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Giving thanks for my weight struggles

Friday, December 17, 2010

A dear spark buddy reminded me today that it is often life's hardest struggles that teach us -- and give us -- the most.

It is so, so easy to be envious and bitter about the people who can eat anything they want and never gain an ounce. My SIL & BIL come to mind, altho SIL would tell you she wants to lose weight (and she's pretty tiny).

Then I watch how they eat, and I watch how they feed their kids. Especially how they feed their kids. Let's just say it isn't the healthiest.

And so I am reminded to be thankful for my struggles with weight, because they have led me to an intense interest in nutrition -- and, oddly enough, exercise. I believe that I am far healthier, in the long wrong, BECAUSE I've struggled with my weight. Because rather than just lose the weight at any cost, I've instead made it my mission to be the best me I can be -- mind, body, and spirit.

That means learning how to eat healthy. Learning how to not stress about it when I don't eat healthy. Learning to actually enjoy the feeling of a body in motion. All of this is a work in progress, but they are things I probably would have never learned if I hadn't struggled with my weight.

What about your own struggles with weight makes you thankful?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEMPEST272002 12/17/2010 10:24AM

    I think we have the same sparkfriend & I have also been thinking quite a bit about this topic of being grateful for our struggles and pain. Like it or not, it is moving through adversity that makes us stronger and gives us wisdom. Might as well embrace it.

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KANSASROSE67 12/17/2010 9:50AM

    I totally agree with you! My 15-year-old DD has always been thin and she eats a lot of unhealthy food. I try hard to set a good example and talk to her about healthy food. I hope she will learn, because health is so much more than what she looks like.

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DDHEART 12/17/2010 9:29AM

    You ask a very interesting and difficult question...like you, I feel that I have been learning to focus on my health and not so much on weight or even body size/shape and in doing that I have been more active and it gives me so much satisfaction to be able to run up a hill or master another distance or time goal (my personal goals, not some arbitrary expectation) learning to be my own best friend, getting away from old feelings about myself that came from things that left their mark but shouldn't have been given so much validity or weight. I think this question deserves more thought. You have given me a task to focus on in these last weeks of this year.

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NATPLUMMER 12/17/2010 9:16AM

    I have struggled with my weight since I was young (maybe 10) and I have always eaten very quickly. I think one of the reasons was my Dad would finish his food and then ask if I was done and take things off my plate. I guess I started eating quickly as a defense mechanism.
I learned over the years to eat more slowly. I still struggle with it, but I'm getting better and better. I can savor my food more now and that makes me thankful.

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KEAKMAN 12/17/2010 9:15AM

    My struggles have helped me to appreciate little bitty positive steps. And, more importantly, have helped me to be able to commiserate with those who are having any sort of difficulty in their lives that others might think is nothing or ought to be easy to deal with.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 12/17/2010 7:58AM

    My views are exactly as yours. If you've never had to work for anything, it's not appreciated as much. I have learned to eat healthy and love to exercise, whoda thunk? I am truly thankful for all the lessons I've learned along my journey and my new habits are working very hard to convert my family. I'm serving them healthy meals and trying to throw in some exercise for them every chance I get, very hard to create enthusiasm for those who don't share your passion.

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MZSLYDE01 12/17/2010 7:31AM

    Amen Sista - Amen. I would rather be healthier than stick thin and unhealthy.
My struggle has been with having always been thin and then getting married and gaining a bunch of weight - I used to take for granted how thin I was and didn't eat healthy at all. I was thin but didn't know anything about nutrition and being healthy. Unfortunately, while I was always thin - I gained many unhealthy habits that have been very hard to break. I have struggled and struggled and still struggle sometimes with them. But the difference now is that I am aware of them and can make changes. I have gained a whole new world, alot more peace and much more that I didn't have before.

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KIMPOSSIBLE82 12/17/2010 6:52AM

    A wonderful point.It's amazing how the struggles help us more than we realize.
I have two young kids and it KILLS me what people feed their children. My son begs for the junkiest stuff in his lunch because that's what the other kids at school take. Happily, my kids will eat fresh, healthy food because I've never shied away from giving it to them. ALl this "kid food" is the worst!

