Great blog, Cannie!

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DOODIE59 6/17/2011 12:59PM

    What a great idea! Team work rocks! Melissa sounds like a good friend -- as I'm sure you are too, Carole!
Deirdre

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SBATES63 6/17/2011 12:53PM

    Thanks for the inspiring story of friendship. Good luck with the gardening. May Sweet Melissa thrive and flourish under your care.

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DAISY443 6/17/2011 12:27PM

    What an amazing friendship you and Melissa have! True friendships are hard to find and worth nurturing! Hugs!

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JENNSWIMS 6/17/2011 12:27PM

    Melissa sounds awesome! I'd like to have one of those, please.

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'til fat do we part?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thankfully, no, my husband and I did not part due to fat, but I thought about it at different times. When I was gaining weight, and feeling hopeless, and feeling isolated and alone with my problem, and wishing for support and wanting someone to help me, I thought that maybe I would do better on my own, living on my own. I thought I could start fresh and live in a house without junk food or fast food, and that I would not be disappointed that I wasn't receiving support from the person I was supposed to be able to turn to for support, if I wasn't sitting right next to him. Food, and fat, have long been an issue in our marriage. I gained 60 lbs over the 20+ years we have been together. He has gained about half that amount. I have blogged in the past about the failed attempts, and the pleas for change that fell on deaf ears, but the bottom line is this: I wanted HIM to change so that I would get better. Life, being life, doesn't work that way, of course. The biggest turning point in my struggle with weight and overeating was when I truly accepted that it was up to me to change my ways, regardless of what my husband, or anyone else in my family, chose to do. I accepted that it would be uncomfortable, and that it would be a struggle, but that it was MY struggle. Once my husband saw that it wasn't just talk, that I was actually taking action and changing my ways, he began to offer support. When I stopped asking him to bring me sugary foods, when I turned down offers to bring home pizza so I didn't have to fix dinner, when I cheerfully turned down invitations to go to lunch at fast food restaurants but did not try to stop him from going, he began to take notice. He has always been very accepting of my body and in 20 years I only remember him criticizing my weight one time. For all the hundreds of thousands of calories and fat grams he has brought home, he never once forced one morsel of food in my mouth - that was all me. While it would certainly be easier if he were nutritionally aware, and as committed to an active, healthier lifestyle as I am, the reality is that it is not as much of a priority to him. However, he has become more aware, more supportive, and much less likely to bring home bags of sugary temptations, and I have thanked him for this. If I had continued with my stubborn insistence that he change to make me healthier, I would, at this point, be faced with needing to lose 60 or 70 lbs, rather than the 23 lbs I have left to meet my 50 lb committment. If I had continued to entertain the fantasy that my life would be easier without him next to me, I would have robbed my children of an intact home, and myself of a marriage that goes through ups and downs but contains many blessings. People are like the weather, they do change, sometimes for the worse, often for the better, but never at my behest. I was looking to him to provide me with something he couldn't - support and encouragement from someone who is on the same path. This is where Sparkfriends are so invaluable. Even my dear friends who have known me for years, and felt badly about my struggles, were not able to give me this kind of support. I was led to SP and I am grateful beyond words (though I keep trying to find the words). As I sit here today, next to my husband, and not tempted at this moment to eat unnecessary foods, 27 lbs of excess weight no longer dragging me down, I am content and thankful. Today is our wedding anniversary. We spent the day together, on the beach, going out to lunch, going for a drive, even zooming around a go-kart track. At one point I looked over at him, standing on the beach, and I thought (as I often do) how attractive he is, and how glad I am we are married. Even the days I am not happily married, I am happy to BE married. I am happy we stuck it out through the hard times, through thick (literally) and thin. For better and for worse, we have not given up on each other. The loneliness has dissapated for the most part, and I no longer feel isolated with my food and weight struggles. My husband did not make me fat, and he cannot make me fit and healthy. He can make it easier on me, and I am thankful he has made great strides in that area. While I have a long way to go, more good habits to add, and bad habits to crowd out with the good, I am glad to have my husband at my side, and on my side. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRSSCHENCK 6/17/2011 6:00PM

    Happy Anniversary! emoticon Looks like you two shared a wonderful day together.

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REBELBLITZ 6/16/2011 4:15PM

    Happy anniversary!

Your blog is right on target. It brings to mind another type of addiction, like alcoholism. The alcoholic must realize that he must get sober for his benefit. There is no magic person that will do the work for him.

