KARVY09   39,391
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The Cookie Diet and Other Starvation Scams

Friday, October 23, 2009

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There was a great article in the New York Times the other day musing on the popularity of Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet and other "quick fix" weight loss plans: www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/fashion/2

In this article, one woman highlighted pays nearly $3,000 per year for this diet, which calls for you to eat six specially manufactured cookies per day and one "normal" meal. The diet is endorsed by fluffier celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson, and Kelly Clarkson (Yes, KGRIMES526, Kelly was on this diet too!) and as noted in the article, the expected revenues from this diet are expected to gross $85-$92 million in 2009. Those on the cookie diet are eating approximately 800-1000 calories per day.

One telling quote: "The Cookie Diet is very appealing because it legalizes a food — the cookie — that is banned from most weight loss programs." Supposedly you are supposed to feel better about being on the diet because you are constantly eating these cookies. I agree that you shouldn't restrict your favorite foods from your eating plan, but what is the point in gorging on them? What is that teaching people about healthy living habits?

I'm writing this blog because I've seen people on here spending money on diets like the Cookie Diet, Slimfast, Jenny Craig, Medifast, and other diet plans where you are paying the "experts" to substitute a meal for you or provide ready-made meals. Now I ask my Sparkers, would you rather have a delicious homemade oatmeal cookie made with oats, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour, baking soda and butter on occasion? Or would you rather have the cookies prescribed on this diet, several times per day, which contain:


Mmmm, I love my cookies with a little beef protein hydrosylate and microcrystalline cellulose! The microcystalline cellulose apparently acts as a thickening agent which makes you feel fuller. I don't know about you, but I like my feeling of fullness to come from actual nutrients, rather than the molecular equivalent of styrofoam! The Cookie Diet also comes with a vitamin kit, because while Dr. Siegal touts the nutritional content of his diet, the vitamins are there ... just in case.

I need to say it again. People who embark on this diet are spending $3,000 a year or $250 a month on these cookies! $3,000! Can you think of what you could buy with $3000? I have a few suggestions and I encourage others to add their own:

-Three annual mid-range-to-upscale gym memberships ($80 per month)
-Airfare to Europe for a family of four ($750 per person)
-A downpayment on a mid-range car ($3,000)
-Tiffany & Co. diamond and platinum pendant ($2,950)
-Vespa S50 scooter (MSRP $3,199)

Now, I've saved the best quote in this article for last: "I have heard experts say that very low calorie diets are unsafe,” [Dr. Siegal] said. “I have yet to see the first case where anyone suffered the ill effects of a low calorie diet.”

Really? Apparently Dr. Siegal has never seen the horrors that anorexia and bulimia can do to the human body? Not to mention that doctors regularly state that a diet below 1000 calories has numerous side effects such as dizziness, dehydration, depression, vitamin deficiency, etc.

My friend TRAVELNISTA posted a blog today about how people are looking for a quick fix to melt off those pounds. And nowhere is it more apparent than in the diet industry, which are begging to make a buck from your perceived inadeqacies. Well, here is my recommendation, which is coincidentally the same as of one of the public health experts in the article: “Keep a food diary, cut your portion sizes, cut out the junk and enlist support from family and friends. Start walking — daily. You’ll be better off.”

Sounds like Sparkpeople to me! And use that $3,000 for rewards for meeting your goals!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GONE2THEDOGS 10/26/2009 3:38PM

    Wow, great blog! So true about the cookies - at least homemade you know what's going in them! I must admit did spend way too much money on Herbal Magic...& I didn't even buy into all the herbals they recommended...

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THE_NEW_MELISSA 10/26/2009 10:31AM

    Sounds like the Dairy Queen Diet I used to be on...I had a delicious shake for breakfast, a delicious shake for lunch, and then a sensible dinner...hahahaha...

People, seriously, eat less move more. That's as simple as you can make it. Eat loss Move More...you'll save money and look great :)

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HEALTHYSASSY 10/24/2009 10:18PM

    Wow! Beef protein in a cookie! That sounds disgusting! I think that slow and steady is the way to lose weight. Really insightful blog. I enjoyed reading it.

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TEAM-SARAH 10/24/2009 11:01AM

    I don't even know what to say..... that is horrifying. Our society is just so freaking stupid!

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TRAVELNISTA 10/24/2009 10:30AM

    Great Blog! I once did the Optifast Diet which is supposed to be a medically supervised diet. I did lose a lot of weight but I have gained it back since because one can not live on liquid meals for the rest of their lives. However, this is not the reason for my reply.

I became malnourished while on this supposedly medically supervised diet. The Optifast Group took my blood when they were scheduled to but did they really look at it. I went to the Dentist for a semi-annual teeth cleaning. The Dentist took one look at my gums, which by the way were starting to turn black and I had not noticed yet, he knows the things to look for. They were not black to my eyes but I did notice a slight wrinkling above one of my teeth on my gums.

The Dentist asked what I was doing because he could tell I had lost weight but he was more concerned about the health of my gums. He immediately got on the phone and started making phone calls. He found out my so called medical expert monitoring my group was an anesthesiologist. What did this guy know about nutrition? It appears nothing. Optifast gave me all of my money back that I had spent from day one on the program including the costs of all medical tests and Optifast shakes. They did not want the bad publicity.

So please make sure what you are getting yourself into before you start these programs. No one should be eating less than 1200 calories a day and even that is too low if you are exercising. Better yet, don't take these "easy" ways out. Good old fashioned dieting works if it teaches you that it is not a diet you need but healthy eating habits you will practice for life.

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LADY_JOSIELOT 10/24/2009 1:17AM

    I'm with Stina on that. After doing this for a week, I don't think I'd want to even look at a cookie again. I can definitely think of better things to do with $3000 than buy nasty frankencookies, lol. Why not try the ice cream diet next? If you just have 1/2 cup of ice cream twice a day and then a sensible meal, you'll probably lose weight and definitely consume under 1000 calories a day, too. Duh.

- Josie

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RAINTHIEF 10/23/2009 10:32PM

    With it just being called The Cookie Diet, I immediately do not trust it. But you have to admit, those companies know how to market to the population to make their money.

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LITTLEFREEZE 10/23/2009 9:21PM

    I agree with CUBANJELLY. I'd rather by 3000 dollars worth of cookies and then run them off. Those cookies sound awful!