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BESSHAILE 12/17/2010 6:00AM

    This is so true. I hadn't really thought about the benefits I've learned as i've fought this weight battle - but now i am reminded ... when my husband had a hart attack back in 05 - he managed to drop 40 lbs by switching to eating the way I do (for several years I actually prepared 2 different meals each time I cooked!) and his heart doctor is absolutely delighted with him. I remember telling Himself, every time someone commiserated with him about how he wasn't going to eat good food any more, that nope. We were going to have food adventures. Thank YOU for reminding me ... it can all be fun.

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XFITSTRONG 12/17/2010 5:33AM

    I totally understand your blog! I am thankful for the pain I experienced (lower back, knees, and feet) when I was severely obese because that is what FINALLY drove me to dig deep and get serious about livng healthy. Never thought I would be thankful for the pain, but now that I am relatvely pain free I can look back and say THANKS!!!!

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Playing catch-up

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do you have a fun house mirror in your house? You know, you look in it and all you see is the you 30 or 50 or more pounds ago?

Or maybe you look at yourself and all you see are the things you have always defined yourself by: your big thighs, you big stomach, your big butt . . . "big" seems to play a big role in our lives.

It can take a long time for our vision to catch up with the reality. The reality is those big thighs aren't so big anymore (ditto everything else big you've ever called yourself). Mentally, you may realize this, but psychologically, we're just stuck in the past.

Looking at yourself in the mirror isn't narcissistic -- in fact, it's a downright necessity. Only by looking at ourselves with kind eyes can we play catch up. Studying ourselves with no guilt allows us to see the changes our hard work has wrought -- or even the ones our slacking may have, for that fact.

It's important to see yourself as you are, right now, with no judgment. Turn off the video player in your mind. You might just surprise yourself and wonder who that person in the photo is -- you knew her/him once, it's on the tip of your tongue, only to realize it's yourself.

Remember that you are a perfect YOU, not anyone else. That we are all unique, and beautiful, and put here for a reason.

Throw out that fun house mirror today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 12/16/2010 4:37PM

    Funny how I just stumbled across this blog and I was just after saying to my husband about how fat I looked in the reflection in the laptop screen! I mean, who else but me, would be looking at themselves in the laptop screen reflection! Ha!

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TEMPEST272002 12/16/2010 12:21PM

    As you know, I've really struggled with the fun-house mirror. I definitely see 40 extra pounds when I look in the mirror. The most useful tool for me to combat this has been the photos I've taken along the way. Hard to deny the truth when it's right there, side by side, in photos.

Truthfully, I've been surprised by how long it takes the brain to catch up to the body. Makes me think about how our perceptions are skewed in so many other ways as well. There really is something to creating our own reality.

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NATPLUMMER 12/16/2010 10:40AM

    I only have the fun house mirror some days. Other days it's the reality mirror. Lately, it's been more reality than fun house so I'm glad.

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SWELL10 12/16/2010 9:32AM

    I look in the mirror and see the same ol me. Perhaps I'm smaller (I guess), but the shape seems the same to me. Same big butt and thighs, same stomach apron, same saggy who-ha's. I wish things looked different. I'll be glad when my mirror catches up with my progress. :)

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EDWINA172 12/16/2010 8:46AM

    I constantly focus on my "bad areas" when I look in the mirror. Kind eyes are something I have to work on. What a great idea! Sometimes, when I look in the mirror and I'm not really paying attention, I am pleasantly surprised. Its funny, when I was heavy, I didn't see myself at big as I was. Now that I am smaller, I focus on the negatives. Its nice to know that I'm not the only one. Thanks for posting.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 12/16/2010 8:40AM

    I'm actually starting to like what I see in the mirror these days, I'm ALL positive. I am kind to myself and I look past the flaws, I've come a long way and I'm proud. It's taken a long time to get to being comfortable with what I see in the mirror, it does take time. Don't get me wrong, there is still room for improvements, but I only focus on the present. No fun house mirrors for me, just REALITY - and it feels GREAT.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 12/16/2010 8:30AM

    I'm sure I've said this before: I've perfected the art of looking in the mirror and not seeing myself! I focus on the part I need to look at (think putting on make-up) and see nothing else. At least this was true until recently.
Every now and then I actually catch a glimpse of myself these days.

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Seek and ye shall receive

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yesterday was one of those days where really all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and watch tv all day. The temps struggled to get to 20 (not sure it ever made it -- and it will be a repeat today). Woke up to a couple of inches of snow on the ground.