We, that have let food become detrimental to our health and well being must take the responsibility to get healthy.

You are doing that and you are reaping the benefits. I am proud of you. I am sure that your family is too.

Again, happy anniversary to you and your husband. My husband and I celebrated our 45 anniversary in April.

Cheryl

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STORMYZCAT 6/14/2011 2:55PM

    Happy Anniversary! 20 years is awesome. There are days when I don't like my husband, but quite honestly there are days when I do not like myself! Sometimes it's 50/50...some days it's 90/10. My husband has never had a weight issue and I find that very frustrating. He has told me in the past that I "just need to have better willpower". WOW. If it were only that easy. You are absolutely right that YOU are the only one that can change you. We can want to lose weight for so many reasons but ultimately it has to come from within because we want it for ourselves. We deserve it.
Sounds like you had a wonderful day and you are each blessed to have one another! Here's to another 20 years of marriage and 20 more pounds off your body!! emoticon

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JITZUROE 6/14/2011 1:47PM

    I loved this!
I used to try to practically torture my husband to 'want' to be healthier and years ago I had to stop that bad behavior and change my attitude. He will never leap with joy when brussel season hits, or lose that carnivore craving for In N Out Burger, but I am OK with it now (as long as he chooses the healthy eating path most other days.
He has never told me I looked fat, even though I seem to have gained and gained over the past few years. I adore him for that. And he seems to stay the same weight, like your hubbie.




And Go carting! So jealous!!! (bang, smack, zoom!)

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ZOOKEEPERMAMA 6/13/2011 5:12PM

    I have often thought the same thing (that this would be so much easier if I were single) which is maybe true, maybe not. I remember myself as a single. I was pretty desperate. If I had been overweight at the time, I imagine I'd have eaten myself into an even deeper hole... That aside, great insight recognizing that the only one who can change you is you! My husband has also taken notice of my attitude this time and has embarked to lose weight himself. I think he's going to beat me! Congratulations on being "over the hump" on your weight loss and congratulations on taking control!

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KELLYD1958 6/13/2011 1:33PM

    Hi Cannie - Happy Anniversary. I sure relate to this - I think we have emailed about some of the issues. I went through a couple months recently of really resenting/disliking that mine husband wasn't joining me on a path to healthier lifestyles. I also resented him not really recognizing that I was doing something significant. Interestingly - when I started on my travels he started noticing how "different" I looked when he picked me up at the airport - he's much more supportive now! Go figure (pun intended.)
Have a great day - hope you enjoyed graduation and the Field Trip - talk about both ends of the spectrum!

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KACYBEE15 6/13/2011 10:23AM

    First of all, Happy Anniversary!!

I needed to read this blog. In fact, after I'm done writing this comment I believe I will read it again. My husband and I have been married less than a year and I feel like we've weathered more storms than the average couple does in the first three years. Perhaps I was naive before I said "I do", or perhaps I underestimated the effect that a demanding grad school program would have on a fledgling marriage. I can so relate to the feeling of being isolated, misunderstood, misjudged... alone. There have been times when I know I would rather seek comfort from food than from a human being. In fact, when it comes to my weight, my husband has been more of a source of pain than anything. I do believe he still loves me, even with the extra weight, but he's one of those people with the "dream" metabolism. He can eat and eat and eat and eat and gain very little weight, if any. If he wants to drop some weight, he goes for a jog (maybe a mile) does a few situps, eats a couple salads and drops 10 pounds in a week. This is all well and good for him, but it leaves him absolutely befuddled as to why that method doesn't work for me. There have been so many conversations where he's tried to convince me that his method is the right way to go, and I've tried to tell him that it's not that easy for me and the end result is always him feeling frustrated and me feeling like I'm an army of one in a battle I'm destined to lose.

It's very encouraging to me to read that you have been there, on that same battlefield and feeling very much like I have, only to come out on the other side with the realization that the battle can be won and that you aren't alone. I sincerely hope that someday I will feel the same, and that my husband and I will celebrate anniversary after anniversary. There are days when I feel like our future looks bleak (I, too, have found myself fantasizing about how much better I'd be at life if I was just left alone), but hearing stories like yours strengthens my resolve to keep fighting.

Thanks so much for a great blog! I will now read it again!

