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Thank You So Much For The Advice.......

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I want to thank those of you who took the time to share their thoughts, ideas and most importantly their experiences on removing sugar from their diet. I really appreciate all the insights, and the resources. I have already started reading and crafting a plan.

To be honest with you the hardest part is going to be the Coke Zero. I started counting in my head how many I have per day and when I drink them and I was amazed in a scary sort of way. I didnt know I drank THAT MUCH diet soda. Whats worse is that I always buy one right when I finish a work out. I havent always drank diet soda. I used to drink plain old unsweet tea and I got lazy because the diet soda was readily availible and I didnt have to do anything more that twist a cap.

I can do this but I'm no different than anyone else. Change sucks and its scary. I know, though, that I have many people who care and who will support me.

Thank you guys for the love and all the input

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:06PM

    You will be SO amazed at what happens to your body when you let go of soda and replace it with water. Amazed!

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CINDYC53 5/15/2011 8:08PM


I used to be addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. I couldn't imagine living without it. But, I read a lot about the chemicals in diet soda, and I stopped drinking it a few years ago. Now I find that only water REALLY refreshes me, but I do drink coffee and an occasional iced tea (I make sun tea in the summer, with flavored herbal teas - no sweetener). I don't like carbonated drinks at all any more - I really prefer WATER! (I do like it with lemon sometimes.)

I am also on a journey to get off sugar, and I've been blogging about it the past couple days. I was really obsessing about chocolate and other sweet treats, and I didn't like the amount of space SUGAR was taking up in my brain. So, my partner and I agreed to make some permanent changes, for our health & feeling of well being. So far, so good - this is Day 2. I'm not saying I can NEVER have it again, JUST NOT TODAY! (So much easier!)

You are doing great!!!

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NASFKAB 5/13/2011 7:23AM

  You will do it John one day at a time. & by putting one foot in front of the other*

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LYNMEINDERS 5/12/2011 7:53PM

    You can do this day at a time....

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HLPRATT 5/12/2011 10:18AM

    Funny my weakness is diet coke-I don't like coke zero. I try to limit it to one per day but I'm not always successful.

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MARYMO22 5/12/2011 5:27AM

    Interesting ho hear - I started gaining weight when I switched to diet cola (and fad diets) thinking I was being "good"

Since starting my Sprak journey I can't bear the taste of fizzy pop. diet or otherwise. I only really drink decaff coffee, or water through the day (although I add a splenda tab to my coffee, as I've found this reduces my sugar cravings)

I always have a glass of skimmed milk post workout though - and also LOVE coconut water, so refreshing.

I tend to have one or two pieces of 70% cocoa, chocolate if I really want something sweet - or my indulgance is icecream - but I buy the good stuff and only have a little.....

Good luck - rooting for you!

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SPARKENISTA 5/11/2011 10:05PM

    Haven't heard from you for a while so I decided to visit. I use a lot of Splenda, as well. I have run across "experts" lately that have told me that research indicates that it slows down or stops weight loss. I find that hard to believe.

Calories in calories out...ya know? In any case, good luck in your quest to remove sugar from your life. The soda addiction will pass, too.


BR> emoticon

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TRI_BABE 5/11/2011 9:52PM

    Just remember - YOU CAN DO IT!! YOU CAN DO IT!! Once you start drinking the healthier things again I think you will find the cravings for the other stuff go away. YOU CAN DO IT!! emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 5/11/2011 6:05PM

    Share what you learn on this sugar reduction part of your journey. My BF is diabetic with a huge sweet tooth, so I am interested.

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CANNIE50 5/11/2011 4:29PM

    One thought I had when i read that you drink CokeZero after workouts is wondering if you are taking any protein in during the magical half-hour after you work out, when your body needs a balance of protein and carbs to build muscle? I often use MuscleMilk light but there are other options. Low sugar choc milk, or plain milk with a half of a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread, or a banana sliced into greek yogurt, are all really good post workout treats to refuel your body. Your body is working so hard - it deserves a proper refueling! emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/11/2011 3:41PM

    You can do this, John; make up that unsweetened tea and take it with you for post workout if that is what you enjoy. You might try coconut water post workout, too, as it has a lot of good stuff (electrolytes and potassium in particular). I just started drinking that to boost my potassium intake, and I really like it--it tastes good, fills me up, and has 60 calories in 12 oz. You have made it through a lot of other changes; I know you can handle this one!

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LUVMYK9S 5/11/2011 3:35PM

    John, you can do it! Just take it one day at a time. If you find the Coke Zero habit hard to break, just start off by replacing one soda with water each day and then build upon that. If it is the caffeine that you are hooked on, then slowly wean yourself off the caffeine.

I found that when I quit smoking (many years ago) that I could no longer tolerate caffeine (it makes me too jittery) so I either go with decaf coffee or just water.

I have a hard time controlling added sugar myself but I do try to limit sweets and don't even use ketchup because of the sugar in it!


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ISHIIGIRL 5/11/2011 2:17PM

    I agree with eveyone who said go slowly. do not be afraid of going slowly, only be afraid of standing still~Chinese Proverb. You can do it John.We are here to help you!

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MIZZSB 5/11/2011 1:45PM

    i DID NOT quit diet coke, when i quit i got huge binge atacks.
Since i drink about 3 glasses a day its all good and i dont have real binges anymore...

I wouldnt go cold turkey but thats just me..

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JACKIEP143 5/11/2011 1:22PM

    John there is a very good UNSWEETENED tea called "the Republic of Tea". I buy it in ginger peach or raspberry. It's decaf. black tea. I mix it in with my water to give it a different taste. Maybe you can try it. I got it at the farmer's market where I live but they also sell it on the internet.