But I just did it -- I went out and did my food shopping, and I stopped at Target to pick up a few things. After lunch, I walked some very reluctant dogs (they detest having to wear coats, and aren't all that fond of the snow, either).

I shoveled the parts of the driveway DH didn't get to (my side, of course, but he did do the majority of it) and the front walk & steps. And then I REALLY didn't feel like finishing off with a little exercise, but I knew I hadn't really gotten all that much plus I hadn't hit my 10,000 steps for the day yet either.

So I just did it. And I was rewarded by the sight of the sun going down behind our pine trees as I stopped and enjoyed some tea. It was like God's little gift to me.

When we do the things we know we should, even when we really don't want to, we are rewarded in so many ways. With a feeling of peace, with a feeling of self confidence, with the gift of better sleep, with a body that makes us happy, with the energy to do more than we think we can . . . the list goes on and on.

What rewards are you receiving?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 12/16/2010 4:34PM

    Great blog! My dogs don't mind the cold or wearing coats but they are very reluctant to go out in our back garden to relieve themselves when it is raining. They both go back and forth to our patio door, I let them out, they stick their snouts out, notice that it is still raining, and back themselves into the room. Now, if I took them out for a walk in the rain, they would be fine! Go figure.

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DEE797 12/16/2010 6:55AM

    Another terrific blog. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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NATPLUMMER 12/15/2010 12:45PM

    I certainly don't blame you for wanting to curl up and be warm or the dogs for not wanting to go out for a walk. I wouldn't want to be out in that cold either. It's nice to think of the sunset as a reward.
I think my reward for this very busy week will come starting Friday night when I get to relax and have a staycation. I'll be able to sleep in a little and exercise later (and do more because I'll have more time...it's a win-win).

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KEAKMAN 12/15/2010 9:14AM

    Great blog again. Thanks for the reminder. And I won't bore you with my "rewards" story. But it's good to remind me that there are paybacks, karma or not!

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DDOORN 12/15/2010 9:01AM

    It's tough to push through this bitter cold...often find myself getting a nice boost when I DO, however!


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IFDEEVARUNS2 12/15/2010 8:22AM

    Believe it or not, I envy you that cold weather. No wonder I get sick when we go from 30 to 80 in 24 hours!
I gave my DD a hug when I really wanted to swat her; it did give me a sense of peace. LOL. I'm not sure what she thought, though....

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ELSCO55 12/15/2010 8:13AM

    A great blog. Thanks for reminding us to enjoy God's gifts.

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ILOVEPEOPLE 12/15/2010 8:00AM

    I love this blog. You are so right about doing what we need to do even when we don't "feel" like it. That is something I needed reminding of today, so emoticon.
Keep it up! emoticon

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XFITSTRONG 12/15/2010 7:43AM

    Awwww Great blog! I can so relate to it! I just want to curl up next to the fire place with a book and a blanket whenever it is cold out. Good for you for getting up and moving. And what a fantastic reward!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 12/15/2010 7:29AM

    I love the feeling of accomplishment, but haven't been accomplishing much on the "workout" lately, just been too cold, but I know I will suck it up and JUST DO IT tonight. I know the reward of a great workout will come in the form of added energy, a boost to the ole self esteem and it does a body good. Hope your day is SPARK-tacular. Stay warm.

P.S. My dog really hates to go outside when it's cold, she likes the sweater, but I think her wittle paws get too cold, she tiptoes. Spoiled pets we have :)

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SLIMTHICK2 12/15/2010 6:53AM

    I'm on vacation, I did my exercise, I'm sparking and today I'm content. All the best. emoticon

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MZSLYDE01 12/15/2010 6:45AM

    Awesome getting up and getiing it done. Isn't it hard to get up and go when it gets cold like this.

Comment edited on: 12/15/2010 6:46:05 AM

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BESSHAILE 12/15/2010 6:16AM

    It was so cold in the den yesterday, where the dvd player is, I really wanted to brush off my morning yoga - but I didn't ...and was rewarded with a rush of energy that upheld me through one of the most awful days I've had in ages. Amazing how much standing up straight helps you stand up emotionally.

Thank you for reminding me that I actually DID get a reward yesterday.