Have a great day!
~ Kayli

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ON2GOALS 6/13/2011 9:50AM

    Wonderful reflections on your life together, Friend! Thanks for sharing this... "BE the change that you want to see in the world...(or family, or marriage)"; this is what you have done. Congratulations, and may you be blessed with many more happy healthy years together! emoticon

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DOODIE59 6/13/2011 9:33AM

    Happy Anniversary! It's lovely that you've taken the time to think through and write about not just your glorious day but about the life that got you here. Thank you for sharing. It is crucial that we acknowledge that we alone are responsible for our bodies. Mercifully, it's also empowering:)

Have a wonderful week!
Deirdre

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SBATES63 6/13/2011 6:06AM

    Happy Anniversary. Wonderful blog. My husband and are have that same relationship. He respects my dedication to a healthy lifestyle much in the same way yours does. I do join him for the occasional unhealthy lunch and he happily has learned to love a half plate of veggies at dinner. It is all about compromise. I am sure both our men have benefited from the healthier foods being served at home. Keep up the great work.

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DAISY443 6/13/2011 1:21AM

    Wonderful blog! It is so hard to learn that we can't change anyone except ourselves and you have truly learned that lesson and deal with it well! Sounds like you have a winner of a husband. Hold on to him!

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RYDERB 6/13/2011 1:06AM

    Congratulations! 20 years is amazing. It sounds like you had the perfect day, and the kind of anniversary that my husband and I would enjoy. There's a lot for us to learn on this journey. Thanks for sharing yours so openly. You're a wise wise woman. I'm so glad you found your way to SparkPeople, because having your support has really been a godsend for me on my journey. Thank you!
emoticon emoticon emoticon(That's sparkling apple cider)

Comment edited on: 6/13/2011 1:08:15 AM

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halfway house

Monday, June 06, 2011

Being obese was a bit like being in jail. Loss of freedom, loss of dignity, embarrassment at my predicament, wishing I had made other choices, an inability to wear cute clothes (let's face it, though I am a fan of orange, those jammie looking jail outfits do not flatter a figure), and the realization that getting out was not going to be nearly as easy as getting in. So, to further torture this analogy, I am imagining morbid obesity would be like prison: even less freedom, even scarier, and in some cases, a death penalty hanging over one's head. I never became morbidly obese and I do not believe I ever will become morbidly obese. However, I never thought I would become obese, or even overweight. I was very thin for years and did not work at it and I took it for granted. I did not come from an overweight family and I simply thought the rules did not apply to me. I ate junk food and had only a casual relationship with exercise for years, and I was enviably slender, until I wasn't, and without even realizing it, my sentence had begun. So, here I am, 1/2 way to my goal (I am committed to losing 50 lbs and, as of several days ago, I had lost over 25). Basically, I am in a half-way house, no longer in jail, but not yet paroled. So, which way I am going to go? Am I going to engage in the behaviors that took me to obesity in the first place, or am I going to make better choices on a DAILY basis, rather than sneaking bad choices, hoping I don't get caught?

I do a lot of things right in terms of my current lifestyle. I generally go to bed at a decent hour, and get up about 7 hours later. I exercise nearly every day, and I drink a lot of water. I don't drink alcohol which helps, and I gave up soda pop (regular and diet) so that has not been the issue. Fast food, thankfully, is not a temptation for me. I don't eat huge meals and I don't tend to go for seconds. What I DO do, however, is behave like a lunatic around sugar, especially at parties. I am going to a lot of parties these days because it is graduation season, and I have a son who is going to graduate. Macaroni salad, potato salad, burgers and hot dogs, even potato chips, are safe when I am around. I won't throw an elbow trying to grab the last of the ranch dip and big pots of chili don't make me want to swoon. Cupcakes, though? Let's just say I need a Sparkbuddy to follow me to parties and when I approach the desserts table, they need to make like a SWAT team member with a megaphone "BACK AWAY FROM THE CUPCAKES" - "STEP AWAY FROM THE COOKIES" "PUT YOUR HANDS UP WHERE WE CAN SEE THEM (and they better not be holding slabs of cake)".

