EMMABE1   193,887
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EMMABE1's Recent Blog Entries

Thank you all so very much!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

It is a week since I entered my last blog – a blog that has seemed to take the Sparkpeople Community by storm with 987 comments and 1209 people who registered that they liked it, as I put this up!!
I have been totally humbled by this response to a blog that I actually had put together for myself – as a bit of fun to see how far I had come and then as I did it – I laughed at my memories and feelings from the different stages – and then saw me as I am now – and I decided to put it up as as a blog as I thought a few who know me might enjoy it and the few less mobile members on the site might draw comfort that all is not lost!! The reaction by so many members blew me away!!

A tip to anyone who thinks they aren't getting anywhere - is to put together a collection of previous photos as I did - you learn so much!!

. I actually went through a series of emotions during the week – firstly shock and I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide, then I thought about it and I hoped I really would help some people. I actually got so overwhelmed at one stage trying to reply to the responses that every time I got to the end of a page so many more had come in that I went backward instead of forward – and one evening after trying to catch up I ended up 3 pages back from where I had started that morning!! The replies have now settled and I am able to keep up with them

I have tried to answer all of you–and to also answer all the wonderful gifts of goodies and friendship that I have received as well as the Sparkmails – if you haven’t heard – please let me know as it would have got wound up in the rush accidentally!!

So – Thank you all – I treasure all the comments and gifts – and this week will inspire me further and stay in my memory for a very long time!!

I am working on a blog answering some of the questions I was asked but …………
In answer to one question I was asked I need to state that – none of the photos were ‘Photoshop” enhanced, – had they been I certainly would have added some teeth!! LOL!! I hate to tell you – but they were all – “as is” the only change made was to cut some of the background off!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYELENE 6/10/2011 7:12PM

    What you've achieved is truly amazing. You are truly an inspiration to us all. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BECKY3774 6/10/2011 5:08PM

    Your story brings tears to my eyes and laughter and joy to my heart...THANK YOU!!!!

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MMRB7111 6/10/2011 3:31PM

    No, thank you is needed. In fact, Thank You so much for sharing your journey with us. You showed us all how it is possible to achieve a goal of healthy eating and weight loss the right way. I am truly inspired by your determination, patience and no give up attitude. You did such a good job of changing your lifestyle. You are truly an awesome lady. Please continue to share your journey.


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    I'm so grateful that you're sharing this journey with me. It's not a diet. It's not JUST a change of lifestyle but it is becoming a WAY OF LIFE and I'm glad to have you shining your light of example & inspiration along the way. You're my hero! Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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MILLIE5522 6/10/2011 1:37PM

    You are so lovely....I feel privileged to have come across your story, so like many people here, I am inspired by you and with you all the way. emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/10/2011 1:39:01 PM

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ROSAMARCELLE 6/10/2011 12:46PM

    Your blog is a real inspiration - particularly at the moment when progress is so slow for me and I seem to take 10 steps forward and 9 back every time. Your determination in keeping going despite setbacks just inspires us to do the same. emoticon

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HAPPYBASKET 6/10/2011 10:56AM

    They have all said "IT" We don't need Thank You's we just need your continued inspiration! You go girl!
you are loved!

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TUBLADY 6/10/2011 10:23AM

    This Thank You Blog should be enough for the people that responded as I did. I don't expect you to answer me back, you did when I added you as a friend. I thank you for just setting such an wonderful example of what someone can accomplish.
Continue to inspire others to work toward the dreams and goals of living a healthy, fit life.
Take care,
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JILL313 6/10/2011 10:15AM

    Your Journey with Pictures really hit home for many of us, especially those like me who are struggling to keep afloat. You've accomplished so much in a relatively short time and did it the right way. You are an inspiration to me and many others as to what you can gain by eating healthy and exercising daily. It takes a strong and determined person, like you, to show us it can and has been done. You are a Shining Example of everything I want to be and achieve!! You give us so much hope and care so much about us that I only wish we could do something more for you! Well Wishes and Hugs and a Big Thank You for Being You, a Very Special Lady!


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~KINDREDSPIRIT~ 6/10/2011 9:55AM

    You warmth and kindness ooze with every sentence you write. Don't feel like you have to respond to me, Emma, but I was touched by your decency to write me back originally when I wrote. Even a friend of mine wrote you and was so excited that you took the time to write her back! And your response to me was just exactly as I would have felt had I been in your shoes. Overwhelmed, worried about expectations, but willing to push through it.

I have been SO inspired by your insistence and patience in this whole thing. Obviously in 9 years, things stayed the same, went up or down for you, but you get prodding along and you succeeded.

And you know, it made me think...Heck this isn't some quick fix I should expect and, when the very minute it doesn't go well, I should quit!!! Heck with that nonsense, you know? YOU AND YOUR STORY gave me that. And every time I waiver I think of you and all you have done and I move past it. Well, anyway, thanks and take care.



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MARTY728 6/10/2011 9:51AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    I think you did a great job on that blog, and you deserved every single accolade! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ERLYWA 6/10/2011 9:24AM

    You have such a truly sweet spirit, but remember....when blogs go viral like that, most people know that you simply cannot personally respond to nearly 1,000 comments, so they understand :)

Keep up your progress and please keep sharing with us, you are clearly an inspiration to many!

Erika :)

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HELEN_BRU 6/10/2011 9:22AM

    Thanks for writing this blog so we can thank you for your responses and not clutter up your page! You are truly an inspiration, even to me, who usually has to read umpteen articles or books before I can get back to brass tacks.

I agree, we sometimes don't give ourselves enough credit for having accomplished as much as we have. Maybe if we did, we wouldn't be so quick to quit. And who wants to start all over again. I am done with that!


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GOANNA2 6/10/2011 9:21AM

    Thank you and you're welcome for giving us all a glimpse
of your journey and to know that it is really all possible. emoticon

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LIBBYFITZ 6/10/2011 9:08AM

    emoticonYour welcome!

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TJHIERS 6/10/2011 9:03AM

    i think for many of us we feel defeated at times, some with more to lose and some with not as much to lose, and when we see your journey, it gives us a positive feeling that we can do it too ! we need the inspiring pictures and words to give us hope that one of these days we will get there too !
thank you so much, and i hope you know we all need to see it and to know how to do it,...and that is what keeps us fighting everyday to continue on our journey's..
you rock !
keep on sparkin my friend ! emoticon

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CT-FL-SNOWBIRD 6/10/2011 8:54AM

    I don't think all 987 expect to get a personal "Thank you" from you, for commenting on your blog. This "Thank you" blog is should surely be enough!
I'm sure that other members will agree with me. We'd rather have you go out there and have a great time, than sitting at the computer, trying to accomplish this nearly impossible task!

Please - No need to send me a reply to this comment! emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 6/10/2011 7:55AM

    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog and it really gave me hope.

I have my times and yesterday was one of them. I guess last
month was also. But I have to I WILL start improving. I know
how to and I know I can, I just have to want to enough to
follow through

Thanks for being a shining example of the SP had done to
enhance so many lives.


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SUNRISE14 6/10/2011 7:04AM

    emoticon emoticon

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EVER-HOPEFUL 6/10/2011 6:40AM

    it is we who have to say to you. emoticon

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BARBARAROSE54 6/10/2011 6:34AM

    You've done the work, you deserve the recognition.

I need to get my camera out and start to track the changes.

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SAFFYS_PAGE 6/10/2011 6:09AM

    As has been said above...
We should be thanking you , It has certainly made me more determined to keep focused.
emoticon emoticon emoticon
hugs and light

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SUSIEPH1 6/10/2011 5:39AM

    The pleasure is all ours ... It has given so many of us hope ... and I am so sure it has inspired so many more of us ..
Thank you !! .
Love and Hugs Susie emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/10/2011 5:39:55 AM

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KNIGHTS6 6/10/2011 5:29AM

    You are so welcome and so worthy of all the kind comments.
looking forward to moe of your blogs
love angela xxx emoticon

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

The Story of a 64kg (141lb) weight loss in words and pictures

Saturday, June 04, 2011

I have always been a “big” person – from when I was a baby!!
I tried a lot of diets and ways to lose weight – none really worked and although I might lose the occasional couple of pounds – I just got bigger and bigger

1877(ooops!!) 1977 – at my wedding – just to show that our wedding dresses aren’t always our smallest size!! Maybe one day I’ll try it on again for fun!!

1998 – in UK on holiday

2002 – this was taken in Adelaide on Holiday – and was the photo where I decided I had had enough – time for yet another attempt to lose weight!! I was 170kg here (374lb) and taking size 34 clothes!! This is the first reasonably correct recorded weight I have. I may well have been heavier before but its not on record.

2004 – going veeeerrrryyy slowly!!

2005 – off on vacation – by now I was buying 2 seats on the plane and using a walking stick and walking frame!! I was losing weight very slowly but my health was deteriorating – obesity was taking its toll – on my knees.

2007 – holiday in West Australia – and scooter came too!! By now I had given up walking much – too much pain and very unstable knees – so I had a scooter – but taking it on holiday is rather like taking everything and the kitchen sink!!

2008 – 35kg gone (77lb) however – still living a totally sedentary life – and still wearing size 34 clothes!! This was a couple of months before I joined Sparkpeople.