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MARYJOANNA 12/15/2010 5:42AM

  You feel the sense of accomplishment when you do things you would rather not. Good self-discipline. It does have its rewards.

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Reframing our thoughts

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reframing is a tool recommended by WW. Basically, it's taking negative thoughts and turning them into positive thoughts.

An article I read this morning had a very interesting take on this. The author talked about how she reframed depression into down time -- into peacefullness. Restoring, renewing.

I have often thought of this time of year as a time to go into ourselves. We forget with our bright lights and our computers that people used to go to sleep when the sun went down (what else was there to do with virtually no light?) and got up when the sun came up.

I don't think of it as a time to hibernate, altho I admit there are days when that's really tempting. But I think it should be a time to recharge our batteries. I'll also admit that it's easier for me to say, because basically, my holiday duties are now pretty much over. I know yours are probably revving into high gear.

But the next time I feel as tho I'm not accomplishing enough -- daily, it seems -- I will tell myself that rest & renewal are important, too. Necessary, in fact. A candle that burns too bright soon burns out.

If you're feeling down this holiday season for whatever reason, tell yourself it's ok. Tell yourself you are simply finding some peace for yourself. Remember that you are recharging your batteries so you will have the energy to get thru your days. Realize that some peace in your life is a very restorative thing.

And don't forget to reframe whatever negative thoughts that may be creeping into your life!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 12/16/2010 4:44PM

    I love this quote "reframe depression into down time -- into peacefullness. Restoring, renewing." Wow!

I think I've been doing this for the past year without really knowing it. As you know, I've been living with depression since childhood and last year it all came to a head and I committed myself to a mental health unit at our hospital.

I was only there for one week, but what a week it was. Best thing I've ever done for myself. I used to think I was always bowing out of responsibilities and others expectations of what I could "handle" but I came to realize that my depression is a perfect way to seek out peace.When I need some downtime, I take it! I've come to realize that if I don't help myself, nobody else is going to do it!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including this quote!I've copied and pasted it to my journal for future reflection!

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DEE797 12/16/2010 6:53AM

    Terrific blog and something I needed to hear. With all the running around I've been doing cause I left things til the last minute...well didn't actually feel like doing them but now have to get my rear in gear. Thanks for the reminders to take some time to recharge as needed.

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NATPLUMMER 12/14/2010 10:20AM

    This week is a very busy one for me but I will have the next two weeks off. That's when I plan on recharging. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you for reminding me!

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SHEILA1505 12/14/2010 9:26AM

    Oh we are definitely on the same wavelength here!
I just spent a couple of hours at a beautiful local winery lounging under an oak tree in brilliant sunshine, with a gentle breeze, an apple and a nectarine, no cellphone reception and very few tourists around at lunchtime. I reflected on 2010 and considered what lessons I want to take forward into 2011 and what I need to leave behind.

Although a quick flip around a supermarket is needed, I refuse to ruin today's mood - that can wait till tomorrow - make do with what is in the house!


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KEAKMAN 12/14/2010 8:32AM

    Great way to look at it. Sometimes we need a rest - body, soul, and mind.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 12/14/2010 8:27AM

    Maybe that's what I'm doing: recharging my batteries. Tough thing for the energizer bunny to admit....

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CWESTMORE 12/14/2010 8:03AM

    Thanks for the blog. I can relate to the opportunity to find peace. Restoring and renewing. Good thought for the day. emoticon

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SKINNYPOWELL1 12/14/2010 7:58AM

    Great blog today Judy, I've been recharging my battery alot lately and for once in my life, I don't feel guilty about it. I'm trying to put my mind and body at PEACE. Been indulging in more yoga lately, it's helping me stay relaxed. I decided that this year I wasn't going to "get through" the holidays, I was going to live each day, happy as I can be, and enjoy the holidays. We often work so hard at getting through something that we don't take the time to really enjoy getting there. You always get my wheels turning with thought provoking blogs, you're emoticon

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How far have you come?

Monday, December 13, 2010

It seems like a good time of year to reflect on how far you've come. It's another good chance to focus on the positives, not the negatives, too. Cause we never come as far as we'd hoped to -- rarely, anyway.

I was always known as the baker. The one that made the rich, decadent desserts. The one that started baking Christmas cookies in August (despite not being Christian!). The one that has a particular weakness for cookies, too.

