LESS_IS_MO   14,910
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How I got fat (it was my husband's fault!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

That was supposed to be funny. But I had somewhat of an epiphany over the last year or so and I realized that I had not blogged about it.

My lifestyle and eating habits are so divergent from my husband's that our differences created difficulties which contributed to my weight gain, especially in my 30s.

My husband skips breakfast. I had heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so I have never skipped that meal.

My husband skips lunch. Not me. Even when I was in a very stressful job in my 30s, any day that I hadn't brown-bagged it, I would go and get a drive-thru lunch.

My husband skips snacks. Not me. I would get home from work before him and be starving after a difficult day of teaching. I would snack around almost until supper.

My husband would come home from work starving and seriously deprived of calories because he had not eaten all day. We would enjoy a meal together, either something that I had cooked (because he doesn't cook), or we'd go out together. I would eat a normal supper and that SHOULD have been it. But it wasn't.

After supper, my husband would still be in a calorie deficit, so he would sit in front of the tv and munch away all evening long until he was satisfied. I have always been, and still am, very susceptible to food triggers. I couldn't just WATCH anyone eat! Even though I did not need any more food, I would join him in the munching. This needless intake of calories caused me to steadily gained weight during the period that we lived like this.

About 6 years ago, when I was losing weight, at one point as I neared normal weight, I hit a plateau. To bust it, I started to sequester myself upstairs in the evenings to avoid being near the food. This really worked!

Many times during the past few years of struggling to get back to goal weight, I have considered doing the sequestering again. But, I had an epiphany about a year ago and realized that I shouldn't have to! Maybe the tv room should be a food-free zone! A sanctuary! So I discussed that idea with my dh -- and I even brought up some of the points in this blog and joked that it was his fault that I got fat in the first place.

So we tried it. And we've kept doing it. Now we rarely eat in the tv room. But, have I lost the 20 lbs that I gained back 3 years ago? Nope. I wonder why I can't allow myself to feel deprived these days. I can for a day or two, here and there, but never for the long stretch that true weight loss requires.

Maybe it wasn't my husband's fault. So whose fault was it?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRAINBENTT 11/5/2014 1:39PM

    That guy sounds familiar...

I have changed !!


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OA first meeting

Friday, July 19, 2013

I tried OA today. There were 8 women at the meeting. Only one was very heavy. Ssize doesn't matter, but part of me worried ahead of time that I wouldn't be readily accepted in a group if most in the group need to lose more than 100 lbs. ( I need to lose 15lbs). There was a lot of hugging both before the meeting and after.

The meeting was in a beautiful meeting room in a location that is literally 2 blocks from my house. I would be able to go even in a severe snowstorm. (right this minute here we have a tornado warning. I'd likely take the car in that case)

The meeting opened with reading of the 12 steps and a little pre-amble reading. Then a passage of the Alcoholics Anonymous 'big book' was read. And most people present shared something aboutt themselves. Near the end, I went ahead and shared some of my back story. Some of the sharing really hit me hard with people's experiences being verry similar to me. Esecially one woman who shared that she nevver really gives her best and she leaves a lot of projeccts unfinished. This really hit me as similar to me in the way I've been feeling since gaining some weight back-.. A couple of peoplle seemed like tthey were from lefft fieeld. (sorry for double letters it's my cheap laptop keyboard and I don't feel like correcting it every time). I asked a question after one person spoke and was told that we aren't allowed to ask questions after a person shares or to discuss until the end. However my question was allowed because it was an innocuous little question: someone mentioned getting their '30 day chip' and I asked about that affter she finished. They sort of answered me. In a way I think avoiding discussion affter people share is fine. It leaves people feeling completely unjudged, and that is good.

