GRACEMCC45   26,153
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Thank you!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I am going through some major work stress this past few weeks, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!

Here we go:

I'm on a committee at my work helping to completely redesign our addictions treatment unit and model. The way we are designing it, long story short, I may be writing my own pink slip. We are merging two services and there will likely be redundancies in the nursing positions, and I can realistically see 3 full-time RN positions being axed. The worst part? I am exactly the 3rd lowest senior full time RN. One of my very best friends at work, the current charge nurse and the only other RN member of the committee is the 2nd lowest. We may be giving ourselves layoffs, looking at the way we can best give treatment to our clients.

Stressed? There are no words... our manager assures us at this point that he would fight for no layoffs, but you just never know! I really stressed about this a lot this past weekend. I love my job, but being specialized in Addictions has made my basic (physcial/medical) nursing knowledge and skills quite under-developed, as I started focusing in Addictions before I even graduated my RN program and have been working there since. Same with my good friend.

I have a student shadowing me this week, so it's been extra important I save face, show this place for the amazing environment it is for both clients and staff. I'm trying not to stress too much. Trying to live by my rule of the serenity prayer - and knowing that I won't know about any type of layoffs for months - when the new model will finally roll out.

So why am I saying thank you?

Yesterday my phone buzzed while I was working. A new email from SparkPeople - I had been nominated as a SparkPeople Motivating Member!!! Say whaaaaaaa??? I was over the moon happy! Teared up right over my charts!

You see, a part of me has been nagging to go into personal training, etc. But my shiftwork being a fulltime RN would never allow that to happen - both from obtaining the training and working a normal schedule to have clients. I love my job, the work I do, and my coworkers. Best benefits, salary, etc., but I really feel fitness is my passion now. So knowing that I have motivated others has given me the feeling of a safety net.

Perhaps if I am laid off, it will be the motivation and just the right open door I need to pursue personal training or another fitness career. The pay change would suck (A LOT!!) and of course I would keep my RN for casual shifts or part-time.

So I just wanted to say thank you to anyone and everyone who chose me as a motivator - getting that email really came to me at a perfect coincidental-the-heavens-open-up-and-I-hea
r-a-chorus-of-angels time. I went from "what will I do? How will I live?" to "There are options. I've motivated people. I can motivate more! I will find something new!!"

No matter what my career path will give me, I know that this beautiful community of men and women will continue to inspire, motivate, and best of all support me in whatever challenges I may face.

Big love to everyone! xoxoxooxoxoxoxox

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEPH-KNEE 5/17/2012 1:01AM

    Well I definitely will keep you in my thoughts that you do not get laid off, especially considering you are being honest in creating these changes and doing your best to help. It does sound like your boss has your back and will fight for you til the end which is great. You would be an amazing trainer, and you are a huge motivation and inspiration to us all. I know you would kick major butt as a trainer to others and you could really whip them into shape. Anyone that looked at your transformation would want you to train them on the spot. :)

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HAPPYERIN 5/15/2012 8:35PM

    Grace, I wish I could send you a big fruit basket or a huge vase of flowers or whatever non-chocolate gifty thing I could send! I wish there was something with a little more oomph than a Sparkgoodie, it just isn't enough. You were my first friend on Spark and you totally set the mindset for me to begin this new phase. I've taken lots of cues from you on how to approach changes and challenges for myself, and in many ways it's been so EASY that I don't really believe it. You're always in my corner and I appreciate it. (And I totally voted for you, you deserve it!) I have no doubt that you could easily transition into this type of career if you must make a change. Congratulations!!!
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Portion Distortion

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yesterday was planned scheduled treat day, and also happened to be my ToM, so you know it was a doozy! Overall, I'm okay with all the decisions I made, and I was especially happy because I went 12 days between treat days this time!

We went to supper at Boston Pizza. A restaurant even in my terrible food days I mostly avoided because I never really liked it. Both hubby and I do enjoy a few of their appetizers, so we decided to go there - also because it is next to the movie theatres and we were going to see The Avengers after (SO GOOD!!!)

