CAROLFAITHWALKR's Recent Blog Entries

Batchcooking Vol. 2: New Hamburger Method

Monday, January 10, 2011

I just figured out something super simple
that I feel giddy about (yeah I DO need to get a life).

When making seasoned hamburger patties to freeze, put 1/4lb in a freezer bag and press it out to fill the bag so the meat is square.

They are flatter and easier to cook that way; don't have to worry or take time to press them into balls; they don't squinch up into little round balls as they cook, like they do if you make traditional round patties; and if you serve them on bread like I do (I rarely buy special hamburger buns; and bread is more economical, too) then the square meat fits the square bread better.

Yes, I DO have those round Tupperware meat patty freezers. Nope, I won't be using them anymore. Wow, this should go much faster once I switch over to doing it this way all the time; it's already faster!

I'm using 1/4 lb seasoned meat inside sandwich zipper bags, pressing the air out of each one, then putting sandwich bags in a larger freezer bag. I'm laying them on a flat surface in the freezer until they're frozen solid.

One of my favorite dinners is hamburger meat, grilled onions with brown gravy on top, steamed broccoli on the side, and tomato wedges marinated in balsamic vinegar with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. No bread. Yes, I know I'm weird. I like this even better than steak.

I wrote a long blog yesterday, which SP deleted after I pressed the "post" button. So this is all for today.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    That hamburger, onion, and gravy sounds delicious to me. Sort of like Salisbury steak.

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WALKAPRIL 1/11/2011 10:51AM

    Great idea!! Love reading your blogs.. :-)

Get those steps in.. emoticon

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DONNACFIT 1/11/2011 10:25AM

    Great idea..I'm always looking for batch ideas..thanks :) I live on a ranch and get our own beef butchered so love to make up lots of patties in advance..can't wait to try it!! emoticon

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JEAN_WIKE 1/10/2011 10:54PM

  What a great tip, and just in time since I have to freeze some meat tonight. I'm off beef for now (hormone issues), but I bet it works just as well with ground turkey. And the meal idea sounds delicious. emoticon

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A*L*P* 1/10/2011 8:45PM

    Sounds like a GREAT idea! I got one of the "perfect patty" things but it is round. It works great for pressing hamburger meat. We don't buy frozen hamburger patties, we make them ourselves, too. They taste way better and are better for you, for sure!!

I love making discoveries like that! Go girl!!!


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Free Computer Resources & a Question

Saturday, January 08, 2011

SparkFriends and regular readers of my blog know that on Christmas Eve I clicked on the movie, Miracle on 34th Street, without FIRST going to a known site that I knew was legit. I just clicked on the movie icon in a moment of weakness - it was not hulu, not fancast, etc. Bad decision. Very very bad. My Dell Dimension E510 desktop, with Windows XP Media Center OS and IE8 browser, is still down after cleanup of 409+ infections of malware and trojans and all kinds of problems, and I'm on a borrowed laptop.

On this blog I'm listing some of the highly recommended resources, available via safe & free download, on the internet. I want to pay forward, and thank, all the people in the SparkPeople community who assisted me. Hopefully prevent the same problem from occurring at some of your homes. If you download and use these resources BEFORE you have a problem, they will be on your computer to help you get up and running sooner after catching something, or, they may prevent you from catching it at all. In either case, they are very helpful to have. Sooner rather than later.

Please note some advertised anti-virus, anti-malware pkgs, especially free ones, actually download their own infections onto your computer. So don't get click happy. Be discriminating before you click. KNOW what you are clicking on BEFORE you click, or don't click at all. Like my "free" Miracle on 34th Street - watch out! Heads up if the program is not recommended, from someone you trust, who is also knowledgeable; and getting the same answer from more than one person is even safer yet. The following pkgs are safe and DO NOT do that and were recommended by VERY KNOWLEDGABLE people who's opinions I trust.

Also note MacAfee and Norton are both passee and frowned on by most knowledgeable people nowadays. They are not free, either. They used to be very popular years ago. There are too many problems with them now. I took MacAfee off the laptop and installed new free ones.

The following is far from, and is not intended to be, a comprehensive list.

