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Learning From A Five Year Old

Friday, May 20, 2011

Somewhere in my reading yesterday I found a passage that suggested if you were looking for true wisdom, find a five year old to talk to. I was fortunate in this respect because my granddaughter had her end of the year kindergarten super-duper musical special last night. She and approximately forty other five year olds took us on a journey through letter, color and number land. They provided a few shakes a few shimmies and a lot of pointing, waving and covering their mouths with laughter. For about thirty minutes last night insurance adjusters, missed Spark rallies and any other earthly woe took a distant back seat. If youíre having issues in life just bend over really far, then straighten up, then lift your hands towards the sky and sing. You may bounce if you so choose.

There is no pretension in being five. They walked up on the stage like a herd of cattle. Despite the teacherís pleas to get ready, they got ready when they finished saying hello to each other, waving to mom, dad and grandparents. Then, with all the important things out of the way they began to sing. When they were tired of singing they might stop and make an observation. One even asked rather loudly ďWhen is this going to be over?Ē They know whatís important. When they were finished singing they moved quickly and with cat like precision towards the cookies and juice. They have learned, in their brief life that family, friends and a good deal of bending and stretching will carry you far. They have learned that laughter and just being goofy sometimes can cure a multitude of woes.

As I was driving home I thought of something I read many years ago. Iíd like to share it with you. Its Robert Fulghumís ďEverything I Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.Ē

" Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder."

Be blessed today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIKOOMAGOO 5/22/2011 5:46PM

    Thanks for reminding me of the good things about 5 yr olds. My son is 5 so it's more of the I'm bored, I'm hungry, no fair, and you're so mean that I get. We did have a fun day today with a neighborhood ice cream social, and playing outside. The You're so Mean will come when it's time to come in. I'm gonna miss this someday!

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KAZINMICH 5/21/2011 11:54PM

    I've always loved that writing, it's so true. The beautiful innocence of children!

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MARCYNA 5/21/2011 2:07PM

    I need to spend more time with my 5 1/2 years old nephew. I know he knows better. I might as well learn from him.
Thanks for sharing such a funny episode & poem emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/21/2011 2:08:37 PM

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LMLOPEZ 5/21/2011 9:39AM

    I think more people in this world need to follow those kindergarten rules. Thanks for sharing!

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LYNMEINDERS 5/21/2011 7:06AM

    Thats awesome....something we all need to remember...thankyou

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KIN59VARA 5/21/2011 4:02AM

    Thanks for the reminder, it was a great way to start my day!

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/21/2011 1:21AM


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NASFKAB 5/21/2011 12:04AM

  Thanks a lot

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DEE797 5/20/2011 9:53PM

    Love this blog. Never read his I will see if my library has them.

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DAD2GETFIT 5/20/2011 9:15PM

    Too true..I've read a number of Fulghum's books they're all good.

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KELLY40222 5/20/2011 8:41PM

    Sad how we forget the most important and simple rules to live by.

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JUNEAU2010 5/20/2011 8:27PM

    Five is such a perfect age! I love this blog!

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CARTOONB 5/20/2011 8:27PM

    Great lesson!

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KIMMARIE11 5/20/2011 8:11PM

    That was an excellent for us all. Thank you for posting those words to live by.

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KA_JUN 5/20/2011 7:35PM


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    I really enjoyed reading that - thanks! emoticon

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KSGROTHE 5/20/2011 4:58PM

    emoticon emoticon for sharing! It sounds like you had a wonderful time at your granddaughter's show!

- Karen

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LORSI2000 5/20/2011 4:07PM

    I love it when I get an email message that you have posted another blog!
Love your stories and inspiration!

p.s. How is the sugar-free gig going?


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SILLYHP1953 5/20/2011 3:50PM

    When and why and how do we forget those most important things?

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TKDABRUNZ 5/20/2011 1:50PM

    My 7 and 5-year-old's are always presenting me with some jems. Their actions are always reminding me not to take myself too seriously.

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DEBRITA01 5/20/2011 1:23PM

    Oh, to see the world again through the eyes of a child...we all could learn a lot! Thanks for sharing...

Comment edited on: 5/20/2011 1:24:00 PM

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/20/2011 12:21PM

    Perspective--that is what a five-year-old can provide. We NEED to be reminded from time to time what is really important in life. Glad your granddaughter and her classmates could brighten your evening and life a bit!

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HDHAWK 5/20/2011 12:10PM

    So glad you had a wonderful time!

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DOGMOMMA2THREE 5/20/2011 12:07PM

    I just loved this blog! I especially loved the comment from the child who asked "when is this going to be over". How often have we sat in church, in meetings, etc and thought the very same thing?!

Thanks for this insightful blog!

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JANC7223 5/20/2011 12:06PM


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TRIPLE_EMME 5/20/2011 11:56AM

    Love this blog!!!

I am blessed to live and share my life with my beloved, Little Miss Toddler.