In Feb 2009 I joined Sparkpeople – and discovered a hitherto banned word – exercise!! I was already eating a fairly healthy diet – but exercise was the one thing I had never tried!! I started staggering through 1 exercise in a Chair exercise DVD – but kept going – every day – often ending up sobbing with pain and effort – but eventually – .........

In 2010 – I started seeing changes – the length and intensity of exercise was increasing and I was getting stronger – a bit – my knees still gave some troubles and I was still getting delayed onset muscle pain after starting new exercises or increasing intensity. This was a real motivational picture too – my first ever pair of zip front jeans – goal reached!! They had all been elastic waist band up to now(yes all my life) !! and it was the first time I dared wear a belt and tuck in the shirt!!

I still used a scooter for most things out side – like shopping – and honestly was being told by the Doctor I always would until I had 2 knee replacements!! Well why wouldn’t I believe him??

By September 2009 I was really proud of how far I had come – and thought I looked great!! LOL!!

In June 2010 I joined Curves – feeling I wanted and needed to step things up a bit – this was the nearest I came at that time to “gym clothes” I chose Curves because I could sit and exercise at a lot of the machines – taking the stress off my knees!! Also the conventional gyms round here all need one to use a walking machine – an electric walking machine that will persist in throwing me off the back!! They also expect one to get down on the floor to exercise – but they don’t have a crane to lift me up!!

By August 2010 the extra work was paying dividends!

I rewarded myself with some gym clothes and started Zumba!! Not bad forsomeone who was using a scooter a lot of the time - though I do say it myself!!

And this is today – 4th June 2011 – a few days from my 67th Birthday – and 106kg (233lb) Its on ongoing thing, this weight loss – and there have been tears and laughter – and it certainly hasn’t been easy – but I wouldn’t go back to my old self for anything – not all the money in the world!!

For one thing I rarely have pain in my knees, and they are stable now. I occasionally use my poor faithful scooter that is sitting lonely in the garage, for long walks over uneven ground – but maybe one day……!! And my Doctor has stopped talking of knee replacements – now he just wants to know what the latest achievement is!!

And today – I had another “moment” – I undid the leather belt holding my jeans – and the jeans fell down – the snap and zip were still done up!! I thought they had been feeling loose!! Then I put this blog together and discovered why – they are the same jeans I was so proud of in the 2010 picture – my first pair of zip jeans – good heavens!! I must have been poured into them then – but they are so comfortable I just keep wearing them – they are a size 24 though and I am in size 20 now!!

Next reward – new jeans!! Meanwhile – a good strong tight leather belt!!

A work in progress – Aug 2002 – June 2011 – 63kg (141lb) difference and clothes difference from size 34- size 18/20!!
Do you know what I am most proud of?? ..... That I did it without surgical intervention, without medical intervention and without crash diets!! Just good healthy eating in the right portions and a lot of hard, but fun work, exercising!!

I am often asked – how far will you go – what is your goal?? I have no idea how far I will go – I have gone a lot further than any of the specialists ever thought was possible – and far far further than I ever believed possible. I am still going – weight loss is very slow – but my balance, strength, flexibility are improving all the time – I feel healthy and am enjoying the journey. My only goal is to continue until I reach a weight at which I am confortable and with which I am comfortable!!

The other question I am often asked is – its taken so long – don’t you get fed up ?? No I don’t because it’s a way of life – now I couldn’t go back to unhealthy eating – and I am enjoying exercise so I honestly would expect this to be a way of life until I die!! Therefore the time taken is irrelevant!!

Is it worth it ??? I’ll leave that for you to decide!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRANDMA_SANDY48 7/4/2011 11:33PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad I read it today, as I am trying to get started after my holiday overseas. How wonderful that you have been able to avoid surgery through all your hard work. Well done... emoticon

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RGEETING 7/2/2011 3:55PM

    Thank you for being such an encouragement to me! One of the first things I did on sp is to look at before and after pics... showing them to my hubby... and saying, "see? it's possible!" Thanks for sharing your journey with me!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CONNIER64 7/1/2011 4:26PM

    Wow!!! I admire you so much.I had never met such inspiring people till I joined SP emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JIVANA108 7/1/2011 3:57PM

    Beautiful journey and an amazing courage to keep going and never give or or go back :) You are an inspriation emoticon emoticon

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SEABREEZET40 7/1/2011 1:12PM

    You always are an encouragement to me.

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BREE1968 6/23/2011 7:07AM

    EMMABE1 you are amazing. I too have always been a big person. I started out very small a premie as a baby. I made up for it rather quickly. I know what it is like to live in a large body. I myself have struggled with my weight loss my whole life. I just wanted to say your are one of my many inspirations. you are taking one day at a time. that is what I myself have also learned to do. there is no time limit on weight loss. in fact the longer it takes to come off, the longer it will stay off. I know and feel that you will get a weight that great for you. I pray for you and wish you all the best. keep going and I will keep going also.

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NORAHNICK 6/21/2011 3:52PM

    OMGGGGGGGGGGGG how awesome is this???? How awesome are YOU???? You look fantastic and I'm so glad you didn't have to have any scary medical procedures!!!! What an inspiration you are!

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    Congratulations!!!! There are just no words...other than, you rock, EMMABE1! emoticon

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COMPUCATHY 6/19/2011 10:12AM

    SO proud of you! You have done a FANTASTIC job of reclaiming your health and reclaiming your life! Atta girl! CONGRATUATIONS! Keep up the good work! And definitely time for you to go jean shopping, girl! Thanks for sharing your story and your pictures! It is VERY inspirational! Spark on! emoticon

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SANDRINE250 6/15/2011 10:15PM

  Absolutely amazing!
Just what I needed to read today to get me off my butt!
Thanks - you're an inspiration

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JILLBRYA 6/15/2011 8:44AM

    Fantastic Job!! You look great and should feel very proud of all your hard work! emoticon

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MRSSCHENCK 6/15/2011 6:25AM

    Thanks for sharing your story. It's just what I needed to read today.

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BAUMANNSISTER 6/15/2011 3:51AM


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SARENA668 6/13/2011 10:01PM

    I just want to say that you are an awesome lady !

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CALIGIRLDIANA 6/13/2011 2:09PM

    This is absolutely awesome thank you so much for sharing with us!! You have come a long way and you look good!!!


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DAISYBELL6 6/13/2011 12:01PM

    You are a remarkable woman who is on a remarkable journey. You epitomize, to me, what Spark People is all about....health and life!

More power to you!

emoticon for sharing your journey and your pictures.

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SHASSYSUE2 6/13/2011 2:12AM

    Awesome!!! I love the fact that you did not have surgery!! I am doing this journey without any medical intervention, and it is so good to see someone that has done it this way too!!

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SARALEE24 6/13/2011 12:32AM

    WOW! This just made me want to get up and do something about myself. Lately I haven't done much in the ways of anything but sit on the couch. When I started reading this I realized that I can lose the weight that I want to lose. Thank You so much for posting this, I'm sure it helped you a lot too. You look great I hope that your weight loss journey goes well for you.

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SARALEE24 6/13/2011 12:31AM

    WOW! This just made me want to get up and do something about myself. Lately I haven't done much in the ways of anything but sit on the couch. When I started reading this I realized that I can lose the weight that I want to lose. Thank You so much for posting this, I'm sure it helped you a lot too. You look great I hope that your weight loss journey goes well for you.

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AFTERMYKIDS 6/12/2011 6:14PM

    emoticonYOU are emoticon
Keep showing people what YOU ARE MADE OF!! emoticon
There NO STOPPING YOU! emoticon

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HANNAHRN2012 6/12/2011 5:45PM

    Thank you for sharing. It was the motivation I needed today! :D

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SHIRLEYD1959 6/12/2011 4:43PM

    You are not a survivor! That's not good enough! You are an overcomer! You are the picture of healthy persistence, endurance, determination and fortitude. I wish everyone who needs to believe that positive change is possible after 40. No excuses, just focus, planning and belief.

Not to mention that you are skillful in picture journaling and documenting!

Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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MWHITE772 6/12/2011 4:28PM

    Great story, very motivational, exceptional job persevering keep it up! emoticon

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MERLA59 6/12/2011 3:12PM

  Thank you for the motivation, you have done an awesome job! emoticon

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GOODNPLENTY14 6/12/2011 2:54PM

  You're a champion! Way to go. And there's no going back!

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SPENDURTH 6/12/2011 11:16AM

    Such commitment and endurance! WOW! You are looking great- keep going! emoticon

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JCBURROW 6/12/2011 9:42AM

    Thank you for sharing your on-going journey! The pictures are quite helpful in showing your progress.

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BJF1609 6/12/2011 8:05AM

  Thank you for sharing your story. I am truly inspired by what you have accomplished and when I get discouraged, I'm just going to read your post again to remind myself that I have it within myself to make the changes I need to make in order to be healthy. You've truly helped me today and I thank you for it! emoticon

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MHINDI00 6/12/2011 2:17AM

  no comment accept that I'm very happy for those who tried and finaly acheived there goals but the most important is to change there life stile and never go back emoticon

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MHINDI00 6/12/2011 2:15AM

  no comment accept that I'm very happy for those who tried and finaly acheived there goals but the most important is to change there life stile and never go back emoticon

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BSBRETARD 6/12/2011 1:43AM


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DETERMINEDMOM_3 6/12/2011 1:18AM

    Good Job!!!!