So ffrom perusing the literature that I got as a newcomer, it seems that a person has to make a food plan. In making the plan, we are encouraged to think about food like a alcoholic thinks about booze. Since we are addicts we are encouraged to abstain from our problem foods (or probllem behaviours) and are given chips for durations of abstinence. (I think this could work for me but I can't see living without french fries forever) We are enccouraged to find a sponsor and to call theem daily. (That sounds good too)

Several members did speak with intensity about God being a part of their recovery and God figuring into their decision -making. And God is mentioned in many of the 12 steps and throughout the literature. It didn't make me uncomfortable, but I did confess during my turn speakingg that I am basically a non-believer. I needed to get that out rightt away.

I'm not sure if the group is for me. I may give it another few tries and make a decision by the end of the summer.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAYBER 7/22/2013 11:47PM

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and telling us about OA
Have a fellow TOPS member who attends but she does not share much with us
Take one day one meeting at a time
Best wishes as you continue on your journey

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MARCHMAIDME 7/21/2013 8:05PM

    This is very interesting to me as I've often wondered what it would be like. I, however, would absolutely NOT do well in a group that constantly talked about God since I can't believe that any higher being worries about what I eat.

Good luck to you. emoticon

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ADNAW_YOTS 7/21/2013 2:32PM

    I am glad you gave your views of it in a candid way. the accountability is what drives me to whichever support group I become a part of in
my past history.

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DDESERTDDAWN 7/21/2013 12:22AM

    It works if you work it.


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MINIMOE1 7/20/2013 2:37PM

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as the old saying goes.

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MOM4407 7/20/2013 10:11AM

    Glad you tried it. It takes courage to try something new.

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JESPAH 7/20/2013 8:08AM

    I think all means that work are good ones.

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TOPS or Overeaters Anonymous?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hi Spark,

I haven't been around at all, so I doubt i will get many answers to my question. But here goes...maybe someone will hear my call.

I have been coasting for 3 years now. I gained weight when I went back to work and have been coasting about 18 lbs above my happy weight. Nearly 2 years ago I joined TOPS weightt loss support group at 178 lbs. I have gone up and down (down to 170, and up to 185) in the time that I have been a member. 3 weeks ago, I was down to 173. I went on vacation and came back at 177.25.

AGAIN! STILL! Is it going to be forever???

Recently I have learned that the group Overeaters Anonymous meets within 2 blocks of my house. Unfortunately it meets at the exact same time of the week as my TOPS group. So joining one will mean dropping the other one. I have made some nice friends at TOPS, but for whatever reason I have not found motivation. The group is ALL in the same boat as me. No-one is very motivated.

So does anyone have experience with OA?
What I specifically want to know is does it focus on the spiritual aspect? I am basically a non-believer and I don't much want a prayer group. But I am desperate to find something. Spark used to work but I think I need something face to face, and new (and inexpensive) to light my flame now.

Anyone with some insight on the group?

I am thinking of heading to one meeting at least, but I am very hesitant.

Do I switch or stick with TOPS and hope that it clicks in. Or do I switch?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIVINTODAY 7/21/2013 11:45AM

    There is no reason you can't do both OA and TOPS; they complement each other in many ways and you'll get double the encouragement!

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MARCHMAIDME 7/19/2013 8:35AM

    Haven't a clue, but thought I'd say hello and am glad you're back. It's really a matter of mind over discomfort. Back to Yoda: "There is no try." Just do it.

That's the advice I give myself but I don't always take it either.

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MAYBER 7/18/2013 1:16AM

    Like you my TOPS group is not very encouraging or supportive
think have to make up our minds to just do it for ourselves and not for recognition
one day at a time

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MOM4407 7/15/2013 7:20PM

    I have not been in OA but I think at OA you do not need to weigh-in.

Try it you have already paid for TOPS and OA is free so go to a meeting and see what you think.

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JESPAH 7/15/2013 10:03AM

    Can't comment on either, just glad to see you back. :)

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CAROLISCIOUS 7/14/2013 5:15PM

    Looks like you got some good advice. I can't address OA or TOPS, but I can address the:

" AGAIN! STILL! Is it going to be forever???"