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DRUSILLA56 10/23/2009 8:41PM


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CASADESPONGE 10/23/2009 5:33PM

    BLECH those cookies sound AWFUL!! Now...the peanut butter one I had at the bookstore the other day was a whole other stor...MMM! AWESOME blog!!

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CUBANJELLY 10/23/2009 4:29PM

    I'd rather spend the $3000 on REAL cookies and run them off later! LOL

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BABY_GIRL69 10/23/2009 4:22PM

    Very interesting! Although I go to Walgreens & buy a oatmeal raisin high in omega 3 Deerfields cookie. I kinda feel really full after consuming half the pack with a glass of water. Maybe its the same concept, mind of matter (food matter that is). . . .

Blessings & Happy Friday!

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STINA6584 10/23/2009 4:21PM

    I think the only thing I would gain from the cookie diet is that after, like, a week, I wouldn't want to even look at a cookie, let alone EAT one, for like a year!

Great blog Kristina! (Also, got unsubscribed from your blogs some how so I'm going to have to go back and catch up!)

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PJDKSMITH 10/23/2009 4:11PM

    Lately, life is all about quick fixes. Unfortunately, the only quick fix I can think of is "I'm sorry", a smile and a scooby doo bandaid.

Jenny emoticon

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JUST-AMY 10/23/2009 4:08PM

    This is an excellent blog and so true! Real food for real bodies! LOVED your post girl. Well done!

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GRACEISENUF 10/23/2009 4:07PM

    This blog needs to make it all the way to that Doc's desk... LOL! Yeah you got me at the "beef protein"...UGH! I'm with you on eating a homemade cookie once in awhile versus dressed up cardboard.

No quick fixes just good choices made daily with alot of exercise added in. This blog should be #1 for the day.

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PINKCOCONUT 10/23/2009 3:58PM

    Totally agreed and great blog! I could use that $3,000 on my tuition thankyouverymuch. Or a new wardrobe when I lost the pounds the healthy and smart way. Or take a trip somewhere! SO much more I can spend my money on than a cookie that contains BEEF! *barf*

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FITMAMA1984 10/23/2009 3:57PM

    I have seen that cookie diet advertised on tv.. even have a friend who would just loooove to try it. I told her she was absolutely crazy! No matter what you do or say, some people crave the quick fixes and those people are not in it to actually become healthy. My $3,000 would go towards our vacations next year!

BTW, I do drink Slim Fast for breakfast on week day mornings. It's so convienient and has tons of vitamins! I don't use it the way the diet is worked out for it though. Just a quick meal replacement I can drink on my drive to work!

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CHICAT63 10/23/2009 3:56PM

    Hi Karvy, great interesting blog what people do for a quick weigthloss like you I rather have natural, unprocessed foods and splurg once in a while, yes for sure there might be some regret but it will be my regret and no one else !!! I also read TRAVELNISTA earlier today and I totally agree. Being on Sparks is an excellent tool for a healthy you !!! Have a great weekend, take care. Josée emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/23/2009 3:57:25 PM

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ONMYWAYTOGOAL 10/23/2009 3:55PM

    GREAT BLOG!!!!

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ZIRCADIA 10/23/2009 3:55PM

    People are stupid. They think weight loss the RIGHT NORMAL HEALTHY WAY is "too hard" so they want a gimmick and to pay someone so they can blame it on the program if they fail.

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Weight Loss Dress Up!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I promised photos of all the great things happening in my life: my new haircut, the old jean jacket fitting again, and my new running shoes. Well, I didn't get the new running shoes yet, so I added a couple of bonus pics at the end!

First of all, the haircut!

And then, the jean jacket!

So then, I remembered that I posted a "before" photo of me hiking in Maine in my trackies and t-shirt. I figured I weighed around 280 pounds at that point. Since I was in dress up mode, I thought, why not? I put on the same outfit.



Soooooo.... that was fun! But there's more! I decided to bring out the black pants, the size 24 when I ballooned up to 286 pounds, my heaviest weight ever. I'm a size 18 now!

That's cool, but where's the fun in that?

Hope you enjoyed my photo blog. I guess the whole point of this is that I still have a long way to go, about 80 pounds until I'm at a "healthy" weight for my height and frame, but there are still concrete changes along the way that you can SEE. So have fun with the journey and reward yourself for all the progress that you make at every step of the way!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 10/24/2009 5:33PM

    YOU...are TOO adorable...love your photo blog..and your success...truly, truly love it! emoticon

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STINA6584 10/23/2009 4:23PM

    I LOVE that last picture!!!

I also really like your haircut. very cute!

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RAINTHIEF 10/22/2009 10:55PM

    Inspiring and wonderful blog! You look great!!!

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ONMYWAYTOGOAL 10/22/2009 11:36AM

    I love love love your new haircut. You are just too cute!!! Your progress is awesome and I'm glad you shared the pix with us-funny! I'm so happy for you! You're always so encouraging and upbeat. I'm glad you're doing so well!!

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DREAMRUNR 10/22/2009 11:16AM

    I love it...Love it...LOVE IT!!!!
Great blog and very encouraging. You motivate me all the time.

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KIMMY622 10/22/2009 1:02AM

    Omg You look fantastic!!

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TRAVELNISTA 10/21/2009 8:55PM

    emoticon You are swimming in those old clothes emoticon

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GONE2THEDOGS 10/21/2009 4:33PM

    Great pictures - wow, what a difference! And I love the haircut - you're just too cute for words!

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KRICKY 10/21/2009 4:19PM

    Wow! Great blog! You have reached some great accomplishments. And your haircut is cute!


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CHICAT63 10/21/2009 4:17PM

    Very inspiring, you're awesome !!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SEATTLESIMS 10/21/2009 12:31PM

    great job!! Isn't it great to try on those old clothes and see the difference!! Keep up the good work!

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ALWAYSCHANGING 10/21/2009 12:26PM

    Girl you ROCK! great job!

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ONLY_AS_HIGH 10/21/2009 11:50AM

    Oh, you look great!!!! You've totally motivated me to start being more concrete about tracking with this SparkPeople thing, so hopefully I will have the same kind of success as you've had!

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DIGISCRAPPY 10/21/2009 11:47AM

    Heehee, fun! You look terrific and you're making such great progress - and not just weight loss, you're gaining such a great fit lifestyle! Very motivating and inspirational!