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TEDYBEAR2838 5/20/2011 11:55AM

    So much wisdom for ALL of us!
thanks John

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CANDOK1260 5/20/2011 11:53AM

    great blog thanks

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With Regret

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I am not going to be able to attend the Spark Rally this weekend. With the recent damage to our home because of some flooding, this just happens to be the weekend the insurance adjsuter and a few contractors will be coming by. As good as I am I cant be in two places at once.

I was really looking forward to meeting some of you. Maybe some other time.

I hope those of you attending have a really good weekend

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOHEMIANCAT 5/20/2011 9:57PM

    I am truly sorry that you were in the flood. I am praying for you and your family.

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MUSIC66 5/20/2011 9:48PM

    sorry your house flooded our house flooded in the january floodes in toowoomba

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SILLYHP1953 5/20/2011 3:52PM

    I wish there would be a spark rally closer to me, how do we find out about these spark rallies? Baltimore or Washington or Philadelphia would be close enough, but some fun place like Ocean City, Maryland or Rehoboth Beach, Delaware would be really close!!!

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LYNMEINDERS 5/19/2011 11:36PM

    Thats sad John....however I am sure other opportunities will come along....

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DAD2GETFIT 5/19/2011 8:55PM


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GIRANIMAL 5/19/2011 3:55PM

    That stinks. But I am selfish and would be way more sad if I were actually going to be there. emoticon

Really, I'm sorry to hear this. I know you would very much have enjoyed it.

Good luck with all the insurance folks! Thinkin' about you, dear friend. emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/19/2011 3:55:55 PM

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KIKOOMAGOO 5/19/2011 8:35AM

    You are lucky to live in a place where there are Spark Rallies! I'm sure there will be another one soon. I'm sorry you have to miss this one - you certainly would be on many people's 'have to meet' list! emoticon

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INDIANOAKS 5/19/2011 8:31AM

    BUMMER!! I am attending the Rally and read your blogs on and off so was looking forward to finding you at the Rally to shake your hand (LOVE your writing style)!!!!

I'm so sorry you're dealing with flooding issues! Thankfully YOU are safe -- but don't envy you dealing with the "aftermath"! Hopefully the insurance and contractor meet ups go smoothly!

Enjoy your weekend -- Rally or no Rally!! Take care!

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TEDYBEAR2838 5/19/2011 7:03AM

    Yup, life does get in the way. Or as I say : Life Happens!

It's ok because you are where you are supposed to be at this point in time.
It all has a way of working out


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REJ7777 5/19/2011 6:33AM

    I'm sorry about the damage to your home and that you won't make it to the Spark rally. emoticon
I hope that everything works out well with the contractors and adjustor. emoticon

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MRE1956 5/19/2011 6:30AM

    $#!@# flooding = gotta HATE that.....there'll likely be flooding in certain areas where I'm from, but for now it looks like I shouldn't have to worry (other than perhaps a puddle or two in the basement - my commute should be OK) sorry you're dealing with all that .......

Hopefully you'll get another chance to rally soon.....

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NASFKAB 5/19/2011 6:24AM

  So sorry to know that you cant make it

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JRZG8R 5/19/2011 12:32AM

    darn sorry to hear this.

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CARTOONB 5/18/2011 10:47PM

    I'm so sorry that you can't go. Life can so get in the way sometimes.

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HDHAWK 5/18/2011 10:41PM

    I debated and debated about trying to make it work. I finally checked and there were no more tickets. Probably crazy to drive 20 hrs. in a weekend anyway. Must have been fate because it wouldn't have been worth going if I didn't get to meet you John! Hope you get the insurance taken care of and it goes your way!

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GEEMAWEST 5/18/2011 10:26PM

    Oh John, I'm so very sorry. I know you were really looking forward to it.
emoticon emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 5/18/2011 9:32PM

    I was a member of that team when it launched, thinking I'd be able to make the trip. My wallet is not big enough!

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Sticker Shock

Monday, May 16, 2011

Joan and I took our grand daughter to the movies yesterday afternoon. It was a Disney flick, about the lions in Africa. She really wanted to see it. She's five and she really got scared so thank goodness it was only ninety minutes long. Before the movie started we went to get some popcorn and Joan wanted a drink. Our movie complex does the popcorn/Coke special for nine bucks. A tub of popcorn that would feed a third world country and a drink that needs three people to carry it to your seat for you. If that's not enough you get "free refills!!!" The drink by itself costs two bucks and is about thirty two ounces.

I'm next in line. Being in my fifth day with no diet soda, which I successfully navigated and am now in day six, I was going to get a bottle of water. The young man behind the counter asked me if I'd like a large or small bottle. I said large. He said "Gimme five bucks."Well he didnt put it that way but he might as well have. A large bottle of water held a whole sixteen ounces. BTW: No Refills!!

I sat in my seat pondering the whole transaction. For two bucks I can get poisoned, over and over again, as long as I'm at the movies. If I make a healthy choice and drink water I pay through the nose. Am I the only one that's miffed by this?

