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How much pleasure is there in illness?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I was just reading some excerpts from a book titled "The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World" by John Robbins and this phrase hit me like a ton of bricks...."how much pleasure is there in illness?"

I've spent a lifetime battling with foods and my emotional attachment to them. Every time I went on a quest to lose weight, I would abstain from the cake, cookies, candy and ice cream but would silently whine to myself about how difficult it was to give them up. I never truly meant to give them up permanently. How could I? They give me so much pleasure!

But this statement shines a new light upon it for me, especially since I've had recent health scares. John Robbins goes on to say "Who do you think enjoys life more, the person who is flourishing in vibrant health, eating a deliciously prepared yet simple meal of wholesome foods, or the person who is burdened by weight problems and high blood pressure gorging on steak and ice cream?"

It's often true that we take our health and feelings of well being for granted until it's gone. I don't want to have to get seriously ill in order to decide I have to change my eating habits.

I'm back to eating well and exercising and in just a few days am feeling a better sense of well being as well as emotional stability.

I'm going to need that strength because I do have a slight hurdle to go through and will feel much better once I get past it. In a couple weeks I have to have surgery to remove the skin cancer on my face. I met with my skin doctor and he said the best recommendation he can offer is to cut it out. All those years of laying out in the sun and one spring in 1988 of using a tanning bed....I didn't ever consider what the later consequences could be. Of all places, I had to get it on my face. It's on the side, about an inch from my ear lobe, so I'm hoping the scar won't show too much.

It's something that can be taken care of, but just hearing the "C" word in relation to my body makes me quiver. Makes me want to eat well and take in all the nutrients and phytochemicals that protect my body from illness. No, there is defintely NO pleasure in illness.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAZZYR 11/21/2009 1:43PM

    How much pleasure is there in illness? None!! Poor choices are just not worth it!

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FLAPPERGIRL129 11/6/2009 6:30AM

    Thanks for sharing your struggles..and all I can say is
I have been the same way for so long...
but ....
health is better..
Let's grab it!
I do hope and pray for your surgery.
And yes, if you have to have it..
that's about the best place it could be on your face.
Keep on keepin on!

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DEBC1232 11/5/2009 2:10PM


That statement makes sense, and it was one of the reasons I decided I couldn't wait any longer to take care of my weight issues. Now that I am on the right track, I hope that the family preponderance for heart attacks will stay at bay for a long time. You will do fine with the surgery, thank goodness it won't be somewhere that would be really obvious, and that it wasn't more serious.

Deb emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 11/5/2009 6:48AM

    Mary I do hope that all goes well. I would imagine they will make as small an incision as they can. Just be thankful it is in that spot wont be that noticible. and hey as long as you are well it doesnt matter in the real scheme of things.
Glad you are still going strong. I am doing better also. Hey we are on the same path togehter again!! LOL

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DJ4HEALTH 11/4/2009 8:54PM

    It all the bad stuff that tastes so good and also makes you hurt too. So now I have found that I can't eat certain foods without hurting so I always ask myself do I want that cake or do I want to hurt if I do eat it and the answer is no I do not want to hurt. I eat plenty of fruits and veggies and stay away from most grains because they give me problems and I not into hurting myself just to eat them.

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    I like your blog it is a eye opener i can understand how your health can change in an inststant your attitude is so good.

i will pray your surgery will go well and you recover quickly i'm having a surgery next week and i'm doing everything to boost my immune system with food and exercise.

I'm glad you shared your story it was helpful to me to read i know i'm doing low impact type exercise but i know that it's a step in the right direction.

My surgery is next week i can relate with what your saying.

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GO_ROBIN 11/4/2009 8:10PM

    Great reminder! After many years of gaining/losing weight, I'm finally on a lifestyle change not a temporary diet because of my health. I had breast cancer five years ago and I'm diabetic. I need to get and stay as healthy as I can! Since I started with SparkPeople I've lost 20 pounds and my morning glucose readings are fantastic! I feel better and I look better. So, keep on keeping on! It's about a lot more than dress sizes! It's about being healthy and living longer!

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Confession: I ate candy today

Friday, October 30, 2009

I am still perplexed as to why I sometimes eat like a person who does not care about their weight and their health. Because truly I do!

This afternoon I stopped at the store to pick up a few essentials and found myself buying a Reese's Big Cup and a Nutrageous bar. It's like I go temporarily into amnesia and forget about my goals and what's most important to me. It took all of 15 minutes to consume them and there was no lasting satisfaction from that.

