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I Knew Just Who They Meant

Monday, February 25, 2013

We live in a strange world.

We are in contact.

But, in many ways, we aren't.

Case in point. I am FB friends with a lot of people, including people from my past. Got a notification of a birthday. Went to write on the wall. And, you know, you expect to see a ton of birthday wishes. instead, there was an RIP wish.

I did some sleuthing. It seems this person died on January 13th (and the birthday would have been February 21st). And so the information came a good 6 weeks too late.

It's so odd, learning of this sort of news in this particular manner. This person was 61, and had had health issues. Such things feel weird but, deep down, they shouldn't be utterly shocking. After all, even the health nuts among us can still get cancer. And anyone can be hit by a bus, yes?

And it makes me think of others, who I've looked up, with varying degrees of success. The suicide. The physics professor. The doctor. The missionary in Japan. The city manager. The writer. The aviation engineer. The artist. The independent filmmaker. The insurance broker. The ex-con.

These are not all exes, I might add. There are people - male and female - who I've lost touch with, but I've stalked online a bit. Some have written back when I've hit "contact". Others have not bothered, or the contact page hasn't been maintained and, instead, goes nowhere, and I end up wondering about that.

It's a game a lot of us play, and there's nothing wrong with playing it. Hell, it might be, for some people, the reason why they're not being hired. You should Google yourself, particularly if you've got a common name, and check out your own online reputation. And repair it, if you can.

And you can go out and make your own reputation as well. I own my own name as a domain, and I use it.

And there is your rep here, too, even if you just use a screen name and never friend people elsewhere and keep SP thoroughly separate from everything else in your life.

So, what kind of SP member are you, really?

Do you cheer on others? Or wallow in your own misery, hoping others will pick you up? Do you add as many helpful tips as you can about how to do this? Or do you just sit and complain about what you feel you cannot do?

Now, there is nothing wrong with venting or complaining. Wallow, if you must. Hey, I'm not stopping you. And there can be days when it really feels like all of that.


When the wallowing and the complaining and the venting take over, and are the only thing that you are offering, what does that really say? I am well aware that things are not always sunshiny. I vent quite a bit here, m'self. And maybe my own words don't stand up to post mortem scrutiny.

For that is what I am thinking about here. When all is said and done - and I mean REALLY all said, and all done - what is being left here, in this great community?

A big part of the SP journey is helping others. It's giving support, and encouragement, and passing on our knowledge. It's setting a good example, and it's offering a sympathetic ear, or perhaps a shoulder to cry on, if necessary.

So I ask you, are you doing that?

I do not ask you questions that I don't ask myself, so I can tell you, I am definitely asking myself that.

Just what are we leaving behind for each other? What legacies of help and caring are we building? A burden shared is a burden halved, so let's build them together.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 3/13/2013 5:41PM

    I think of these things every time I sign into FB or sparks. It's a train of thought worthy of pursuing to the max. We each make our own little 'indent' in this reality, but it is up to us what that 'indent' will be, either for good or for ill. I think we all want to feel that our existence here in this plane mattered to someone other than ourselves, and I often wonder if this cyber world does not, in some ways, make us more 'isolated' in our 'real time' lives. ??? Balance is the key. This new cyber world gives us the ability to come in cyber contact with people across the globe, most of whom we will probably never meet, but yet it is vitally important to build on those connections that we have in our day to day lives....maybe more important, in a lot of ways. I have always tended to be a 'hermit', of sorts, working by night, sleeping by day, avoiding all of the rush and hubbub of the daytime work-a-day world and people. Hence, I have many more 'cyber friends' than I do actual in-my-life friends....and I consider that to not be a good thing, overall. As much as I love my cyber friends, I also am now taking the steps to connect (and reconnect) more with people close to me, physically and in real time versus cyber time. I am also taking the steps to meet those cyber friends who are most significant to me along this route in order to make them more personal. I cannot mourn the lack of friendship in my life because I am the one who created that vacuum, so I am working to now correct it. But this is an excellent blog, thank you for posting such a thought provoking piece of work.

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CAROLISCIOUS 2/27/2013 7:49PM

    You very eloquently shared something that crosses my mind quite often. Some people just seem to come from a place of negativity. I know we all have bad days and it is certainly okay to ask for a shoulder now and again...but I do tire of hearing nothing but excuses.