BTW: I do not live in LA, Chicago or New York. A bottle of water at the grocery costs a dollar and a half

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMKAT4310 5/22/2011 7:20PM

    I got two new BPA free water bottles this spring. half a gallon each. I carry them to work, and usually drink both in a day. I talk to my students all day long, and for them to model speech. (most are non-speaking). I also refuse to buy water. I have great water at home, nice deep well. I so understand the conundrum of cheap soda.

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CATHERINEL66 5/19/2011 12:45PM

    LOL, so, I go everywhere with a water bottle in my purse and refill at water fountains as needed. It's how I travel (dump the water out for airline security) and basically how I live ... I HATE to pay for water and I drink like a gallon a day or something ridiculous. The fancy no-calorie yum berry drinks are also cost prohibitive.

My DH is a pop/soda addict (BADLY) and has sticker shock everytime he tries to wean off to something healthy. :( Poison and fast food are cheap and just fuel the obesity "epidemic".

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WORKINGSTIFF 5/19/2011 9:59AM

    Oh, yeah, it can cost you to eat/drink healthy's cheaper dollar-wise to eat junk, thus, our country is in the situation that it's in-full of unhealthy, overweight people!

It shouldn't have to take a master's degree in finance to figure out how to afford to eat healthy foods...

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KIKOOMAGOO 5/19/2011 8:40AM

    And... you can't bring your own water and some baby carrots in with you! (well, you aren't supposed to!)

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LYNMEINDERS 5/18/2011 6:56PM

    This is somehting that bugs me as well...
I live in New Zealand and we pay around $2.50 -$3.00 NZ for a 750 ml water......I can buy a 2 litre of coke for less than that......

I really liked it when I was in Addis Ababa in was 48 bir....equivalent to $3 american dollars for 6 2litre bottles in a pack.....

I wonder which country is actually the third world one sometimes!!!!!!!!!lol....

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TRIPLE_EMME 5/18/2011 2:13PM

    You are not alone at being miffed by this.

I'm proud of you for resisting the pop and drinking the healthy (albeit expensive) alternative.

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DOGMOMMA2THREE 5/18/2011 9:11AM

    $5.00 is a bit much for water, isn't it, yet the stuff that isn't good for you is always much cheaper....price wise! I think you have to think of it price-wise versus health-wise. It is frustrating all the same, isn't it!

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/18/2011 3:05AM


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LUVMYK9S 5/17/2011 5:07PM

    I'm a little late commenting on your blog, but YES it is one of my pet peeves too! The first time I asked for bottled water at the movies concession I was shocked that a 16oz. bottle was $5 so I asked for an empty cup (FREE) and I filled it up at the water fountain (FREE REFILLS LOL). I'm not really a penny pincher (which I should be) but when the movies snacks cost more than dinner for 4 I think it is a bit ridiculous!

BTW, my son is almost 10 years old so that last movie we went to see was Thor in 3D -- why does it seem that EVERY new movie that comes out these days is 3D? Personally I really prefer HD or Digital ...

Kudos John for sticking with no diet soda!

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AMYMOHIO 5/17/2011 3:55PM

    *sigh* This always sucks. I just try to remember what Jillian Michaels says... that it's still cheaper then having one of the diseases the bad stuff causes.


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LORSI2000 5/17/2011 1:05PM

    I just LOVE your blogs, John!
Thanks for another great one.
And, everything you said, is SO TRUE!

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MYOWNHERO 5/17/2011 8:58AM

    Yeah...I smuggle in a water bottle and some pretzels to the movies. I just can't bring myself to pay that much for water!

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SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:21PM

    I took my granddaughter to the movies this weekend, too! But we saw Soul Surfer, which was actually really good, I wasn't sure what to expect. I drank a bottle of water, too, but think it was only $3.00, but I ate a lot of popcorn!!!

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JUNEAU2010 5/16/2011 9:20PM

    That's nuts!

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GIRANIMAL 5/16/2011 8:04PM

    Oooh, this really makes me mad. I can't remember right now which movie it is -- maybe "Food Inc." -- in which there's the interview with the family of four who work like dogs yet make little money and are all overweight because they often have to opt for the $1 menu at a fast food joint because broccoli is more expensive and does not in itself constitute a meal. It's just maddening to me.

I'm sorry you paid $5 for water -- water! the one thing we cannot live without yet have to pay (lots) for! -- but kudos to you for putting one more day's notch into your sugar-free-free belt. emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/16/2011 8:05:31 PM

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PROT358 5/16/2011 7:30PM

    I sneak my own snack/drink in the theater. I stuff it in my coat pockets during the winter or my purse in the summer. You could get away with a briefcase or a tote bag if you brought your wife. But I agree that it is unjust too charge so much more for water as opposed to soda. Maybe because you are paying for the bottle itself, as opposed to something disposable, and because bottled water in general is expensive and they have to make a profit? But surely it doesn't need to cost five dollars. Not fair!

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GO-LOEW 5/16/2011 5:56PM

    I am almost always miffed by the way we can be poisoned and the various industries producing the junk get to call it food. I was just on my soap box going on about kids breakfast cereals. *hopping off soap box*

Glad you made the right decision. Your revenge will be your success without their silly treats!