I've still been having a problem with consistency. Most of the time, I eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and things don't go downhill until after dinner when the night munchies take over. Some days I do great the entire day, and then all of a sudden I have a difficult day and can't seem to get enough to eat. Once in a while (like today), I eat a little too much fat and also suffer from general over-consumption. Breakfast this morning was a scrambled egg w/ an ounce of low fat cheese, light english muffin with butter, and home fries. It would've been okay if I'd not put so much butter on the muffin and skipped the home fries. It was too much saturated fat and just too much food. Better yet would be to stick to my cooked oats with blueberries and cinnamon or Kashi heart to heart cereal with almond milk and some fruit or a green smoothie. When I eat a high nutrition-high fiber breakfast, the day doesn't unravel on me like it does when I eat a heavy breakfast. DH bought me a Ninja for my birthday because he sees how I practically burn up my blender trying to make smoothies and fruit sorbets. Earlier this week I used it to blend a frozen fruit smoothie that also had fresh spinach, kale and carrots in it. It was tasty and the best thing was that I instantly could feel the goodness and nourishment and a burst of energy after I drank it.

I'm still doing well with exercising. I've started back doing my T-Tapp toning. I'm starting back with just the 15 minute workout, but even getting back to doing that is very challenging and my muscles are screaming. I've been doing it every other day and it's already making an impact on my brain that I want to do it more and build up to doing the total 55 minute workout at least 4 times a week. When I was doing it regularly, I lost so many inches, particularly in my midsection, but also in my thighs and butt. This week's been rainy and cold, so I started back doing my Leslie Sansone collection of walking workout DVDs. I'm doing a 2 mile workout every day, and sweating like crazy. It's more intense than my outdoor walking. When I'm done, I feel teriffic.

I just ordered myself a heart monitor and should get it by next week. It's a Polar F6 in a green tea color. It'll keep me in my target zone and also accurately calculate how many calories I'm burning. I'm thinking it will help me get re-motivated into tracking my calories at least for a while since I'll now know how many calories I'm burning. It's a simple formula to figure out how many calories in - how many calories burned = 1-2 pounds of loss a week.

I've been hit and miss with watching my hypnosis DVD even though I know it works for me. I don't know why I am self sabotaging. I'll be darned if I know why I ate the candy. I need the self hypnosis to make it just as automatic for me to abstain from overeating as it's been automatic over the years for me to overeat. Maybe I don't have to know the whys. I just have to keep re-committing until it's cemented into my routine.

If I can keep getting back up and keep forging ahead, maybe the successful days will begin to outnumber the not-so-great days. To build new habits it takes repetition-repetition-repetition. It takes time. It takes patience and self acceptance. Once it clicks, success breeds more success and as the momentum grows, it gets easier. It's not all that long ago that I was trying on smaller clothes and so I remember how great that feels.

Tonight I'm making homemade split pea soup to have with a big salad. Today I received a sampler of 7 different Dr. Fuhrman vinegars. I think tonight I'll try the Wild Blueberry. I mix up a dressing of 3 Tbs. vinegar, 1 Tbs. dijon mustard, and 1 Tbs. pure maple syrup that is quite tasty, about 70 calories, and zero fat.

So, thumbing my nose at the candy, I chalk it up to a mistake and a past moment I can't undo but can rise up from and go beyond to do better from this moment on.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAZZYR 11/21/2009 1:49PM

    Reminding myself to get back on track after a momentary slip or at any point is one of my most valuable BDS tools. Doing so without shame has been key for me.

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DEBC1232 10/30/2009 8:17PM


You are making progress. Forget about your little slip ups and take faith that what you are doing is great. I applaud you for starting back with the t-tap. I'm not sure what a ninja is but it sounds interesting-please tell me more.


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HEALTHY4ME 10/30/2009 5:43PM

    Yay Mary I am so glad you sound happier and more content. Yes those good days will soon outnumber the not so good ones. I am doing pretty good too even though I am on 4 hr return to work light duties stil. My back is sore but they are really putting me through the paces in physio which I am doing at home too. I also have been doing the wii but had to limit what exercises due to my back. But thats okay, it is habit I am wanting to build. So my posture is getting some better, back sstill sore but coming along, and I am thinking more positive. granted that helps working only 4 hrs a day doing barely nothing. lol Oh well thats okay for now.
Glad you are doing so well.

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WILD4STARS 10/30/2009 5:39PM

    Really and truly, what you are describing could be read on several hundred blogs on Spark People. We ALL have our days, our weaknesses and our demons. I'm sitting here drinking a glass of wine, NOT on my diet. But, hubby was having one and I wanted one, and . . . . .
We all have good days and bad days. It's never going to be perfect, AND if it were easy there would be no Spark People! But clearly, you are seeing your errors, you are admitting to your weaknesses and making plans to get them corrected. That's all you can do. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one bite at a time.