After behaving like a lunatic around sugar on Saturday, and then doing better (but still not very well) on Sunday, today I was moping around, hearing all the old excuses starting up, blah blah blah and I found myself avoiding the things I need to do that are causing me anxiety by avoiding them until finally, the voice of reason, said "ENOUGH ALREADY". Get up, get busy, get moving. So, I did. I ate some food my body needed, I drank a lot of water, I did some organizing, I did some housework, I did some laundry, and I went for a run. I made sure my 7 y.o. and my dog got some exercise and fresh air, as well. And, guess what, the excuses melted away. I read a couple good blogs (thank you bloggers and those of you who comment on blogs - it really helps), I read a great e-mail from a dear Sparkfriend. I began to do the things that got me to the "half-way house" in the first place, and that will get me paroled - I have done my time, I have spent enough time being punished by fat, and feeling punished for being fat, and for getting fat, and for staying fat. I can choose which direction I am heading. Thanks to the wonderful SParkfriends who blog so honestly and eloquently about their battle out of the morbid obesity prison, I have a better understanding of what it is like to spend time there and I am not tough enough to handle it. For me to be morbidly obese, I would need to weigh about 250 lbs, basically. Everyone who weighs 250 lbs spent time at 167, or 193, on their way up. They got there pretty much the same way I got to my highest weight - one bite at a time, one choice at a time, hour by hour, day by day. I understand the temptations and the pitfalls, the pain and the anxiety - I feel compassion for anyone who struggles with food and weight. Change is not easy but it can be very freeing.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZOOKEEPERMAMA 6/9/2011 4:33PM

    This is a great post! My trigger food is party sugar, too (well, not just party sugar, to be honest...). You did the right thing by picking yourself up and dusting yourself off the next day. I love your analogy, too.

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REBELBLITZ 6/9/2011 9:50AM

    That is an awesome blog. You identified your "trigger foods" and that is sugar (cupcakes). Mine is salty and crunchy foods, like tortilla chips or oh my goodness, Fritos! I don't even buy Fritos except a maybe once a year when I know there will be a house full of people who will help them disappear. Otherwise, the Fritos have me spellbound and headed toward them. I guess I become a prisoner like you said you were. I don't like that feeling either. emoticon

Congratulations on making it to the halfway house. I hope to get to my halfway house this summer. emoticon


Cheryl

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WINACHST 6/9/2011 8:43AM

    Fantastic blog. The SAD (Standard American Diet) gives up our sentence, but our behavior can determine whether we stay in prison or not. The halfway house, let out of prison because of good behavior, but not yet free. The choices we make determine which direction we go - back to prison or eventually be free.



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RYDERB 6/8/2011 11:20PM

    SO, another great blog. Lots to think about. But on the lighter side, if I had only been by your side at that party, I would have pushed you down, and eaten all the cupcakes before you could stand back up. Just reading about those things made me hungry emoticon

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JITZUROE 6/8/2011 4:18PM

    Ack! I keep re-reading this and forgetting to tell you how fantastic this was. Too many times I would get sad BEFORE a binge. Literally at the store, before the junkfood hit my cart, so sad because I felt as if my arms were sentenced to take the dark choco and huge king size container of creamy things and put them in my cart. Very sad at the check out, and defenseless while unpacking the groceries and opening up the junkfood craziness. Actually believing that this behavior was my life now, and I would never be set free; my behavior locking me up in the house too, since I felt too ashamed afterward to leave and socialize, even with my hubbie.
This blog is something I can relate to. I choose to get out of this prison, and am so thankful for encouraging stories like this!

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TK421BETH 6/7/2011 6:02PM

    Cannie, i really loved you blog today. You can reach your goal! I'm proud of you, and keep it up!!! emoticon

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ALASKALILLADY 6/7/2011 4:07PM

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderfully honest blog. I will be re-reading this one over and over for sure!

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ON2GOALS 6/7/2011 3:58PM

    Thank you for a wonderful blog! I'm going to read and re-read this one for sure. I know I don't want to stay in this hellish prison any longer - for what, you know? I love how you have reminded us that it's all about small choices - one minute at a time, one bite at a time. That gives me a lot of hope.
emoticon

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HELSANANGEL 6/7/2011 12:44PM

    The is a really great blog! I love the comparisons between prison and being fat. It's very true!

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MARTY728 6/7/2011 12:36PM

    GREAT BLOG! I need a SWAT Team member also! LOL

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KACYBEE15 6/7/2011 12:30PM

    I thought this was a fantastic analogy. As I was pondering it I realized there is one more similarity between obesity and prison - a frighteningly high number of people released from prison eventually end up back in prison, and usually to serve even longer sentences. As sad as it is, this is true for so many people who lose weight. I believe that spending time in "Fat Prison" does something to your head - it changes the way you think the world works... how your relate to it... your own value, much like how prisoners probably think. It's a terrifying, but enlightening thought. That's why I love the analogy of being in a halfway house. So many of us think that if we can just behave perfectly we will be freed from our prison and we forget all of those traps and challenges waiting for us on the way. If we could allow ourselves to realize that this journey is not always easy and to lay down our pride enough accept assistance we will stand a much better chance of remaining free for the rest of our lives.