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HDHAWK 5/16/2011 5:16PM

    Seems to be the way it is. I suppose because most people don't make the healthier choice. Good for you for doing it anyway John!

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HEALTHY4ME 5/16/2011 5:15PM

    Good for you and for buying the water but you ar so right it is so wrong....... govt goes on and on about obesity, and getting our kids to eat and drink right yet they throw it back on us.
I am with you Water. my dd gets so frustrated as she would rather water but hates to pay the price.
Good going!

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MIZZSB 5/16/2011 4:37PM

    i dont get it either!
Unhealthy food and drinks are so cheap and the healthy stuff is way more expensive. But 5 $$???? Thats outrageous.

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TKDABRUNZ 5/16/2011 3:38PM

    I totally agree! For what they charge at the movies for popcorn I can go to the grocery store and buy a bag of unpopped kernels and still have money left over.

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DEBRITA01 5/16/2011 1:56PM

    It IS amazing how *junk food* is cheaper (not saying that movie treats are cheap) and how costly the healthier alternatives are. And we wonder why America is getting fatter? I better get off my soapbox before I get carried away...Just wanted to say, I agree...

I typically smuggle in my own drink and/or treats for that very reason...I refuse to pay $ for junk or $5 for a water! Glad you chose the more expensive drink...the cheaper drink would have *cost* you in the long run... emoticon

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CINDYC53 5/16/2011 1:53PM

    That is SO WRONG!! I agree with Becky, that making the healthy choice more expensive is part of the reason people make poor food choices.

So glad you did the right thing!!


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GEEMAWEST 5/16/2011 1:30PM

    Unbelievable! That's one of the many reasons I don't go to the theater. I wait for the movie to come out on DVD and relax in my own living room.

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BSTAKINGACTION 5/16/2011 12:02PM

    This kind of stuff really irks me. That's why many of those living in poverty have such horrible health problems. Healthy food/drink choices are not accessible to them at reasonable costs. Its a total travesty and an embarrassment our country should own up to soon.

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THECRAZYMANGO 5/16/2011 11:34AM

    I really liked KRICKET4's comment until I was picturing you with a big purse. Do you they'd be onto you if you had a big purse? Tehehe!

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CIVIAV 5/16/2011 11:25AM

    The wonders of our modern civilization.

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JAKEANDNELLIE 5/16/2011 11:07AM

    Soda - $2.00
Water - $5.00
Good choices and a healthy, longer life - PRICELESS!

I guess it's true what Grandpa always said - "You gotta pay for the good things in life so pay with a smile on your face!"
Stay positive!

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KENDRACARROLL 5/16/2011 10:54AM

    Never buy anything at the movie theater; that's what big purses are for :)

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/16/2011 10:50AM

    It's wrong, but it's also pretty typical most places. Yes, it annoys me too--no wonder as a society we are getting wider when it is cheaper and easiesr to get juunk than to get something reasonably healthy!

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LADYLAUGHS247 5/16/2011 10:40AM

  That is just not right. But I'm sure the mark up on the water is just because it is healthier. Think of the money the movie theater is raking in by charging so much for a bottle of water. It drives me crazy to think on it.

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LADYHAWKE12 5/16/2011 10:03AM

  That is horrible! Good for you for sticking to your health plan!!! emoticon

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HAPPYSOUL91 5/16/2011 9:51AM

    I am amazed how much people eat in the show. Out here you see nachos, hot dogs and pretzels go by all the time

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GRAMLORI 5/16/2011 8:59AM

    Good for you....sticking to the healthy stuff, no matter the cost. I figure that if I will pay for the bad stuff, why argue about paying for the good stuff. But you're right, these transactions show the warped view the world has now on what people should do. Those vendors know what buttons to push. No wonder obesity is at epidemic proportions! Sad, but true. Have a blessed week, anyway!

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NASFKAB 5/16/2011 8:54AM

  That's so annoying a bottle of water costing more than a soda. REALLY!!!!!

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NJMATTICE 5/16/2011 8:50AM

    I can't tell you the last time I went to the movies. I am way too cheap. My standard line is "I'll wait for it to come out in DVD." It's a shame, but I can't support the movie going lifestyle. It is outrageously expensive. But if it was quality time with your granddaughter, it was worth the dollars.
Have a great week, John.

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BLESSED2BEME 5/16/2011 8:42AM

    I'm with you! It really ticks me off when water costs more than soda.

Good for you on being soda free for 6 days now! I keep trying to give it up and I cave at about the 5 day point.


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CAHUNO2 5/16/2011 8:38AM

    You did great with that temptation!! And yes it costs more to be healthy emoticon the Body Fat Solution by Tom Venuto how all that works. Just company's out to make money and making America fat as a result emoticon

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    Eating healthy is so much more expensive than eating crap. It isn't fair one bit.