It may not feel like it right now, but I have read most of your blogs and I have confidence that you are making progress. Better and better everyday.

Happy Sparking,

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Still motivated, especially after getting some not-so-good news

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

(I changed my entry title to a more positive one :))

As I've written in my last couple of blogs, I was in the ER last Friday (turned out to be nothing) and got my health insurance package which I was debating whether or not to just decline it and put the monthly premium into a savings account.

Well, I've decided to sign up for the insurance for next year. I haven't felt well this past year. Nothing specific, just a general feeling and a lack of vitality. I don't think I should even think about declining health coverage unless I'm at least feeling at the pinacle of health every day.

It was confirmed to me even further when I got a call from my skin doctor's office. I have had this mark on the side of my face for 2 years. I went to a dermatologist in July 2007 who chuckled and said it was an age spot. The beginning of this summer I thought it appeared redder and larger. They say you know your own body and I decided I'd better go to another doctor and get a second opinion. This doctor removed it and sent it for biopsy two weeks ago.

I got a call from his office this morning and it came back as basal cell carcinoma. Not a serious thing and my general health is not in jeopardy, but I have to have more surgery. Since it's on my cheek and would leave quite a scar, she said the doctor would be willing to sit down with me and go over all my options. I decided to do that. Not that I'm vain, but if there are other alternatives I'd like to hear them before I decide.

It helped me decide to get the insurance because gosh, who would've thunk it???? I was expecting the nurse to say it was benign, so it was a bit of a gut punch that I have to go back and get more tissue cut out. But, I will deal with this and it will be taken care of so I can then forget about it once and for all.

I am still so very determined to make a permanent change to my eating habits. Good health is no longer an option....it is mandatory!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAZZYR 10/21/2009 8:38PM

    Good for you for staying on track! I love the slogan "control your health destiny."

The Mohs surgery has been done to friends who had a cancer spot on their face and they were pleased with the results too.

Take good care of you.


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DEBC1232 10/21/2009 3:41PM

    Hi Mary,

I've been through the whole basal cell carcinoma issue myself. However, I was only 32 when they found it. Luckily it wsa caught early and was on my shoulder so I didn't need a special technique to have it removed (the area sure looks ugly though). Anyways, my mom had to have a cancer spot removed on her face and they recommended something called Mohs surgery where they take off the skin, a thin layer at a time until the cancer edge has been removed. You can't even tell where the spot was removed. Needless to say I am now better about using sunscreen and keeping my skin covered.

I'm glad that you are staying on track with eating healthy! Keep up the good work!



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I am so very determined and motivated!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have never been as determined to eat healthy, exercise and lose weight as I feel this week.

For one, after spending 9 hrs. in the ER last Friday, I know that I NEVER want to have ocassion to go there EVER again. All that waiting, waiting, waiting. All that worry and anxiety and wondering. Being stuck with those needles. And for all that fun I still have to pay a $50 co-pay.

Then on Saturday we got our annual medical health benefits package for 2010. The cost for DH and I to have health insurance will cost us $865/month! That's $10,380 per year. We only have 2 choices: take it or leave it. They cover wellness visits 100% (yearly physical and lab, yearly GYN with pap and mammogram) but it sure wouldn't cost us $10K for those if we paid it all out of pocket. And if we do get sick, we each have a $500 deductible. After the $500 we pay 15% of the bill up to a $1500 out of pocket maxium EACH. So add that up and it's $13,380/year we would pay. If we just got the typical cold/flu/bronchitis and had to get antibiotics, we still would not pay over $13K for all of our doctor visits and medicines for the year if we chose to decline the insurance and pay for it ourselves.

The only way having this insurance would pay off is if we had a major illness such as cancer or heart disease. We have gone through this trauma of deciding on health insurance every single year for the last 3 years of our retirement. It continues to go up each year. We bite the bullet and sign up for it out of fear. Each year, thank God, we have never had a serious health catastrophy. Each year it leaves us wondering if we'd have been better off declining the coverage and putting the same amount into a special health care savings account. DH has 4 more years until Medicare and I have 7. Paying these monthly premiums is painful.

DH is really put out by it and has pretty much decided he's not going to get the coverage. If I sign up for just me, it'll be half, $432.50/month, $5,190/year. I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I want to drop my coverage too. I know that if I got myself to a normal weight of 140, I would most likely also be able to achieve a normal BP without meds. And if my diet was high in nutrients and devoid of processed foods, saturated fats, chemicals, etc., all my levels would be normal and I'd feel confident about protecting myself from illnesses.