The answer is a simple yes. I fight every day to maintain the weight I have lost. Some days I win, some days I lose...and lose horribly. Those fats cells will always be there lying in wait for the right moment to puff right back up again. Yes, we can take vacations and forget about what goes into the piehole for a bit, and lay off the exercise, but we have to come right back to the battle ground ready to fight even harder when the vaca is over. I can gain weight like you gained on vacation in a single weekend. I used to think I could cheat every weekend and still maintain...but, painfully, I am realizing I can't.

Get back to doing what you know works. Set the bar and be the spark that sets your TOPS group on fire. Stop waiting for someone else in the group to do that for you.

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MINIMOE1 7/14/2013 4:25PM

    My experience with OA was much the same as ADNAW_YOTS. I think it's aimed at helping folks with serious emotional, out of control eating issues.
It's not religious per se, but like Alcoholics Anonymous, encourages members to enlist a higher power (whatever they perceive it to be) to help with their journey. The meetings I attended were pretty intense - not particularly motivating for me, although many seemed to be helped by the process.

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ADNAW_YOTS 7/14/2013 12:13PM

    I currently went back to TOPS and happy that I did. I am in a group of mostly new people in TOPS and they are having success. I have taken a seat back from telling them how many years I had been in it and how many roles I played in the leadership. I just want to grab some of their motivation from now and hope I can get that fire back.

As for OA, I went to one meeting and it freaked me out. Heavy heavy conversations were had about their reasons for overeating. really freaked me out so won't do that again. Let me know if you do and how it went.

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September 2012 #1

Saturday, September 15, 2012

First a question...will there be a blog called September 2012 #2?

I have a feeling I may be hanging out here a bit more. Why? I mean after all I haven't been here all summer. And it's really been AGES since I've come here regularly.

Well....I am going to have 6 weeks where I will not really be allowed to do much. I am getting an abdominal hysterectomy. There is nothing dangerous. I have fibroids which are painful, and a polyp which bleeds, and I am sick of them. So I'm getting my uterus and tubes out, but leaving my ovaries alone.

What's new with me?

Today, 3 firetrucks drove down our street to the group home at the end of our block. And suddenly all the residents of my street were either peering out windows, or had wandered out to the end of their driveways. One teenager rode his bike down to snoop, then came back to give the report: No smoke. Someone must have gotten hurt. But c'mon -- three trucks? With a bunch of firemen sitting in the trucks too?

What's new with my weight?
Hmm...well I weighed 173.5 at yesterdays TOPS meeting. I'm going there still. I missed quite a lot of summer meetings due to one thing or another. But I will be more faithful now. I joined TOPS on Dec 9, 2011 at 178.5 lbs, so you can see that I haven't done much! Over Christmas, I gained 4 lbs. At one point in the Spring, something clicked and I lost for about 7 weeks straight - got down to 170 in March, but gained many lbs back while I was worrying about my uterus and the testing they were doing to look at the fibroids. Now I totally feel fatter than ever. UGH! Mush and muffin top like I haven't felt in years! A hysterectomy might take a couple of pounds of me internally, but it is not going to make me feel thinner. Nor will sitting around without being allowed to break a sweat for 6 weeks! OH NO!!!! emoticon I suppose I will have to really FOCUS on my diet for those 6 weeks. Not eating if I am not hungry would be a good place to start. Not starting to eat if it is not meal time. That might work, because lately I taste something yummy between meals and suddenly I've ingested about 700-800 calories!

My son is so much fun these days - he's now 7. He caught a whopper of a fish when we were at my brother's marina over Labour Day. -- 4 lbs-- large-mouth bass. My husband said it damn-near pulled him in. Actually he caught two whoppers - the first one was about 3 lbs and so of course we took photos etc., but 10 minutes later he caught the big one. We made him watch later that evening while my brother showed me how to fillet the fish. It was pretty brutal as we are rather naive in these things, but it was important for him to see it. We fried up the fish the next day at home. Son was so proud he took the photos to school in his first week of grade 2.

Going out for supper tonight with my parents.