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EMILYBCRUZ 10/21/2009 11:07AM

    Me luvs that jacket! Lookin good!

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THE_NEW_MELISSA 10/21/2009 10:22AM

    You are so cute! Love the pics. Your hair...wow...looks awesome! Do you feel like a new woman? You sure look like one! It can only get even better! Congrats on your journey, you are rocking it!

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TKLPICKLE 10/21/2009 10:19AM

    wow!! Awesome progress, what an inspiration! Thanks for sharing :)

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TIME4AFITME 10/21/2009 9:51AM

    You are doing so great! That is so fantastic about the clothes! Love the new haircut!
Keep on going! emoticon

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BETHSHEALTH 10/21/2009 9:21AM

    Great visuals. Now why are you keeping the old clothes? Not just in case they fit again. Be sure to donate them sometime.

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DEBBIEKAY1 10/21/2009 9:15AM

    Girl! You are doing it Good for you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RUN2MYDREAMS 10/21/2009 9:08AM

    emoticonIt's always awesome to see how far you've come on the weight loss journey! I'm SO proud of you! Keep up the great work.

YOU CAN DO IT! These pictures will only help fuel your fire. I KNOW YOU WILL DO IT as you already are!

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SLARTYB 10/21/2009 7:24AM



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CUBANJELLY 10/21/2009 7:20AM

    You crack me up! That basketball picture is hilarious! Good for you. You look marvelous darling - love the new haircut and jacket (i have one just like it- so cute). Keep up the good work and get you some new running shoes - you've been waiting! I hope to get some for Christmas...

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THREADBENDER 10/21/2009 7:13AM

    You are looking great!! Love the haircut, and you have such a winning smile.

For me, doing the clothing check is one of the most fun things about my progress to date. I looks that way for you too.

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DESERT_BIRD 10/20/2009 11:09PM

    Very cute haircut and jean jacket. You are doing great!! Thanks for sharing the pictures!

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FORWHOIAM 10/20/2009 10:57PM

    Fab jean jacket!!! Way to go!!!!

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HOKU-ALOHI 10/20/2009 10:24PM

  Hey Kristina, I really enjoyed your photo blog capturing the journey that is you. The changes and your joy in these accomplishments are phenomenal! Your haircut is cute and elegant. Way to rock the spark!!! Sincerely ~ Maya
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JKSTEIN123 10/20/2009 10:07PM

    I loved your pictures. Wow how good did that feel! Your hair looks great. Keep up the great work!

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MACGIRRL 10/20/2009 10:06PM

    You look great! What a sweet smile and major progress to smile about!! Love your humor!

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GRACEISENUF 10/20/2009 9:57PM

    LOVED IT! You have a GREAT sense of humor....I like that! Your haircut is really cute and "You've come a long way baby!"

Keep the blogs coming, they always make my day!

Love and hugs, Judy

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PINKCOCONUT 10/20/2009 9:52PM

    Lookin' awesome!!!

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DENISE245 10/20/2009 9:45PM

    Loved the photos, so inspiring. You are doing a fantastic job emoticon

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CASADESPONGE 10/20/2009 9:38PM

    You are doing such an AWESOME job! I'm sure you'll reach your goals in no time! Love the hair cut too!

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ZIRCADIA 10/20/2009 9:27PM

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a difference!! WOW! And I like the haircut, too. :)

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VANILLABEAR 10/20/2009 9:23PM

    haha, love the picture with the basketball! Well done and congratulations to all of your success!

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CURVYCASEY 10/20/2009 9:07PM

    Dang!!! You've come a long way! You are such an inspiration!
Oh, and I love your haircut....so cute!!!

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TEAM-SARAH 10/20/2009 8:58PM

    Awesome thing blog must have been so fun for you! You know that you've made a ton of positive changes in your life, but to lay it out like this is great. You've come a long way and you're looking great and there will be more amazing progress photos for you to come throughout your last 80 pounds.

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WISLNDR 10/20/2009 8:57PM

    Love your hair and the pictures are great! Bring on the shoes!!

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SPUNKYDUCKY 10/20/2009 8:55PM

    Great photo blog! I am happy to see all of your progress - 286 was my highest weight as well, although I am only down to 251 now - still a long way to go -congrats on all of your progress!

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REDSKINGIRL 10/20/2009 8:55PM

    Great blog! It's great seeing your different stages. Keep up the great job!

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Zumba and Sunday Mishaps

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I loved my first Zumba class today. But it wasn't without its mishaps.

First, I woke up and went outside to my car only to find that the license plate on the front of my car was missing, probably stolen. I decided to go Zumba anyway.

On the second song, I fell down because I slipped on a wet patch on the floor (it's pouring buckets today) and it was super embarrassing. That kind of solidified myself as being the klutzy newbie in class even though I got right back on my feet and wasn't hurt.

I was determined to keep up with everyone, and there was this one older woman in the class who kept asking me if I was OK as I sipped water between songs, which I thought was laughable considering she skipped out on half of the dance moves (walked when we hopped, etc.). She of course was skinny, skinny, so of course it probably made her feel better to patronize the bigger girl in the class. There were only 6 of us.

But it was still a whole lot of fun. I could tell it was something I'd love to do every week or two. And then on one move on the last song, my ankle snapped. I heard it crack and that was it, I couldn't Zumba anymore. Also really embarrassing. So I walked around on it a little, but of course, I had made myself the center of attention again. I went to the bathroom and by the time I went back out, the class was over, and I was treated to another concerned diatribe by Older Lady.

Again, I really liked the class, and I will definitely Zumba again.

It's kind of amazing that in five months of exercise, I haven't been injured once, so it had to happen sometime. So as I sit with my ankle iced and propped up, I'm forced to relax. Which of course, means no shoe fitting AGAIN today!

ARGHHHHHH... Someone out there doesn't want me to get my shoes.

Oh, and I called the police and they made a police report, so of course, my plates are reported as stolen, so if I drive anywhere, I'm probably going to get pulled over by the cops. And that also means a great trip to the RMV, one of my least favorite places in the world.