You certainly live up to your "community leader" badge on your wall...thanks for all you do.

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    You have mentored me for years now in how to be part of an online community. I wonder some times if you know how far and how deep your coaching goes. I am grateful. This on line community thing reminds me of the scene in the last Harry Potter in the train station between living and dying where Harry asks Dumbledore if the scene is all in his head. D responds of course it is Harry but that doesn't make it any less real.

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PHEBESS 2/26/2013 4:37AM

    My condolences on the loss of your friend.

And yes, we each leave a legacy - we should always remember that. How do we want to be remembered? And equally important, what do we hope people will forget? (They don't forget the stuff we wish they would!)

So yes, live each day as if it's your last day on earth. Live your life as if you will live forever. (I think that's from the Talmud somewhere........)

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NUMD97 2/25/2013 10:58PM

    Incredibly ironic reading this just now. I lost a close friend almost three weeks ago, and I have been asking just that: What is her legacy? What did she leave behind for the rest of us?

As for SP, yes, indeed, it is a very supportive community, for the most part. People contribute here, and take from here, what they can and what they will. In an ideal world, more of us would be more supportive here, and less whining, and it is always a good reminder that we should be mindful of our conduct here. I do try. But the flip side is when you do offer some on here [not all by any means] a kindness, some grab on to it as they would a life preserver. Like everything else, SP is a question of balance.

Thanks for posting a most insightful blog. Sorry for the loss of your friend.



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LUCKY8GAL 2/25/2013 9:28PM


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MS.ELENI 2/25/2013 7:32PM


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DDOORN 2/25/2013 9:03AM

    Great point Jes and thanks so much for PRACTICING those words so faithfully. Our SparkFamily is so blessed to count you among us!

Keep paying that Spark forward everyone! It's one of the best Win-Win deals you can get!


ps...and yeah, savor and seek out those precious contacts we have with each other, both in real time and virtually, but ESPECIALLY LIVE, TOGETHER & FACE-TO-FACE!

Comment edited on: 2/25/2013 9:05:25 AM

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BLUEANGELLK 2/25/2013 8:51AM

    Beautifully said.

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CDCSMITH2013 2/25/2013 8:50AM

    Excellent questions and blog. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

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SUZLOOZ 2/25/2013 8:49AM

    Wag more, bark less. I like that.(from your page). I used to be a member at another diet web site where I vented quite a bit. I'm trying to avoid that here, but I like to think that I am light years away from where I was then, so...I've had the same experience, Googling people to find out that they are no longer living. And I maintain a "cyber-only" friendship with a woman from the previous diet site. I have no idea what she looks like. It is a strange new world, isn't it?

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Second Verse, Same as the First

Monday, February 18, 2013

In all fairness, it's not the second verse. It's actually the fifth.

See, in three days, I will be celebrating my fifth year sparking.

Yeah, really.

Egad, what can I tell ya?

I can tell you that, five years ago, I did not expect to be here. I did not expect to be on the lifetime website plan. I did expect that losing would take a while. I'm not so sure exactly what I thought about my lifetime, though.

I expected a loss of, if I was lucky, perhaps 48 pounds/year. 4 pounds/month is slow and reasonable. I did considerably better than that, and am down a good 120 or so even with backsliding. At my lowest, I was down about 160, but it did not take me 3 years to get there - it took me more like a year and a half.

And what would I tell the person just starting out, whether that was me or, perhaps, you?

I'd say that this is going to take a while. And even the easy stuff might get hard. But the corollary to that is that the hard stuff often gets easy. It's something of a trade-off. I'd say that there are days when all I want to do is eat whatever, and I sometimes, in all honesty, miss that. I would also say that I don't miss my seatbelt being too tight. I don't miss size 26, or even size 18. I don't miss huffing up the stairs.

I'd tell you that I'd like to be younger, to be sure. I would have preferred to have started off here, at this weight (235.6 this morning) instead of the 346 I started at. But then I'd be starting at 50 instead of 45, and that's harder.

I would mention that there are days when motivation runs thin. There are days when it runs high. Try to do more when you're inspired to, and kinda save it up for the times when you aren't quite so inspired. I'd tell you to measure, too, in addition to weighing, as measurements can be a bit of good news when everything else seems to be bad news.