**I am not a computer professional.**

First of all I would start with the website CNET, since you can get so many of these programs there (one-stop shopping) and since CNET is an absolutely safe website to download them from. After you open this page, in the "Download Software Finder" box on the right of this page, select the platform, category, price, etc that applies to you:

Here is what was recommended to me multiple times from knowledgeable Sparkers I've known several years and trust. Most of these software companies will offer & will try to sell you their bigger better pkg; just click on the free download, instead, if free is what you want:

Ad-Aware by Lavasoft
Have used for years:

Glary Utilities

Malwarebytes - also has a forum free service avail

Microsoft Security Essentials
I really like this:

I've used Spybot Search & Destroy for many years, still do, it does alot and I really like it. Old Spybot users like me tend to be loyal. We love our Spybot. However in recent years, Spybot has fallen out of favor. Sort of like MacAffee and Norton. It's passee now. There is too much it doesn't catch, too much it doesn't do, etc. Read the editor's description given at the link below. However I like it and can personally recommend it, and I am going to keep using Spybot, it caught things Malwarebytes did not catch during my cleanup, for example; I'll just also use other things in addition to Spybot:

This didn't work very well for me with my Internet Explorer 8 browser. It's supposed to block those annoying banner ads and advertising on webpages, and in Yahoo, SP, etc. Maybe it works better in Firefox, Chrome, or Safari?? I'm including it in case you have a different browser than I do, since it comes highly recommended:

Avast Antivirus
I have to say this one hacked me off by repeatedly trying to package and load Google crap with their free download. I hate Big Brother Google. I use Start Page which doesn't record your IP address during searches, and I don't want Google toolbar or Google anything on my computer. I said no, no, no more than once. Still, it was highly recommended:

AVG 2011 Antivirus
I liked this one very much.

Avira Antivirus
I haven't tried this one, but it's also highly recommended multiple times or it wouldn't be here:

Who knows what can PREVENT and block the download of trojans & malware, instead of just doing clean up; and is also free? Microsoft above, and what else specializes in PREVENTING trojans & malware? (And yes my Windows updates and Spybot updates were all up to date before I got stupidly click-happy.)

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To all the Sparkers who have helped me soooooo much with my computer problems!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ILLINITEACHER52 1/11/2011 7:39AM

  Thank you. My Norton is presently telling me that it is expired but I paid for a year of service last July and have not been able to convince them. Now I have some alternatives. They are not getting any more of my money!

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    I use ad-aware, malwarebytes, spybot, and avg.

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/8/2011 10:30AM

    I also like Spybot very much. It's terrific. Have a great day.

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LINDAB111 1/8/2011 10:04AM

    Thank you Carol.
Hope I never have to use all of this info but I appreciate having it.

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    We are currently using Windows7 OS because our old XP system crashed. On our XP, we used many of the ones you mention above, Glary utilities, Spybot, Malware Bytes, AVG. Also used spyware blaster, available from Java, and Windows Defender.

On our Windows7, our computer tech said there are more securities built in to the system itself and he recommended Avast, Malware Bytes, IOBit Security 360. Windows Defender is automatically built in to the operating system.

There is also a free McAfee site where you can take a link to be checked before you click. I've used this a lot.

What blocks instead of just cleanup? Most of your antiviruses block if you have them set correctly. Spyware blaster blocks, I thought Spybot blocks, Windows Defender blocks. The trouble with all of these is that they also slow down the speed of your OS.

So sorry you are having these problems. You deserve better!

Comment edited on: 1/8/2011 9:40:52 AM

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A*L*P* 1/8/2011 8:59AM

    Dave is our computer wiz and we've used just about all of them. Right now he's pretty hot on Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG. We run AVG on our DD's laptop and Microsoft SE on our new laptop and the computer that Dave built a ffew years ago. Iknow he's used spybot before as well. He checks Cnet quite often for reviews and such so that definitely is a great source. He's pretty good about running scans on them (well, let's just say since he built our computer he is rather anal about it, lol). I like the programs that run real-time protection -- those are a must!

I wish you the best and hope you can get your computer back up and running! Too bad we didn't live closer I would have Dave take a look at it. He "speaks" computer,lol!