I'm still going to try to post some photos tonight. I'm just in rest mode right now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GONE2THEDOGS 10/21/2009 4:29PM

    that is exactly why I haven't gone with my daughter to Zumba - although she would end up more embarassed than me...hmmmm, might be worth it after all (since that's what mom's do - embarass their kids - geesh...)
I'm glad to hear it wasn't more serious - that's frustrating when you're ready & willing to work out and end up getting hurt!

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THREADBENDER 10/21/2009 4:25PM

    Hope your ankle is all better...and the car license thing resolved. Aggravation you could do without.

I tried zumba when they first started offering at my gym. I liked it well enough, but the moves she was using were really hard on my knees, so I'll just stick with the cardio machines and save my class time for yoga and pilates. emoticon

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ONLY_AS_HIGH 10/21/2009 11:56AM

    Dude, what IS IT with you and your car??? emoticon

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SWEETSWEETPEA 10/20/2009 11:35AM

    Sorry to hear about your ankle and do not worry about that older woman. Pretty soon you will be out lasting her and showing off your ZUMBA skills! You will be the one asking if she is okay! You are a great motivation and I will have my first ZUMBA class this Thursday. Tonight is bootcamp! Not sure why I signed up for that again, but I guess I love punishment when it comes to working out!

Have a great day, I hope you heal fast and I will be thinking of you when I hopefully do my Turkey Trot. I found one in Sandwich,MA on Thanksgiving day. Hopefully I can get signed up for that and get after it. I will let you know what I do! Have a great day!

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ZIRCADIA 10/19/2009 7:44PM

    Awww sorry about the ankle!!! That happened to me early early on in my weightloss journey actually -- I was in a FUNK class and I totally turned my ankle. After sitting a bit it felt fine, so I joined back in for the rest of class and WORKED IT. But yeah... it was sooooooo embarrassing. Then later that day it started hurting again and I felt kinda dumb for continuing in class... *doh* When I was heavy anytime I turned my ankle it pretty much got hurt - sprained. Now I still occasionally turn it but it's just like a klutzy stumble and doesn't result in injury!!!! I guess the big difference in weight really did make a huge difference!!! :) ANYWAY.

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CHICAT63 10/19/2009 4:47PM

    Hola Chica, sorry to hear about your mishap but water on any dance class isn't good. As others stated, you are resting I know you're not shopping for new shoes but one thing at a time. Think of the positive, you went out & tried Zumba and you liked it, you are giving your body a total rest day. Take care, Josée emoticon

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THE_NEW_MELISSA 10/19/2009 11:26AM

    Ok, I'm trying not to giggle. I'm only giggling because A) you are ok and it's not broken B) because that's totally something I would do! Only my luck, it would be in a basement, it would have been broken, I'd been unable to move, and some big strong men would have to carry me up 2 flights of stairs. That's how I usually roll! :) Glad it's not broken, and I hope it doesn't slow you down much.

Did you get the haircut?

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RUN2MYDREAMS 10/19/2009 10:28AM

    emoticon Sorry you injured yourself but glad you enjoyed the class! Don't you just want to go *SMACK* to concerned folks like that?!? Well take it easy on that ankle. Hope you feel better soon! emoticon

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HOSTALADY 10/19/2009 9:17AM

    Just not a great day other than resting your body because of ...
There is a silver lining here. When was the last time you really rested your body? It needed it and you probably did to!
I have no answers for the DMV ~ IS there any one that likes dealing with that emoticonI don't care what state you live in.
Hope your ankle heals quickly for you.
I'm thinking of you!

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HOKU-ALOHI 10/18/2009 11:39PM

  Wuzzup Rockin' Spark Star!! Great Blog!! It always bugs when that skinny little-thinks-she-knows-it-all comes over and fakes the concern. Been there, done that. Happens in every fitness class. Through Elementary and High School, I was always one of the tallest girls (present height varies between 5'9" and 5"10" depending which doctor's office I visit). I am so over the fake concern with the insinuated "Are you sure you belong here?"

That's why like you, I just make FIT happen! I go to the classes I want and ignore the mean comments. We can be as positive as we want to, but we also need to be realistic. It's like gravity, whether or not people believe in it...step off roof, fall to ground. There are mean people and I am acknowledging with you, YES non-positive people exist AND YES I am so proud of how you handled the entire situation girl! You totally ROCK!!!
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TRAVELNISTA 10/18/2009 8:28PM

    I hope when you say snapped you don't mean broke! That would be awful for anyone but I know that you are really into your running mode right now. I hope your ankle gets better soon!

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WISLNDR 10/18/2009 4:04PM

    Oh, I hope you didn't injure yourself! I was all ready to ask you what an episode of "I Love Lucy" would have looked like if Lucy went to an exercise class but I'll wait until I know you're OK!

emoticon emoticon Rest up! (How come there's no "crutches" emoticon?)

Now about that lady . . . . was she looking at your midsection??

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KARVY09 10/18/2009 1:14PM

    Guys, as much as I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, this wasn't actual concern. I can tell when people really care from when they are saying things to make themselves feel better. I don't think she was doing it to ridicule me, but I do think she saw me as an easy target to take the label of "different" off her back. Which is fine; people do what they need to do.

Yes, I do need my new shoes. I was hoping to get them today. emoticon

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CASADESPONGE 10/18/2009 12:02PM

    Awh....I'm so sorry you got hurt. Be careful on that ankle...take it easy...feel better...and get those shoes woman! :o) I was sooooo surprised by the huge difference my new ones made for me. Feel better soon!! xoxoxo

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DESERT_BIRD 10/18/2009 11:56AM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your injury in your first Zumba class. That's why I love Zumba Gold - it's all about safety. The older lady was right to modify her moves and was probably genuinely concerned about you. You need good shoes to do Zumba!! The fact that you slipped on water that was on the floor is not your fault - and you shouldn't feel like the klutzy newbie at all. I hope your ankle feels better real soon. emoticon

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FURBALLDTH 10/18/2009 11:54AM

    she was probably showing you actual concern. Why do we always assume we are being ridiculed by others. If someone laughs in a crowded room we think it's at us. If the woman was that old she probably had arthritis and couldn't hop or jump. Hope your upcoming week goes better. I want to try Zumba but think I will be gawked at by others. Need to take my own advice..lol. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUHOEG 10/18/2009 11:45AM

  I also tried Zumba and found it wonderful

Comment edited on: 10/18/2009 11:45:59 AM

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Dunkin' Donuts Smart Menu: Not MENSA Smart

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm a New Englander, which means you can't walk or drive two blocks without seeing the ubiquitous pink and orange Dunkin' Donuts logo. It's everywhere! I used to be a hardcore DD addict. It was my first job when I was 15 years old and we were allowed to drink and eat as much as we wanted during our shifts. I'd come home from work, shower, and I'd still smell like coffee and sugar 24/7. That made me crave more sugar, and so on and so on...
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Since June, when I started at Sparkpeople, I have almost completely cut the DD out. One for nutritional reasons, because even though there are lower fat and calorie choices there, the sodium and sugar isn't the best for me. The other is for budgetary reasons. There's one guy at work who gets a large coffee and a bagel and cream cheese every morning from DD. That's $4 every morning and $20 a week! My husband and I agreed we'd rather forgo the DD, bring my own coffee and breakfast to work, and use the $40 to get a nice meal out on Saturday or save for our travel fund.

