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Change....the painful way to improve our fitness

Monday, October 24, 2011

So evil sadistic bastard trainer guy changed everything up on me today.

I hate him.

I freely admit I am a creature of habit. I enjoy my known routines and I like to see improvement as I exercise. Weights go up, reps go up, times go down, etc. I am a geek of infinite proportions counting, measuring, slicing and dicing heart rates, times, weights, numbers, numbers, numbers.

While I freely welcome change in the world at large and adapt very well to change in my personal and professional life, I find it infinitely frustrating to change my routine in the weight room.

Which is why I hope there is a special place reserved in hell for my trainer.

I walked in today in a fairly good mood. He smiled and said, "Welcome back road warrior! We're going to change it all up for a while. Lighter weights (For a fleeting instant, I felt a spark of happiness), higher reps, and we're cutting our recovery time between sets down to 30-45 seconds. You ready?"

I smiled back and said, "Sure, let's go!" letting my eyes communicate the true depths of my displeasure.

We started off with the bench press. He knocked the weight down by almost 20%. As I started lifting 20% less weight than last time I thought, "Hey this isn't so bad. Stupid trainer guy, I'll show him!"

I pumped out 15 reps, felt nicely flushed after the first set, got up, shook out my arms, sipped some water....then he said, "Let's go, 2nd set!"

Hmmm, that was quick, but OK.

Mid-way through, I started to feel a slow, steady burn throughout my chest & shoulders. Reps 12-15 were quite noticeable. But I finished them all, got up, shook it out, sipped some water, then...."Let's go dude, 3rd set"

Yowza! The burn had barely subsided and here we go with the dreaded THIRD SET!

This was going to be a tough night. We pretty much went through every chest, shoulder, and arm muscle I had with the same speed and intensity. It was a very different kind of workout. Fast obviously, but a different kind of pain than normal. This was all about endurance & stamina, with a lot more mental energy required.

Lifting heavier weights, it's pretty easy to say "Game over, my muscles are out of Schlitz" and stop. For this lower weight, higher rep stuff, it's a slow, steady build up of intensity. No one movement tells you it's over. Just a constant burn that never stops, but keeps increasing as the lactic acid continues to build up with hardly any time between sets to flush it out. But you can keep going if you focus....and are very stubborn.

Did I mention that I loved it?!?

I didn't let trainer guy know though. Mid-way through, I told him I'd turn him in for selling crack to minors in the kiddie play area if he didn't ease up. When he laughed at that I told him "Seriously dude, one phone call and you're muzzled and on a boat to work the salt mines in Yemen"

We finished up and set our next session for 5:30 this Wednesday. As we left I told him, "Thanks, let's do the same thing for legs next time"

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PROT358 10/30/2011 10:43PM

    I often find low weights/high reps harder than heavier weights/moderate reps. You're a warrior!

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JUNEBUG1944 10/27/2011 10:05AM

    Great! Shaking things up always helps! Enjoy! (Hope you can walk out to the car after the leg workout! emoticon)

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BEATLETOT 10/25/2011 9:47AM

    Aww, sounds like you had a blast! =) I'm glad your trainer is keeping it interesting for you and your muscles!

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BILL60 10/25/2011 6:57AM

    Tough workout out of the comfort zone. Way to go!!

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HAKAPES 10/25/2011 2:12AM

    I smiled all trough it! What a great workout!

I'm also thinking to head to the local gym from time to time or continue my fight with the cold outside. It's only Oct, so I fight some more.

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TYME2BME 10/24/2011 10:54PM

    emoticon That is emoticon

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WOW, I gained 2 lbs in 5 minutes!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So I tried a little experiment after my Saturday morning weigh in today. I weigh myself 1st thing in the mornings. And every morning, even before my first mug of roasted Java, I drink up a big 16 oz glass of water. Before working out, I usually drink up 2 big glasses.

Today, out of curiosity, I weighed the water before drinking it; 1 lb, 2 oz! Yes, 18 oz of weight in 16 oz of volume. Drink 2 big glasses, 1 quart of water, and the scales instantly go up 2.25 lbs, just like they did today before I headed off to the gym.

I guess this obsession with measurement is what happens after nearly 9 months of logging so much food, weighing every little thing on my ultra-accurate kitchen scale before putting it on the plate, trying to stay within the goalposts for each days' calories.