And as I baked a couple of batches of cookies yesterday, I reflected on how far I've come. Not just over the last couple of years, but over the last 20 or so.

I baked 2 types of cookies (both vegan, from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which is excellent) -- chocolate crackle cookies and big, soft, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Yes, I tasted a little bit of the batter -- but not much. Yes, I had one cookie from each batch -- but that was it. The rest, except a few I kept for my Dad, cause God forbid there's nothing sweet after a meal, went in with DH to work -- with strict instructions to leave all cookies behind!

There was a time I probably would have made myself sick eating cookies. In fact, I can tell how far I've come -- just the little bit of batter I tasted on an empty stomach make me mildly sick. Headache, slightly nauseous -- but does that stop me? No, haven't evolved that far yet. And oddly enough, they really made me crave water. Almost as if my body were demanding healthy stuff to replace the sugar.

I will also admit to being sad to see them go. I would love to be able to eat a couple of cookies every single day, but I know I just can't. Sugar is not my friend. I do believe everyone needs a bit of sugar in their lives now and again, but most of us indulge way too often (myself included).

I am not the same person I was 20 years ago, and that's as it should be. We should never stop growing, experimenting, and learning.

So how far have you come, and what have you learned on your journey to a healthier you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 12/14/2010 8:21AM

    Would love to be nearer to sample those cookies! On a more serious note, I think I've come a fair distance in my journey towards self-acceptance. I'm realizing that I don't want to go back and be the person I was 20 years ago so I'm putting all my focus into the new person I am becoming!

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KIMPOSSIBLE82 12/13/2010 9:41PM

    Oooh those cookies! Congrats on taking the time to reflect on how far you've come. I also battle with cookies, but haven't felt that I've-just-gotta-have-a-pound-of-sug
ar-NOW feeling lately. Yay for both of us :)

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LEONALIONESS 12/13/2010 2:18PM

    I need a sweet after my dinner. I know I shouldn't, but I do.

So, I just make sure that a) I have to bake it if I want to eat it - I only do single servings so I need to be motivated enough to make dessert that day, b) I use recipes that are satisfying and low calorie. My go-to currently is my single serving protein brownie... I make it with whole wheat pastry flour, rice protein, unsweetened cocoa, pumpkin instead of oil and I use only stevia to sweeten. No sugar = sweet without triggering a binge. I use some PB2 defatted peanut butter reconstituted as a creamy icing and bam. Delicious and only about 100 calories (though I tend to do 1.5 servings since it's so light in calories. The brownie clocks in at only 65ish!) - the protein and fiber make it filling, too.

I've been doing a lot of baking with stevia and I'm getting pretty good with it. :) I had to find a good brand before I could really get the hang of it, though. I recommend NuNaturals as it lacks that awful chemical aftertaste some stevia has. *shudder*

I can eat dessert every night as long as it's homemade, with wholesome ingredients, no added fats and no added sugars.

Actually, if I do eat a traditional sweet that I buy I find myself wishing I'd just waited and made the brownie at home. I prefer it. :) Only exceptions? Coconut cream pie or pumpkin cheesecake. I never make either at home so they are a rare treat and I never regret the calories after. They are both worth it!

So, that's how I'm different. In the past I made recipes with white flour, sugar, vegan butter, loads of chocolate - empty calories galore! Now I still indulge but I tweak recipes to be more healthy, more filling and give me more bang for my caloric buck. Sugar costs too much calorically without giving me anything in return. So I dumped it and use stevia. :) Oil, same thing. Pumpkin puree or banana love me back with fiber and nutrients, oil just smacks me around and leaves me brokenhearted. Hah.

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NATPLUMMER 12/13/2010 1:59PM

    I'm a big dough taster myself. Yesterday when I was baking I only licked my fingers a couple of times rather than taking whole chunks of batter and I didn't even eat a baked cookie. I'm doing much better than usual.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 12/13/2010 9:15AM

    I've come so far I think I've gotten lost - at least a little bit. I'm starting to think about goals for next year, and I think it's going to include reclaiming some bits of myself that I've let slide.

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KEAKMAN 12/13/2010 9:06AM

    Great blog again Judy! Sadly, I can't say the same thing about me and cookies. I'll have to think on it a while to find positive changes that I have made this year. But I'll find them!

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