Maybe this will help and it tastes good even without sugar. That's how I drink it! GO JOHN! emoticon

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GOLFCHICK2-0 5/11/2011 1:10PM

    I quit diet soda last year. It was the best thing I ever did!! It may be good idea to wean yourself off slowly instead of going cold turkey, drink 1/3rd less for a week, then drop another 1/3rd.
What I found surprising after giving up diet soda was that I can no longer stand the taste of any of the chemical sweeteners. No Light yogurts, no sugar-free anything... If I want sweet, it's either fruit or real sugar (used sparingly). I have less food reactions and stomach aches, less headaches.
Best of health to you!!

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LORSI2000 5/11/2011 1:06PM


Since Coke Zero has caffeine (doesn't it?) I highly recommend slowly weaning yourself off of it.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 5/11/2011 12:05PM

    I have to be upfront here John, kicking the diet soda, when I stopped sugar/sugar substitutes was the hardest. It can be done and if you have to try, try again please do. Be creative in this process ... it will be fun, frustrating and exciting all at the same time. Also, be kind to yourself if you slip. That was a big lesson I learned. In the end, I believe you'll be amazed at how you feel after you give up the soda and the sugars.

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LADYLAUGHS247 5/11/2011 12:01PM

  Good luck with this John!

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LADYHAWKE12 5/11/2011 11:38AM

  You can do it John! And it's almost time to make sun tea too! My husband keeps a jug of Lipton Cold Brew in the fridge at all times and swears by it. emoticon

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SHELLEY81 5/11/2011 11:17AM

    I used to be a diet coke junkie and now rarely drink it. I very much enjoy seltzer water. It's the bubbles and a bit of flavor I crave after drinking so much water every day. It's tough at first but you can totally do this!

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GIRANIMAL 5/11/2011 10:59AM

    Ohhhhh, please do your best. I didn't know about the Coke Zero! Another dear friend of mine also drinks far too much of that stuff, and I beg him to give it up as well. That fake sugar is terrible for you, and you deserve the best!

You can do it, John! What about something like seltzer water instead? If memory serves from when I used to drink it, it's way cleaner (but check your labels to be sure) and the carbonation is soda-like! I do not recall about the calories though, because that was back when I was oblivious to such things. emoticon

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PRINCESSNURSE 5/11/2011 10:50AM

    I hear you about the diet soda. I had a SERIOUS diet soda addiction. I gave it up about 2 months ago. I stick to water with LOTS of fresh lemon or fruit flavored herbal teas. I did have a diet coke on a whim about 2 weeks ago and it tasty gross--very chemical.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 5/11/2011 10:41AM

    Do your neighbors know you drink unsweet tea? If so, haven't they formed a committee to run you out of the south? LOL Unfortunately, I grew up on sweet tea so to try and drink it w/o some kind of sweetner makes it taste like dish water. Ick!

I did a challenge where I went off of sugar for a month. I felt really good and lost weight. It was hard tho. The next month I reintroduced limited amounts of sweets back in and the next month I was right back where I started. I seem to be an all or nothing girl on this topic.

Keep us posted on how it goes. I'm cheering for you!


Comment edited on: 5/11/2011 10:41:39 AM

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GRAMLORI 5/11/2011 10:39AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
You can do this, John, we're all cheering for you!!

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/11/2011 10:32AM

    emoticon we believe in you!

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TURBOADDICT444 5/11/2011 10:08AM

  Hey John, I am with you on that one. I would switch between coffee and diet coke and also didn't realize how much I was drinking. This is my second week of cutting back on coffee and totally cutting out all diet soda. I found that I really enjoy water and flavored water so much more that I don't even miss it. Water also quenches my thirst alot more than soda so I am sure you can do this, it's not as hard as you think. Good Luck!

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BLUEROSE73 5/11/2011 10:05AM

    We believe in you John. You can do this.

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I Need A Bit of Advice on Sugar

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I would like to remove processed sugar from my diet and I'm not quite sure how to go about doing it. I have read some things that speak in a scientific sort of language I have a hard time grasping. Does anyone have a resource or experience that has a simple approach to removing sugar from my diet? I'm not sure if I should go cold turkey, cut back, reduce it or how to approach it. Is if simply a matter of only eating fruit and removing cookies cakes and pies?

This is a problem in my life and a barrier to continuing my health journey.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:04PM

    Cold turkey. You'll notice a lack of energy for a few days maybe but then you'll be amazed. You will have to not eat processed foods, too, though, because they all have some kind of sugar in them. And you may have to not even eat fruit for a little while and then slowly add them back into your diet. Good luck if you try this.

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JPRICE217 5/15/2011 6:55AM

    I have the same problem once I start I can not stop. I just try to stay away from it. You have gotten some good advice. emoticon

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EDWINA172 5/11/2011 2:16PM

    I have a sweet tooth also. I don't use sugar at all. I use Splenda. What I noticed when I started my lifestyle change was that anything with sugar or HFCS made me hungry within 1/2 hour of eating it. I want to be satisfied when I eat something. I don't want to spend my daily calories on something that is going to lead to me wanting more.
I bake with Splenda. I find ice cream made with Splenda. Be careful with the whole "organic" label. Just because something is organic does not mean it is sugar/calorie free.
I would start weeding sugar out slowly and see how you feel. You can do this. You will feel awesome. Good luck!

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    Eat clean. Get rid of processed food and your problem is solved. Eat fresh meat, fresh veggies, fresh fruit, nuts, healthy fats, etc.

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YOGATIME 5/11/2011 9:45AM

    Oh I struggle with the sugar demon too! Have you read the Eat Clean books by Tosca Reno? They have really helped me. When I fall off the wagon and allow soda or candy back in moderation--I just crave more so I try to find other "treats" that satisfy that emotional feeling of needing a treat. Good luck!