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MAY21IWILLDOIT 6/12/2011 12:08AM

    Wonderful wonderful inspiration! God bless you for honoring your body and making it healthy. I am trying to do the same. emoticon

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DIVAFROMSC 6/11/2011 10:49PM

    What an inspiration you are!!! Keep up the hard work!!!

emoticon emoticon

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KRISTINKOTT 6/11/2011 10:06PM

    Wow. How amazing. Congratulations on such an awesome accomplishment. you give me hope!

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POLARBEARSCAT 6/11/2011 9:46PM

    What a testimony to perseverance! emoticon emoticon

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WABJEB 6/11/2011 8:54PM

    you are amazing god bless and good luck!!

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MEOWER 6/11/2011 7:59PM

    You are incredible! What an inspiration!

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BABYTUXXY 6/11/2011 7:30PM

    emoticonYou are doing great

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DELGADITA69 6/11/2011 7:05PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are very courageous!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DELGADITA69 6/11/2011 7:04PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are very courageous!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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23KAIYA 6/11/2011 6:56PM

    Wow, what an amazing woman!

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CAROLJ35 6/11/2011 6:50PM

    I have tears of joy in my eyes! Such a wonderful story and so brave of you to share all those photos. But they have a story to tell. I love your attitude and know you have honestly made this a way of life. God Bless!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FUTURENAVY 6/11/2011 6:29PM

    This is such a transformation! I love that you posted the pictures so that we are able to share your weight loss journey with you. Fantastic job!!

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CAFEBEANZ 6/11/2011 5:07PM

    You're awesome! Congrats and thanks for posting your ongoing journey. You're an inspiration and I wish you much success in your journey.

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AZBACKPACKER 6/11/2011 3:16PM

    Wonderful. You keep up the great work....

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SW33TG33KGIRL 6/11/2011 2:29PM

    WOW !!! Very impressive .... worthy of lots of praise and a standing ovation .... I am so proud of you !!! It is no easy tasks to do what you have done and it is obvious you did it through hard work and determination !!! GREAT JOB :)

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SLIMMERSUSAN10 6/11/2011 12:50PM

    Amazing!! Thanks for the pictures! Keep up the good work!!

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CHIDREW 6/11/2011 12:26PM

    Fantastic job! Keep up the great work!

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TAZMAHAL 6/11/2011 12:00PM

    What an inspiration story .very motivating I will start walking today on my treadmill. I have bad knees, but reading your story has made me think twice .I am a member for curves. Thank you

Comment edited on: 6/11/2011 12:03:08 PM

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Boy!! Has winter arrived or what??

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ok - so this is the Southern Hemisphere and we are talking about it being Winter - tomorrow - 1st June!!
But here we live in the Northern half of Queensland - we NEVER get snow and the low winter temps MIGHT drop as low as 4C (40F) at night with - maybe - a light frost!!
You get the picture - lovely warm dry clear sunny days and cool but not really cold nights!! The stuff that dreams are made of!!

That was until yesterday!!

This picture was taken on the main road just West of us - about 30min drive!! And they tell us that Winter actually starts tomorrow!!
It was actually hail - from a storm that went through - 2" - 3" of it!! But heavens - what is coming this winter??!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 6/11/2011 3:37AM

    Yikes!! That's hail?! We are having crazy weather over here to! Such a strange year for weather!

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LIBBYFITZ 6/8/2011 4:44PM

    Now I know why my niece in Brisbane was grumbling about the weather being sooooo cold!

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PROVERBS31JULIA 6/7/2011 10:35AM

    oy! hail in winter? must have been the hail that escaped us in Kansas this summer? That's very rare to have hail in winter.

I have a friend who lives in Brisbane - think that is farther south of you, closer to Sydney... I'll have to look at his Facebook and see if he has mentioned any freaky weather!



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JOANNANOW 6/5/2011 1:30AM

    I can't help chuckling at your weather. Greetings from northern British Columbia, Canada emoticon

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PYNETREE 6/4/2011 8:23AM

    Just heading into Summer here on the top side, and have already had one heat-wave! Has been less humid last two days.
Here's hopeing that your winter will be milder than our last winter. Way too much snow! emoticon

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TRACYZABELLE 6/3/2011 4:07AM

    ahhhhh feels cool!~

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TEALADY0531 6/2/2011 9:35AM

    Wow, what a kick-off! I hope that's your shot of weird weather and done with it! We were 90 degrees here in Michigan - unusually hot!

Stay warm and well!! emoticon Midgie

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NOLAZYBUTT110 6/1/2011 11:46PM

    Super HOT day fr us June 1st, but not as hot as it was yesterday! was 92 yesterday and today it got up to 82. Sounds about right for you guys! WIndy and cold!

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IRONGRANNIE 6/1/2011 3:51AM


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    WOW! The weather seems to be crazy all over the world. I am amazed at all the things that I am seeing around the world. I hope that you're not too cold my friend. Love ya, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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LYNNOTT 5/31/2011 10:02PM

    Crazy hot for the end of May in Pennsylvania, with a lot of nasty thunderstorms! That's hail??? WOW!

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WENDYJM4 5/31/2011 8:51PM

    wow. that's amazing.

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ROSAMARCELLE 5/31/2011 4:42PM

    My goodness!!! What is coming indeed! We had a nice, bright sunny day today, but Sunday saw the first real rain we've seen this year. emoticon

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HONEYBEADS 5/31/2011 2:48PM

    Whoa! It's hot in Washington, D C!

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NIECYA 5/31/2011 2:02PM

    Wow that is crazy. We are in the upper 90's after a series of tornadoes hit the south. Still in tornado season but it seems like its going to be a hot hot hot summer.

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STEPHIEKNITS 5/31/2011 12:57PM

    Crazy weather here too!

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JILL313 5/31/2011 12:13PM

    We've also had crazy weather here--but it's finally starting to warm up--in the upper 70's today in California. Enjoy the Seasons!

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 5/31/2011 12:11PM

    it's possible!

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SANDYBRUNO 5/31/2011 10:48AM

    It is always fun to discover all the different seasons all over the world. The weather has gone crazy lately.

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MS.ELENI 5/31/2011 9:22AM

    Another reminder that your seasons are the opposite of mine. Hopefully the snow is a one time thing

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HAPPYBASKET 5/31/2011 9:16AM

    Oh yes! We have seen that "Stuff" here in the desert. It came with heavy rain one time & then it all ran down the street so we had a pure white running "river" or so it looked. Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are entering the "H~O~T~ time of our desert weather, but so far it has been below the norms for Temps, but then we wonder, just like you, What is ahead of us ? Guess we will know, sooner or later. & OH OH, what that hail does to cars & windows. The Insurance Co's don't like that. emoticon
All together now, aaawwwwww. poor babies!

Comment edited on: 5/31/2011 9:21:12 AM

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MILLYMOUSE1 5/31/2011 6:57AM

    Heavens I lived in Qld for near on 20 years and I had never seen anything like that. Had frost once that would have beem 1984 and the last time. I lived in Bris
9.00 pm in Hobart and 7.0 C Brrrrrr

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JBETTERID 5/31/2011 6:21AM

    Makes me wonder how cold it is going to get down around here in lower victoria if you are getting it so cold up your way... should make us want to do more exercise to keep warm.. lol.. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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POETSSOUL 5/31/2011 6:17AM

    All I can say is...I am Thanking God 4 my 90 degree Farenheit week ahead! I'm still trying 2 thaw out from our winter Dec-March! emoticon

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SUSIEPH1 5/31/2011 5:59AM

    Ohh WOW is that really Qld ??
I have never seen that before on any of our trip's up there over the years ....
Crazy weather and it is happening all over the world ...
Take Care my friend ...
Hugs Susie

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GOANNA2 5/31/2011 5:31AM

    Amazing eh? I just saw the news and the pictures
of Mt. Tamborine from this morning also covered in
a white blanket of hail. I haven't felt this cold in a
long time. Apparently the severe storm warning due
this afternoon for us was cancelled about 2 hours ago.

I am still ok and haven't had to put on the heater - Have you?
Cold... emoticon

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Beware of Sabotage of Your Weight Loss

Thursday, May 26, 2011

During a recent visit to my dietician he produced this paper and we discussed my feelings on the following points. I found them interesting as they are remarkably similar to the SP principals.
As we talked I thought that since these principals are so similar to the Sparkpeople principals – that I thought I would repeat the paper here for your thoughts. Hopefully at least some of it will be “food for thought” for you as it was for me.

1 – “Use By Date” – Is there a use by date for your weight loss? (eg – I just need to lose weight for a wedding in June”)
Often if a goal or date isn’t met people get discouraged and think of themselves as failures, then they give up!!
These changes are for LIFE. Just because a maybe unrealistic goal isn’t met does not mean you are a failure – the body often has its own agenda for weight loss, so we have to accept that it knows what it is doing. Lifestyle changes take time, and often good changes happen to the body that we don’t count –because they aren’t visible on those pesky scales. .