I'd tell you to lift weights, even small ones, for they not only help to sculpt you and give you fat-burning muscle, but they also impart and air that you can do anything. I'd tell you to race, too, whether it's running or biking or swimming or whatever and forget that you are perhaps not as fast as you would like to be, or even if you come in last. Just go out there and do it and you will gain some measure of invincibility from that, too.

I'd tell you to forgive yourself and not beat yourself up for imperfections. I'd tell you that you are going to screw something up, big time, whether it's miscounting some favorite thing that turns out to be horribly bad, or doing an exercise wrong and hurting yourself by accident, or you'll take a rest day that maybe even turns into a rest month. But through it all, you are human and, yeah,, you screw up, but any day you wake up and get up in the morning is a day that you can start over again and fix all that.

I'd tell you that consistency can be dull, but it means you're getting into a habit. But the paradox of all that is that you can't get into too much of a rut, as that stalls things, so you need to sometimes shake it up. I'd tell you that you should be prepared to watch while on vacation, and work out in the weirdest of places, because you might take a holiday, but your body often has other plans.

I'd, finally, tell you that what you have to say is important, and it's worthwhile, and YOU are worthwhile, and that's not measured with a scale or a tape.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Congrats on 5 years of success. Oh and you left something off your list. Helping others which you do every single day. I think that is part of your formula too.

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PHEBESS 2/19/2013 3:58AM

    Great blog! And celebrate the loss, and maintaining that loss, while continuing to slowly lose the rest.

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2WHEELEDSHARON 2/18/2013 8:32PM

    I've missed your blogs, along with a few other important blogs when my internet access became scarce. Now that I have full access whenever I damn well want it, I'm so happy to be reconnecting with your fantastic blogs. Thanks for sharing this. So many excellent things to remember!

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CAROLISCIOUS 2/18/2013 7:24PM

    That about sums it all up! Great blog!

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FAT2GAINHEALTH 2/18/2013 3:51PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MS.ELENI 2/18/2013 3:16PM

    emoticon emoticon

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I Feel Like I Never Should

Monday, February 11, 2013

It snowed a bit here - have you heard?

Seriously, we got 25" of the stuff, according to the official measurements from nearby Logan Airport. This was the view out of our front yard after my husband had done the first 45 minutes of shoveling.

Currently, after a combined 7 hours and 45 minutes (I only did 2 hours of that; I'm such a slacker), things look like this.

It is still ugly, and I easily have my cardio set for the remainder of the week.

It's okay. I actually like shoveling.


A few reasons -
* it's a way to get outside on an otherwise impossible day. I don't belong to a gym these days, so it's either this or walk, and walking means the street, and cars on some ice. Not a good combo.
* it's extremely good exercise. I get a caloric burn of nearly 700 calories in an hour, whereas I walk for an hour and a half and get maybe a third of that.
* it accomplishes something. See, this is what bores me about the gym. I recognize that fitness is an accomplishment unto itself, but it can often feel like, quite literally, the road to nowhere. Shovel the driveway and the rewards are considerably more tangible and immediate. It FEELS like something.

I suppose this is why I also like racing; it's got a tangible ending to it, and a tangible reward - tee shirts and sometimes medals, too!

What is also extraordinary, right now, is that, for the most part, I feel just fine. It was, I admit, less than perfectly pleasant to lift weights this morning. But it wasn't awful, and I am more than ready and willing to return to the task at hand this afternoon, once I've done my work for the day.

Bring it on. I'm ready.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 2/23/2013 10:43PM

    Hey they delivered the snow to the wrong place! I love shoveling too! But: looks like it's just as well...a little cardiac boomerang has me taking it easy these days...


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MALCONTENTION 2/13/2013 5:26PM

    Way to go!

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    It is nice being out in the snow...if it is sunny...if it is light weight snow...if, if, if. I like my snow days on my terms. And I don't like the rain that is filling all the little air holes in the fluffy stuff. And I totally hate the ice. But I get the idea of a job with a point to it. Never thought of it before but maybe that is one of the many reasons I like dog walking. There is always a point to it. When are you coming to walk dogs with me? I probably wont be able to keep up with you. But you will love Milly. And you will feel accomplished.