Hope you are enjoying my lovely favourite season. I'll try to write again sooner, maybe even before my surgery.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 9/23/2012 10:08AM

    Eek, good luck re surgery.

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CAROLISCIOUS 9/16/2012 10:43AM

    Had mine out at age 39...only it was vaginal and not abdominal. I was very happy about that. No regrets whatsoever.

Even if you can't work out during your recovery...you can still focus strongly on nutrition...and I bet you will still lose weight! Try it!

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ERIN1022 9/15/2012 11:48PM

    I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering how you were! It is good to hear from you.

I'm bouncing around the 173-176 range and have been since May. I can't seem to get past it, and it's driving me nuts. But I'm still running, so that's something! :)

We use the washcloths you got me as a baby gift ALL THE TIME. They are the best!

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Joining the TOPS organization - Take off Pounds Sensibly

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hello Sparkers,
I have not been here in soooo long.
Today, I wanted to write a blog about the TOPS organization.

In December of this past year, my new family doctor, to whom I had lamented about re-gaining 15+ lbs of my 52 lb weight loss, suggested that I join TOPS or Weight Watchers. She also mentioned that TOPS was a cheaper option than most other weight loss programs.

I'm a very cheap person. I had been a WW member, but I hated paying WW money every week in 2009, while being stuck two pounds above my target weight and feeling great and not really wanting to lose those last two pounds.

Immediately after my doctor`s appointment, I looked into TOPS. I found plenty of local chapters to join, but most met in the evening. I`m already out 2 and often 3 evenings a week doing choral singing, and since I don`t work during the day, I wanted a daytime meeting. There was only one meeting during the day - Friday mornings. I usually used Friday mornings for my long runs, but thought, oh well, this might be worth it, if I can get back to losing weight. Luckily the meeting was only a 7 km drive away, and was even located next to our regular cross--country skiing park. I thought I could go for a ski sometimes after a meeting (I only did that twice, but that`s better than none!).

To join TOPS, at least here in Canada, you pay $30 a year membership fee. Then you pay $5 a month in dues. But that money is actually used for the chapter itself, to pay the rent of the location and then to send you their newsletter, to provide prizes, charms and incentives that go directly back to the members. It is truly a non-profit organization. It is amazing that in this day and age there is an organization that has not been corrupted by the drive for profit. They are not interested in getting your money, only interested in helping the members achieve their weight loss goals.

For your membership money, they send you a monthly TOPS newsletter (like a magazine) with useful articles. And you have acess to a website and can buy TOPS merchandise. Like a very amazing book called "The Choice is Mine" which I didn`t immediately read, but have started reading every morning. I have found so many useful bits of information in there....more later.

Members voluntarily bring in wrapped "gifts" (usually just purchases from the dollar store hastily wrapped up). Gifts are given away each week as follows: 1) the best loser gets to pick one
2) members are encouraged to bring in their menu for the week and it goes in a draw - the winner gets a gift.
3) I think there are other ways to win a gift, but right now I can`t remember.

There is also an incentive prize of a $15 dollar gift card for any person who can be the best loser for two weeks in a row. This is tough to win as you can imagine because most people can`t sustain two weeks of weight loss that are better than everyone else, but I won this prize for the first time this past Friday and won a $15 gift card.

They also run contests for varying lengths of time (4-8 weeks usually) and the prizes are 1st place: $15 card, 2nd place $10 card, 3rd place $5 and 4th place - charm or pendant. We are doing one now, and I`m in 2nd place mainly due to my weight loss.

In addition the members wear a scarf to the meetings. On the scarf people attach various pins, pendants or charms which they`ve earned as a member. One common way to earn a charm is to have a no-gain month. You have to weigh-in and attend the meeting on the first of the month, and if the first of the next month you have not gained weight, you earn a charm. I`ve only done this once, but when I did I was so thrilled that I was very motivated to do it again! I didn`t realize that if you missed the first meeting of the month, you`d lose your chance to win this charm, not just for the month just past, but also for the month coming up! Rats - I missed the first meeting in March and now have to wait until the first of May to earn that charm again!