Great blog!

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KELLYD1958 6/7/2011 5:34AM

    Morning Cannie girl! I love the "Back away from the table!" You are so funny...

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HGSGUY 6/6/2011 10:12PM

    Great blog! I started skinny, way too skinny, got put on a weight management program to fatten up a bit! Did too well fattening up! Almost got on weight management to slim down, but stayed just under that point, then gained a lot of weight with my new job. So I understand 1/2 way house. I lost 50 pounds from my heaviest and I am 50 pounds up from my skinny days! Now if I can just hold it right here.......

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MAMADWARF 6/6/2011 9:33PM

    Great Blog, Cannie, as usual Thought provoking and honest. Loved it.

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NPA4LOSS 6/6/2011 8:52PM

    emoticon emoticon Great analogy!

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KMIRANDA2000 6/6/2011 8:42PM

    good blog

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OOLALA53 6/6/2011 8:42PM

    Nice analogy. I'm amazed that you were once thin but that you, too, were taken over by the seduction of food. Thin people can't always relate. I know what you mean about sugar, but now have many days where it is not an issue, something I doubted would ever happen. I am so grateful! You have achieved a lot, and I want to remember your courage and stick-to-it-iveness when times get rough, esp. your recounting of how you got busy. If we don't find things to do instead of eating, we're lost! emoticon

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DAISY443 6/6/2011 8:18PM

    Good analogy "halfway house". You make some valid points and I totally understand. I don't want to get back to size 4 but at 5'1". I do need to lose more. Thanks for saying it like it is!

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half way there

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I am committed to losing 50 pounds. As of several days ago, I reached my half-way mark. Coincidentally (or serendipitously, as I prefer to look at it) the same weight that brought me to the half-way point also officially brought me out of the "obese" category and into the less frightening "overweight" status. I am not spending too much energy celebrating my milestones because I do not want to become overly pleased with this, lest I be tempted to settle in here. Losing 50 pounds (as if I have to tell all of you) requires commitment and energy and determination. With this in mind, I have recently decided against pursuing other things that would require a lot out of me - running a Ragnar relay (200 miles split among 12 team members, requiring each runner to do three legs over approximately 30 hours, which means running one leg in the middle of the night and one on very little sleep). I am the captain of the team, which means a lot of time spent organizing runners, supplies, money, food, and logistics in general. I did this last year so at least I have some valuable experience to use this year. Last year I determined I wanted to run this year, not be on the sidelines. I set three goals for myself before I would allow myself to commit to being a runner: 1. lose 20 lbs (done) 2. run a 5k in 31 minutes so I knew I could do consistent 10 minutes miles (done) 3. recreate the race conditions by doing the equivalent of three 5-ks in a 30 hour time span (did not do). The first of my three trial runs went very well. The second is where I gained the clarity (which is often the best side-effect of running) to know it would not be prudent for me to commit to running in the race. I have a lot going on in my life, I am already struggling with fatigue and feeling overwhelmed, and, the deciding factor: the aforementioned commitment to losing the rest of this 50 lbs. I do not want to drain off my energy and dedication, already in short supply some days, to pursue a lesser goal at the expense of the greater goal. If it is meant to be, I can hand the captaining off to someone else next year, and just focus on being a runner. Shedding the burden of obesity and figuring out how to live at my "God-intended" size, has been at the forefront of my hopes and prayers for well over a decade. I need to do whatever it takes to see this through. I am very grateful to be half-way. When I began this journey in January of this year, I was coming off a period of increased depression and anxiety which made everything, especially losing weight and gaining some distance from binge-eating, seem hopeless. I feel so much better, I look better, and I move more easily. I don't get a lot of comments about the fact that I have lost weight, and it is a relief to me to realize I don't need a lot of comments (though I certainly enjoy those that I do receive). I still struggle with my disorderly eating, with my avoidance of things like making dinner and shopping for food, with eating too many processed foods, with over-eating at times, and on rare occasions, an outright binge. This is where I remember "progress, not perfection". I have a long way to go - this is an area of anxiety and deeply entrenched habits and I am getting better slowly. This is not the same journey as when I put down alcohol and cigarettes on the same day and have never relapsed. That was a miracle I am still grateful for on a daily basis. Improving my health via weight loss and better eating habits is a series of tiny miracles and incremental successes. I eat less poorly, I take in more nutrients, I consume less calories, and I put food in my mouth less often. As I venture in to the second half of the journey, I know I will need to find the willingness to make more changes. I am so appreciative of SParkfriends who are always willing to offer a suggestion, or encouragement, or share their own experience. I would not have come this far without you, and I cannot imagine going the rest of the way by myself. While I am responsible for all my choices and ultimately have to answer to myself, I don't operate well in isolation and I am very grateful I don't have to.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELLYD1958 6/2/2011 8:05PM