And then the coupon book came and eliminated one of our rationalizations...

Each week from now until Thanksgiving, we have 7 coupons each boasting DD items for 50-99 cents! What a deal, my husband proclaimed! So every day he's been getting two donuts, or an egg and cheese, or a coffee, or a muffin. Great.

Dunkin' Donuts recently introduced a DDSMARTmenu that supposedly has smarter choices for conscious eaters: https://www.dunkindonuts.com/aboutus
. I knew from experience that they have an egg white flatbread sandwich that's very tasty and only 280 calories. It also has 820mg of sodium and fails to fill me up until lunchtime, so I've forgone that sandwich.

But today, armed with my 50 cent muffin coupon I figured I could find a muffin on the DDSMART Menu. I've seen low-fat muffins in stores before and usually they are around 300 calories, which is a lot, but if you're craving a muffin, it's doable. So I got what looked like the most promising one: the Low Fat Apple Caramel Muffin.

I knew it was a bad choice when I saw that the top of it was encrusted with a thick layer of sugar! Got to work and checked what the damage would be:

Calories: 430
Fat: 3g
Sodium: 520mg
Carbs: 94g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 48g
Protein: 8g

EEK. I can eat a slice of chocolate cake with frosting and have less sugar and calories than this supposedly "smart" treat. The other DDSMART muffin, the Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin is even worse:

Calories: 450
Fat: 10g
Sodium: 670mg
Carbs: 86g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 45g
Protein: 6g

How can Dunkin' Donuts claim these are "smart choices"? Really? Then I checked the other muffins not on the DDSMART menu, and lo and behold they ranged from 500-660 calories apiece. Wow.

So I cut my "smart" muffin in half, scraped the sugar off the top, and had a 215 calorie muffin treat for breakfast.

And it's 10:30am. I'm hungry. My teeth hurt. And I feel really dumb.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NINNY165 10/18/2009 3:22PM

    Good for you!!! You had your doughnut yet you found a better alternate. So much for smart choices.....

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CASADESPONGE 10/18/2009 12:06PM

    Hubby is from Long Island and we lived in VT near his Mom in 2006...I fell in love with DD! We moved back down to Savannah Georgia and the nearest one is like 90 minutes away. I miss it soooo much...but really only the coffee. We get the stuff you can buy at the grocery store...but it isn't the same. We make 2 trips back to VT a year and that is always our first stop. AMERICA RUNS ON DD!! *hehehe* Well...you have to RUN for MILES to exercise off the calories you get from eating there!! *hehehe*

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SARAHMAC1978 10/16/2009 9:47AM

    Don't feel dumb! I would've just eaten it, having bought it. You did a good thing not depriving yourself, but eating a smaller portion with the sugar taken off. Good for you!

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KARVY09 10/16/2009 9:25AM

    Thanks for everyone's feedback. It's crazy to me because I can get a glazed donut for 200 calories and less sugar. So it's actually healthier to eat a donut than the supposedly "smart" muffin!

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SLARTYB 10/16/2009 9:00AM


I make a batch of oatbran (no flour!) muffins most weekends, freeze them and have them for breakfast with 0% fat yogurt or just any time I get tempted to snack. Only 137 cals each but filling & great for lowering cholesterol!


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RAINTHIEF 10/16/2009 3:39AM

    You did really great research on it though. And it is shocking how all this 'healthy' or 'smart' food ends up being worse than eating junk food! And you did make a smart choice - looking at the stats and cutting that muffin in half!

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TRAVELNISTA 10/15/2009 8:02PM

    Actually you should feel really smart. I would not have thought to cut it in half. Unfortunately with me it is all or nothing. emoticon for cutting it half and still only eating half even though you were still hungry. That is determination and smart, not dumb. emoticon

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HOKU-ALOHI 10/15/2009 6:55PM

  What you feeling dumb for girl??? You found all the info out and you cut the muffin in half while scraping all the topping off. It was smart that you ate something and didn't let your body go into starvation mode.

Thank you for shedding light on yet another crazy campaign by another business not caring about our health; just their pockets. This is just like that term "light" where I bought a muffin that said light muffin. Only to find out that they meant the texture and color were light; calories more...Eeek!!!

You are the SMART one!

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GRACEISENUF 10/15/2009 5:30PM

    That is just outright false advertising as far as I'm concerned. You however were a smart consumer for looking it up even if it was afterwards because now we are all informed. Eeeks that is a ton of sugar and carbs, never would have guessed they would be that high.

Lesson learned by all.....avoid DD muffins if you want a healthy breakfast.

Many years ago I would take an english muffin, lean ham and a slice of cheese to work and nuke it for a few seconds, it was easy and filling...just a thought for something different perhaps.

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FURBALLDTH 10/15/2009 4:40PM

    It's incredible what they can tag as healthy choices. Thanks for letting us know. emoticon emoticon

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ZIRCADIA 10/15/2009 3:14PM

    MAN, I HATE HATE HATE when restaurants tout "Smart" choices when all it really means is, this is marginally less nutritionally retarded than eating our normal fat/calorie laden food. BOO DUNKIN DONUTS! (Although granted, when I get food from a place with "donuts" in the title, I'm not expecting healthfare...)

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TEAM-SARAH 10/15/2009 2:57PM

    That is ridiculous! It's good that you looked it up and are being smart instead of turning a blind eye and saying it's okay since they're on the "smart" menu. You know what's a smart choice and what isn't... and that's OBVIOUSLY not smart. No more DD!