After perusing the menu, I saw the Individual Spicy Perogi Pizza. Sounded yummy, so that's what I ordered. Brad ordered the starter size (! who is my husband?!?) nacho wings. Nachos...with wings on top. Necessary?! Anyway, these portions were pretty normal, nothing to write home about. Super fatty and high caloric, but quite tasty and satisfying.

Dessert, however, was another story. Brad and I always split a dessert if we order one, but he didn't want one so I ordered the following: (as copied directly from the website)

Chocolate Brownie Addiction
A warm chocolate brownie topped with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, caramel and chocolate…
Decadent Size $5.95
Bite-size Indulgence $3.95

So obviously I ordered the "bite-size indulgence" thinking it would be a lot smaller, with maybe a half scoop of ice cream. Some other restaurants I have been to that offer miniature desserts serve them in a shot glass - very mini!

I. Was. WRONG. Instead of getting what I expected - you know, those "Two Bite Brownies" was the size I was thinking. I got (I wish I took a picture) a brownie 2"x3"x1" And almost an entire cup of ice cream! I was shocked.

How is this bite size?! For The Hulk? Andre the Giant? Maybe! For a human? Nope. Brad ended up eating a fair amount, thank goodness. I was actually a little angry about the misleading menu description.

As soon as the waitress put it down in front of me, I said to Brad "I suppose it's good I ordered the small version?" and he responded "You're going to write a blog about this, aren't you?" Yuuppppppp.... he's so smart!

Lesson learned: ask about the portion sizes, even when descriptions seem to cover it!


Alright, enough about that giant fail!

My biggest accomplishment of the week:

- Getting up on my day off (yesterday) at 0500 to get to the gym when it opened at 0530 so I could have my exercise complete in time to get to the eye doctor at 0800 and then errands and date all day. Good thing I did, because I ended up getting my pupils dilated (first time ever, why for the love of God is this necessary!?) and I could barely open my eyes due to extreme photosensitvity for a few hours.

Challenge for this week:

- Drive to a nearby province all by myself on Saturday! Gah! I only just really started driving a few months ago, and I want to go see family for May long weekend, and hubby may not be able to come. If y'all could send some positive vibes my way this weekend, it would be hugely appreciated!!

What was your biggest portion drama you've faced? How did you react?

What are you proud of for accomplishing this past week? What are you aiming for this week?



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAPPYERIN 5/12/2012 12:49PM

    Sounds like you had a good treat day! I haven't had any portion drama yet (although I am waiting for it to happen, probably at one of my favorite restaurants!), but my one struggle so far was when I made a bag of Trader Joe's gorgonzola gnocci (which, incidentally, was also during my ToM -- no coincidence!). I freaking LOVE that stuff, and the portion was so...tiny...not enough...gah! I admit I ended up having a little extra than the serving size that day, BUT I portioned out the rest appropriately for work lunches, so I guess that's a wee win for me?
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PACOISAWESOME 5/12/2012 11:32AM

  The brownie sounds delicious!

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How did I get here?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I realized that I took my long history off of my SparkPage when I pretty-near hit my goal, and have added multiple SparkFriends (hey guys, love yas!) since that time and thought "Hmm... maybe I should re-share my history". Then, on my PCOS message boards, there was a posting about weight loss being harder for us, and I took it as a sign to share my story.

Warning, VERY long post ahead! Some TMI moments, some sad moments, but I promise you, you'll be smiling at the end!


Hi I'm Grace, and I'm a Cyster! (A whaat??) I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Don't know what that is? Neither did I when I was diagnosed in 2008... more on that later, let's go back in time.

I come from a long line of big folk. My mom's side is all pretty well-healthy range, no more than 20lbs overweight. However two of her siblings struggle with addiction (this does get relevant, I promise). My dad's side of the family is mostly obese, lots of struggles with weight, overeating, sedentary lifestyles. Except my Dad (maybe 15lbs overweight at the most, EVER) who has always been in excellent physical shape (thank you military career) and at this moment at the age of 52 is on a 5 month hike of the Applachian Trail. He's my hero!