2.25 lbs! It still blows me away, although it does go a long to help me visualize "water weight loss". Yes, I understand it theoretically, that any quick weight loss is most likely just water. But now my mind's eye can see that if I come home 1 lb lighter from the gym, that's a whole big 16 oz glass of water that has vaporized through my pores.

OK, so this might seem underwhelming to some, after all, how does one capture the feeling of a monumental A-Ha! moment in words. All I can tell you is that it goes a long way to help me picture the impact of water, coffee, and all the days' beverages on my plans.

Well enough of all THAT....let me get caught up after almost a week of no blogging.

I was uber-busy last week. I hosted a conference at work for about 30 folks from around the planet, with evening events that kept me out till around 10:00 PM. Wednesday I flew up to Virginia for a day of meetings on Thursday, then made it back home (miraculously, the planes ran on time!) around midnight. Friday was a chance to get caught back up at the office.

Luckily I got in a few good workouts, including 2 days of ST, and some Hi Intensity Intervals on Thursday and today. And I did pretty good on the food front. I indulged on Monday at the reception I held for the conference. Folks I hadn't seen in a while came in for it, so we sat around eating chicken wings getting caught up (I had eaten light during the day in preparation and got in an hour of ST before meeting them)

Tuesday night we went out to a great restaurant. While everyone else had big old steaks or saucy Alfredo dishes, I opted for some nicely broiled scallops. Wednesday night in Virginia, I met a few folks at an Outback Steakhouse. Tempted as I was by the steaks, I ordered up some broiled salmon and it tasted great (I was the only guy amongst the 6 of us not chomping down on some dead cow).

All of this has added up to a nice 1 lb weight loss for the week for me and my STARFISH buddies!

Of course I don't know why I should be so happy.....after all, that's only 1 glass of water!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEATLETOT 10/24/2011 10:18AM

    So happy for you! Congratulations!

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REBECCATKD 10/23/2011 10:39PM

    Nothing beats scallops! Especially nothing covered in cream sauce.

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JUNEBUG1944 10/23/2011 2:46PM

    Now that I know where the extra weight comes from, I guess I won't be drinking any more water... emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 10/23/2011 1:30PM

    Not get TMI, but here's another experiment for you just to see how your weight really can fluctuate from day to day. Weigh yourself BEFORE you go to the bathroom and then weigh yourself right after a poop. You'll find that not only does water have weight, but your waste products too.

That's why I tell folks not to get freaked out if the scale goes dramatically up overnight. they shouldn't be too overjoyed if it takes a dramatic turn down too. These types of variations in water weight from day to day are perfectly normal. The problem is that too many women tie their emotions to the scale i.e. one pound up, bad day or one pound down, good day.

There really is more to good health than a number that stares at us from between our toes in the morning.


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PROT358 10/23/2011 1:25PM

    Wow, that's an interesting experiment. We don't have a food scale at home, so I found this rather eye-opening. Also goes to show you should weigh-in first thing post-bathroom in the morning to get the lowest number. Congrats on the one pound loss!

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HAKAPES 10/23/2011 10:39AM

    Great experiences! I have a similar experience with water. Once I did some crazy thing, and went to run in the morning without drinking before. I forgot it. I lost another kg (2lbs) of water, on top of what I loose during the night.

I also noticed that if I weigh myself after 6h of sleep every day, and then I sleep 8h one night, I will be less. Then I figured out, the 2h of sleeping also evaporates water and I make an extra toilet round. So, I need to sleep the same to be consistent on weigh in.

Otherwise, I also weigh in every morning second thing (after bathroom), and measure on the kitchen scale.

Next time, if'll be surrounded with steak guys, and I'm tempted, I'll remember you make the same choice, so I will go for the seafood, too!

Thanks for sharing all this, man!

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HEALTHIERKEN 10/23/2011 1:35AM

    Another great blog! Congrats on the loss of another glass of water! It's good to remember, though, that *this* glass of water is gone forever--it isn't one of the ones that will come back as you start the day's normal intake. It's a glass that is now dry forevermore : )

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LBRUCKS 10/22/2011 10:47PM

    Good job on the restraining and eating healthy. emoticonon the loss. You got my attention with your title.

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GOODGETNBETR 10/22/2011 10:04PM

    emoticon on the weight loss. Have a great weekend.

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Take the long view....slow changes add up

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Well it's been a surprisingly good week. Busy, but good.