2 – “Sustain” -- begin as you mean to go on - these changes are for life.
Can you continue for the next 6mths, year, 5yrs?
Giving up an unhealthy food or habit is a difficult and complicated task – if you treat it as an addiction this can be helpful.

3 – “Deprivation” - Are you depriving yourself of your favourite foods?
Favourite foods are NOT forbidden, but they may need to be limited and portion control can help here.

4 – “False-Hope” - Is your goal weight unrealistic ?
Don’t set yourself up for failure.

5 – “Speed” - How fast do you expect to lose weight
Remember that a slow steady weight loss is far more condusive to the weight staying off than a fast loss.

6 – “Ease” – Do you just expect the weight to fall off?
Weight loss takes time, effort and commitment among other things.

7 “Savour” - Do you eat more because you taste less?
Be mindful and savour what you are eating and drinking. Take your time over the meal, notice what you are eating and how much. Taste the flavours fully. Enjoy the meal, after all you have taken time preparing it – or someone has!!

8 – “Delayed Feeling” - Remember it takes 20mins from actually being full to feeling full.
All meals should be eaten at a table, in relaxed surroundings, not watching TV or on the computer!! Never rush food – linger over the meal and enjoy it fully. Maybe it will be a family event discussing the day’s happenings..

9 – “Self discipline” – Is NOT the answer for long term benefits – you simply need to change lifetime habits.
MOTIVATION is the greatest factor to successful long term weight loss.

10 – “Sitting” - Overweight people sit for 154mins (2 ˝ hrs) longer every day than lean people. That’s what is said – however I personally suspect that obverweight people sit for a lot longer than that compared with lean people!!
Get up – move – there are so many things you can do – go for a walk, check the washing, go up and down stairs, exercise, go shopping. Go swimming, and a hundred other things besides!!

11 – “Sub-conscious” - Being overweight, and habits that make us overweight sometimes can be a protection against the bad things in our lives such as trauma, difficult relationships, stress, work etc
What are the benefits of being overweight??
I’ll bet that you can list many bad things caused by being overweight, but how many benefits can you list??
Why do you want to be overweight??

12 – “Yo-Yo Dieting” – We all know this effect – up, down, then further up, down a bit and so on!!
It can cause some negative thoughts
a) – Why bother effect – why am I bothering to go through all this
b) – Last Supper effect – get in as much as I can while I can
c) -All or nothing – why blow just a little
This is a lifetime program, encouraging us to make lifestyle changes that will last for the rest of our lives –
Our weight will fluctuate slightly naturally, but the general curve will be downward. As well we should feel fitter, healthier, have more energy, flexibility and enjoy life more. The emphasis should not be on weight but on improving our general health and fitness and in enjoying that transformation.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NDTEACHER1 7/13/2011 9:23PM

    Great blog!

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1BEACHWALKER 6/25/2011 2:14PM

    Great points! We are on a journey to improve our lives and the weight loss is the added benefit. I have learned to even embrace the plateau's my body stops at once in awhile, because I feel it is my body resting from the rigors I am putting it through. If we stress out about every little thing we are doing or not doing it will make it even harder on us and the body will not respond the way we want it to. I know I will get there, I am one of those that is happy with slow, but steady! Enjoying life as I get there-because I know I will reach my final goal weight-yes, indeed!!! m emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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COYOTESPEAKS 6/14/2011 10:53PM

  Excellent points. I agree with you that these definitely mirror a lot of the SP ideas.

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ASHOAF1 6/14/2011 11:01AM

  Thanks for this post!

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GSPEIRS 6/11/2011 10:51PM

    Thanks for posting and sharing this with everyone! This speaks volumes to me.
Take Care and Much Success in All YOUr Weight Loss Endeavors!

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LISAWILLBEFIT 6/11/2011 6:09PM

    You are so right i see why this is a popular blog

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KSNANA2 6/11/2011 10:30AM

    I am new to this journey with SP, and one of the best lessons so far has been to just change a couple things at a time. I don't feel overwhelmed in trying to live a whole new lifestyle. Loved your blog and am very happy to meet you!

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TUBLADY 6/11/2011 2:02AM

    My dietitian and yours are in agreement.
Those are the 12 steps that I try to adhere too.
I find that they work too.
If you cut out all the foods you like, you will eventually binge on them.
I believe in quality and quantity. Eat good food, use portion control.
Motivation , I have only to remember what it was like at 333 lbs to stay on track.
Turning your life around is never easy, but what in life is?
Take care and stay positive.
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PSALM34V7 6/10/2011 1:54AM

    A really good blog - again. Thanks for the reminder - its often so easy to get carried away.

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TJHIERS 6/9/2011 6:06PM

    wonderful to read ! thank you ! emoticon

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HOLDINGMYOWN 6/9/2011 4:17PM

    very very good~ most of this I have already asked myself over the past 69 months of my journey~~ and more than once I have asked myself!
So another round of being reminded of why I started my journey, of how I want my journey to go, of the fact that my journey is for life and not just till I lose my 100 Lb goal,
and on and on for all 12 of them here!
Some of these I feel I have kicked good time! HOWEVER~ reminders like this Blog just make me commit to myself again!

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LADYANDREA2012 6/9/2011 3:16PM

    Amazing Blog!!! I really enjoy reading it and as someone mentioned before, It speaks very loudly to me!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!! emoticon

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TIWANA58 6/7/2011 5:38PM

  Your blog spoke great volumes to me. Thank you very much. emoticon

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DGFOWLER 6/6/2011 6:14AM

    These are very nice. And yes they do remind me a lot of spark people's 'rules'.. lol.. Have a super day. Donna

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CHEETARA79 6/5/2011 4:28PM

    Thanks for sharing! This was very helpful.

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 5/30/2011 10:38PM

    I just have to say that this paper was so well thought out and written. I'm glad that your dietician gave it to you and ever so grateful that you've shared it with us here. I know that much of it is what we already know, but it's always good to read it over and over. It goes along with the practice makes perfect principle. Thank you so much for sharing the journey with us and always being such a GREAT example for us all! Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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IRONGRANNIE 5/29/2011 9:50PM

    Thanks for posting these thoughts. It really is hard sometimes to remember what and why we are doing this.

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LIBBYFITZ 5/29/2011 1:51AM

    Great points!

Finally have caught up with you, had stopped getting your blog notifications on my e-mail.

Hope all is well. emoticon

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ANNIEJEFFRIES 5/28/2011 5:05PM

    Thanks Anne!! Great blog. I love your bird too....LOL

Blessed be,

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TOTALFOCUS 5/28/2011 12:36AM

Thank You for sharing!

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NOLAZYBUTT110 5/27/2011 8:18PM

    Its thought provoking. Good written article. susana

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SANDYZEE 5/27/2011 8:01PM

    Excellent. Definitely worth keeping and re reading.


sandy emoticon

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PRESBESS 5/27/2011 7:39PM

    I love your blog and your weight loss is crazy outstanding! Keep Sparkin' and sending out encouraging blogs!

Press On!

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GOANNA2 5/27/2011 7:24PM

    Thanks for sharing Anne.

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JANEZAP 5/27/2011 4:07AM

    thanks for this it was really helpful :)

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ROSAMARCELLE 5/27/2011 4:02AM

    A great blog, so full of pearls of wisdom and so relevant to me. Thank you. emoticon

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SUCCESS44 5/27/2011 12:35AM

    Great points! Isn't it funny how we have heard many of these before, but they are helpful and valuable advice and reminders every time. Very nice!

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WENDYJM4 5/27/2011 12:10AM

    great blog and I can relate to most of them but especially no 11. I am going to print these out. thank you

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ARLENE_MOVES 5/26/2011 11:47PM

    Printing this. I was guilty of eating while on the computer this morning as I was trying to multi-task because of my busy day ahead. I didn't even realize I was eating - when I looked at my cereal bowl, it was gone -- and I didn't know when it happened. Scary stuff

Thanks for reminding me of the other stuff too. All important!!!

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SANDYBRUNO 5/26/2011 11:45PM

    Thank you for sharing. They are much like SP. I went through a patch where I was struggling with what I was eating but I hung in there and now I am doing much better.

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KA_JUN 5/26/2011 10:28PM

    Thanks for writing this!

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HAPPYBASKET 5/26/2011 10:15PM

    Ann, Ann, This is tremendous! I not only want to read it over more times, I am printing it out so that I can put it right up here on my Bullitin board. There is one thing that only us really old timers are cursed with, "You are going to sit right there until you finish what is on your plate!"( which was put there by my parents. Unfortunately, I made that a practice with our children & now I am very embarrassed by that fact. But I think that we thought that Children HAD to have that much. Too late, we learn! Thank You ann, SO MUCH
Point! I went to a convention this past weekend. Still unable to eat "chewing food" the server felt sorry for me & brought me a HUGE serving of Mashed potato's & then a big Sundae. I already had brought a milkshake into the room, so the old habit kicked in & I ate it ALL. Now, I must get rid of 2 lbs that packed on. Why Oh Why.?