Thanks for putting together all the info!!

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KAKIPOPUP 1/8/2011 4:57AM

    I use Spybot, Ad-Aware, and AVG - I also have Adblock (for Firefox browsers) and Phishtank Site checker (for Firefox)

Thanks for sharing!

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SAFETYSUE 1/8/2011 1:18AM

    Great advise, and you had to have spent considerable time putting this all together. I use Microsoft essentials as does my husband and we are both very careful about what we click on. Unfortunately he did get a virus too, by clicking on something late at night when he was tired and wanted to find something and turn off the computer. He was however able to clean it up with a lot of work and my laptop by using several download patches from microsoft. He went into safe mode and ran malware and it cleaned it up enough to get it working safely. Then ran some other clean up program to recheck and cleaned up more.

We have two daughters who graduated in Computer Science and MIS, and both son in laws are computer savvy. The one son in law has been very computer savvy and is working for microsoft now as a manager working on ways to stop hackers, security, all something he is well versed in and was going to work for the FBI but met my daughter and she wasn't willing to move to the east coast so Microsoft is where he ended up.

Heather started a hard drive recovery business at home and they recover data lost on hard drives that fail. He recovered hundreds of pictures from my computer and got me a back up hard drive and suggests getting your pictures out on a third or forth server on line like snapfish, photoshop, are what I use. Anyway thanks for sharing all your great info, hope it serves to help others and keep us all on out toes about not clicking to soon, make sure you know it is a safe site.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/8/2011 1:21:07 AM

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Batchcooking Vol. 1: Butternut Squash & Recipes

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Today I started doing something I've been putting off: Batchcooking.

I only cook from scratch. The exception is canned goods and other staples I have that once I use them up, won't be replaced.

I was gone 5 weeks Nov-Dec for saying goodbye to my sister in hospice, her funeral, and the 1700 mile trip there and back. When I got home in mid-December, I had to start over in the food dept. Well it's been several weeks but I haven't cooked hardly at all. I've been dreading it in fact, so much so that I've eaten all the fruits, nuts, tuna, frozen crockpot soups, canned soups, etc. that I had on hand. Scrounging every day. I could not even motivate myself to fire up the crockpot - which had me wondering where the real Carol went. Part of it is grief, I know; but part of it is laziness from getting off my healthy habits during the 5 weeks.

Also I think it's not wanting to open the can of worms of dirtying the kitchen, the mental dread of making a mess that has to be cleaned up. Slow food is messy and not convenient. And as a single I don't have the urgency of doing this every day for non-existent hubby & kids.

Now once I get started cooking, it's not so bad, as I was pleased to be reminded of today. And although I'm not really a gifted cook, and learned as an adult, and often use the crockpot to prevent disaster, I love what I cook.

I had 2 medium butternut squashes from before my 5-week trip, so decided to cut one up and make crockpot soup while I chatted on the phone with a friend. The first one only made 4 cups of raw cubes, so I decided to go ahead and do the other while the cutting board etc was already dirty (the economy of batchcooking!). It helped that prepping the first one wasn't bad at all, in fact was pleasant, once I got started. Then thinking outloud to my friend on the phone about how I'd use / store / batchcook the butternut, spurred a memory of $5 Dollar Dinners.

I highly recommend $5 Dollar Dinners. I just love her site. Check out the Square Foot Gardening section, menu planning, and other features on her site, too. You can subscribe for free. Erin makes healthy, from-scratch meals, and shows you short homemade vids of HOW to do it, so if you're self-taught like me, no problem! I love finding good grocery bargains and so does she; she shares all hers which I love.

So one of her ideas I remembered on the phone today with my friend, was using part of the butternut for orzo butternut salad (I add spinach in mine). Cold in the summer or in lunches, or as a hot side dish in the winter. Yum. Something which personally, I assure you I would have never made without Erin at $5 dinners. But if she has it on her site (actually she mentions it in the vid), you can be sure it's wonderful. And I have orzo that I never use . . . another economical dish I can make from what's on hand.