All my life since probably age 8, I've been on the chubbier side. A regular evening snack would be a big bag of chips or bowl of ice cream. This was normal in my family. Meals were typically healthy though. Exercise was encouraged (by Dad, of course) but not always enforced. When I wanted to be active, I was with the best of them, but hobbies, interests and extracurricular activities tended to be more of the intellectual type rather than physical.

At age 14 I lost 35lbs to get to a healthy range, but by the time I graduated high school I was back to 20lbs overweight. Through university I gained slowly until summer 2008 (age 20) when I noticed I gained about 15 lbs in one year, despite my activity levels and diet staying the same.

My doctor (bless her heart, I will be one sad puppy when she retires) took my concerns seriously. No "just eat right and exercise and you'll be fine" crap. The woman ordered multiple blood tests and sat me down and reviewed the results with me. I don't quite remember the details but something about the ratio of hormones gave her an idea of what may be going on, and she asked me about my menstrual history (sorry, gents, you may wanna scroll down a bit!)

I started my menses at age 10 (I know, right?!!) and never, EVER had a regular cycle until I went on "the pill" at age 15 to help with symptoms of cramping, blah blah blah, you know the drill!

This history in combination with my bloodwork gave my doctor the confirmation she needed to diagnose me with PCOS. She sent me to a specialist for final confirmation, but gave me some education in the meantime and changed my birth control to a stronger version - birth control pills do not "cure" PCOS but can slow the progression, and can help change/reverse some of the symptoms (acne, facial/body hair, weight gain, etc.)

At first, I felt no stress from the diagnosis (although I've wanted to be a mom since I was like 7 friggin years old). The no stress was due to the fact I had just completed a week of acupuncture training for my co-op (where I now currently work in Addictions) and had it done on me 9 times in a week. Yeahhh residual stress relief! Eventually I went through the stages of grief (Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). In order.

By the time I finally got to see the specialist in January 2009, I was up to 195 lbs (emotional eating in the house, yo.) and she confirmed the diagnosis. I do have a "mild" case of it because I have been on birth control since age 15, so I didn't have the body/facial hair or severe acne, but the weight gain, irregular cycles, and small patches of "velvet skin" confirmed it. She educated me about how it is a pre-diabetic condition, and insulin resistance was already showing in my bloodwork. When I felt ready and serious to take the weight off, she recommended my GP prescribe metformin, a medication that helps cells to accept insulin and process sugars properly, not store all sugar as fat. She explained that PCOS, instead of causing one good ovulation with an egg per cycle, cause irregular spikes and valleys of hormones which does not allow for proper ovulation, thus causing fertility issues. And she taught me that PCOS is cyclical - the worse it gets, the more weight you gain. The more weight you gain, the worse it gets.

Here came the mindset of "It's not my fault I gained this weight, so it's not my responsibility to take it off". Like an all-expenses paid trip to eat-everything-in-sight-and-be-a-lazy-bum-
ville. I dabbled here and there in Spark, in gyms, never "ready". Just like my clients here in Addictions. I've seen the same clients grace the doors 53 times, and on the 54th time, finally be "ready" and be successful.

I got married in Oct 2010, at the ripe ol' size of 198lbs. I had to have my dream wedding dress altered to a corset back. A lot of my pictures were retouched to take out rolls on my upper back, chin, etc. I am a big gal in those photos! One in particular makes me laugh! My dance with my Dad started normal, then we switched into "Cha-cha-slide" and had everybody join us on the dance floor. Well! One pic I swear my, ahem, bosom, puts Dolly Parton to shame!! You can see my happiness in the photos, but you can also see the poor health and consequences of the weight. Especially next to my 6'1" very trim groom.

The saddening, stressful reality of it and how I chose to (not) cope put me up to 203lbs by Feb 2011, when my hubby and I made the decision to try to start a family. My doctor started me on metformin, and besides the occasional gastrointestinal side effects, it has been a huge help! I lost 5lbs within the first month or so, but she greatly encouraged me to start exercising and to try to lose about 50lbs before starting to try to conceive. She wanted me to do it slowly, over a year or so. Have I mentioned I super love my doc? She's fan-freakin-tastic!!