It's been nice to be home for a few days straight. All I have coming up is a quick overnight trip to Virginia Beach Wed/Thursday. I've also got an evening reception to attend Monday night and a dinner on Tuesday, so I'll have to watch it.

The nice part is that I have a much better developed sense of what I can only call proportion. It used to vex me to no end that I would attend large functions, sit down dinners, catered events, all day long scooby snack fests at conferences, etc. and I would invariably just give in and eat it all.

These days I feel much more in control, much better able to choose wisely. I can take the long view and realize that I have a stake in eating better and not gaining weight. While my peers are ordering big, fat cheesy plates of Chicken Parmigiana, creamy, sauce laden dishes of pasta, or deep fried & battered meats, I feel totally cool (and NOT deprived) ordering a salad with shrimp, or a nicely broiled fish with grilled veggies. And I don't feel like I'm losing out, which I think is the biggest change.

It used to bother me terribly to go out and not get a big huge steak (sometimes this is still a problem) or to order the tastiest butter & cheese infused dish. After all, I was going out, I should get something special. If I was at a conference and they laid out trays of decadent cakes, piles of nuts, & chocolates, I'd never even think about loading up from the fruit tray! What the hell for!?!?

Well all that ever did was to get me 20-30 lbs more body weight and ever tightening pants.

Today I ran some errands and so I dressed up in my gym gear because I was determined to the gym afterwards. In the past, I'd have cruised on over to IHOP or Cracker Barrel and fortified myself with pancakes & eggs, bacon and coffee. Today, I stopped in at Starbucks, got the coffee and ordered up their oatmeal cup. After getting the shopping done, I cruised in to Whole Foods and picked up an 8-pack of sushi and called it lunch (I also gave in and bought a half-gallon of freshly squeezed "Blood Orange" juice on a whim...Halloween is, of course, just around the corner)

Got in a great cardio session at the gym (bike, rowing machine, elliptical, abs & roman chair), then came home to shower up and had a light snack of skinless chicken breasts, spinach & salad greens, light dressing and yogurt. And it all tasted great, the tastiest part being the lack of a guilty aftertaste.

So here I am at 5:00 on a Sunday afternoon, sitting at 900 calories, got in 70 minutes of cardio, and I'm not anxious about the fact that I might blow it this week when I have to eat out 4 days out of 5 (of course things can always go south on me, but what's important is that I'm not worried today!)

So Spark friends, every change we make is a victory, every day we stay within calorie limits, every time we say no to the fatty snacks, every time we make time to exercise, they all add up. Any one day where we don't measure up is not nearly as important as the many days when we do. Yeah the changes are gradual and frustratingly slow, but they do add up to visible and mental differences, so keep at it!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 10/17/2011 10:44PM

    Sounds like a great day! emoticon

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YOUNGNSMYLIE 10/17/2011 5:51PM

    Great blog! I remember the days you describe: going out to eat and thinking "wow, time to drink from the endless wine glass and order the richest looking thing on the menu! PARTY!" And now I can't remember the last time that happened ;) Cheers to attitude changes emoticon

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BEATLETOT 10/17/2011 4:46PM

    This is another great blog post...and another one that makes me wish we could make members' blogs favorites. =) I'm so proud of you and proud to know you!

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HAKAPES 10/17/2011 12:05PM

    This was really inspiring. I had the same challenges with all these conference, business trips and receptions.
Now, I don't give a damn, I just go for the healthy food, low portion.
Although, now, because of the lots of exercise, I could eat fatty big portions of meat with French Fries. However, somehow I am changed. And I feel I missed a great opportunity of eathing something good for me.
I started to feel the difference between fruit and fruit. I like high quality fruit now. I buy premium salads. I buy new sauces for the salads. I bought flax oil because of Omega-3. I buy expensive cherry tomatoes. I buy dark chocolate, and I go for the expensive ones, because I bacame a dark chocolate lover.
Let's rock!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 10/17/2011 1:48AM

    Great blog -- you are so right!

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LULUTU 10/16/2011 9:47PM

    As always, I enjoyed your post enormously. Thanks -- and go Starfish!

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PROT358 10/16/2011 8:22PM

    I have a weakness for making good choices when I eat out, especially when everyone else is making less nutritious choices. I do best when I'm at home, eating home-cooked food, and staying in my rhythm. Special functions, vacations, restaurants, etc - they always get me off track. I applaud you for staying so on-track with so many opportunities to slip up!