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DOLLBABE56 5/16/2011 8:34AM

    Wow! Has it been that long since I've been to the movies? Yep. No wonder people smuggle food in. I guess the last time we went to the movies was right before Mike's heart attack, which was in 2003. One of the Harry Potter movies. emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 5/16/2011 8:11AM

    It does seem a bit OUTRAGEOUS doesn't it? I never buy stuff at the movies. It's hard enough to get the money to go, let alone give their prices. We always go out to eat afterwards.

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MKPRINCESS007 5/16/2011 8:07AM

    No, you aren't the only one miffed. It stinks! I have wondered the same thing, or for that matter, maybe there could be something on the counter that isn't totally outrageous for fat/calories? People will say "bring stuff in your purse" but I just don't roll that way.

I am with you, 100%!


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Examining My Goals: Wow How Time Flies

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Did you ever get one of those phone calls that made you smile the moment you recognize the caller ID? An old friend/client called me Thursday afternoon and after the traditional exchange of pleasantries he said ďI called to thank you for helping me learn about how to set good goals.Ē He went on to say how he had completed college, after being away from school for over twenty years. I knew he was in school but we hadnít talked in a while and I wondered how all that was going for him. Now I had an answer, LOL. After we finished talking my mind did an inventory on my own goals and how my perception of them has changed since joining Spark.

A year and a half ago I wanted to lose weight, a hundred pounds to be exact. Between me and you I didnít think I could do it. Iíd lost weight before and put it back on. I wonít bore you. You know the story. Most of us live it on a daily basis. Just substitute my name with yours. We all have ďbeen there and done that.Ē Well Iíve lost sixty eight of the hundred pounds and Iíve done that before also. Hereís whatís changed: Iím not fixated on the number, I fixated on being healthy and on changing how I live. Most recently Iíve learned the lesson that this planet is not mine. Iím a guest here. There are all sorts of things been here longer than me and will be here long after I leave and that I really need to respect the planet. I know by becoming healthy in body mind and spirit that Iíll reach my goal weight. Oh it may take a while but honestly, where am I going? There is a much larger picture here than ďjust John,Ē and as I embrace that I get closer to being whole.

I started my exercise program by believing a lot of sweat and accumulating cardio minutes would make me leaner and meaner. Today, after some injuries and some really good advice from a lot of people I am participating in an exercise process that is consistent and healthy. I had to stop running for a while because Iíd done some damage to my legs and feet. Yesterday I ran two miles for the first time in over two months. My dreams of 10Kís and half marathons are pretty much evaporated. Right now Iím going to be satisfied with 5Kís. I may never run more than a 5K and thatís OK. I have discovered spinning and I love it and now that I can move around better my trainer and I are going to start working on my core.

Iíve lost a lot of good friends here. Iíve lost people who got stuck, just like me, and gave up. I miss them. They became ashamed and embarrassed and they quietly went away. They remain a source of motivation for me because I will not give up. I may get stuck and this may take a while to complete and I will have set backs but Iím not quitting!

My goals have changed and in many, many ways thatís how it should be. Currently I am in the middle of Day 5 of no diet soda. Iíve learned that this is very similar to quitting smoking. There are two times a day I crave a diet soda --- early morning and between four and five in the afternoon. I have learned too, that there is a really beautiful peace developing inside of me. Itís a calm quiet feeling.

Iím not going to be one of those people who smiles for the camera and says ďthis is a breeze.Ē It isnít, LOL. I am breaking out all over my body with small pimples. They are not painful or anything but they are part of the aspartame withdrawal. (Itís nice when you and your doctor go to the same church and you walk out of Mass this morning and you start asking her questions!) I live with panic anxiety disorder and I have had a few monumental anxiety attacks in the past few days including one around 1:00 AM. All part of the process.

Iím doing well drinking water flavored with lemon or lime and un sweet tea. Mostly Iím proud of me that Iím doing this. Whatever goals you are working on, you should be proud of too. You are a god example to me.

Thank you for your love and support

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHERINEL66 5/19/2011 12:52PM

    Hey buddy! So, maybe we can NOT run a marathon together, LOL! I gotta tell you that I've pulled way back on the running. My own injuries, and then about 2 weeks ago one of my dogs (my babies!!) keeled over on the side of the trail from a "heat related stress event" formerly known as heat stroke. It was only 80 and humid and we were about 4+ miles into a 5 mile mostly super fast walk with run intervals. Whew, scared me. And my feet hurt.

Anyway -- it's not problem. I am the most addicted spinning addict EVER. I love it very much and it works around my various maladies/old injuries, and hasn't, to date, created new ones other than a sore butt occasionally (stay off the saddle!). I add some other cardio to that here and there, plus lots of serious butt-kicking core, plus ST -- and it's all good! I'm still shaping up and losing inches, while maintaining my weight (maybe a few pounds lower).

Yippee! It's totally about the lifestyle, totally about the journey.

Aspertame withdawl sounds WICKED. Yep, I'd say it's right up there with quitting smoking (so glad I did!).