I signed up with a giant fitness chain here in Canada, through a corporate agreement with my employer (holla free towel service!) and I had the membership for over a month before I went in. Denial, much? I was contacted by the gym about a free fitness consultation. Before I went in, Hubby and I decided I should buy 12 or so personal training sessions to get my motivation up and running.

I went in for my consultation, failed horribly in the fitness assessment (15 body weight squats nearly made me pass out). I was introduced to a new trainer (young, super cute, we instantly got along) named Mitch, who I would be assigned to if I chose to purchase sessions.

I was ready. I bought 156. 3 a week for a year. I had 5 days to change my mind. After talking (read: fighting!) with Hubby about the financial and time commitment, I went back and brought that down to 2 a week for a year, so 104 sessions. Much more doable with my work schedule and financial situation. We were aiming to finally buy a car, and we put that off for my training (and so, super SparkHubby was born!!). On the plus side, this did make us sit down and really go over our budget, and we've made wonderful financial strides in that time.

I lost weight slowly but consistently in training with Mitch. See blog titled: I need somewhere to put this... It gives the details of our relationship and how he was such, SUCH an important resource in my life for the time we trained together. See the blog titled: A crutch or a life jacket? to see how he is still impacting my life, 1 month since our training ended. I literally owe my life to this fantastic specimen of a human being.

Some key points that happened during our training together (started Mar 2011)

Sept-Oct 2011: I had my tonsils out, which took me out of training for 2 weeks. Due to a severely restricted diet (and not having reconnected with Spark) I ate mostly ice cream! MY WORST TRIGGER FOOD! My first training session back with Mitch (the day after I was cleared to return to training) I came VERY close to fainting. Literally: seeing purple, hearing going in and out, a little voice inside saying "just go to sleep". Luckily my inner nurse told me to lean forward instead of backward in the chair and I came to. When I could finally see properly, I looked at Mitch who had beads of sweat pouring down his face, pretty sure he would have had a heart attack if I passed out!

Dec 2011: First weigh-in after my surgery. We were in a burn phase so I should have lost 6-8lbs. I lost 4. We talked about how I had pretty much fallen back into my old food habits due to having so much ice cream, etc in the house after my surgery (hello "gateway drug" - what addiction!?). I related to him how I was seeing similar patterns in my eating behaviours that I see day in and day out with my Addictions clients. I decided that I have a food addiction. I truly do. Mitch made me track my food as he did from time to time, so I rejoined Spark. And I haven't looked back :)

Jan 2012: Celebrity trainer Tommy Europe (google him!) came to town for a fitness expo. My super fit friend made me sign up for his bootcamp, and I did it!! Such an insane workout, but Mitch had trained me well, and I killed it! And won a pair of Skechers cross trainers (best athletic shoe, EVER).

Feb 2012: Went to Mexico with hubby and friends. I CLIMBED A PYRAMID. Me! I dove off boats and let people take pictures of me in bathing suits! I wasn't quite ready for a bikini, but I rocked my one-pieces and tankinis! Spent an evening working out in the gym there! Ate wayyyy off plan that week, and gained 15lbs in water weight!! Okay, 13 or so in water weight and 2ish in fat haha. All back to normal within 2 weeks of returning though!

March 2012: Started the grieving process, as I knew my last session with Mitch would be April 10, 2012. Discussed submitting our story to a Success Story contest that the gym company puts on.

April 2012: Final weigh in with Mitch. 144lbs. Down 59 total, 54 with personal training. Final workout. Goodbyes. Submitted the story (still waiting for results, could be 4 months before I know if I win). Signed up for a bloody 5K! As egged on by the same friend who made me do the bootcamp and climb that darn pyramid in Mexico!

May 2012: Hit 142.7 lbs. Officially lost 60lbs. Knocked the socks off my doctor (who I do see regularly, but she's hella-impressed!) Training for 5K and staying completely on track with diet and exercise. Approached by training manager at the gym to congratulate me. She only started at the gym in November, so had never seen me at my largest and told me (Mitch had already texted me about it) that she cried when she saw my before pictures. She also asked my permission to use my story as a motivation tool for a client she has whose daughter has PCOS. I *of course* answered with a resounding YES!!