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DDOORN 5/11/2011 9:12AM

    As you can see from other responses there is a whole range of options for reducing sugar. I don't think it's so black and white. Perhaps think of it as a dial and that you are looking to "turn the dial down" your sugar intake by reading labels, etc. Generally, as Michael Pollan suggests in his common sense "Food Rules" it helps to avoid eating foods that you buy in boxes, have more than 5 ingredients or ingredients whose names you cannot pronounce. This will steer you away from sugar and its cousins.


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HLPRATT 5/11/2011 8:11AM

    I've thought about doing this same thing. I know processed foods and sugars are just empty calories. I do think there's a cyclic nature that the more you eat the more you crave. Artificial sweeteners are an option, but apparently they can feed that craving. My motto has been moderation. I think it might be hard to just go cold turkey unless those foods are just a small part of your diet anyway. Good luck to you- let us know how it goes. emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 5/11/2011 7:58AM

    Because of certain allergies, I have had to cut out the sugar. READ ALL FOOD/BEVERAGE LABELS. Don't just look for sugar, but look for all of "sugar names". You won't believe what has some form of sugar. I also have to avoid yeast - and let me tell you that finding it on labels is worse than sugar. Educate yourself. The doctor gave me a list of foods to completely avoid for the first 2 weeks. Now I add some of them but not all at once and not often. Cantaloupe is a definite no for me (and I love cantaloupe).

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MARCYNA 5/11/2011 3:06AM

    I use honey in my morning cup of coffee, then I use no sweeteners at all during the day. The less sugar I have, the least I miss it. This is not scientific at all, but works for me: I did it gradually, giving up all sweet food very slowly. I was a sugar addict and I still have to be careful emoticon

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KENDRACARROLL 5/10/2011 11:32PM

    This might be a bit off topic; check out

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CARTOONB 5/10/2011 10:57PM

    I like sugar...and caffeine...and some alcohol...and processed foods. I'm not a good person to give you advice. At least, not good advice. Sounds like you're getting some good info.

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SHERLYN-WILL 5/10/2011 7:27PM

    I have a blog on 9-17-10 about what I am doing (2 blogs that day actually)

It shows the eating plan... from the book WHY CAN"T I STOP EATING.

This plan has been a Godsend because I didn't know how to stop eating processed sugar before either.

I sleep better, feel AMAZING, Feel HEALTHY, and MANY more benefits to name!
I have written several blogs after this date about my progress.

Check them out... I am here if you need me!

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JAMJOJAM 5/10/2011 3:09PM

    There are many opinions, but this is what works for me. I have omitted most sugar from my diet and replaced it with Splenda. (I avoid Equal/aspartane) Splenda is my life saver , I use it in anything that used to have sugar. It is in my morning coffee, my hot oatmeal, yogurt and fruit smoothies. I made sugar free cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for the holidays using Splenda. I have lost 65 pounds since May 24, 2010 and I use a lot of Splenda, love it. By the way, I used to eat lots of candy, pie, cake, ice cream; that is how I got fat; now my favorite dessert is fruit and Mountain High plain whole milk 3.25% fat yogurt with Splenda and vanilla or yogurt/fruit/soy milk smoothies. I have noticed that low or non fat foods usually have more sugar, I avoid non fat foods and I am a carnivore, I eat lots of meat. Yes, by all means cut the sugar; you will feel so much better. emoticon

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WORKINGSTIFF 5/10/2011 2:47PM

    I don't know much about eliminating sugar per se, but I think trying to eliminate processed foods is a good way to eat.

People are so right-you have to look at labels because there is sugar in so many food items (even catsup!). And it might be labeled as sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, etc. etc.

I agree about the artificial sweetners; for me, they make me crave more sweets...

Anytime you can consult with a dietitian or expert could be helpful.

Way to go on this new route in your journey!

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KIKOOMAGOO 5/10/2011 2:30PM

    This was the reason I came back to SP in the first place. Too much sugar! And I was feeling sooo sick. I haven't given it up completely- still use it in my coffee because well, coffee is the last thing I will give up. I try to not eat things with artificial sweeteners mostly because I can't stand the way they taste. OMG I ate a regular white bread dinner roll that I baked from scratch and it tasted so sweet after not having whit bread for 2 months.
I will eat yogurt- plain Greek and add my own fruit or a but if honey from the local farmers market.
When chocolate cravings hit I have a square of 85% dark choc bar. Sometimes I melt it on some walnuts or add it to plain oatmeal.
Good luck! My headaches have all but displeased since breaking away from sugar. (now to tackle the salt!)

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HEALTHY4ME 5/10/2011 2:20PM

    A Super spark team led by a nurse that helps with sugar issues... she may be able to start you off.

Sent you an invitation to check it out.

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/10/2011 1:30PM

............ dont get mad at me, but how about cutting the artificial sugar first?

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GIRANIMAL 5/10/2011 1:26PM

    Hello, bro!

I am struggling with this too. Here's what I've been told and have been experimenting with:

* Empty your sugar bowl and replace it with stevia.
* Check labels, on everything. Including healthy foods like oatmeal and yogurt. To me, anything over 7-10 grams is high. For oatmeal, for example, I buy plain (certified gluten-free makes that choice a lot easier now) and use a little agave. It's still processed but it's lower GI.
* Even watch your fruit -- too much of a good thing is still too much. Try making sure your fruit hovers around two servings a day.

BUT, if you start to feel like your workouts are wiping you out, you may be going too low and can bump the fruit back up a bit. (This is where I am at, anyway.)