You also earn a charm for bringing in a doctors note stating a goal weight. I visited my family doctor this week and she unfortunately would not budge on giving me a goal weight under a BMI of 25. Even though I fought to have a slightly higher one - I told her that when I got my weight under 165 my body fat percentage was at an optimal level and my waist circumference indicated that I was very healthy. NOPE! She said a higher BMI is only acceptable for big muscular body-builder types. Drat, so despite my efforts to sway her, my goal weight is now something I`ve never achieved before in a clothed weigh-in- 73 kgs or 160lbs! If I make it, I`ll be thrilled as never before too.

Members also earn a charm when they are half-way to goal - for me that will be when I hit 169 in a weigh-in. You can also earn a "Miss Consistency" charm (funny old-fashioned names, eh?) if you go for 6 weeks of straigh losing - you are allowed only one week with no loss (what they call a "turtle"), or missed meeting So I am GOING FOR that charm. I have lost 3 out of the last 4 weeks, being away for one weigh-in. I have been doing very well and gathering momentum, so for the past two weeks, I have been weighing in wearing very heavy clothing - I am hoping to ensure a weight loss for the next couple of weeks too so I can get that Miss Consistency charm! Two days ago, I was 172.25, wearing jeans, a belt which had a heavy metal medallion, and a sweater over my t-shirt.

Once a members reaches goal weight they become a KOPS which stands for Keep off Pounds Sensibly. I am sure that if I had lost my weight with this organization, I would have kept the weight off better, because the KOPS are a big part of the club.

My chapter has about 25 members, but about 15 or so attend meetings regularly, about 5 of whom are KOPS. Most members are seniors. One woman has been a KOPS for 39 years and still attends almost every meeting! There is only one young woman in our group - a newly pregnant 30 year old. There are only a couple of woman around my age of close to 50. And the rest are all older - a few in their 60s, 70s and even 80s! A lot of the TOPS (instead of KOPS), are quite a lot overweight and from what I`ve heard have not been making great progress, but kind of go up and down a lot. There may be a lack of motivation in some of the members, but I`m trying not to pay attention to those ones! This is not a "hip" organization, but I don`t mind....I think it is going to work for me.

The TOPS program which is strongly recommended is the old exchange system. People are encouraged to eat 1500 calories a day (or a 500 calorie a day deficit for most people, including myself) by sticking to a certain number of exchanges of each food group. I changed my exchanges slightly, changes explained below, and this is what I am using daily:

6 starches (of 80 calories per);

4 fruits (of 60 cals each - it was supposed to be 5 fruits, but I felt 4 would be enough, so I switched a fruit out for 2 extra fats;

5 meats (or substitutes - the meat exchanges are allowed to vary wildly in the number of calories from 35 cals per ounce up to over 100 for high-fat meats, but we are encouraged to choose lower-fat options)

4 fats (45 calories each - I`m supposed to choose 2, but I`ve switched out a fruit for more fat)

2 milk (of about 100 calories each - we are to choose skim, 1 or 2% milk)

4 veg (approx 35 cals)

PLUS up to 3 cups of raw veggies to curb hunger which are considered "free"

3 free exchanges (like one piece of hard candy, or a serving of sugar-free jello)

At first when I joined in December, I wasn`t quite ready to work at it. I even gained 4lbs one week around Christmas. I blamed it on wearing three layers of ski clothing, but the next week, I had only lost 2 of those pounds, so I guess I was kidding myself! I also told myself that I didn`t need to go as low as 1500 to lose weight and so I was allowing myself to eat 1800 cals a day, and was cheating quite a bit, so I wasn`t losing. Then I started to read the TOPS book - "The choice is mine". There was so much good info in there, such as why I, like most other people, eat when I am happy. I had never read an explanation for that anywhere before - the book explained that it is because I am using food to try to sustain, and maintain my feelings of happiness for a longer time period. And the book gave ideas on what to say to myself when the going gets rough ("I know this works, so I am going to keep doing it").