It's a terrible decision to have to make and I know we're not alone in this. You work hard for 30+ years and save up to enjoy retirement. Then you get hit with rising costs of medical insurance that takes away 3/4 of your pension. It just isn't right!

I have until November 5 to decided whether or not to sign up. Whether I decline the coverage or take it for next year, one thing's for sure. I AM going to improve my health to the maxium. We can't predict the future and things out of our control do happen. But I'm going to do everything that is within my own control to create optimal health. I haven't been serious enough about it lately and haven't done a good job of creating the best health for myself. Now I am more motivated than I have ever been in my entire life.

It's ON!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBC1232 10/20/2009 9:13PM


Wow, I am sorry to hear your health insurance is going to be so expensive! I know my hubby and I went through this when he lost his job and had to go on the Cobra benefits. We were just unable to keep making those payments for long. For us the solution was for me to find a benefited job (thank goodness for being a nurse)so we wouldn't have to choose between eating or paying our mortgage and health insurance. I was able to get insurance coverage right away from my new job or we would have been without coverage for a few months.

Such a horrible decision to make as who knows what tomorrow may bring. I have heard horror stories about patients loosing their insurance and then a few months later having to have open heart surgery or something else major and then loosing everything from homes to investments. For my husband and I it had come down to finding an independent insurer that would cover us for the big issues, that was going to save us about half of what the Cobra plan was but luckily we didn't end up having to do that.

Deb emoticon

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MAZZYR 10/20/2009 6:58PM


Go Mary! I'm also cheering you on!!

You sure are not alone. DH and I also need to make decisions about our health care.

There truly are so many advantages to releasing extra weight and maintaining a healthy weight. So let's do this!!!!!

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MORERED 10/20/2009 4:47PM

    Rock on, sister!!!!! Love your energy and motivation to be the best you can. I am right there with you (yup, that's me on the sidelines, cheering YOU ON!!!) Your financial decision is a tough one, but glad that you are already on your way to better health!!!! Keep it going!!!!

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LOUISE979 10/20/2009 4:12PM

    Thank you for sharing. So sorry you have to make a hard decision, however, it is for your health.

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Does it take a trip to the ER? Perhaps for me it did.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yesterday was a crazy, horrible day for me.

I had a black stool...black as charcoal. I'd eaten beets a couple days ago but usually that turns it bright fushia pink. I called my doctor's office and he wasn't in so I spoke to the nurse. She said I needed to go to the Emergency Room and get it checked out. So off I went with a little plastic container of a sample.

When I arrived, my BP was 193/96 (but they took it an hr. later, it was 125/85). The rest of the day was sheer torture. I was in the waiting room for 4 hrs., from 1 pm to almost 5 pm. In that time, they took 5 half-tubes of blood and did an EKG. Mostly, DH and I sat and waited and watched all the people ahead of me slowly get in to see a doctor. It was finally my turn.

Besides my problem that sent me to the ER, I was having those "sensations" in my chest area. I've gotten that feeling off and on for a few years and it's typically caused by stress and anxiety. The only time in the last 5 years that I was free of those sensations was in 2007 when I had lost 38 lbs. Never once did I have it during that time period.

The doctor ordered Pepsid intravenously in case there was any internal bleeding (the usual cause of black stool). After the doctor saw me, I waited 2 more hours until he came back after looking at all my lab results. He said the stool tested negative for blood but he was concerned about the chest sensations and said he'd like me to have a stress test while I was there. I agreed and ended up waiting another hour and a half before another doctor came in. He was a foreign doctor with very broken english and after asking me a bunch of questions (that the 1st doctor already asked) he said that I was going to be admitted. I was flabbergasted because the 1st doctor indicated I was going to be released. I asked about the stress test and he said I could get that as an out patient, but I have to be admitted in order for him to test another stool sample. I said the sample I brought tested negative, but he said they need to test at least 2-3 more samples. He said that was all they would be doing during my overnight stay, and if I wanted to have my own doctor test a sample, I needed to sign a release that I'm going against his advisement to be admitted. I said I'd do that. Then the 1st doctor came in a few minutes later and said that the whole thing was a misunderstanding and that the 2nd doctor was supposed to just schedule a stress test and not admit me. I think it was the language barrier that messed everything up. Anyway, the 1st doctor looked into my eyes and made me promise to go see a cardiologist and have a stress test and I agreed. I also need to follow up with my doctor about the stool and get another one tested. Finally, after 9 hrs. total, I was released and headed out the door.