$5 Dinners' Butternut Squash

Click on the above link to find:
Video: How To Cut and Freeze Butternut Squash, 4 mins
Recipe: How to steam-bake butternut squash
Recipe: Homemade baby food
Recipe: Cinnamon butternut squash muffins
Recipe: Maple roasted butternut squash

$5 Dinners' Homemade Macaroni and Cheese (yes, w/butternut)

Pasta with Butternut Parmesan Sauce:

Stephanie O'Dea's Crockpot Butternut Soup Recipe:

I have some almond milk to use up so I'll replace half the broth with milk and turn this into a butternut bisque. I'll let you know how it turns out. I highly highly recommend this site, as well. Stephanie "The Crockpot Lady" knows her stuff.

My winter squash handling tip: Preheat oven 350. Wash, stab gently (shallowly, just through the skin) a few times, and place the whole, uncut squash on the bare oven rack for 15 mins; 10 mins if smaller sized. Be sure not to forget it in there or you'll have a mess! Set a timer or two. Remove and let cool while you do something else. It will peel super easy; machete and first aid NOT required!

My butternut tip: Don't be afraid of buying the big ones. You want the ones with really long skinny "neck" part, like this picture, because the neck has no seeds and more flesh. This means they've been on the vine longer and got bigger:

I pass on the smaller-sized ones like this, which might look easier to handle and less inimidating, but in reality the bulbous end is full of seeds so you're getting less meat:

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I agree about cooking. I like it once I get started but sometimes I'm not in the mood to get started.

I've got 2 butternut squashes and an acorn squash I need to use up. Thanks for the tip on how to peel it.

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SCHNEBL 1/8/2011 8:11PM

    I am sorry for the loss of your sister ~ that's hard. :( Thanks for the links though, I'll be looking at them soon.

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DONNACFIT 1/7/2011 8:55PM

    Thanks for the links..they look do your recipes. Deepest sympathy on the loss of your sister..hugs emoticon

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    I'm happy to hear you've crossed a hurdle with cooking. I'm sure part of it is your grieving, and possibly after the first hurdle is crossed it will be easier. Hugs to you as you continue to make mental and emotional adjustments in the loss of your sister. Allow yourself to grieve. I think of you often and pray for you. In the food department - I love butternut squash, but I've never made a soup from them. I had butternut squash in my garden last summer. Most of them got chunked up and oven roasted - were so yummy!

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MPALMER15 1/7/2011 12:38PM

    Thanks for the links! I'll have to check them out!

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SPARKLOVE 1/7/2011 12:20PM

    Thanks for the tips- loved your blog. Joy

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A*L*P* 1/7/2011 9:11AM

    Well darn it! I got unsubscribed to your blog, lol! Thanks for the links as always! I am right now starting a whole lotta bookmarks that I can keep tabs on making homemade baby food. I am drooling over the Baby Bullet, it is a fantastic little tool (from the makers of the Magic Bullet) that I am considering... a ways off, I know.

I love butternut squash. It is so yummy! I just found them at the Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocer for $.89 a pound for organic. I am going to get one!!! Thanks a bunch lady!!! TGIF!!

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    I meant it's not necessary to stab deeply, LOL. I'll add that.

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JEAN_WIKE 1/6/2011 6:26PM

  Thank you so much, especially for the winter squash handling tip. I had to laugh, though, at your instructions to "stab gently". Heh.

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Handbook 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I got this from Gloworm's blog and I am passing it on. I don't agree with every word, and I changed a few, but it contains much wisdom.


Health :

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants, and less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2010.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day and just think, and deep breathe.
9. Sleep for 8 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality :

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your spouse of his/her mistakes from the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree ...

Society :

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others, even if it is only a laugh.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life :

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your inner most self is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least :

40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about, I just did.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I love this. I need to follow - 33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

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YW84FRIDAY 1/8/2011 10:43AM

  This is an awesome blog! I'm going to print it up and hang it on my refrigerator. Thanks!


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Goals Jan 3, 2011: Be Invincible

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

My incremental goals are to reduce into the next smaller classification of BMI every 6 months.

- My Jan 3, 2011 BMI is 46, Morbidly Obese.
- I want to become Severely Obese before Jun 30th
- and Obese before Dec 31st.