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SM-ARTGIRL 5/26/2011 9:03PM

    Ann I love this!
I definitely need to consider and act on 7. and 8.
I spend a good deal of my precious time getting food, planning a meal and preparing it for my family.
I need to honour that gift by savouring every loving mouthful at a beautifully prepared table.
Too often the dining table is covered with projects and so I bolt my food down in a few minutes in front of the t.v.

Comment edited on: 5/26/2011 9:05:01 PM

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CAZ5346 5/26/2011 8:35PM


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JILL313 5/26/2011 8:15PM

    The Goals are Certainly compatible to what SP is all about!! Thank you for posting this for us--as healthy eating and exercise is the only good way to get at a healthy weight!!



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NO_SNOW_BODY 5/26/2011 8:07PM

    awesome blog

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KURTBAMF 5/26/2011 7:10PM

    What a fantastic blog! I LOVED reading this! It's so true, too. Especially this one:

8 – “Delayed Feeling” - Remember it takes 20mins from actually being full to feeling full.
All meals should be eaten at a table, in relaxed surroundings, not watching TV or on the computer!! Never rush food – linger over the meal and enjoy it fully. Maybe it will be a family event discussing the day’s happenings..

YES! YES! YES! I know I'm quite guilty of eating fast and thinking "Not full yet, better eat more!" I think, from now on, when I have my meals at work I will pick up my snacks or my lunch and move away from my desk to eat them. It will help me "savour" the meal and it will keep me aware of the fact that I am full. Thanks for the inspiration and the new life change! :)

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GUNNSGIRL91303 5/26/2011 7:08PM

    words of wisdom and truer words were never spoken! Great blog!

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NEE4BUD 5/26/2011 6:40PM

    This is a great blog emmabe!!!! Thank you for taking the time to write it!!!

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    Oh boy did I need to read this! emoticon

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GABBY308 5/26/2011 5:46PM

    This is an excellent blog! I hope you don't mind, but I copied it to a word document to save it, because it's worth reading over. emoticon emoticon

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NINJA_SMOO 5/26/2011 5:41PM

  Great reminder!

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MS.ELENI 5/26/2011 5:38PM

    Thanks for some good reminders

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    Thanks for posting that! emoticon

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SUSIEPH1 5/26/2011 4:46PM

    Thank you Ann, great blog!!
great reminder ..

Hugs Susie emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Please tell me it isn't so!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I have been trying to get out team to start a recipe file of their recipes to share – but I might as well knock my head against a brick wall!!
I know there is Spark recipes – but it appears they don’t use them either!!
Only 2 of us contribute recipes each month – and we are both Australian – which leads me to the conclusion that Americans don’t cook!!

I refuse to believe this is right – I hope!!
I was told a bit ago that Cookery is not taught in schools therefore the level of cooking skills can be low – and that you have to learn from your mother all that you do!! Depending on age this would mean that you actually didn’t learn as the younger generation of mothers used Take-out a lot – but that older people had the opportunity to learn as the parents did more cooking.

This would account for a lot of “drop-outs” from the Spark program. Its hard to stay on a low calorie intake by using Take-out and expensive, and if all you can cook is very basic then home cooked food would get boring!!

I can think of many reasons for not cooking at home – no ingredients, no time, either because of working, or because you have to get the meal in 5 mins, afraid the family won’t eat it, don’t know what to cook, or you don't feel like spending time cooking it goes on, or maybe they just don't want to share, or even they just don't want to participate in the team threads.

But I can think of some very good reasons to cook at home –
Firstly - by cooking food at home you know what goes into that food – no sneaky add-ins!!
Secondly - the amount of salt and other “nasties” can be controlled
Thirdly – you can organise the dishes you cook to stay within your calorie allowance far more easily than when eating Take-out or bought meals
Fourthly – its cheaper to cook at home than be for ever buying Take out
Fifthly – preparing and cooking the food and the shopping for groceries before, are exercise, or movement, rather than just sitting in a car and driving to Take –out places!!

So, because I am trying to understand and – since most who read and answer my blogs are American – what do you do – do you cook at home or not? And if not – why not??
Did you learn to cook in school – or from your mother or are you self taught??
Do you follow recipes, try new recipes – or stick to the same sort of things??
Thank you for your answers

BTW - I cook all our food - 3 meals a day - most from scratch - with fresh veg and raw meat - no packets!! But to me cooking is a hobby, its relaxing and its fun creating recipes and blending flavours, my DH loves home cooked food!! It would be maybe 4 or 5 years since we either went out to eat or ate Take-out!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWOINONE 6/10/2011 11:10AM

  Hello, is it too late to answer to this ?? I am Mexican and have lived in California U SA since I was 16.... I love to cook and that perhaps has been one of my weight gain problems...Mexican cuisine can be very fattening... and the fast food generation dont help much... hence the Diabetis and high blood presure epidemics in our comunities here.. I have been trying for some time now to cook in a healty way and hope someday to have some ..not complicated, low fat, low salt. low sugar GREAT TASTING BOOK OF RECIPES for my kids... I cook every day mostly with my Mexican heritage in mind.. but also some american dishes since my kids ( all grown now ) like both cuisines. if I can be of nay help....

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TANYAP71 6/8/2011 9:40PM

    I love to cook. I was taught by my mom and at school but I continue to learn, experiment, expand my repertoire. I am teaching my children but they don't teach cooking in school here (eastern Massachusetts). They, sadly, barely teach nutrition. Imagine the dangers of that given the nutrition of processed food!

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GARDENQE2 6/7/2011 3:48PM

    Hi, I'm going to chime in a little late...It's my busy garden season!
I think there are many younger people in the USA who don't cook. Perhaps they didn't have a chance to learn when young. Take-out is easy and cheap, and they are so busy with their careers. My sons both learned to cook as children, but their wives rarely cook. One son went through a vegetarian period and developed some fine recipes!

I grew up on a ranch in Wyoming. My grandma loved to cook and let me help from a very young age. My mom hated to cook, so she let me do it so she could do something else. I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner at age 14, when I wasn't strong enough to put the turkey into the oven, and I called Daddy in to do it!

Now that I'm old and live alone, I don't cook as much as I should. I often buy roasted beef or chicken at the supermarket and start from there. Many days, I eat eggs or cheese and fruit. Even a favorite food gets tiresome if I have it 5 days in a row! One thing I always do is bake bread...I make sourdough white, rye, and stone-ground wheat. Whenever I'm in the mood for a special dish, like lasagne, gumbo or sauerbraten, I cook a bunch and invite friends in. Everyone likes home-cooked even if they don't do it themselves!

Which team has the recipe exchange thread? I would like to join it!

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LILLI56 6/7/2011 2:52AM

    My mom was a great cook, but she like beans and cornbread almost every night. I didn't like beans or cornbread, so I didn't eat at home much after I learned to drive. Most of my friends and I would do the drive thru bit. I didn't have a weight problem until I got married and thought that I should eat the same amount as my 6'2" husband. I am just 5'5 1/2". I started gaining. After our 2nd child was born I just kept on eating. A few years later we divorced and I really started gaining. I got up to 245 before I decided that it was enough. I joined a gym and a few friends at work would weigh each other in on monday mornings. I really got into the exercise and lost 100 lbs. I said that I would not ever put it back on. . .but I was in a car wreck and I shattered my right leg. I was in a wheelchair for a year. . .my doc said that I couldn't put any weight on that leg until the bone graft took. I gave up the gym and still ate like I was working out everyday. I gained all but 10 lbs back. . now 10 years later my knees are killing me and I have once again had enough. . .I have lost 5 lbs so far and I have been working out again. I quit using the cart at the grocery store. .so now no more excuses. thanks for your blogs.

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VICKILYN4 6/6/2011 8:17PM

    I live in America on the east coast. I learned how to cook by working at Roy Rogers, McDonalds and a Diner down the road from where I lived. I usually just look up recipes in books or online or on spark and print them out.

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LHIEBEL 6/6/2011 11:25AM

  I cook more on the weekends so we have healhty leftovers during the week--I work 9-6 everyday, go to the gym, and then run errands (grocery shopping, etc.) so usually don't get home until between 8-9 everynight. If I cook during the week it is chicken or a grilled steak--nothing too elaborate...

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ROBLINO56 6/6/2011 10:31AM

  My mother taught me to cook, but we were very poor and with 7 kids to feed Mainly the food that we ate was simple, Ate a lot of beans, rice we made fried bread to go with the meals of Flour and grease, So even though mom taught me some basic It was the same old same old We would take left overs and mix together to make it different. I had to learn on my own any other recipes I don't think i am a good cook, sometimes it turns out good and sometimes not I do love vegetables, I buy frozen mostly and steam them, I have tried to cook fancy meals but they usually don't turn out very well, so i tend to stick to basic and use box if possible. Now that kids are grown and cooking for just two its hard to find recipes and after eating leftovers so much of my life any leftovers get thrown out. i'm always wanting something different. i watch cooking shows in hopes that i can learn something new. but trying new foods is hard for me, i think my taste buds are just set on simple.