I also believe chemical sugar substitutes (aspartame, saccharine, even Splenda, which is also known as sucralose) are worse for you and have a stronger affect on your sugar cravings.

I'll let you know if I remember anything else. :) Good luck!

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HDHAWK 5/10/2011 12:47PM

    I cut back almost cold turkey and eat sugar free jello when I am having cravings. You'll get advice that the dye, etc. is bad for you, but it works for me. It takes a few days of cravings and then you don't miss it. Some days I can still have a taste of something, but I'm currently at the stage where a bite sends me for more, so I can't have it. It will get better.

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ISHIIGIRL 5/10/2011 12:45PM

    I think you have a lot of good advice here. The best thing I can add is if you start reading labels to stay under 10g of sugar per serving. Stay away from sugar free because that is just as bad and doesn't help with the cravings. Aspertame and artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar. I would definately get some truvia or stevia. It is a good substitute if you have to have some kind of sweetener. Going cold turkey is really hard. You will start to notice after a few weeks the hidden sugars in your food. I have really been enjoying my raw carrots. They have become insanely sweet since I have cut most refined sugars from my diet. Getting the sugars out of your system will also help reduce belly fat. A good book to check out is The Bellyfat Cure. It is all about the hidden sugars in foods and especially foods you get when eating out. Good Luck with this John! Know that we are all here to support you!

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LORSI2000 5/10/2011 12:35PM

    Way to go, John!
Eliminating sugar from your diet is a significant part of your weight loss journey as well as improve other sugar related health problems. (if any)
I agree 100% with Cindy regarding the foods to eliminate from your diet. You will, once again, be reading labels! The ONLY thing I suggest (and this is because I eat 70-80% organic) is to stay clear of the Splenda. Chose a natural sweetener (if needed) like Purevia or Truvia which are derived from the Stevia plant. (Let me know if you would like to learn more about organic/raw foods.)
Lastly, I know you are a "flexetarian"; choosing high quality animal meat (when you can) will really help balance your blood sugar to beat sugar cravings.


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JECKIE 5/10/2011 12:31PM

    There are as many opinions out there are there are people. I will tell you what worked for me was to do the first 2 weeks of South Beach. It was good to have something solid to help bust through that addiction craving period, and then it just became second nature to me.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 5/10/2011 12:19PM

    In the beginning, I stopped adding sugar and sugar substitutes. It was rough first week. When I had sugar attacks I ate dried fruits in small amounts. Then I attacked hidden sugars. If you want to go that deep into removing sugars from your diet take a look at the labels - you'll be amazed. I found sugar substitutes were the most difficult to get off of and did the most damage to my body.

I wish you well on your journey.

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EDWARDSC393 5/10/2011 12:08PM

    I removed candy first, then all the obvious sugars, then all the white flour stuff that turns into sugar, no juice, its loaded with it. I,m so used to it now, that I don,t really miss it. My downfall is having some wine with dinner. I don,t even use white pasta, there is a Barilla pasta that has 17 grams of protein, omegas, and fiber, and it doesn,t taste funny. I use to be a real candy freak, not anymore! Of course no soda, not even diet soda, water or unsweetened herb tea. Your taste buds will eventually get used to it. Glad to be your friend! Cherie

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FREECLOUD 5/10/2011 12:07PM

    Hi there John. Removing sugar can be a daunting process because, as you probably already know, sugars are so well hidden in foods we eat. Here's my strategy, which has worked pretty well!

Switch from white pasta/bread to whole grain. Whole grain means 100% whole grain/wheat. The label should not say "enriched" anything.

Avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague. Here's an article that also explains the other names it's labeled under.


If you enjoy yogurts, check the label - most of them have a ton of sugar added. A few that have less sugar are the Fage brand and Blue Bunny.

Make sure your fruits are in their original form - nothing from a can and check the label for added sugars.

Consider giving up condiments like ketchup, barbeque sauce, etc. Again, check out that label.

Here's another article I like with information on what to look out for -

For me it took about two weeks to come off sugar. I still use it in my coffee in the morning because I just can't give that up. You might want to consider using other sweeteners - agave and honey are good. I haven't used Stevia because its expensive, but I understand that it's plant based and not "artificial". Good luck - looking forward to hearing how you do and what others have to say.

Comment edited on: 5/10/2011 12:08:19 PM

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CINDYC53 5/10/2011 12:03PM

    What I try to do first is remove the white foods - obvious things with sugar, like the sweets you mentioned, and white rice, white breads, etc. that turn to sugar after you eat them. Stick to whole grains - and fresh fruit for something sweet. I still struggle with Splenda. I like some in my coffee, but I know my body reacts to it as if it were real sugar, so I'm working on that. And I think "sugar-free" candy & other desserts are the wrong way to go. Stay natural, with a little fruit.
There was a great article in the NYTimes recently: "Is Sugar Toxic?"
And yes, I think if you CAN go cold turkey - have some yummy spring fruit when you crave sugar - that's the best way to go.
Good luck, John!

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LISA01605 5/10/2011 12:00PM

    I don't have any specific resources but I think eliminating obvious junk food is a good start. Things like cookies, pies, ice cream, candy. I have recently improved my eating dramatically and greatly reduced all my sugar from those sources. I think sugar in fruit is ok but that is just my opinion. I have noticed a great improvement in my mood and energy level but I can't say reducing sugar was the cause because I changed a lot of things. I also reduced my calories overall from 3000+ a day to 1200-1800 a day and I got back to exercising consistently and really pushing myself with exercise goals. The biggest thing I have noticed is greater mental clarity but it might be a cumulative result of all the changes. Good luck!