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LYNMEINDERS 5/18/2011 6:51PM

    WooHoo...go john....that is awesome....
I have heard that the sweetnet causes problems when stopping can do it and set a great example to others....

Right there cheering you on....

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SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:19PM

    wow, I had no idea about aspartame withdrawal, it really sounds like your body is trying to get the stuff out of your body any way it can. I've heard about dangers of diet soda but never heard anybody talk about the withdrawal. You are doing a service and leading by example, as usual.

I will not give up, either.

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ALLYCAT424 5/16/2011 8:18PM

    John, your blog always touches me but this one especially did. I needed that inspiration today! I've been having a rough time of losing weight and I really want to just go away quietly because that would be the easy thing to do. Your blog has re-inspired me to not give up, to keep pushing on, despite the fact that the process seems slow and never ending sometimes. This is just what I needed to hear. Thanks!!

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GIRANIMAL 5/16/2011 7:56PM

    I'm very proud of you! I knew aspartame was bad, but I didn't anticipate that kind of withdrawal for you. I'm really sorry, for that and the panic attacks. But think about what that means about just HOW bad it is - yikes! I am so glad you are cleaning up your body to match your brilliant mind. emoticon

I like what you said about no longer being fixated on the numbers - I finally get it. I have broken a YEARLONG plateau with all these new food restrictions of mine, but I am barely even excited about it. Don't get me wrong -- I'll take it, gladly! I just more so want this to be the next step toward my feeling better. If not, I gave it my all. And you're right, for that I will be proud! (I can't say "am proud" yet - right now it's still too darn hard!) emoticon

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CINDYC53 5/16/2011 1:49PM

    "I have learned too, that there is a really beautiful peace developing inside of me. Itís a calm quiet feeling."

LOVE THAT!! I'm on my Day 3 of liberation from sugar, and I have that same feeling. It's letting go - when we quit struggling - that allows that to happen.

Proud of you, John!!

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GEEMAWEST 5/16/2011 1:37PM

    I'm proud of you too, John!

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ZURDTA- 5/16/2011 8:43AM

    It is hard journey to be sure... but so worth it.

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NASFKAB 5/16/2011 6:18AM

  you are such an inspiration. THANKS

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JULIA1154 5/15/2011 10:40PM

  Once again, John, thank you for a thoughtful, compassionate and compelling blog.

I'm sure you will conquer the diet soda craving and will feel (and be) stronger for it. That strength will inform your future efforts to create a healthy body. Hang in there, believing that you will come out on top.

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ELYMWX 5/15/2011 10:40PM

    Anything worth anything takes work. Great blog, John.

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    Congrats!!! As a former Coca Cola addict, I heartily recommend Pellegrino sparkling water when you need something fizzy. I specifically like that brand because it's one of the ones that has calcium, which guys need for strong bones too! emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 5/15/2011 4:38PM

    Awesome!!!! you can do this!!! such inpiration to me!!!!!I am proud of you too!

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CIVIAV 5/15/2011 4:31PM

    I am proud of both you and me John! And of course all Sparkers who are sticking it out placing one foot in front of the other whether they move quickly or slowly!

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HDHAWK 5/15/2011 3:39PM

    You will do this John, I have faith in you! Spark is the difference this time around. Yes, I was almost at goal and yes, I've gained nearly all of it back. I've struggled for the past two years with consistency, but the difference this time is I'm not giving up. I may be treading water, but I haven't quit. I'll reach my goals and so will you. It's just taking longer than I want and I take complete responsibility for that.

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MIZZSB 5/15/2011 3:37PM

    Love your blog AGAIN!

Thank you for you support and motivation...

Never thought you could get pimples of withdrawal from Aspartaam hummm..

I am not there yet to give up on diet soda. Maybe i will go there or not as long i am healthy and exercising.

I agree on the exercising part, i used to do a lot of cardio and so intens that i couldnt do anything else the rest of the day and my ST was high as well..
tuesday i go to the gym again after 3 weeks and will start slow, cardio on low intensity but longer and ST more reps and lower weights. heard that that is better for the fatburning.

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    Great blog - you are proof that it can be done - we just have to believe in ourselves and get out there and work towards our fitness/health goals! Thanks! emoticon

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KENDRACARROLL 5/15/2011 2:01PM

    Great post.

There is life without running. Never in my life have a run more than 2 miles, and I doubt that I ever will. Not my cup of tea. Hiking, yes, for hours. Strength training, walking, biking, spinning, cardio kickboxing, water aerobics, yes, yes, and yes. :) There are so many ways to keep your body moving. I figure, if I get injured doing a sport that is supposed to be fun and beneficial for me, then it's not the right kind.

Great job, discontinuing diet soda. My money is on you here!

Over the years I have 'lost' many SparkFriends as well and it always makes me sad. I'm not saying there is no life without SP and millions of people have lost weight without SP. I am convinced however, that without a proper support network there is a huge chance that weight loss won't last. What do they say, only 5% of all people that lost weight will be able to keep it off in the long run? Here I do credit my SparkNetwork for my success.