Comment edited on: 6/6/2011 10:33:13 AM

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SHEILAB64 6/5/2011 10:07AM

    I am 47 from Indiana. WE had home-ec class for 6 weeks in 7th, 8th and 9th grades but cooking was only 2 weeks long so I have had a total of 6 weeks of home-ec cooking and I remember that we had to learn out to throw a party one year and made appetizers (must admit party planning is something I am good at) and then we learned breakfast foods another year and I am expert on the omelet and pancakes and then we made kid friendly foods for dinner another year so I make a great homemade pizza. They had high school home-ec classes but if you were in college bound there was no time to take those classes.

My grandmother and mother were not great cooks - lots of canned soup, boxed pastas, and my mom was crock pot king. I think my Grandmother made the same 7 recipes for 50 years - Monday was alwasy the same etc. That was at least my experience with her when I visited.

My mom worked 3 jobs so she crock pot cooked everything - after a while, everything cooked in a crock pot tastes the same.

My step mom was a self taught cook who loved to watch cooking shows - she was who I always went to when I wanted to experiment. I love to read and I have a wonderful collection of cookbooks, watch cooking shows and now I YouTube things.

When I was 12, I decided if we were going to eat, I would have to learn to cook. I took over the house cooking at 12 and the Red Checkered cookbook - Better Homes/Betty Crocker - I don't remember what it is called but it is the famous Red Checkered cookbook - I learned to cook from that. It is still my bible - I think I am on my third one in 30 years.

I now rarely use a cookbook except for inspiration or to try something new - I might look up a tempurature or ingredient list but I cook by knowledge.

I have 3 sons. My oldest 2 got to take homeec for 6 weeks in 7th and 8th grade, my second one also took a semester of home-ec in 8th grade but my youngest will not get to as he starts 7th this year and they cancelled the classes due to budget cuts. I have taught all of my boys to cook, sew, do laundry and clean. My youngest is actually quite adept at following a recipe and he has been able to at least prepare his own food from a box since he was 5 with the help of a microwave. I now let him use the stove. My second one makes all of our bread each week. My oldest has his own apartment and often prepares the food. I wanted to make sure they were self sufficient young men when they grew up.

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ELUNAMAKATA 6/5/2011 1:43AM

    I took a Home Economics class in High School (late 90's rural Arkansas) but it was not required. We learned how to make a pie crust, and how to plan a menu...but not really much in how to enhance flavor. All just basics.

After high school I taught myself how to cook, luckily having lived with my grandparents who both had salt restriction, I never really got into the habit of eating a lot of salt in my food.

When I lived with my mother, we survived on "hamburger helper" and "ramen noodles" Depending on how much money she didn't spend on bad things that week.

I've gotten much better at cooking over the years, and mostly make my own meals other than occasional mac and cheese or boxed couscous. Our veggies are either fresh, frozen, or canned with no salt added. I make my own spaghetti sauce from canned tomatoes and seasoning, ect. I'm just lucky to have a husband now who appreciates that I hate having the same meal more than once a month! haha!

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STOP-IT-KNOW 6/4/2011 5:29PM

    i wasn't taught by my mom had a stepdad that drank and was mean so momdid have time or the will to teach me to cook i'm from the south in us and yes everything is fried and full of fat. my hubby traught me to cook and a lot of mistakes i was sixteen when i got married the frist time i'm now 52 and i cooked southern and still do sometimes but i have cut out alot of the fat. but i eat a lot of processed food to it's easier. my highest weight was 378 i'm now 308 it took a year to lose that. but i'm not out yet.

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TRISHAE3 6/4/2011 4:08PM

    Love your blog and your success Ann. I'm an American who grew up in the Southeast region of the US, known as the South. It is an area that has traditionally been a 'fried food" culture forever and I was taught to cook by my mom who worked and who I helped prepare meals probably from 7 or 8 years old. When I moved to California at 20 and began to lose the excess 30 lbs I had carried since my teens, I discarded the Southern style of cooking and began broiling and baking my meats and veggies.I managed to keep that weight off for 20 years by eating lots of salads and broiled meats, low low sugar, and carefully prepared veggies, as I worked, became a single mom, returned to college and worked, and obtained a Master's degree.

Having a muscle disability from birth that doesn't allow me to burn calories or build muscle, and being 4'7" tall, in my 20's I had to maintain an extremely low calorie range of 800/daily to lose weight and about 1100 daily to maintain that weight. In 1994, after an injury I gained 100lbs and have struggled getting and keeping this off. About 10 months ago, I "found" (I believe God showed me) green smoothies, Spark people and began to slowly lose weight again. This time however, being 60 I have learned that women in their 30's use 100cal. less a day than in their 20's. And women in their 50's use 200 calories less a day. Before I got that info. I learned from trial and error that I have to eat 600cal/day to lose weight, which has been quite a challenge. Green Smoothies(GS) have helped tremendously, with the great energy and great nutrition they give me on my limited calorie budget. And since I hadn't cooked at all since 1994, I am relearning how to cook yet again with the lower calorie considerations, and it's been slow. I couldn't stand but 10 minutes when I began losing weight 10months ago at 205lbs. Generally I have a Mexican salad (salsa, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, beans not cooked in fat) or chicken breast salad or pan fried (with EVOO spray) fish with baked potatoes, or sweet potatoes, and lots of veggies. I am interested in sharing recipes, as my diet is getting somewhat boring now. =D

I just discovered "Now Eat This" by Rocco Dispirito and am excited to begin trying some of his revamped to under 350 calorie comfort food recipes. I also find soups as something that can be very low cal and filling when I have had my daily allowance and my tummy is saying "food, food" before bedtime. What I love about them is I can do the work once of cooking up a big pot, flavor it with maybe one link of Turkey Italian Sausage and tons of veggies, and after it cools freeze several cups in freezer bags to pull out later and use when I need them, or wait too long and my blood sugar plummets. =D I also cook up several sweet potatoes in the same way, separate them into 1/2 Cup portions in small sandwich bags, and freeze them all in a gallon freezer bag to be pulled out for defrosting and use when needed.

I'm going to try Smart-girl's recipe above. =D Can you refer me to where your recipe thread is here at SP?

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LHACKING13 5/29/2011 2:35AM

    I was mostly taught by my parents, but learned some at school and could have learned more, but already learned it at home. I do know that it's not as common any more in schools, but I wish they would go back to some of the basics. I'm very grateful my parents taught me to cook.

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LIBBYFITZ 5/29/2011 1:46AM

    Learnt to cook from my mum and dad, Dad is Czech and mum Dutch, so very interesting food from the word go! Then learnt at home economics at high school for 4 years and loved it! Still do all my own home cooking. we have simple food, meat and vegetables. fruit for dessert. nuts for snacks. I use chilli a lot in my cooking. have stir fry vegetables with ginger, garlic , sesame oil and chicken stock. Despite me cooking and hubby does as well, both my children eat take away food much more than we did at their age. We go out to dinner usually once a week and I order steak as i like the way it gets cooked in a top restaurant.

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SHEILA1505 5/27/2011 8:03AM

    From the UK, living in South Africa since 1970
Used to help my mother every day from very young age, singing together and chatting, then school, then night school with Mum for variety. Collectors of recipe books and lots of trial and error.

Cook everything from scratch, fresh produce etc. Enjoy restaurant meals and can stay within range

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SM-ARTGIRL 5/26/2011 9:21PM

    I am an Aussie. We eat a lot of our own home grown food supplemented by the organic urban farmers Market down the road.
Fresh, seasonal, mostly- although we preserve tomato as sauces and frozen for winter meals.
My fave go to recipe is lentils & rice
Just need lentils, spinach or kale from garden, one onion, tomatos (fresh or frozen) and herbs like tumeric and cummin.
1. Put whole grain rice to cook.
2. Sauté onion in oil,
3. add tin lentil (or pre-soaked & cooked dry)
4. add tomatos, chopped up greens, herbs
and viola in 10-20 mins a hearty delicious meal.
This takes less effort than going to some drive- through or fast food joint with disgusting decor.

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GOANNA2 5/25/2011 5:21AM

    I was taught at home from very young and at primary
school, Grades 6, 7 and 8 we had Domestic Science.
Reminds me of that when I see Nigella Lawson being
called that. My son has always been interested in what
I cook and he has completed a first year Chef's Apprenticeship
so I know he can cook well too.

He's now 23. At school, their grade 6 Teacher taught them
embroidery and how to sew on a button, and some mothers
actually complained. I feel that all these home skills should be
mandatory so that the kids can learn to look after themselves.

I cannot afford to eat out and I hardly ever use a recipe. I can
just look at what I have on hand and come up with something
that is wholesome and healthy and how much salt & sugar is
contained. I am looking forward to going to Greece and eating
the pulses, fresh vegetables, especially greens and fresh fish.
The real Mediterranean diet.
Happy cooking everybody. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IMNAHA 5/24/2011 2:22PM

    I was taught in school how to cook. My Mom worked most of the time so what was cooked at home I figured out for my self.Now I cook all the time there are no fast food places in the area I live in. Matter of fact the closest resorant is 65 miles away.

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SANDYZEE 5/21/2011 9:08PM

    HI I cooked all the time until my health took a turn downward. I do cook now but nothing special to share. Simple stir fry veggies, chicken breasts, fish, and lots of soups. I just make it up as I go. LOL Crock pots are good fro those who can't stand too long.