So that's now! Hubby and I have been trying to conceive now for 2 months. At this point, no results but one HUGE success (it's about to get TMI again): my cycles have been coming ON TIME - for the first time EVER without "the pill". And my doctor has huge hope for us to be able to conceive naturally, as this is a major sign of proper ovulation! WEEEEOooooooOOOO!!

I'm happier than I've been in a long time. I'm stronger, more fit, and healthier than I've EVER been. I have hope for my future. I have hope to have kids. I am living my life to the utmost extreme my body can handle. I keep my wedding photos all over my house to remind myself of the vows I made to my husband. In sickness and in health. HEALTH which I now confidently have- speaking of which, I haven't had a cold since just before my surgery in September *knock wood*, when previously I would get one every 6-8 weeks from September - May.

I'm within 3 lbs of my goal (may readjust down to 135 again - the smallest I will have been since I think I was 12!!!) but I'm basically in maintenance phase. Trying to conceive means that headfirst weightloss is no longer on the table. I'm living comfortably in my super-structured and scheduled exercise plans and food tracking.

Big thanks to my AMAZING SparkHubby for his unending patience and support. To my wicked Doc for taking me seriously and looking into the weight gain, not just brushing it off as so many do.
Beyond mega thanks to Mitch, of course, for being my motivation when I had none. For being my therapist when stressed and my ass-kicker when I needed it and for never, EVER taking "I can't do it!" for an answer - except for the time I almost died haha.

I owe a huge amount to my coworkers, for letting me put up motivational posters in our lunch room, and being supportive in my food habits.

To my family, who has been amazing and supportive. Even my brand new nephew (born March 19, I'm in love!!) "bought" me a gift certificate to a fitness store as a congratulations when I finished my training.

And to Spark. For giving me the tools and resources to track, refine, and control my eating habits especially. But mostly for the community. The SparkFriends and message boards that keep me going.

Working in Addictions, 12-step groups (think AA) come in to put on meetings, which us nurses sit in on to supervise. They consistently say about their sobriety "You can only keep what you have by giving it away." I never understood it until the last few months, when I've upped my contributions on the message boards and SparkCommunity. Motivating, supporting, and advising others keeps me more on track than I could ever imagine.

I love you all. I am always around if anyone needs a SparkHug, or a few words of support, or anything.

If you actually read all of this, you get 10 bonus points and a gold star.

Happy Sparking!


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEPH-KNEE 5/14/2012 2:10AM

    You are beyond amazing, and I want to thank you for sharing your journey with us and continuing to inspire us all! :D

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TRYSCHE13 5/11/2012 3:01PM

    Reading your story and seeing how you struggled, had setbacks but never ever gave up, always preservering, gives me hope! Congratulations on reaching goal, and I hope to see pics of your little ones in the future!

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FITNESSMONSTER8 5/10/2012 2:52PM

    Amazing story!

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EMMAEKAY 5/10/2012 1:23PM

    Brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart! I have 87 of 124 pounds left to lose, and it is people like you that have helped me realize that it IS possible and I CAN do it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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CHEERFUL-ALT-3 5/10/2012 1:00PM

    Thank you for sharing you story! Such inspiration and motivation :) Give your sweetie a big smooch from all of us!

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JULIEANNCAN 5/10/2012 11:59AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I can relate to some of it as I also have PCOS. I wish you and your husband all the best in your wishes to have a child! You rock! emoticon

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HAPPYERIN 5/10/2012 6:33AM

    Grace, you are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Reading your journey and seeing all the struggles you have faced and overcome, it makes me appreciate more and more how happy I am to have found you as a Spark friend. Your drive for success is a motivation to us all!! Congratulations on reaching your goal and now being in the maintenance phase, and best of luck on your new journey -- starting a family!


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Celebrations!!

Monday, May 07, 2012

After 4.5-5 years of trying to make it a reality, with struggles, obstacles, and downright disappointments thrown his way....

Hubby took his tractor trailer road test today and passed with flying colours!!

It's been a stressful few weeks leading up to it, but he passed today and we are SOOOO happy - this widens his opportunities for jobs as well as will be a pay increase!