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Accepting The Challenge

Monday, May 09, 2011

The last couple of weeks have not been my best. With my basement flooding three times and finding out that flood insurance is only good if you have to commute to and from your house by boat, my moods took a marked turn south. Things just seemed to get worse and worse. When I am stressed it has a tendency to settle in my lower back which makes me walk as if I was thirty years older than I really am. Itís not only painful but itís downright nerve wracking. It hasnít done much for my disposition either.

On my walk this morning I told myself feeling like this, all stressed and uptight, was getting really old. Thatís when it dawned on me that it all begins and ends in my mind. As long as I look at the world through soot colored glasses than I am going to attract all sorts of negative people and experiences to me. Itís like expanding the adage of ďYou are who you hang around with,Ē to ďYou are what you think you are.Ē It begins and ends in my mind. I asked myself to take a good look at me and see what I saw. (Say that ten times really fast!) What do I want to see? I ticked off a litany of things that most of the time I file under the category of ďhopes and dreams.Ē I saw things that would be nice.

ďIf ya canít see it John, how can ya feel it?Ē I said to myself. Really good point. I saw where I was at in many aspects of my life and I realized it I was exactly how I saw myself. Itís sort of like, ďWell what did you expect?Ē As I walked I started taking pieces of who I am and projecting what I wanted them to look like. Pretty soon I began to feel lighter, more peaceful and while that nagging pain in back didnít go away but it subsided. I saw a ray of hope.

As I bounced along, it struck me there was more. Once I had the image in my mind and felt how powerful it was I had to become it. Not when I reach my goal weight, run a 10K or cycle a century. I had to become that vision right now, oversized belly, sore back and all. I had to realize as the adage says, ďThe reason for all challenges is so that you can finally learn that none are larger than you.Ē I have to learn that when I believe I am healthy and whole I will be. When I believe my life is full of joy and blessings and amazingly wonderful people, it will be.

A long time ago an English teacher of mine often said ďIf itís going to be, itís up to me.Ē

When I see it I can believe it and when I believe it I can become it. Everything I do has to be in the present tense. Just ask any very happy person. I am not suggesting we hire the cast of a Broadway musical and go dancing down the streets of life under some false illusion. Life throws us curve balls. How we deal with them is determined by what we think, feel and believe.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 8:56PM

    Well, you would think flood insurance would have covered that damage, some part of your homeowner's insurance anyway.

Sometimes it scares me that I don't have any big challenges in my life right now. Wow, maybe it's because I'm being given the time and resources to face me, the challenge of facing my demons. Everything I've gone through in this life has brought me to this point. How I faced things as a child, or didn't face them, how I've held on to things that should have been let go of, all things that cannot be changed, but I can change how I look at them, at me.

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LYNMEINDERS 5/11/2011 6:47AM

    Amen & Amen to this....

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MIRACLELOVE77 5/10/2011 1:18PM

    GREAT blog :)

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HLPRATT 5/10/2011 9:18AM

    I am constantly amazed by the power of our attitudes. It can make all the difference in the world.

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NASFKAB 5/10/2011 9:10AM

  Great thinking we can do anything being positive. Way to go John

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CARTOONB 5/9/2011 11:18PM

    Are you sure we can't hire a broadway musical? I hear Wicked is pretty good....and apt! LOL!

Seriously, you are right, as usual. I agree with John.

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MKPRINCESS007 5/9/2011 10:29PM

    You know I have been there, John. With my chin scraping the ground I was. But, I just made up my mind to get up the next day, look it in the eye, and give it another go. I made it back out into the light again, and so will you.

Thinking of you, my friend..............

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MIZZSB 5/9/2011 2:53PM

Its not been easy the last couple of weeks but we are here for you!!!! emoticon emoticon

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HDHAWK 5/9/2011 12:05PM

    Flooding is a major curve ball and you deserved to have at least a small pity party, especially when insurance doesn't help. Now it's time to dust off and move forward. Looks like you're doing just that! PS Hope the back feels better!

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GEEMAWEST 5/9/2011 11:55AM

    I totally agree with you, John!

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JANC7223 5/9/2011 11:29AM

    Attitude is everything!

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SNOOPYLUV85 5/9/2011 11:27AM

    Once again, you are so right! Thank you for always sharing your thoughts with all of us!

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EDWINA172 5/9/2011 9:47AM

    Goodness! We are such mental creatures, aren't we? Hope your week goes well. Lets turn that frown upside down:)

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BLACKROSE_222 5/9/2011 9:30AM

    Thank you so much for sharing, John. You are absolutely 100% right.

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UNLIKELY 5/9/2011 8:49AM

  How do I attract not drinking alcohol anymore? It is wrecking my life.

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    That is the principle of "The Secret" and the Law of Attraction... Like attracts like... Good for you for changing your thoughts ... which WILL result in changing your life! (Wayne Dyer book I love :)

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Following The Light Towards My Happiness

Friday, May 06, 2011

Happiness is not elusive. Itís pretty straight forward. I think Iím the one who has had issues with happiness, not the other way around. Iíve had a hard time defining it. Itís as if Iíd walked into a store and asked for a piece of clothing that I could not define and then expected the clerk to rush to a rack and return to me with it, smiling all the while. I know Iíve wanted to be happy because everyone does. You listen to interviews of famous people and they gush from the other side of the coffee table, ďIím finally happy.Ē Sometimes, I think there is an expectation that itís to be delivered wrapped in a bow.

Happiness is very hard work. Donít let anyone fool you. You have to define it and you have to decide what you are willing to do in order to attain it. You have to prepare to suffer a bit as your perception of your world and everyone in it changes, for the better I might add. Happiness isnít like a train schedule. It doesnít have planned stops along the way so you and I can wait for it, hand over our eyes peering off into the wilderness and then signaling the brass band to start playing. It surprises you, like the oft forgotten cousin who shows up at your door step for an extended visit. You love them half to death; you just werenít ready for them.