Guess I COULD write a recipe out. hee hee

You never know... There might be one coming soon. (Scratching head and thinking. )
Thanks for the great newsletter.


Comment edited on: 5/21/2011 9:09:52 PM

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LIFEISSWEET2 5/21/2011 7:11PM

    I'm an American who cooks almost all of my meals and might eat out only a twice per month. I'm an avid gardener and have a greenhouse so that I have fresh produce and herbs around me all of the time (I just blogged about my biggest gardening influence if you'd like to read). I learned to cook from my father, who as a single father had the motto of keep it simple. All other cooking is self taught.
I don't participate in recipe swaps because I cook with whatever is in season or around. I wing it all of the time and can change a recipe depending on my mood or what's leftover in the fridge!

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ROSAMARCELLE 5/21/2011 11:45AM

    emoticonI cook every day, because it is cheaper and you know what is going into it. About the only processed things I eat are cheese and yoghurts and we grow as much veg and fruit as we can. emoticon

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TEDDYBEAR4788 5/21/2011 10:43AM

    Hi, I'm an American but I no longer cook at home on a regular basis. i live with my youngest daughter and her family and they do most of the cooking. I learned to cook in Home Economics in school many years ago. Also some from my mother, who was not a creative cook. When I got married I learned more from my wonderful mother in law who took the time to teach me the things I didn't know. I also found cookbooks to rely on. For many years, I cooked every day for my four children as we couldn't afford to eat out.

I tried to involve my children in the kitchen as my daughter now does with her son. It is so enjoyable to see him learning at four years old, the proper way to do things in the kitchen. My daughter loves to bake and is very creative with her baking.

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LYNNOTT 5/20/2011 10:04PM

    I took Home Economics in high school, but my mom was a stay at home mom, so she made all the meals. I did learn from her, but also used cookbooks. I was also a working mom, but I managed to cook meals almost every night. Fast Food joints were a treat. When I started at SP my daughter and I had a good time looking at the Spark Recipes and making them. Today, I cook probably 4 days a week. I take my mom out to eat once a week, and go out with the kids once or twice a week - but I watch carefully what I eat out. And I'm proud that my daughter will come up to me and say, "Mom, I've found a new healthy recipe we can make!" :)

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NOLAZYBUTT110 5/20/2011 11:54AM

    well when I went to school, back in the day when they had Home Economics in school (They dont have Home Ecocnomics now, unless they recently started it) But I had learn to do the basics in H.E. class in school ( mostly simple stuff and all the terminolgy, but we did baked bread, cookies, muffins and such) It was other things too, like sewing. It was befoe they started a sewing class. But it was in school we learned to do that and more, besides learning to make fancy things like cream puffs! But when it came to more difficult stuff in baking and cooking, I learned how to make fancy clothes and meals at home or my mother paid for us to learn more difficult stuff. But it was my mother that taught me most everything I know about cooking and baking and sewing! If I did not learn from my mother we learned it from a seamstress sewing book or a Cookbook.
But we all ate our meals from scratch and home made meals when I was growing up. We also ate Kosher!

I do take short cuts some days and will buy a Rotisserie chicken or roast beef premade at this one Deli and have them sliced it up ; and its premade, and all I do is warm it with a gravy. But most meals we eat at home, but on occasion we will go out for a Fish fry or a Turkey dinner. But we have to make sure to stick as close as we can to our diets, nor weight control but for being Kosher. But once in a while when were very busy we (my husband and I) will eat at a Non-Kosher restaurant, but its usually becasue we are far from home. And have no choice! At a " All you can Eat Buffet" or Ponderosa. For they at least have very clean restarants and provide some sense of cleanliness (hygiene is part of being Kosher but not entailed of all) . But a person keeping Kosher, its more abotu Holiness than just being Hygeniucally clean!)

But the way the cost of eating out is, and the cost of food and such; we don't make it a practice of eating out at restaurants because when living on retirement its not frugal to be wasteful! We just cant afford it. And its hard to find Kosher restaurants near my home! But you can find Kosher foods at many stores (if you know what to look for. ) But we prefer to make our own meals and stay within the Kosher guidelines ; so we cook and prepare all meals at home most of the time. We only eat out when we are so busy and not close to home. You can make your own meals more Kosher when you are at home and when you have the correct ingredients, but you cant alway count on secular restaurants to be Kosher. And if you ask for Kosher they look at you as if your from outer space! So its hard to always eat Kosher if you eat out. So we try and dont make it a habit of eating out at restaurants.

McDonalds and Wendys and Burger King are not known for being Kosher even if they may have some things Koshe;r its not 100 percent any where near Kosher, unless you can see what goes into a meal and know its Kosher foods to begin with. Only if you go out to a certified Kosher Restaurant is it considered Kosher.

Many times meat vendors come knocking on my door and try to sell me meat but as soon as I ask them if its Kosher most dotn even knwo what your talking about and many dont even know what the word means. If they dont, I dont buy! I dont care how inexpensive they say it is, if its not Kosher, I dont buy! So I dont buy from such businesses. You cant count on them to be honest if they are not certified as Kosher! I buy where I know it is!

If you have to prepare your meals as Kosher as you can with what you can buy at Non Kosher stores its good to make sure what you buy is labeled Kosher first! Its Not alway easy if you dont know what to look for, for it to be Kosher but many non Kosher stores do carry Kosher items. I elarned that from my mother and then after awhile you just buy the same brands. And you do your own grocery shopping. Or make your own meals Kosher by how you fix a meal. I prefer to eat my meals at home! Then I know if its Kosher or not. So I have to say if its not Kosher, I wont eat it. Because if I do, I know I will get sick if I dont eat Kosher. Many people don't even know what Kosher means and its a hard job to alway be Kosher! It pays to cook and bake at home, then you knwo if ist Kosher or not! Its worth it, so you dont get sick! Its just not a health concern or being certified. . Its much more. Its a matter of Holy Guidelines. Check this out if you want to know how to be Kosher for your Kosher guest! This may help you understand if you ever have a Guest who eats Kosher.

Comment edited on: 5/20/2011 12:13:43 PM

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    My daughter in law or my son usually cook the meals at our house. I am GONE much of the time so I often eat raw fruits & veggies as meals along with protein shakes or bars. As far as who taught me to cook & do I ever cook. When my children were younger, I cooked. I could feed a family of 4 on $80 a month. I made a lot of casseroles & baked my own bread. I learned to cook from my mother & grandmother. I also took home-economics in school. I don't think it's required any more but it was when I was in school. I used to like to cook. After being picked on for the casseroles for too long, I just don't even like to do it anymore. When my family moves.. I will be cooking again and hopefully Paul will like it. Love ya, Dawn emoticon PS: It is actually cheaper to eat out in our town than it is to prepare meals at home. It's very low income here & eating out is always cheap because they are basically begging us to eat there. You can get an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner for $10 which includes everything.... that's dinner. Lunch is less than $7. Breakfast is around $5.

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BARBARAROSE54 5/19/2011 4:46PM

    I had a working mom so being the oldest it was left to me to cook for the family.

Yes I do alot of cooking, very rarely do I follow a recipe, unless I'm baking.

I am a Canadian emoticon

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SANDYBRUNO 5/19/2011 4:18PM

    I am American. I am self taught. My mother cooked but she didn't like teaching me things. I cook a lot of my meals from scratch and I have found some good ones on SP Recipes along with some not so good. I loved Ferber's Chicken Chimi's and Ferber's Spaghetti Sauce. They are so good. I am teaching my daughter to cook. I try to cook as much as I can at home. We have 5 children and one grown child living at home. My husband isn't able to drive much and with 4 kids in counseling and various doctor's visit I'm not always able to cook everything from scratch. Sometimes my husband cooks a little and he is limited in what he cooks. We adopted 3 children through the foster system that are now 9, 11 and 14 back in 2004. They are siblings. We have two foster children that are 1 and 3. You are so right about making things from scratch. You don't have nearly the sodium. Things also taste a lot better.

Comment edited on: 5/19/2011 4:35:35 PM

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GAARAMA 5/19/2011 11:03AM

    I too am an American and the kitchen was my Mom's domain. Growing up no one was allowed in the kitchen when she was creating fantastic meals from scratch. In school I took cooking and sewing classes in Home Economics. (Mom was a excellent seamstress too) I remember standing at the kitchen doorway and watching her or looking over her shoulder when she was at the sewing machine.
As a young woman getting ready for college the time finally came for her to share her knowledge with me. I learned how to cook all the traditional family meals all full of fat, not knowing at that time how unhealthy they were. I still cook these meals but have changed them into healthier versions by using olive oil and cooking sprays instead of fat and lots of herbs for flavor. I steam the veggies or eat them raw,switched from white rice to brown.
I taught all my children how to cook,my oldest daughter is a chef. My sons are pretty good in the kitchen. I am so happy that they all cook healthy too.
I use recipes from many different sources to get new ideas and then revamp to fit our needs. My daughter has taught me many new ways to be creative too.
We do not eat out like we used to,besides that it is too expensive we found we can get a tastier and healthier meal at home.