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WARRIOR11209 10/15/2009 2:12PM

    Great info! I was a BIG DD fan - first it was the plain krollers then the iced krollers and then I graduated to the kroller sticks (which are just huge krollers covered with 2x the icing- yum.) Whenever I see anything on the menu that says, "lite or healthy choice " I am suspect - seems like companies are always out to fool those who are trying to eat healthily. Good investigative work emoticon

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PAPER_WINGS18 10/15/2009 2:03PM

    Oh man I hear ya! I've been eyeing the new Pumpkin Spice Scones anddd Pumpkin cream cheese muffins at Starbucks and they are like 470 cals and like 11 or 17 g fat! freaking NUTS. I figured out the WW points on the scone and it was 11 pts which is like almost half of my daily points. NUTS. I couldn't get myself to buy either of em b/c of that b/c let's be honest, their scones aren't really that big and def. not worth the 470 cals. GOOD for you for researching and scraping the sugar off and eating half of it.Very wise!

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SARANGEREL 10/15/2009 1:51PM

    I love muffins but like you, they just don't fill me up. I will make a batch of good muffins once in a while at home and will eat them, split with some cream cheese for breakfast. Those mega muffins that DD and other places sell are about 2 or 3 servings! I do enjoy DD coffee and occasionally partake in a muffin...after reading this I won't be doing that for a while. Good job on looking up the info!!

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4EVERADONEGIRL 10/15/2009 1:26PM

    Ohhhh - I can so totally relate to that feeling! I love Mimi's Cafe...not sure where all they are at nationally...but they have a Low Fat Blueberry Muffin that comes in at a whopping 400+ calories. So I always have to remind myself that Low FAT doesn't necessarily = SMART choice! :-)

If I really, really, really want to have a muffin from there, I will get the Buttermilk Spice which is NOT low fat, but I walk away much more satisfied and it is an every once in a great while treat. If I'm going to do the damage, I might as well do it right, right?!? LOL

But good job on cutting in 1/2 and removing the added sugar - the world may not cooperate with us, but that doesn't mean we can't make it still work in our favor!

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DEGODDESS 10/15/2009 12:50PM

    I used to love DD's but had to give it up when I found out that my favorite blueberry muffin had so many calories. I don't even stop there anymore. Thanks for this blog.


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ONMYWAYTOGOAL 10/15/2009 12:49PM

    Live and Learn!!! I've said that a million times. I always have the best of intensions and then I cave a little and before I know it I'm doing damage control because what I thought wasn't so bad is horrible(caloriewise). Hey, you got your muffin fix, drink lots of water from now til lunch and know that maybe a SF FF Specialty coffee is your best bet next time you visit DD??? I dunno......I'm from Ohio. We're not graced with very many good coffee joints. Most are local-good, but no Starbucks or DD. LOL

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RUN2MYDREAMS 10/15/2009 12:28PM

    Good job doing your research. At least you knew BEFORE you consumed it! emoticon

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GLAMOURGIRL-9 10/15/2009 12:02PM

    emoticon I can totally relate to the New England DD on every corner!

I guess thats why i'm a coffee addict! Thats all I will ever buy there though, they're "low fat" options are not good enough for me! Especially thier muffins.

Every Sunday BF & I get DD coffee and he gets a mufffin. I on the other hand come home make myself a en egg mc muffin on whole wheat english muffin with a fresh egg and half a slice of cheese!

I mush rather have my calories ona nice lunch/dinner than a measley muffin! :)

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1BIGDREAM 10/15/2009 11:52AM

    Sadly, there are people who really will order off of that menu, think they are doing great, and have no idea why they are not losing weight. I really do feel like the restaurant and food industries are conspiring to keep us fat!

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KEAKA2 10/15/2009 11:44AM

    Born and Raised in Maine I understand that DD dilemma.

My staple DD meal: Egg/Cheese on a Plain Bagel with a Med. Hazelnut Iced Coffee 2 Flavour Shots, 6c/6s.

I don't know how I didn't drop dead from sugar overload.
Luckily I moved to the west coast where they don't have Dunkin's.

It sucks that the "smart" menu is still outrageously high in calories but hey, at least now you know, and as GI Joe says... "Knowing is Half the Battle!"

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BETHSHEALTH 10/15/2009 11:33AM

    I told my husband the other night that my teeth hurt after eating something with a lot of sugar and he looked at me like I was nuts. I know exactly what you are feeling. I avoid the donut places as a rule. None of them can hold a candle to the donuts my mom use to make and she and they are both gone so I could probably live the rest of my life without another donut. Probably will have donuts sometime in the future but it's not on every corner here and I can get to work without passing one.

It is a "live and learn" and the taking your coffee and breakfast with you is a great plan. I do it myself. My manager can't understand why my co-worker and I bring it with and we explained it's to early to eat breakfast before we come to work.

It amazes me that places try to use the "smart' choice thing, it's a ruse. Built for people who don't want to do the work of eating healthy. Makes them "think" they are being healthy and by comparison of eating the other stuff they are cutting down but not in a way that is truly better for them.

Keep sparkin' we can always pray there comes a day when donuts and the good muffins are a healthy choice.


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PJDKSMITH 10/15/2009 11:24AM

    Nothing changes, does it? We try, and try, and there are always companies out there that try to fool us; occasionally DO fool us; and ALWAYS take our hard earned cash! pppffft... no muffins for me!

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THE_NEW_MELISSA 10/15/2009 11:12AM

    Live and learn is right. Enjoy the moment, savor each bite. It's one meal, you can make up for it. Now I'm hungry for muffins... :)

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PINKCOCONUT 10/15/2009 10:57AM

    At this point I figure if I'm going to go for a muffin I'll just treat myself to a regular, extremely high fat muffin 'cause there's just no point! LOL Our major coffee chain has only two low fat muffins and they both taste disgusting. Might as well get what you like when you're treating yourself, the nutritional content itself will make sure they just stay as treats! But great way to make a bad situation better!

..such a downfall of mine...

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KENCHRIS401 10/15/2009 10:57AM

    That is hysterical! Girl I know what you talking about. I absolutely love DD and have been steering clear of them lately myself.

I tried the flatbread sandwiches and talked myself into believing i really liked them just so i could go to DD. They are not bad, but they aren't all that good either.