Real happiness comes on its own terms, not mine. I cannot create conditions for it, define its parameters or hand it a list of exclusions. Like the ground water in my basement this past week it finds its own level and then challenges us to live there. Itís a long journey. Itís why so few of us reach it.

Most of us give up. We tell ourselves the battles not really worth all the effort. We tell ourselves we should be satisfied with what we have and there are people much worse off than we areÖÖÖÖ.. Yada, yada, yada. We turn our failures into excuses to sit quietly in the corner rather than as energy and focus to move forward and try once again. Itís all really the antithesis of happiness, isnít it?

I write this rambling preamble this morning because as I lie in bed reviewing what needed to be done today and in what order it needed to be completed in happiness snuck up behind me and grinned. I go through a bit of a ritual where I am grateful and thankful that both feet hit the ground again this morning. It was at that point it dawned on me that I am the happiest person I know. It has nothing to do with status, wealth or where I live. It has to do with how I feel. I expect to be happier because Iím not yet the happiest person in the world. I donít think that person exists as happiness is very subjective.

I am happy because of four things. I hang around with excellent people and have made the tough choices to let people go in my life who werenít the best influences. I have come to believe I am really worth the effort I put into myself and I deserve this new found happiness. Finally, I am what I believe I am.

Honestly, as I reviewed my blog this morning Iím not sure why I wrote it. Oh, I am lol. Someone out there needed to read this. A long time ago, in the throes of my despair, unhappiness and living with the feeling that I was all alone, my Creator, reached down and light a lamp that showed me a path towards this happy life I now live. Writing this blog will never, ever repay that, but itís a start. As the kindness and love was extended to me, so now I extend it to you.

Happiness isnít about goal s and objectives, itís about the challenge of allowing your heart to grow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 8:42PM

    Right now happiness is facing my shadow and forgiving and embracing and letting go...happiness rushes in to fill the spaces left.

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MARCYNA 5/11/2011 3:50AM

    Great blog, have to look at my life from anothre point of view to not let happiness flow OUT of it emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 5/10/2011 2:04PM

    I knew I've been missing lots of good stuff! I love your store analogy. A certain someone who loves me very much often asks me what exactly I want, and I get so angry when I can't answer. So this really hit home for me, dear bro. I'm glad I have you to hang around with. emoticon

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LORSI2000 5/9/2011 12:00PM

    Great blog today, John!
Thanks for sharing!

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DAD2GETFIT 5/7/2011 9:09PM

    Great blog John. You are right that happiness, just like any other worthwhile thing, takes work. I can usually be happy with being content. I have a great family, I don't always have everything I want, but I have everything I need right now and for me that's enough.

Setting and accomplishing goals (right now for weight loss and health, but other things as well) also gives me a sense of accomplishment which also makes me happy.


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LUCYJOY 5/7/2011 10:54AM

    I shouldn't comment, probably, but shutting up was never one of my strong poins. I'm one of those children of the dark-and was thinking alot about happiness this week. I don't think I remember how to be happy anymore. I pointed myself in survival mode so my feet could hit the floor everyday-despite whatever life tosses my way. I sometimes find happiness in the warmth of the sun hitting my face-and yesterday, I tried-but I didn't find it. Perhaps that's why I read your blog this morning. Perhaps it will help me on my journey. Perhaps it was to remind me that happiness still exists, even if I cannot find it now.

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HAPPYSOUL91 5/7/2011 8:18AM

    Happines is such a fickle thing, what makes me happy 1 day, may not another day. I am really spending my energy seeking joy in my life on a daily basis.

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LYNMEINDERS 5/6/2011 7:05PM

    Thankyou so so much for writing this today....I have a friend who needs to hear exactly what you have written.....
You are superb and so timely....
Amen to what you have written...

Bless you

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SHERRYJVP 5/6/2011 12:56PM

    Today I call myself a happy person. Somedays, not so much. But I do have joy even through harder days.

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HDHAWK 5/6/2011 12:46PM

    I'm happier just reading your words of wisdom!

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CHAITEAKITTY40 5/6/2011 11:46AM

    Sometimes it is like what you write is meant just for me. Happiness and how to find it are something that me and my inner Eeyore have struggled with. You offer some great perspective for me. Thanks so much!

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KKINNEA 5/6/2011 10:47AM

    Great insights, as always - thanks!

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LADYLAUGHS247 5/6/2011 10:44AM

  Love the blog. For me, happiness is my state of mind. It can and does change every day. But I am (perpetually) an optimistic person - the glass is always half full! Good luck on the journey.

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SNOOPYLUV85 5/6/2011 10:34AM

    Thank you for your continued inspiration in our lives!

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    Love this, John, and just what I needed to read this morning. This basically sums up what I've always believed of happiness, but sometimes it's nice (and necessary) to have a reminder! Thanks for sharing this!

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BLACKROSE_222 5/6/2011 10:04AM

    Thanks again for sharing, John. True Happiness can sneak up on you, and I'm so glad to hear that even with all of the rough stuff you have had the last little bit - it hit you first thing this am. emoticon

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CARTOONB 5/6/2011 9:40AM

    I'm happy that you're happy! Hope the entire day is just as good.

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TIME4AFITME 5/6/2011 9:33AM

    Thank you for yet another great and inspiring blog. emoticon

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ZURDTA- 5/6/2011 9:21AM

    Thanks. I think many people think that happiness arrives and that is it - like it is something tangible. But happiness is not consistent (to be sublimely happy ALL the time??) and it is subjective. Sometimes it is a change in attitude, sometimes is about striving harder for something and other times it is about letting go. Just like weight loss is about finding YOUR own way, so is happiness.