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VEEJAY3 2/12/2013 8:13PM

    I'm jealous!!! We've had barely ANY snow in Denver this season, and that means drought conditions (and water cutbacks) this summer. Plus probably a bad fire season (add the dryness to the recent hundreds of acres of beetle-killed pine trees, and we're a tinder box). So I WISH I got to shovel snow. Lots of it. FEET of it.

Glad you have the right attitude for it.

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GAYLLYNNE 2/12/2013 7:00AM

    Great job!! We got at least two feet of snow too! I live in a town house so I don't have to shovel (and I have a teenage son). I hate the cold but I also wouldn't mind shoveling. I like the feeling of accomplishment too!

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CAROLISCIOUS 2/11/2013 8:36PM

    I'm the same way...I like to make push mowing my cardio.

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CDCSMITH2013 2/11/2013 6:53PM

    I enjoy shoveling too. Thought I was the only one. ;)

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PHEBESS 2/11/2013 5:06PM

    THIS is functional fitness!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!

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MELLY3183 2/11/2013 12:50PM

    woohoo!! Great job and snow shoveling, I can't believe you guys were hit so hard. Have a great week!

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MS.ELENI 2/11/2013 12:15PM

    brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr To cold for me. emoticon

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I'll Put the Cobwebs Back in Place

Monday, February 04, 2013

Sorry I'm late. Life's getting in the way a lot more and more these days.

Anyway - just a quickie as, egad, it's after 7 PM and too much other junk has to happen before dinner and TV and bed and, dang, about a thousand other things.

The main thing going on is that the 5K schedule came out. And once we've got some nickels scraped together, we'll be signing up for a bunch. We already have 2 set up. I think we'll do 8 - 10 more. It'll depend on budget and scheduling, and how we feel. I know at the end of last year, we'd done 11 and it felt like 1 too many. But maybe this year will be different, eh?

And I suppose I could be faster. I could save it all up for 1 or 2 races. And maybe I'd be faster, and I'd be better and all of that.

Or not.

But I'd rather do more.


'Cause they're fun.

But really, why?

'Cause I'm 50, and I'm in a tiny division. I actually have a chance at placing no matter where I end up.

But seriously, why? You're nearly always last when fewer than 100 people run, and you tend to be in the bottom 5 when fewer than 250 people run.

Why the hell would you want to subject yourself to that, not once, not twice, but 10 - 12 times this year??!?!??!

Because, you see, I would rather be slow and last than not do it at all.

I would rather be huffing than watching.

And because I know that at some point there will be a slide downhill, when it comes to fitness. And at some point in time, my world will begin to contract, rather than expand.

But I am NOT ready for that.

Not yet.

And when it does finally happen, I want to be able to say that I squeezed all the juice out. So forgive me if I'm too busy, and I'm here, there and everywhere.

'Cause I'm busy squeezin'.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Squeeze indeed! This is just great. You nailed it again pal of mine.

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DDOORN 2/6/2013 1:28PM

    ANYONE and EVERYONE out there for a 5K is a winner! Go Jes! :-)


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QUAIL75 2/5/2013 10:09AM

    That's awesome! I'm planning on doing my first 5K in May and you've inspired me to do more! emoticon

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1STATEOFDENIAL 2/5/2013 1:13AM

    Coming in last is still ahead of the person sitting on the couch. Never feel bad about how you place in a 'race' because just doing one is better than not doing one. I hope you can do all or most of them.

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PHEBESS 2/4/2013 11:13PM

    Because you either use it, or you lose it - so you are using it to keep it moving!

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ILOVEROSES 2/4/2013 10:58PM

    Keep on squeezin' and having lots of fun! emoticon emoticon

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SEXBOBOMB 2/4/2013 7:53PM

    I love this whole post...and I think you're the coolest!

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MS.ELENI 2/4/2013 7:41PM

    I think it is awesome that you run the 5k's emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 2/4/2013 7:25PM

    Because it's fun! I wish I could race in small races rather than a cast of thousands. Enjoy!

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He Can't Even Run His Own Life, I'll Be Damned If He'll Run Mine

Monday, January 28, 2013

This morning, I hauled myself up and, by the time I got a chance to look outside, it was about 6:45 or so. And I saw something at that hour that I hadn't seen in months.