During that whole time, I was not allowed to eat or drink. The last meal I had was at 9am - cereal, milk and a banana. I was SO hungry during the first 4 or 5 hours. It was that hollow, gnawing feelng. I thought to myself, "this is what REAL hunger feels like". It had been a long time since I had felt that because I ate so often I never allowed myself to get physically hungry. And I did realize that hunger is not an emergency. I got through the hunger and it actual started to subside the longer I went without eating. I had much more major things on my mind than wanting to eat. I found myself stooping to making deals with God...if He could just get me through this, I promised I would once and for all turn my bad eating habits around. I would give it more effort, and ask for strength to get me through the challenging times.

And so far, I have. The whole experience terrified me. The entire time of waiting and wondering was sheer torture. I'd been fearing for my health for several months, and here I was lying on a hospital bed being poked with needles, prodded, and scared of what the results might be. The reality of it all hit me pretty hard.

I do pray it all ends up being nothing. I haven't had the chest sensations today and I went for a brisk 3 mile walk this afternoon with no problem. In my heart (no pun intended) I believe it's a symptom of having an anxiety attack. I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder in 1970 after spending a couple weeks with my mother while she went through open heart surgery and recovery. I've had panic attacks off and on since and they come suddenly out of no where. But, if I get even one more sensation in my chest, I will definitely talk to my doctor and get in right away to see a cardiologist. I'm hoping it won't come to that. I know I can strengthen my heart through following the Eat to Live diet, along with regular exercise.

Today I haven't wanted to eat anything unhealthy and I've practiced moderation with food. I need to keep remembering the hospital experience, which is why I detailed it in this blog. I never want to go through that again. I never want to feel that frightened again. Especially when I have the ability to create better health through proper food choices and regular exercise.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILD4STARS 10/17/2009 8:26PM

    WOW, what a day you had! I have never had a panic attack, but my husband has and we both thought he was having a heart attack. VERY SCARY. I hope your tests turn out ok, and I hope you find the strength to really get on "Eat To Live" and stick with it. I know that once you start feeling better you'll have more and more incentive to keep up the healthy eating. It's like a snowball, the more momemtum you get the more strength you gather! Eventually that snowball gets so big, even hitting a tree won't break it apart! You have such a strong Spirit. I know you can do this.

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MAZZYR 10/17/2009 4:21PM

    Oh Mary, you lived through one of my worst fears. I'm so glad you're okay.

I guess staying out of the ER is another advantage of releasing weight. Oh, well.

Take care of you.


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HEALTHY4ME 10/17/2009 2:55PM

    Oh Mary, I hope that all turns out well. I also hope that you keep at your good healthy eating. I had the same scare - dont remember when now, but went to er for chest pain etc. It did scare me but not for long enough as I havent lost any wt. I have got to lose wt cos lately been thinking it is hurting my health, no real reason just thinking it and counc. said she feels the stress is going to do something. I am really practising the stress level stuff.
well hope you do well and you feel better and it turns out to be nothing.

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DEBC1232 10/17/2009 2:48PM


You really have had a time of it lately. Did you at least hear back about your skin biopsy? I'll be keeping you in my prayers.
Deb emoticon

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PLAINSGIRL 10/17/2009 2:40PM

  I understand your fears. I had a sleep study July 6. At that
time I had a EKG which show some really spiky movement. So
into my Dr's office I went for another EKG. That one had not
really spiky motions but was not normal. Then they put a 24
EKG on me. Still nor normal movements. Then a treadmill stress
test and x Rrays. Still not normal. All this time the Dr.
says he believes nothing is wrong. Then he does a nuclear
test and still can't say definitely no problems. So off
the the hospital I go for an angiogram. Guess what! After
thousands of dollars, he finds no problem with my heart and
my arteries are clear. One thing I have learned is that
I want to be well and healthy My angio was just this Thursday
so I cannot exercise until Monday. Can't wait to start walking
and continue my journey to a healthy body and weight.

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JEMBO57 10/17/2009 2:34PM

  pepto bismol can turn your stool black too
Hope everything turns out okay for you!

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ONECOOKIETWO 10/17/2009 2:28PM

    Hello Happywalker,
I hope that your story has a happy ending! I bet it does...
The Cookster

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ICANBHEALTHY2 10/17/2009 2:28PM

  I certainly hope that your additional tests go well. Good for you reframing this negative experience into something motivating for you. Keep up the good work you are doing to stay healthy - you can do it!

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