Thank for the blog John, thoughtful as ever...

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MRSPINCKNEY 5/6/2011 8:53AM

    emoticon Perspective! Thanks for sharing!

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NJMATTICE 5/6/2011 8:43AM

    Happy Friday, John.

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CICI510 5/6/2011 8:42AM

    Wow! What an awesome an inspiring blog. :) emoticon emoticon

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KAT573 5/6/2011 8:40AM

    Keep on Keeping ON! emoticon Happiness comes and goes, and looking at what brought it on always helps us test its authenticity, validity, etc. Of course this works with UNhappiness too and yes, it sure IS a lot of hard work, of the spirit and the soul...which also need exercising and don't get enough at times. emoticon

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CIVIAV 5/6/2011 8:40AM

    Another one we all need to hear regularly. Thanks again John your willingness to reflect Sparks us all!

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Go Your Own Way

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I once told my children that if you didnít get out of bed until eight am the day was already half over. Joan would look at them through the steam of her coffee and let them know that while they should always respect their father, what I just said was a matter of opinion. I am out of bed and ready to go no later than six am. I have a to-do list and I am at my most effective for the remainder of the day when I can accomplish things early on. It gives me confidence. It makes me focused and I have a clear vision of my purpose. I track my food much better and I am more apt to exercise. Before I go to bed each evening I pretty much know the first five things I need to do when I get up in the morning. When I live this way, no one can stop me. I, you see, have a plan.

Joan, on the other hand, gets out of bed when she is done sleeping. Her first order of business is coffee followed by Matt Lauer. If she doesnít have to work in the morning she and Matt have multiple cups of coffee followed by the newspaper. A shower comes, when it comes, unless she has to work. We have a kitchen table that seats eight. The kids are grown and gone but it still seats eight. Joan and I eat on about a quarter of the table. The rest if it is piled with her ďstuff.Ē The only time she has ever threatened to leave me is if I mess with her ďstuff.Ē

We have two totally separate ways of approaching life and we both are very successful people. We have different ways of communicating and we are both extremely effective in getting our message across. There isnít anything either one of us wont tackle, we choose to wrap our arms around it a different way.

There is not only one way to do things. I could probably have put that a bit more eloquently but the simpler the better. There is no one way to lose weight and maintain a healthy life style. I am a flexetarian. Joan has never met a piece of beef she doesnít like. I exercise daily, she exercises three or four times a week. We are fortunate that we have learned two things over thirty seven years of marriage. The first is to respect each otherís views and choices and the second is not to get taken in by every fad and idea that comes around the corner.

It took me awhile to realize those things. I would always look at other people and how they did things and measure myself against their achievements. I always came up lacking. That was their life style it wasnít mine. The first thing I did was totally embrace John, warts and all. I realized that I wasnít hurting anyone getting out of bed at five am to start my day. I get seven hours sleep and I do fine with it.

Go your own way. Find the things that truly convince you that this journey is worth all the effort and above and beyond everything else ---------------- be the extremely unique you that you were created to be.
That is why I love you so very much. Now------------------ Go celebrate who you are.

Shoot, the dayís half over. I gotta go.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 8:33PM

    This is something that needs work in my life...figuring out who I really am, not being scared to see the real me and let other people see the real me.

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    My hubby is a night owl and I'm a morning person so we have to compromise. LOL.

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_AIYANNA_ 5/10/2011 4:12PM

    Although I like sleeping in from time to time - mostly because I rarely have to luxury to do so, I must admit that nothing beats getting an ealy start to your day :)

I love the way that your blogs make me want to become a better person in every way... Thank you, John!!!

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GIRANIMAL 5/10/2011 3:44PM

    I'm really starting to get this after 7 years with my beloved too. Thanks for the more in-depth insight!

Also, I see there are a lot of fellow Fleetwood Mac fans out there. Rock on! I have to go listen to this song now. emoticon

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MARCYNA 5/9/2011 3:39AM

    Loving you isn't the right thing to do
How can I ever change things that I feel?
If I could, maybe I'd give you my world
How can I, when you won't take it from me?
You can go your own way, go your own way
You can call it another lonely day
You can go your own way, go your own way
Tell me why everything turned around?
Packing up, shacking up, is all you wanna do
If I could baby I'd give you my world
Open up, everything's waiting for you
You can go your own way, go your own way
You can call it another lonely day
You can go your own way, go your own way

You can go your own way, go your own way
You can call it another lonely day (Another lonely day)
You can go your own way, go your own way
You can call it another lonely day

You can go your own way
You can call it another lonely day
You can go your own way

emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/9/2011 3:40:50 AM

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TRACEY5280 5/6/2011 6:38PM

    Always so important to remember. I've traveled the route of looking at how it's done by others and always come up lacking. Glad I'm on a different route these days! My Bill is your Joan :)

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CATHERINEL66 5/6/2011 1:43PM

    Nice! I am a morning person too, and when I look at other people, I have to remind myself to not project my own preferences on them! My DH is a morning slacker (did I say that?).

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LORSI2000 5/6/2011 1:19PM

    LOVE IT!

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KENDRACARROLL 5/6/2011 11:07AM

    Love your blog.
It took me almost half a century to figure out that "My way or no way" might be a funny saying but is quite the opposite if practiced.
There is much wisdom in your words.

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NASFKAB 5/6/2011 6:09AM

  Great blog glad that you both live each with their way. Never had thatj

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DUTCHIEKIWI 5/5/2011 11:51PM

    Love this blog!

It's so true, we are all so different...