I had looked up the nutrition stats for the muffins before because i was eating a low-fat blueberry muffin very often. That thing is a whopping 10 points in weight watchers language. so i nixed it pretty quickly.

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DIGISCRAPPY 10/15/2009 10:47AM

    Ugh... always seems like reduced- or non-fat options are paired with added sugar.

I had one of those Caramel Apple muffins a few weeks ago but couldn't find nutritional information on it. Man, am I glad I didn't know what I was eating, though I regret it a bit now!

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EMILYBCRUZ 10/15/2009 10:41AM

    LMAO. Sorry... you know it's a little funny. Live and learn. :)

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Running Outside, Zumba, Japanese Sizing, and Rewards!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Whew, that title is a mouthful, innit? I have so many different thoughts I want to share!
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1. Though it's so much tougher running outside than on the treadmill, it's a lot more rewarding. While I've pretty much finished C25K on the 'mill, it'll take a lot longer to do it outside, and that's OK. I might have to push my next 5K race back to Thanksgiving. I was originally planning on doing the Superhero 5K on November 1, but it's a costumed race and my husband is still out of commission due to his knee injury and I wasn't able to convince any of my friends to do it with me. So basically, I don't want to run alone in costume and feel like a loser that everyone else is there in groups. So I might find a local Turkey Trot instead, which will give me more time to train outside.

Soooo, that being said, I made the C25K Group Challenge an outdoors running challenge, and I hope people give it a shot!

I want to spread my love of running, but I don't want to feel like I'm pressuring my friends either. But it's hard to hear excuses like "oh, my knees aren't made for running" from people who have never had knee problems and weigh 130 pounds soaking wet. Of course, my goals aren't everyone else's, and I just need to accept that.

2. Yesterday, I did a two mile run in my neighborhood and ended up running down a street I'd never been on before only to find a Curves there advertising walk-in Zumba classes. Which is awesome because I belong to Planet Fitness, an amazing and super inexpensive gym ($10 a month, plentiful machines with TVs, and lots of people of various shapes and sizes!) but one that doesn't offer any group classes. I've been wanting to try Zumba for ages, and these classes are offered EVERY DAY and are only $8, so now I really have no excuse not to try it. So it was super providential that I happened to run past!

3. I bought a new workout shirt yesterday from Reebok and you know how they have the international sizes on them? Well this was an XL in US and Europe, and it on the smaller side if you ask me... In China? 4XL! In Japan? 5XL! It brought back memories of my time in Japan and how thankfully I had enough clothes to last me for the six months I was there, because I wasn't getting any there! Or shoes... The largest size I saw there was a US 8.

That small reminder along with my SP friend LITTLEFREEZE's blog entries brought me back to the memory of a "big girl" in Japan, who was probably about a US 12 or 14 sitting on the train with her classmates and how sorrowful she looked, sitting with her eyes averted and finally catching my eye and giving me a half smile in solidarity. It must be so tough to be a "big girl" in a culture like Japan. Putting that into perspective, we North Americans and Europeans might face prejudice for being overweight, but it is nothing compared to not being extra tiny in Asian countries.

4. Last night I had Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" in my head because I am now halfway to my first goal of ONEDERLAND. "Whooooooooooa, we're halfway there!" 40 pounds gone forever! I haven't been in my 230s for 10 years (Age 18)!

Now onto rewards. I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN NEW RUNNING SHOES. And that was my reward 10 pounds ago. I know, it's an awesome problem to have, but I just can't manage to pull myself away from my computer during the day to go to the running store and have the gait analysis and get the new kicks. Instead, I'm using my lunch hour to catch up on clients and making phone calls. I really need new shoes though, so I gotta remind myself to go this week. Not today though... it's downpouring!

But for the most recent reward, we are going to a spa in Cornwall, England in February for three nights and I'm going to start a fund to save money to get THE WORKS of a spa treatment for then. Massage, facial, seaweed wrap, EVERYTHING! And I'm going to get a haircut soon too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEETSWEETPEA 10/16/2009 1:11PM

    Your reward that you have coming up in Feb sounds amazing! But you do deserve it! I am like you in the fact that I need new running shoes as well. I thought that would be my reward for hitting ONEderland but they are wearing really thin on the bottoms. lol

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments on my blogs! I really appreciate it! You always have great advice and words of encouragement.

As far as ZUMBA goes. I start my 5 week long class on Thursday of next week! I am so excited because I have only heard good things from this site and the SPARKpeople on it. Good luck with your adventure there and let me know how you like it!

I will be heading to the South East Coast of MA. (Near Plymouth) My mom has lived there for over 30 years and I just love that area. MA is just a pretty state over all.. I will have to see if there is a Turkey Trot in my area as well. That would be a great way to spend our Turkey day as well!

I hope you are having a great Friday! Take Care!

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HOKU-ALOHI 10/15/2009 6:12AM

  Wow! You have great rewards and that is awesome because you work so very hard! Great job being a runner! You are totally a great Spark Star shining bright for all to see.

Interesting you would talk about the sizes in Japan because I remember hating being fitted for shoes in Hawaii. Most of the workers were Japanese or of Japanese ancestry and they were always shocked at my feet.

I just joked it off by letting them know that if I were a size 3 like them, I would be crippled because my feet would not support my body. Besides, my feet have always been great for planting them on the surfboard and riding a wave to its fullest.

Later runner chick! Aloha from da SoCal chick!
~ Maya (^_^) smiles

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MOMMAROLEMODEL 10/14/2009 2:37PM

    O my there were so many great and exciting things in this blog. Way to go to getting close to onederland! I can't wait to hear how all these exciting things work out for you! Keep it up


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ONMYWAYTOGOAL 10/14/2009 2:37PM

    Darn it Girl! You are an example and as our example---you need to get those new shoes! I'm telling ya, they make a world of difference! I got new ones the beginning of October and I honestly don't know why I didn't before! I love 'em.

I'd love to run outside, but I don't. I'm on the 'mill most mornings. It's more convenient. Oh well, maybe by next spring I'll dare to run outside and let people see me. I'm about as fast a runner as a fast walker. Oh well, the calorie burn is worth it.

Yeah, I'm glad I live in the USA. I wouldn't fit in Japan either.

Have a GREAT day! I love the fall background and colors!!