Wishing you well.

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WALKNLOVE 5/15/2011 1:41PM

    I do believe in this journey, God is trying to get us to listen to him as he guides us. Glad you are listening!

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PURPLE180 5/15/2011 12:54PM

    Awesome post. emoticon

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KAREBARE506 5/15/2011 12:39PM

    Great post! You're awesome!!

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WINTERRAIN 5/15/2011 12:34PM

    What an emoticon feeling the "inner calm" is, I have never been able to put to words what you have in that small sentence. I love this blog and want to thank you for sharing, it really did help me!

Your awesome emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 5/15/2011 12:13PM

    Hmm - I already have adult acne, I don't need aspartame withdrawal problems! Yikes!

Over the past few weeks, I have been flirting with giving up, but the stubborn Norwegian in me won't give up Today, I am back to being serious about this whole journey. Serious in a good way because the exercise I do is FUN!

Thanks for sharing!

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SOLONGSUE 5/15/2011 12:06PM

    Stumbles and falls are part of this journey. Learning to trust yourself and knowing that you CAN get back up is probably the hardest piece of this process to learn. You have learned these lessons and that is what makes "this time" different.

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LADYHAWKE12 5/15/2011 11:50AM

  You will get there John! I believe in your inherent strength. emoticon

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Becoming Sugar Free: Day Three

Friday, May 13, 2011

Iíll have to admit I was a bit over whelmed by all the advice I received on becoming sugar free. My first inclination was to try to rationalize my way out of making the commitment by telling myself ďthis is way too much to do.Ē Since I know how I think I realized that this fit of drama would be followed by a moment of lucidity. I was right.

Iíve decided to break this down into increments I can deal with. There is no way I can do all of it cold turkey, so I devised a plan. I had my last diet soda Tuesday evening. Thatís where I am going to begin. Itís been two days, seven hours, twenty minutes and a handful of seconds but whoís counting, right? I quit smoking six years ago and I did it cold turkey. I took a calendar and for every day I didnít smoke I put a huge X through the date. When I was really tempted I asked myself, ďDo you really want to have to start over?Ē After a month it got easier. I decided to employ the same strategy with diet soda. I have proudly place two bi ďXísĒ on a calendar. Itís my motivation.

Physically I feel pretty good but I am having some emotional withdrawal symptoms similar to tobacco withdrawal. I know in a week or so they will dissipate. Pray for Joan. She told me this morning she is ďREALLY looking forward to spending part of next week with her three sisters.Ē I have noticed that I am bit more regular when I use the restroom which is always a plus.

I have replaced the cookies, cakes and pies with fresh fruit for right now. Once I get the diet soda habit controlled I will tackle the next step. I am eating fresh red grapes, fresh pineapple, and fresh apples. I am drinking water and unsweetened ice tea. I tried herbal tea, which tastes great ---- However I am spending enough time in the bathroom as it is.

Thatís where Iím at right now. Itís interesting to correlate the diet soda and cigarettes because I find myself wanting a diet soda at certain times just like I wanted a cigarette. In a way, Iím glad that I had that experience because I know if I focus and balance for a few minutes the urge goes away. Homeostasis is never easy, but well worth the price.

Iíll keep you posted.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 5/20/2011 10:34AM

    I drink green unsweetened tea all day long but I was never a diet-coke lover, anyway tea helps me avoiding other types of drinks/food emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/20/2011 10:34:50 AM

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SILLYHP1953 5/16/2011 9:08PM

    I am really impressed with your plan and am waiting to read about your experiences with this.

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CINDYC53 5/15/2011 8:12PM

    p.s. Science is showing now that diet soda actually activates our sugar cravings (the experience of some other sparkers not withstanding). Just had to share that!

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CINDYC53 5/15/2011 8:10PM

    emoticon emoticon

Yay, John!! How about a piece of sugar-free gum at those "special times?"


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SPARKLISE 5/15/2011 3:52PM

    I gave up coffee and diet-pepsi in january so i can relate,but i assure you,it does get easier.I used to drink a lot of it in the car so i replaced it with water in my coffee cup and that helped a lot. I think i missed the taste but also the habit of drinking something so i do great with water-i bring it everywhere.Hope this help. emoticon emoticon

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MARLIZG 5/15/2011 1:52PM

    low sugar pie crust filled with sugar-free pudding made with skim milk (i put sliced berries on bottom & cut the milk by 1/2 cup--u can have your pie & eat it too! emoticon

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LIZABETT 5/15/2011 9:10AM

    emoticon I'm proud of you, John. Especially for ridding your body of unhealthy nicotine--and good on the aspertame also. Anything we can do to live healthier AND longer is emoticon

emoticon emoticon

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AJDOVER1 5/14/2011 7:21PM

    I like your strategy of having a replacement for your sugars. It sounds like you're doing great. You're a hero!

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MIZZSB 5/14/2011 4:41PM

    you can do this John!