A miniature carrot cake (a favorite of his and very rarely allowed in the house) is on the menu for a small little celebration between us tonight. Accounted for and tracked ahead of time, of course!

Please join me in some congrats, he deserves this and I'm so happy and proud!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COLORADOGUY0004 5/7/2012 8:30PM

  Congrats and good luck!
Way to go!!
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HAPPYERIN 5/7/2012 8:04PM

    Congratulations!! Excellent news. Always wonderful to hear when good things happen to good people!
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Dining out - - - WITH SUCCESS!

Friday, May 04, 2012

I am on SUCH a high right now!

Where do I begin....

Okay, a good friend of mine who I only get to see every couple of months said she was coming into town this weekend for her birthday dinner, and after rearranging my workout schedule (today I was supposed to run, but wouldn't have had time before I had to go meet her, so I moved today's run to yesterday, and yesterday's active rest day to today) we settled on 5:30pm (I worked until 4) at the Hamachi Grill. Japanese food served Teppanyaki style (cooked in front of you).

As soon as I told her I would be there, I started getting nervous.
A) I had a treat day 6 days ago, so I couldn't make it an all out treat day
B) I knew I had other social events going on this same weekend (going to a ballet tomorrow night and likely a family BBQ on Sunday)
C) Likely increased sodium level in the food.

Basically it came down to:
How in the heck am I supposed to do *this*?! Normally I know these things further ahead of time and can make that treat day so I don't have to worry. This is going to be a new dining experience for me, and I will want to experience it all from A-Z!

Then, I just took some nice deep breaths. As I prepared my meals and snacks last night for today, I kept them on the lower calorie side, but kept the frequency. After I got home from work today and was getting ready to go, my tummy rumbled like mad, so I ate half a protein bar.

As soon as I arrived at the restaurant, I started chugging the water, and I continued to do so throughout the meal to avoid sodium saturation.

I ate the miso soup and tossed salad in full. The fried rice I ate half and immediately asked for the other half to be wrapped (dear hubby had to work late, so it all went home to him, a win-win!). I ordered the combo of salmon, chicken, shrimp. I ate all 3 shrimp, and all the chicken (roughly 1oz), and since hubby LOVES salmon, I set aside half immediately for him.

The kicker: I am not a veggie girl. Certain veggies have made me gag since childhood, zucchini and mushrooms especially. The evening's fresh veggies, steamed on site? Zucchini and mushrooms. I CLEANED MY PLATE OF THEM. Soooo tasty!! Likely due to the sauce, but whatev! I ate MUSHROOMS and ZUCCHINI!

As desert came, I was very proud of myself for how I managed dinner, in addition to the very stressful week I had and managed to stay 100% on track. I decided it was okay to order dessert. I didn't *deserve* it, it was doable in my mentally calorie-tracking brain.

I ordered warm apple crisp, without the ice cream, and again sectioned half off for hubby. It was beyond delicious! And lets just say I earned mega-huge good wife points!

After dinner I got groceries and did my Zumba Wii game, and just now I logged my food. I was ready and willing (yet still cringing at the thought) to be over the calorie range for 100-150 calories, or high in fat. It is possible that my tracking is not 100% accurate as I had no way of measuring the food, but I did my best.

Bang. On. IN. EVERY. RANGE!!!!

I'm practically crying over here! I am SO happy that I am on my way to being able to be in social situations and incorporate the menu into my daily calorie tracking, without it having to be a haywire treat day and go overboard.

I hope you all have a lovely, fantastic weekend!! Can't wait to go to the Farmers Market tomorrow to restock my guac (haha, rhymes)- been without for 2-3 days!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOCEPINK 5/6/2012 11:13AM

    That sounds like a huge triumph! You're my motivation!

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DWHEAVEN24 5/6/2012 10:41AM

  This is great and even though I am just starting out I totally get what you are doing so it seems pretty simple and easy for me to replacate when I need to! you are awesome! emoticon emoticon

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HAPPYERIN 5/5/2012 3:28PM

    Good for you! I admire your control at portioning everything so well, including the dessert! It's nice to realize that dining out can be a successful part of the plan!

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