My "big" goal is physically fit, first; and also 125lbs by 50th birthday (end of Jun 2012). Although it's true I might stop at 150, 140, etc; and I won't know til I get there.

276.4 lbs - 125 lbs = 151.4 lbs to lose
Jan 3, 2011 - Jun 30, 2012 = 77 wks
151.4 lbs / 77 wks = 1.9662, or, 2 lbs per week

At 276.4 lbs, the 1% rule means I can safely lose 2.8 lbs per week, in the beginning.

3lbs / wk = 10,500 cals reduced or burned per week
Which = 1500 cals per day reduced or burned

So my Jan 3, 2011 goals are: daily reduce 1000 food cals, and daily burn 500+ exercise cals.

But I have another more important goal, that eclipses "the math" above. A Success Secret that is failsafe. A Secret Weapon.

A doctor told me something years ago: start by walking every day, and by increasing the amount of time spent walking you will come to a point where you start losing weight, without changing your diet. For some people it's 20 mins a day, 30, 45, 60, 90 mins, etc.; everyone's different.

She was shocked to find out, personally in her own experience, the 20 mins 3X a week she'd heard all her life as a medical professional was a lie.

She upped it to 20 mins 4X a week. Then kept upping it til she was at 20 mins 7X a week.


NO weightloss.

"Just WHAT is this going to TAKE?!" she wondered.

She kept upping it until she was at 60 mins 7X a week. Once there, she started losing weight.

She gave me her personal example for the purpose of giving me with this advice: find what amount of activity works for you, what the tip-off point for weightloss is, and then stick with it.

I plan to do this via The Step Diet SparkTeam & philosophy, which is a sane, safe program to add 500 steps a week gradually over time til you're up to 10,000 steps per day. If you're interested in the team, please click on the team icon on my SparkPage.

Brenda Willis did this, she was in her 40s and had been overweight all her adult life, and she lost 140+ lbs with The Step Diet and kept it off for 7+ years. Brenda has a new life now - in high demand as a well-paid motivational speaker.

So don't say you're too old, or have been heavy all your life, or have too much 100+ lbs to lose.

My doctor and Brenda Willis did this. WE CAN DO IT, TOO.

Sedentary: less than 5,000 steps per day
Low Active: 5,000 to 7,499 steps per day
Somewhat Active: 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day
Active: 10,000 to 12,500 steps per day
Highly Active: 12,501+ steps per day
Old Order Amish women w/very low, 4% obesity:
14,000+ steps per day

BMI Classifications:
Less than 19 - Underweight
19-25 Ideal BMI
25-30 Overweight
30+ Obese
35+ Severely Obese
40+ Morbidly Obese
50+ Super Morbidly Obese

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OOLALA53 2/20/2011 10:46PM

    So, what are the steps to be invincible?

Every time someone asks me what I want for my birthday, I say, "Resolve." Really. I'm going to put that in my play. emoticon

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OLDSCUBACHICK 1/12/2011 12:25AM

    Oh shoot! I love your picture on this! I learned about SMART last year in a class I took! Can I ask where you got it? I'd like to snap it up for myself, too, if you don't mind!

I love your goals. My next goal is to write down MY goals! Ha! Thanks for the boost to get mine done!

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    I kind of did something similar. I have to get up to 20,00 steps a day to lose weight and keep my calories between 1200 and 1400. I stay in the old order amish range.

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YW84FRIDAY 1/8/2011 10:42AM

  Great blog! I like the step chart. What I thought was active is only considered somewhat active on the chart. I guess I'd better start increasing my steps each day.


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MPALMER15 1/5/2011 3:42PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SPARKLOVE 1/4/2011 4:20PM

    Wow! I didn't realize I was Super Morbitly Obese! Great Blog!
Thank you, Joy

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SHARON2014 1/4/2011 8:47AM

    Walking was the key for me when I was actively losing weight. Though I did not get up to 60 x 7 I lost slowly, ate moderately within SP program...once I stopped walking I did not lose, even though my diet was the same!!

This is a great program and I am joining you! Thanks!

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