    Hey Cannie! Happy Halfway point! So glad for you. This week took me to Harrisburg, glad to be back home for 10 days. My air force boy will be home Saturday for more than a week.
Keep up the great progress!

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ZOOKEEPERMAMA 6/1/2011 6:37PM

    Congratulations! How fantastic to be half way there! And also, good job in staying focused on the main goal. Next year, you'll kick that race's tail! =) You are a great supporter of mine, thank you for that. Keep your eyes on the prize! You can do it, chica!
emoticon

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SUNRIZING 6/1/2011 12:05PM

    this is amazing and you should be sooo proud of yourself! Keep these wonderful changes, cherish the better you! You are worth it friend! This is a new better life! HUGS!

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RYDERB 6/1/2011 10:16AM

    Congratulations on reaching your halfway mark! emoticon and on firmly dedicating yourself to the next half of your journey. emoticon Being able to take pride in yourself for "progress, not perfection" is such an important step on this journey, and in life period. I've learned so much from your accomplishments and your struggles, and the graceful way you handle them. The honesty and deep insights that you have shared through your blogs, has often helped me put my own journey in perspective. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARIOLATRY 5/31/2011 9:11PM

    You are so impressive to me! emoticon

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SUZWARNR 5/31/2011 6:40PM

    This is a journey and you will always learn and discover new things along the way. You can't change everything overnight. You are not expected to do a 180 and change everything about you all at once. When this happens, the changes don't stick because it's too much, too fast. Like what you're doing now, slowly introduce small changes until it starts to become a regular part of your routine. Resolve to say, eat one less processed meal a week, add a fruit or vegetable, etc. I've been out of control with snacking lately. So now, before I eat something I don't need, I pose the question, what would Keena do? (My trainer). I'm hoping this helps me. Try to figure out what might help you. Great job on getting to the half-way point. There are only much better things from this side. Congrats on what you've achieved so far!

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MAMADWARF 5/31/2011 5:53PM

    Ya know, Cannie. I found you a little later in your journey but I sure am glad I did. You are doing soo well and the best part? You know who you are. You know what it is gonna take for you. You are solid. You are commited. You are reasonable. You are gonna make it. LOVE IT!

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DOODIE59 5/31/2011 5:50PM

    Hi Carole
You've already had my "steps of the ladder" peptalk, but I forgot to mention that B vitamins are good for combating stress. The most useful form is the liquid drops under the tongue (sublingual).

I used to joke that food is the worst vice because you have to have it 3x a day ... can't just ban it from your life forever:) For that reason, it is important for all us Sparkers to truly adopt a new way of living. In the end, this is what you are striving for. It will be wonderful to lose the next 25 pounds but the real victory will occur when you put food in its place. Eat for energy, exercise for joy ('cause you're already fit), and sleep for rejuvenation:)

You are on your way. Imagine the freedom once you figure everything out! You will be living the life you were meant to live.

Be good to yourself --
Deirdre emoticon emoticon

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MRSSCHENCK 5/31/2011 3:53PM

    emoticon It must be an awesome feeling knowing that you are halfway to completing your goal.

emoticon

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SBATES63 5/31/2011 3:22PM

    First of all you are so wise about the running. Committing to the race will take all the joy out of it. At least it does for me. Your attitude is wonderful. Keep it up and sooner rather than later you will be at the 3/4 way mark.

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MARTY728 5/31/2011 2:06PM

    Congratulations and keep going. You will get there!

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DAISY443 5/31/2011 1:53PM

    Half way is a wonderful place to be. The second half takes even more commitment than the first half, so stick with the plan and you will succeed! Congrats!

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