I have created a 100 day challenge (I am on day 16) - to hit my exchanges right on. I haven`t done this all that well - I have probably only succeeded 10 of the 15 days. But even though I am off by a bit, the effort to hit the targets is working. I have now lost 6.5 lbs in the past two weeks, and 10 lbs since the beginning of January. I know it will be tough to get to KOPS, but my goal is to get there before the end of the summer!

Good luck on your journeys to better health!

I know this works, so I am going to keep doing it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATE530 3/20/2014 7:43PM

  Congratulations on finding such a perfect fit for you!!! I lost over 50 pounds in my first 18 months at TOPS but was defeated by the food functions.

Buyer beware! Each chapter is different. TOPS rules say they may have two food occasions a year BUT we were never allowed to advertise it in any literature we passed out soliciting new members. Our meetings were at 7-8 PM. I tried privately to I persuade our 300 pound leader that such things were self-destructive to stop these because 7-8 PM. is much too late to eat and several of us felt as if TOPS had become the infamous "Food Pusher". Food that we neither wanted or needed.
For several years I would go an hour before each meeting to help weigh people. After weigh-in I would leave before the food came out. It was awkward too to try to sample everything as we had 30-40 members. It wasn't safe for me to be there and try to keep everybody happy tasting their food and lose weight too. At one point our leader tried food tastings which turned out to be whole cups of food and not the spoonful I thought it would be. I've been thinking about trying to find another chapter that meets during the day. But be very wary of the food functions. They are diet killers. That may be why our food functions eventually had only half the membership attending.
Hopefully if I will find a chapter that meets in the AM hours that won't be prone to "Food Pushing". I like the accountability of weighing in each week. Hopefully I can find one with no Food Functions.

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PEACHS37 9/3/2013 8:35PM

  Is this group still up...

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MURRAY4LOSS4 2/16/2013 2:44PM

  I am also in TOPS here in Michigan. I am the leader of our chapter. I love how I am able to go and encourage everyone and them help me keep going. I also use this sight to help with my food charts and workouts. I do better with this then writing everything down.

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CHERRYBARBARA76 6/26/2012 11:14AM

  Thank you for the information. I have been thinking about doing tops instead of weight watchers. I have a hard time doing things on my own. I had lost around 20 pounds and i have now gained it all back.

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SILVER31 5/8/2012 8:04AM

    Very interesting and informative blog. I am sure this will inspire many people to keep working at there goal. God bless.

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REBECCA24333 4/27/2012 9:45AM

    Thanks for this blog. I have a TOPS close to me. I think I will check it out!

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MOM4407 4/14/2012 9:10PM

    Loved reading your blog. TOPS is a great program to keep you on track with weight loss. Facing the scale every week keeps me on track. Good luck on your weight loss journey.

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AKELA48 4/12/2012 8:41PM

    Loved reading your blog. I think you have found what will work for you. I know it has for me. I remember reading once that if you focus on results you will not see a change But if you focus on change you will see results. I am also a TOPS member in Canada and I have a question for you or anyone from your chapter.

After hitting a plateau i decided to try something. In the TOPS book, there is a 28 day menu plan. It is actually made of of foods one would normally have in their house. So I thought i would try it. Day 1 and so far so good LOL. Curious though if anyone else has tried it.

Love reading others successes.. helps keep me motivated!
take care

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ERIN1022 3/19/2012 10:19PM

    Hey!! I'm glad to see you've found something that has you motivated and excited. Good luck getting to your goal!

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JESPAH 3/18/2012 6:42AM

    Everything that works is wonderful. :)

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MARCHMAID 3/17/2012 3:30PM

    Hey, good for you. I'm thinking of leaving Sparkpeople altogether. Just not helping and I have other things pulling me away.

Good luck to you!

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JOPAPGH 3/17/2012 11:27AM

    Glad you have found a program that works for you. I am down about 15 year to date and am feeling very motivated.

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