Looks like I am a mixture of the two of you lol,

up early at the crack of dawn, but look forward to my morning coffee.

and the 'stuff' thing... same here!! ;0)

Thanks for sharing your opinion... now I'll go and find mine ;0)



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CARTOONB 5/5/2011 11:20PM

    My dad used to tell me the same half over at eight. I will still sleep as late as I can...every day! But, on the days I do get up, it's amazing the stuff I get done! I guess I'll just keep doing what works for me! Hope you do as well.

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JUNEAU2010 5/5/2011 11:04PM

    This might be my favorite of your blogs!

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KAZINMICH 5/5/2011 10:40PM

    Oh! I almost forgot, I have Fleetwood Mac's lyrics stuck in my head now!!! "you can go your own way.." lol

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KAZINMICH 5/5/2011 10:38PM

    I really like this blog. I try to explain to my single friends that my husband I are two separate people living our lives together. We choose to be with each other, live together and do things together, but we are still our own selves. My husband and I are alike in some ways, and completely different in others. We do think differently, process things differently, do things differently, but usually come up with the same end results or ideas! My weaknesses are his strengths, and vice versa. I think that balance, that respect, and differences combined with the things we do have in common are what makes a wonderful lasting relationship.

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CMHARRISON12 5/5/2011 10:27PM

    Thank you John, you help us all so very much. I love that our differences often bring us to the love we seek! Keep telling your truths and the rest of us benefit!

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SNOOPYLUV85 5/5/2011 5:40PM

    You are really awesome. I get made fun of a lot for this same thing. You are really helping me to see that it is okay to be me and that all of this is not a race. I can really relate to this!

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EDWINA172 5/5/2011 3:48PM

    I love you John. You have a way of making me feel so good about myself. Your words heal me. Thank you. Thanks for sharing your feelings. There is so much of myself that I read in your words.

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SHERRYJVP 5/5/2011 3:30PM

    YOU are not an engineer are you? My husband is and he believes there is one right way-HIS. We laugh about it after 32 years, but he he is not convert-able. He says it's his job. LOL On the other hand..he is trainable..and will eat the occasional vegetarian meal..even though he makes a big deal about fun.

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BLESSED2BEME 5/5/2011 2:36PM

    What is a flexetarian?

This is so much like my hubby and I! 25 years later, still married and finally starting to understand each other! emoticon

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ZURDTA- 5/5/2011 2:09PM

    Ah that sums up me and my partner too... very different approaches, but it works for us. And weight loss - well we can all get ideas, but yes, we have to find our OWN way.


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HDHAWK 5/5/2011 12:50PM

    I'm a morning person right along with you and am married to someone who gets up even earlier than I do. The journey is much easier when we go with our own flow, so to speak, than trying to mold ourselves into something we aren't. Too bad it took me 52 yrs. to figure that out!

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LUVMYK9S 5/5/2011 12:32PM

    Thanks for reminding me that everyone is unique and there is no 'only one way' to approach life. I sometimes feel that I cannot be successful unless I embrace the lifestyle of others. Time to embrace myself just as I am, quirks and all ...
Have an AWESOME day John!

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STIPER23 5/5/2011 11:35AM

    Thank you!

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MOMONTHERUN1 5/5/2011 11:32AM

    I love this!! Thanks for making me realize that not everyone can be like

Have a great day!

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EDWARDSC393 5/5/2011 11:29AM

    Loved your blog! When my husband is home, we both watch the Today show, Yea , we all have to go the way we feel comfortable! I absorb all this info then do What I know works. Glad to have read your blog, its so refreshing! Cherie

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LISA01605 5/5/2011 11:05AM

    Over the course of this weight loss/get healthy process I have come to the same conclusions. When I started I came up with a plan and I followed it and it worked. Over time I let in too much information. I was on information overload from all the "experts." While most experts have the same message they often have different ways of getting there. Some say never do X and others say always do X. It can get confusing. In trying to do the "right" thing I lost track of what worked for me. When I couldn't decide what to do, I did nothing and the pounds crept back on. I recently recommitted and when I did I decided to go back to basics. I am doing what works for me and I am having success. Going my own way works for me.

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CIVIAV 5/5/2011 11:03AM

    Love you too John and I'm more like Joan by the way!


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WENDYSPARKS 5/5/2011 11:03AM

    Have a good day!!

Wendy :)

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GRANDTO4 5/5/2011 10:58AM

  I'm with Joan on this one! My job requires me to wake up at 5 AM - I do NOT like that and I will NEVER like that, and on weekends, the most joyful ritual I have is the shutting off of the alarm clock Friday night. My exercise for that day includes the happy dance for that. But I do sort of envy people who can jump out of bed early and hit the ground running. I sort of ooze out of bed and hit the ground shuffling.

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    You are a very wise man!! Cheers to your years of marriage as well! I love to hear stories of success in that area as well!!

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CUPCAKE2CARROTS 5/5/2011 10:44AM

    I love reading your blogs. I ALWAYS come away with something. :)

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JECKIE 5/5/2011 10:41AM

    Very true! I see it a lot with me and my three sisters. We are all so different, but we manage to all be very successful in our own ways.

My parents used to use that same line on me... of course, I was a teenager sleeping until 11. :) These days, if the sun is up, I'm up. I may be slow once I wake up, but I can't just lay in bed either.

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MOONBIRD 5/5/2011 10:26AM

    What a great blog! You and your wife sound like me and my husband, except I am more like you and he is more like your wife. hehe I am always trying to remind myself that it's ok to do things my way if it works for me.

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HAPPYSOUL91 5/5/2011 10:25AM

    LOL - have you been looking into my life....I am a morning person w/lists and DH is a night person and goes w/th the flow. Enjoyed your blog!!!

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HOAGIE22 5/5/2011 10:14AM

  Been there done that!! emoticon

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