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ENNAID2 10/16/2011 6:40PM

  I agree with you.

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No Excuses...Brownies mean more gym time!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One day of slacking off is all I can handle.

I had been on the road most all of September. Being away from the office that long meant that yesterday my dance card was filled up with meetings from 7:30 till past 6:00 at night, Then another hour or 2 to get some e-mails & phone calls out and next thing you know, gym time is off the table.

But no mas today!

I kicked everyone out of the office at 5:30 today and drove over to the gym to get in some pretty decisive cardio, which was just what I needed.

Especially since I had a brownie today!

I've been soooo good avoiding unnecessary calorie lately, but today I gave in. Here's what happened:

A group of my folks were having a bake sale fundraiser in the office today. SWMBO came by to help out with this charitable event. Her and a bunch of the other wives had baked & donated cupcakes, baklavas, brownies, blondies, pralines, and any other type of sugary madness you can imagine. I chucked $20 into the donation pile and started walking away when one of them said, "Oh thanks so much, but you've got to take something with you!"

Maybe I didn't have enough coffee, maybe it was the earnestness in her voice, maybe it was the lustful glance I cast at the table full of baked goodness, but in a moment of weakness I reached over and poked at a chocolate-chip studded blondie bar, felt my finger sink into its gooey richness.....and took it back to the office.

I stared at it for an hour or 2, then peeled open its Saran wrap cover and took a bite. I almost fainted! I wrapped it back up and decided to savor that bite and make it last.

Which was the coolest part of the whole thing! Every few hours, I'd unwrap it & take a bite. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed every one of the likely 400 calories this was going to cost me today and I sure as hell wasn't going to finish it off in a 60 second chewing frenzy!

Luckily SWMBO had made some grilled chicken and sauteed cabbages & leeks for dinner, so even with my treat, I'm still a few 100 calories under max today....that plus a very intensive Hi-Intensity Interval session today worked out nicely. And besides, the guilt from eating that thing was just what I needed to make sure I got to the gym after excuses!

That's all Spark friends....have a great night!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PROT358 10/16/2011 12:58PM

    I'm a 60-second kind of girl myself. I can stop at a sensible portion, but if you put a dessert in front of me chances are I will promptly devour it! Good on your for exercising self-control.

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HAKAPES 10/13/2011 5:37PM

    Why can't people bring healthy food for the fund raiser?
We make one good cause (help), and we make a bad one (encourage others to eat lots of cals to be overweight) at the same time.

Well done with the portion control!
Thanks for the tip on the hard schedule for exercise! I'm doing a test now!

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FANGFACEKITTY 10/13/2011 10:35AM

    Ahh, brownies, the gorilla in the room. If you can't outrun them they win. You haven't had a brownie until you've had my white chocolate raspberry brownie. I have been afraid to enter it into the recipe calculator to learn the damage; 400 calories will be nothing compared to one of these. I've been thinking about them for 2 weeks raspberries keep growing like b-day is approaching...I am doomed.

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W5VEOTX 10/13/2011 7:18AM

    God blog !
Once in a while I think it's worth the brownie and I let the brownie win.

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BUSYMOM911 10/13/2011 1:31AM

    Loved the blog. That's what this whole journey is about. Thinking twice before eating.

That brownie looked good. You thought twice about the calories and if you really did want it. You chose that you did. It was not mindless eating. And you appreciated every bite. I believe that we should not have a "do not eating" list. Just know how much and when to eat. You adjusted your eating to make room for these calories/

Good job! emoticon

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COLLINSCJ2012 10/13/2011 12:26AM

    I love all of your blogs, they just draw me in.

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BEATLETOT 10/12/2011 10:11PM

    You are absolutely incredible. Nice work!!!

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ERIKO1908 10/12/2011 9:57PM

    WTG on making the treat last!!!

PS...reading your blog reminded me of the granola bar I did NOT slowly savor today...AND the fact that I never did track it...fixed now...Thanks!! :)

Comment edited on: 10/12/2011 10:05:26 PM

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Record low weight!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Well it's nice to be back on the home was a whirlwind September....I've had only 7 days at home since Labor Day.