I tried it as well but i got sweet binges when i stopped drinking diet soda.
So i drink about 2-3 glasses of diet soda a day and that helps me from binging.

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/14/2011 7:04AM


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LYNMEINDERS 5/14/2011 6:00AM

    WooHoo...go John....
You can so do this.....
Cheering you on

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CARTOONB 5/13/2011 11:25PM

    Diet soda is a hard habit to break...and then to cut sugar too?!? Joan is a brave woman! LOL! I wish you both luck!

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LORSI2000 5/13/2011 10:44PM


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DAD2GETFIT 5/13/2011 7:51PM


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JPRICE217 5/13/2011 7:37PM

    emoticonone day at a time

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C4CHRISTINE 5/13/2011 5:45PM

    best of luck! I went cold turkey in February and never looked back. It was the best choice for me!
Here's to more Xs

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SKATVEN 5/13/2011 3:03PM

    actually you maybe having aspertame withdraw which affects some people more than others. My brother was advised by his chiropracter that he may see some health benefits from not ingesting aspertame as he had some patients who saw major benefits from quitting it. There are lots of studies available. So I have given it a try too.. I have the hardest time when I want a bubbly beverage. I don't think I'd go sugar free... but aspertame free not too bad.

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GIRANIMAL 5/13/2011 2:29PM

    I didn't even think about it being similar to quitting smoking, withdrawal and all, but you're right! (I quit smoking 5 years ago - yay us!) emoticon

I have a few secret weapons I've rediscovered lately to make fruit seem more like a "real" dessert: frozen grapes (they're like sorbet!) and this little beauty from Coach Stepf:
You can do it, John! X the heck out of that calendar!


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MARYMO22 5/13/2011 1:17PM

    here's to day 3 etc....... :-)

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CMBELISLE 5/13/2011 1:10PM

    Congrats on the no soda thing!

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HDHAWK 5/13/2011 12:55PM

    Doing this gradually is a good way to go. I was almost off diet coke a couple years ago. I have one per day now, sometimes 2. I don't drink coffee so that's my caffeine fix. Good luck!

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LADYLAUGHS247 5/13/2011 11:47AM

  Great job! Breaking into little steps is the only way I can make big changes. Good luck in the days to come. I look forward to hearing your progress!

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DIASTER 5/13/2011 10:33AM

  Always a new challenge to concur. You can do it and in about 2 weeks you will feel better. A lot of joint pain will disappear.

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JANC7223 5/13/2011 10:31AM

    Congrats on making this decision. Just take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time and before you know it you will have conquered this. emoticon

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GANASSI 5/13/2011 10:13AM

    Good luck with quitting the diet soda. Aspartame is truly addictive to some of us. I used to drink a 2L bottle a day, and would have drunk a second if I had opened it. It was tough at first, but it does get easier.

And as you admit, it is a habit - you simply have to replace it with another one!

These days (some years on) I still have the occasional coke zero (I used to be a diet coke fiend, but prefer the taste of coke zero), but it really is something that I only buy very occasionally. And I only get the single can now.

One day at a time!

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BLUEROSE73 5/13/2011 10:02AM

    Good for you. And good for recognizing how big a project it is and breaking it down. I know you can do this. I beleive in you.

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KIKOOMAGOO 5/13/2011 9:50AM

    Just amazing! I really admire how you can take a seemingly overwhelming goal and put it together like a puzzle with 5000 pieces. One piece (or day) at a time.
I gave up diet soda several years ago after I had severe migraine headaches from the caffeine addiction. I couldn't go 4 hours without a diet Dr. Pepper or the headaches would debilitate me. I think it took 6-10 days of no caffeine and a ton of support from my husband to get through it. I still drink coffee, but just one mug a day.
You can do it! 2 calendar x's down - the sky's the limit!

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PRINCESSNURSE 5/13/2011 9:19AM

    One day at a time, right? YOU CAN DO IT!

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HAPPYSOUL91 5/13/2011 9:15AM

    Simple, not easy!

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MARTELLA3 5/13/2011 9:11AM

    John-I feel as if you are a trail blazer for me. I know I would benefit from being more vigilant about added sugars. Your courage to take the bull by the horns has been a great motivator.
Thanks for keeping me updated.

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MRSPINCKNEY 5/13/2011 8:59AM

    emoticon It gets easier! Take it one day at a time! emoticon

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SNOOPYLUV85 5/13/2011 8:51AM

    You can do it!!!

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CIVIAV 5/13/2011 8:51AM

    You are an awesome example of what can be done. Inspired me to cut out deserts except on special occasions (max 2X per week).

Re the soda. I gave up diet coke upon receiving my cancer diagnosis. Every so often, say once per quarter I have one. But while I was quitting, I would make myself a club soda and bitters or plain soda or soda and lemon. I found what I missed was the bubbles!

Keep on keeping on!

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SSPLAWN 5/13/2011 8:47AM

    Wow. Good luck. That's a hard goal to stick to and I wish you the best!

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SWEETNEENI 5/13/2011 8:47AM

    Good job John! emoticon

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