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AZIUGA 10/14/2009 9:46AM

    LOL, I listen to that bon jovi song at the gym, especially on the elliptical...it helps!
I workout at Planet Fitness also. There is a gym called Lifetime Fitness that just opened by our house, and my boyfriend is going to be getting a free membership through work. He has offered to split my membership if I workout there with him, so we might be changing in January. The good thing is there is a sauna there, and tons of classes, so I will be trying Zumba also. I hear it is a fun, wonderful workout.
You should totally get the new shoes. I bought some on Friday, and it is a world of difference. No more shin aches!!!
Can I come to the British Spa with y'all? That sounds AMAZING.......

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HOSTALADY 10/14/2009 9:43AM

    You definitely have it going on girl. Wish I could dress up with you so you could make that run.
I'm pretty much out of touch hadn't ever heard of Zumba classes ~ I will have to look into those emoticon

Your trip sounds wonderful with the full spa treatment.

Come on GIRL get those new shoes. These are the only feet we get. Have to take care of them!

Thanks for your blog.

Comment edited on: 10/14/2009 9:44:33 AM

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TRAVELNISTA 10/13/2009 10:44PM

    Since you do not have Zumba classes offered where you go, jump on the $8.00 per class. That is a decent price and you will enjoy it so much! Good thing you went out running otherwise you would have missed it!

Keep up the great job you are doing! emoticon emoticon

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SPIRITRUN 10/13/2009 10:36PM

    I'd dress up with ya, Darn it!!!
Great read of your random thoughts. And yes, running outside is far more challenging!!!

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GRACEISENUF 10/13/2009 4:03PM

    I so got lost in the spa descriptions! AAAHHHHH...it sounds so wonderful.

It is raining here today too....it hardly ever rains in the part of Cali I live so I really enjoy it when it does.

ONEDERLAND is on my mind these days too. You have come so far my friend, it is wonderful reading you describe your excitement about your accomplishments and the goals you want to reach. I am confident you will reach them all.

Stay dry and resist those treats they just plopped in front of you for Halloween! :0) emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/13/2009 9:05:51 PM

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BETT2U 10/13/2009 2:42PM

    Go ahead, reward yourself already! I think it is awesome that you are trying Zumba. It scares me like Spinning does most people. The ones at the Y leave me meowwwing the next day any time I try to bend down. I lived in London for a year and felt like the fat girl. Everyone walks everywhere--get off their tube stops way earlier than the one nearest their office, etc. I am sure it is nothing like an Asian country but I did feel as if I were surrounded by British stick insects of the female variety. It changed my life and having to walk everywhere helped me drop 80lbs. Then again, you are married to a Brit--so you know this already!

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SLARTYB 10/13/2009 1:58PM

    Enjoy Cornwall - my wife's family is from there & we go back every summer. February will be COLD so take lots of etxra clothes & keep warm in your nice spa!

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TEAM-SARAH 10/13/2009 1:57PM

    You have some amazing reward ideas. Get the shoes, you need them! I hope you enjoy Zumba. I still haven't tried it.

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PINKCOCONUT 10/13/2009 1:44PM

    Go get your darned shoes, woman! It's important!!!!!

And I used to live in Japan as well, I'm only NOW fitting into the two items I bought there.....Loved it there but shopping was HORRIBLE!

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GONE2THEDOGS 10/13/2009 1:37PM

    Yep, the running outside is great (not that I use a treadmill...) but you definately need the shoes if you're going to be pounding the pavement - it really does make all the difference in the world & you so don't want to end up hurting yourself at this point!
You are doing so amazing & I love reading your blogs - you really are very motivating & inspiring!! (I would so dress up with you for that run)
Good luck with the Zumba - my daughters says it's fun - she keeps inviting me...one of these days!
Love that Jon Bon Jovi...song or two on my ipod - just picturing him makes me work out harder...

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RAINTHIEF 10/13/2009 1:11PM

    1) I totally agree with you - outside running demands much more than the treadmill. I love it though. I find running outside really enjoyable and exciting.

2) I have heard great things about Zumba but haven't tried it out yet. I printed out the info on a local Zumba class last week. That's as close as I have come so far! =-p

4) The spa sounds reeeally nice!

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LISTLOADRUN 10/13/2009 12:59PM

    Im going to make sure I check the challenge, we started the c25k outside, as we dont have a treadmill, so thats where all my running has been :)

I too want to try Zumba but havent found anyplace local offering it - then again, I dont have much in the way of good gyms by me either - we have one or two but they are SUPER expensive and honestly dont offer enough to make the price worthwhile.

and really - GO GET THE NEW SHOES - you KNOW how much better your runs will be with them :)

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PAPER_WINGS18 10/13/2009 12:58PM

    Oh I've always wanted to try Zumba! You will have to let me know how it is.

Also, can I just say I LOVE bon jovi? LOVE that song, lol. It is actually my ringtone on my phone :P

I digress.... You are soooo close to onederland girl!!! You can do this! woot woot!

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THE_NEW_MELISSA 10/13/2009 12:19PM

    Awesome! I've never been to a spa, never had a pedi, never had a massage. I'm sooo deprived. I'd love to either get a pedi or a massage as my next reward.

Girl, I thought you got those shoes a longgg time ago! I want to do that too, but I'm shy about going in and having someone help me get fitted. Isn't that that silliest thing you've heard today? That's just me. I am afraid they will look at me like wtf does she need "running" shoes for. I hate that look. I rise above that look, and yet I'm still a little hesitant about going in. Oh yeah, and the money part, the $100 is a little tough to swallow this close to Christmas. I will make do for now.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be a bigger girl in Japan. How hard is that? Wow. Here, it's somewhat acceptable. You can find your "peeps" just about everywhere.

Zumba, I gotta check this out. I'm hoping our new fitness center that's opening this spring (hopefullly) will offer Zumba classes and I will scope it out.

Have a super duper Tuesday Chica doodle.

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WOLFKITTY 10/13/2009 11:47AM

    Was it wrong for me to skip directly to the Zumba part?! LOL!! Okay, honestly, I missed it and then had to use my internet browser's search for it. HEhee.

But I found it!!

GO FOR THE ZUMBA. I love it, it's so much fun.
And congrats on your running successes. You definitely deserve the new shoes!
Take care,

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