All in all though, they were quite successful, professionally and personally. Last week especially could have been disastrous....tons of great food, great desserts, and lots of it...all day long. But chock it up to mind over matter, triumph of the will, good Spark friends (oh yeah!), or an innate stubbornness and determination to keep losing weight as part of this Fall 5% Challenge (have I mentioned that I'm a little competitive), but when I weighed myself this morning I saw the number 184.8, a number not associated with my weight since the mid-80s!

Today was a recovery day at home. Thanks to the buffoonery of US Airways, I had to spend an extra night in Charlotte, NC after their maintainers failed to fix a broken jet. I got home mid-afternoon Sunday and relaxed with the family (watched "Chased by Dinosaurs" with #2 son). I took today off from work and SWMBO and I went out to lunch (I had 2 fish tacos and a bowl of French Onion Soup). Then we went shopping and she came up with the great idea of roasting up some fall veggies.

We picked up a couple of acorn squash, some big red onions, and a few giant carrots. We spent some prep time cutting, slicing, peeling, and dicing, then she drizzled them with olive oil, cracked some black pepper and sea salt over them and slid 'em in the oven. A little while later we had some quite savory little veggies to eat with our pork tenderloin.

Before dinner I hit the gym and got in about 70 minutes of cardio. I had a great 8-day cardio streak this past week. That plus smart eating definitely helped get my weight down to 185. Now the challenge is to keep it there and drive it down some more.

The other thing that helped was that I did little to no late night snacking. That has potential to mess me up at home.

I mentioned in one of last week's blogs that one of the nice things the Darden School did was to give us a 2-hour block on fitting fitness & nutrition into busy life-styles. One of the things they mentioned was that instead of trying so hard to change your behavior, work on changing your environment. Yes, throwing out those fattening snacks & cookies does make a difference. Having healthy choices around vice fat-pills works. Hmmmm, do I really have to get rid of those jars of peanut butter at home.....?

Food for thought!

Good night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMYLONGHORN 10/12/2011 8:23AM

    You are truly an inspiration!! You are very focused and determined and it is paying off!! Keep up the awesome work! We Starfish love having you on our team!!!

YAY emoticon!!!

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PUGRAD1995 10/11/2011 11:08PM

    Well, the price of peanut butter is supposed to go up. But I use soy butter! Always nice to take time and relax.

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PROT358 10/11/2011 10:59PM

    Well I've found there's a difference between a luxury food I can control and those I can't. I can (and do) stop at one Lindt truffle. But other things like trail mix and sugary cereals I just don't stop eating. So when you're cleaning I think you have to be honest with yourself about how strong the particular food lures you. Not to say you should write it off entirely, but maybe make it a little harder for you to access. Congrats on your new low weight!

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JUNEBUG1944 10/11/2011 9:36PM

    Keep the peanut's good for you! Congrats on your weight and your great perseverance and self control during your trip...YOU ROCK!

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HAKAPES 10/11/2011 4:24PM

    Hi man, I donated away all the chocolate, candies, biscuits, fats, stuff from my kitchen. Actually, it was not very nice from me, because all that weight went onto my friends, but that's it.

Yesterday night, I was craving for sweets. I went around my kitchen several times, and all I found was some grapes, banana, oranges... no choice, so I had to eat fruits.

Congrats for the week in Darden School! That was a hard run!

And congrats for the low weight! Did you give some reward for yourself?

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BEATLETOT 10/11/2011 10:16AM

    I think peanut butter can be a healthy food if used in moderation and not covered in chocolate...I say keep it!

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JECKIE 10/11/2011 9:37AM


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FLORIDAGHOST 10/11/2011 5:26AM

    Great job! Keep at it!

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COLLINSCJ2012 10/11/2011 1:32AM


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HEALTHIERKEN 10/11/2011 12:21AM


Comment edited on: 10/11/2011 12:22:10 AM

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ERIKO1908 10/10/2011 11:06PM

    you had a great week & your number shows it...WOOOHOOOO!!! Keep up all of your hard work!!

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CATHEMARIE 10/10/2011 10:27PM


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REBECCATKD 10/10/2011 9:59PM

    Congrats on your new numbers!!! That's fantastic! (And just have SWMBO hide the peanut butter.)

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FANGFACEKITTY 10/10/2011 9:35PM

    emoticon emoticon. Congrats on the weight loss and your contributions to the Starfish (even though Cats are inherently superior).

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