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HELEN_BRU 5/19/2011 10:15AM

I do most of my own cooking, altho' I do dip into the frozen foods at times when I just don't think I can stand in the kitchen that long that day! Have umpteen cook books, and they are my source for ideas, but mainly I do everything from what I remember or how I feel that day. My mom was an excellent cook.

I'm also Canadian.

Comment edited on: 5/19/2011 11:27:39 PM

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CT-FL-SNOWBIRD 5/19/2011 9:57AM

    I'm an American and love to cook! I don't use Spark Recipes or get involved in "recipe threads" because I'm trying to ration the amount of time I spend on Spark. I'm already on here too much. I get most of my recipes from AllRecipes.com and my magazines, like Good Housekeeping. I love to try recipes that sound unique.

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JUSTME29 5/19/2011 9:01AM

    Growing up it was a lot of simple meals at home and I was never interested in learning to cook. I chose not to take Home Ec classes, and so didn't learn at school either. In college I worked at a fast food restaurant and mostly ate there. Then later my hubby did most all of our cooking (he grew up cooking for his family) and I never had to. Nights he didn't cook, we ate out. When I got serious about weight loss I had to take a serious look at his cooking, and I realized that although it tastes fantastic, there is nothing healthy about it. Then I started cooking. I can follow a recipe, but I don't have a lot of patience and don't enjoy cooking very much. I like recipes that take just a few ingredients and are quick to make, I also rely on my crockpot.

If you're interested in recipes, one of my sparkfriends has been posting some in her blogs this week. If you are interested, go to my page and click on TBID's icon. Yesterday's blog had 3 wonderful sounding recipes.

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2MUCHRUTHIE 5/19/2011 2:33AM

    I did not learn to cook at school or from my mother. I was always doing homework while mom cooked and then I did the dishes. In nursing school we all ate 3 meals in the hospital cafeteria. In collage we ate in the dining hall. Then I joined the Air Force and my roommate cooked and I did the dishes. Then I got married and I didn't know how to cook. I was given a cookbook and I had to learn from it. I still have it. I still do basic cooking. I really don't like to cook. We rarely eat out or use take-out.

Ruthie--from America emoticon

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THISYEARSMODEL 5/19/2011 12:48AM

    Emmabe, it's true. In US we used to have classes in school that taught homemaking skills, mainly basic cooking. Due to budget cuts, most have been discontinued during the past 20 years. So yes, there are many Americans who never learned to cook.

There's another factor as well. It's not uncommon for we Americans to work 60-80 hours per week. I've certainly put in many 80 hour weeks in the course of my career. Many of us also have long commutes on top of that. It's not uncommon for Americans to eat in their cars on the way to or from work. My Aussie friends have a saying: Australians work to live. Americans live to work. I think it's true. You value your time off and make the most of it and know how to relax and enjoy a good meal. We haven't mastered that.

It's also regional. You're more likely to find Americans who cook at home in certain areas of the country than in New York and Los Angeles,

I know how to cook because I wanted to be a chef. But some weeks, I eat 80 percent of my meals out simply because there's no way to fit cooking into the schedule. I do a lot of takeout, but fortunately having studied the way professional kitchens work helps me make the best choices, and we have a lot of healthy restaurants in Los Angeles that don't use processed foods. Not everyone has that luxury or can afford that, so I'm fortunate.

Edited to add: when the schedule isn't as crazy and I'm feeling well--I have an autoimmune disease to work around-- yes, I do cook and usually make large enough batches to make the most of it. Regardless, I avoid processed foods and eat mostly organic fruits and vegetables.

Hope that helps!

Comment edited on: 5/19/2011 12:56:59 AM

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MT-MOONCHASER 5/19/2011 12:43AM

    Here are my answers to your questions.

I cook at home most of the time, mostly from scratch. Once in a while I stop and get a deli sandwich, but not often. Our small town has one cafe open (usually) from 6:30 or so until around 2:00 p.m. Recently a deli opened that does cold sandwiches and also soup. They also have homemade baked goodies. They are open from 7 to 7 six days a week.

I take a lunch to work, usually something I microwave. Sometimes it is leftovers from a previous meal, sometimes I make something just for the lunch. I make big batches of soups and package them up and freeze them to take for lunch. I also take a lot of salads when the weather is warm. I'm not particularly fond of lettuce so I use a lot of shredded cabbage.

I never took home economics in school, I had learned a lot in 4-H and some at home. My mother didn't particularly like to cook, but she did teach all of us the fundamentals. After I was married, I continued to learn on my own. At that time I followed recipes fairly closely. Now I seldom follow a recipe.

I cook mostly from scratch, although I do use some seasoning packets. I try many different ethnic dishes -- Szechuan, other oriental, Americanized Mexican, some northern European (German and Scandinavian), pizza, and good old Midwest plain fare such as roast beef, pork or chicken, steamed veggies, potatoes of many styles, a very few casserole dishes -- just an eclectic assortment of whatever strikes my fancy. I am trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my cooking. You will probably notice that I don't mention seafood. I don't particularly care for it and since I'm in the middle of the country it tends to be somewhat costly. I do like canned tunafish, and white fleshed fish (usually gotten as frozen fillets).

I live in an area that raises a lot of beef, so that is my meat of choice and it is fairly reasonably priced if I shop the sales.

Since I am not a salt user, I don't use much processed foods, I find their taste too salty.

I hope this answers some of your questions about how others eat. I enjoy cooking and wish I had more time to do it.


p.s. I am from the United States and live in the state of Montana.

Comment edited on: 5/19/2011 12:53:23 AM

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HAPPYBASKET 5/19/2011 12:36AM

    Oh Yes! I DO cook at home. I too like to experiment & usually cook by taste but I DO use the Spark Recipies mostly for the ideas. I look up recipies in the Spark section every day & that is one of my points that I try to convince other people , that is so great about the spark program. I think my funniest "Result" is this past Easter when I found out the night before , that our visiting Grandaughter is now eating Vegitarian. SO - I decided it would be a vegetarian Lazagna Easter Dinner. Well I always make my Lazagna with Canned Spinach because that was a way to get that great veggie into my children when they were small. But back to the story, I only had one can & was makinga 8 x 11( or something like that) pan, so now what I do. I go to my pantry & after looking & convinced that there was not one more can of Spinach, well, OK there is a can of black beans. So I pureed them & mixed it with the Spinac & my DH who very seldom mentions anything about food said, " that is the best Lazagna that you have ever made. "
I have been cooking since I was 10, being the eldest girl & mom who had to work nights, it was up to me to prepare the whole evening meal. Most of the time we were a family of 10 because of taking in 2 sets of Grandparents. I have stories about that too but I won't go into that here.
Anyway. Please don't ask me to write down a recipe. Even my DD can't get me to do that.LOL

Comment edited on: 5/19/2011 12:43:53 AM

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SUCCESS44 5/19/2011 12:34AM

    My mother did not teach me to cook, but she did teach me to bake and follow a recipe . I did have a cooking class in school.

My husband and I both like to cook and are quite good at it. My husband likes to grill in warm weather and I like to cook in the winter. We are very busy people and do not always have time to cook, but then usually have something easy to make. We don't generally eat fast food, but we do love to go out to eat at restaurants.

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SHASSYSUE2 5/19/2011 12:26AM

    Well I am American and LOVE to cook most of the time. I learned to cook in school some, and some from my Mother, but, I pretty much learned to try and create recipes on my own. I do agree cooking at home is better and cheaper, but I do like simple recipes with little clean up, hence my love affair with my crockpotS. I have two and hoping that my Hubby will buy me one of those units with 3 crockpots all together. I love to try new flavors, and I am always tasting and adjusting, which is wonderful, however, I never make a recipe the same twice in a row... I try new recipes at least twice a week, and then rely on the tried and trues the rest of the time. My son and I are really enjoying trying new HEALTHY recipes, and it amazes me at how much he is willing to try, HE EVEN EATS LENTILS and he is a 14 year old boy, who loves his Hamburgers, but he is such a good kid to try new things.... Here is to Happy Cooking!!! Shannon

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NEE4BUD 5/19/2011 12:20AM

    Well emmabe I am american and i do cook a lot at home......I just like you love making good home cooked meals adding many veges for a variety of taste and vitamins....I do share most of my recipes, not all of them are perfect..... I almost always change a recipe a little each time....Also I like eatbetteramerica.com for healthy recipe ideas....I guess I will check out your blog and see what i can offer up.....yak at you later emmabe emoticon

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PONYFARMER 5/19/2011 12:16AM

    I am proud to be an American and sadly, I never learned to cook. Even though both of my parents cooked and cooked well. I was raised on fast food once it came around and my parents loved it on days that I had to be on the ice (ice skating) at 5 am, then to school at 10 and then back on the ice after school and usually got a good home cooked meal at night.

Since joining SP, I am trying to learn to cook, but it feel to me like, trying to do surgery with heavy welding gloves on my hands. It just does not come easy and therefore I get frustrated and give up.

We did have Home EC. in my high school but it was mostly sewing as I remember or maybe that is the part I enjoyed.

The one thing I am OK at is my crockpot, but I can mess that up at times too.

I try to keep my food simple, what I like and what I know I can cook. I rarely do anything that is unusual or out of my comfort zone.

Hope this helps!

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