Oh, yeah.

So this winter business has an end after all. And I'm trying to keep that in mind as the Weather Channel tosses out warnings about snow and Armageddon or maybe it's just a dusting. I dunno.

And through it all (yes, there is a fitness point in all of this), there's the feeling that slow times and low times and hard times and fat times and itchy times and unpleasant times - yanno something? They come to an end eventually. And things do get better.

I see way too many people moaning the gaining of a pound as if the world were ending. I see far too many giving up because something didn't work the first time around. But as the amazing CAROLISCIOUS said recently, "What do you do when what you *know* works doesn't? You do it again."

And it's true. You do it again until it DOES work. And in the meantime, the fat times and the itchy times and the low times - they've got a finite cutoff date. You just need to find that.

Way back when I was first starting this journey, I went to a dinner party hosted by a lovely friend. And I had lost a good 40 pounds by then, and was finally flirting with getting out of the 300s for good. And she and other friends greeted me and no one said anything. It was weird to me. I hadn't seen them in a while so I thought, surely they would notice a change. But they didn't, and I ended up having to bring it up, which is weird but that's life. And it's not that these people were so self-absorbed. It's that they truly couldn't see it.

Yanno what else happened? I did not let that kill my motivation. I didn't let it bowl me over, and make me feel that the whole setup was useless and I might as well gorge myself on chips if no one notices or cares. I just kept at it.

And in a week or so, people finally started to notice the change. They all thought it was less - a 10 or a 20 pound loss. They were astounded when I told them it was 40+ pounds off.

Our perceptions differ. But they also matter. And we can change them.

Perception #1 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well throw in the towel.
Perception #2 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well do something different as it doesn't matter.
Perception #3 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well keep going as they might not notice, but I do. And they'll eventually notice.

Really only #2 and #3 are viable at all. After all, there can sometimes be a need for a change. That's fine. But the change should be based upon sound principles.

Calorie cycling might or might not work. Low carbs might or might not work. Extra strength training might or might not work. Faster cardio, or steeper hills, might or might not work. All are worth a shot.

But nobody ever got thin by gorging themselves on chips.

I'm gonna go out and enjoy the sun before Armageddon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHEETARA79 2/5/2013 7:54AM

    You know what works for me? Focusing on my health and how I feel rather than how I look. I try to take more pride in what my body can do rather than what it looks like. That's what keeps me going. It might not work for everyone but I stick with healthy living because it makes me feel good. I don't do my exercise to have a rock-hard, fitness-model physique. I do it to have a healthy body that's capably of doing cool stuff like climbing mountains and moving refrigerators.

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    Great blog to start my day. I know what works. I am just going to have to do it again. Armageddon be danged.

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DDOORN 1/31/2013 8:51AM

    True, true...! We all "know" for sure what DOESN'T work! So cheers to keeping on keeping on with some variation of what DOES work!


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PHEBESS 1/28/2013 9:48PM

    So right! And yay for the approach of spring, eh? (Pretending to be Kiwi)

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CAROLISCIOUS 1/28/2013 7:56PM

    Well said (as always!) There is no success in giving up...thanks for the sweet shout out.

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PICKIE98 1/28/2013 2:11PM

    Hey! !Would you grab a mirror before you leave and reflect a teensy bit of that sunlight towards this area of he country,, I would say, point it north east and let it hit my house.. last one on my street!

You are right, some people would say, "SCREW IT" I am not going to bother. When they are dead and gone, I will still have done this for me...

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MS.ELENI 1/28/2013 1:43PM

    Good one. emoticon

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GYPSYW0LF 1/28/2013 12:02PM

    Those are right on target perceptions!

Enjoy your sunny day!

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HEALTHY156 1/28/2013 11:27AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOODWITCH333 1/28/2013 11:25AM

    Wow, you are blessed! Both with the ability to keep going when you don't get your well deserved "Attaboys" and with REAL friends!
You see, real friends might not notice the weight loss but they also may not have noticed the previous weight gain. That's because they notice YOU: The person you are, the mood you're in, your smile, your laughter or your tears. In their eyes, your weight does not define you. So don't get down when the praise isn't immediately there. You are not a number on a scale or a size of a dress. You are awesome. emoticon

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