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Changing Tastes

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Today was a disruptive day in my diet. Normally, I eat a standard breakfast, and pack a standard lunch and snacks for work. That leaves a little variety for dinner, before a standard evening snack. Today some of those standards got disrupted.

Yesterday was the dreaded Snack Day at work. I dealt with it by working from home, avoiding the big stack of goodies. I got the email informing me that there were fudgsicles and Klondike bars in the freezer, but it's pretty easy to resist a freezer that's 8 miles away.

Today I was in the office. There was a leftover cake from snack day. It called my name. I had a small slice, I estimate 1 oz. It was delicious, and for a mere ounce, affordable.

Self-awareness moment: I noticed the aftertaste from the cake was prompting me to want more cake. That explains part of why past Snack Days have meant a hard time keeping eating under control; once I start, there's automatic reminders to continue.

I dealt with this one by having an Atomic Fireball. (If you're not familiar with them, that's a hot cinnamon candy. 35 calories, can last me a half hour, and is a regular item on my snack list.) That took away the craving and got me back on a normal track for the morning.

In the afternoon, I got on an interesting phone call and missed eating my normal afternoon snack. So when I headed home, I was hungry. I stopped at Taco Bell (a normal place for me to eat, but this isn't my normal day for that) and ordered my usual. Part of that is a meal deal that includes a 1 oz. bag of Doritos. Normally, the Doritos go home to my cupboard, then my daughter takes the uneaten Doritos home with her after I see her on Friday. Today, I was so hungry I ate them with dinner. What the heck, it's only 150 calories and I missed eating 368 calories of planned afternoon snacks.

That was a reminder why I normally don't eat the Doritos. The initial impression was, gosh those suckers are salty! Really? Doritos? Yes, really. Doritos. It seems all these months of eating first oatmeal and later steel cut oats with no salt added (spices vary from day to day) has made me more sensitive to tasting when there is salt. And I'm not even particularly sensitive to sodium in my diet from a blood pressure perspective.

Got home, and had plenty of calories left to eat in the evening. So I scarfed down the first thing I was craving - a salad. Really? Moi? *Choosing* to eat a salad? Yes, really. OK, it's only a bagged salad of iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, and shredded red cabbage, plus some chicken breast and a tablespoon of light ranch dressing; but that's the kind of thing I would have said I'd never want to eat. My, how times change.

Still had a few calories left to make minimum (I have a pretty high low end of calorie range to avoid losing weight). What's calling to me? I settled on plain Greek yogurt with some fresh strawberries and an orange. The strawberries and orange added more calories than I'd add by choosing a Greek yogurt with fruit already added; but they are every so much better!

Oh, really? Fresh fruit was another thing I never did before SP. But over the course of my first year on SP, I tried a few things that were supposed to be healthy. I found that some of them were really, really good. And as I ate healthier, it appears that my tastes have changed quite a bit.

Recap of things that happened today that wouldn't have happened, pre-Spark: Stopping after one small slice of cake. Finding the salt on Doritos. Eating a salad as a first choice. Eating fresh fruit as a first choice. Eating Greek yogurt at all.

If anyone who is just starting out is reading this, and you happen to think that all that eating healthy stuff is impossible, give it time. Don't try to change it all at once, but do be open to trying bits and pieces of healthier eating. Over time, those bits and pieces can add up to something substantial.

Now, I'll be the last to claim that I eat totally healthy, even now. Every day, I have some candy. (Usually not very much.) Taco Bell is better than McDonalds, but no fast food is really good for you. And I don't limit myself to just the Fresco Chicken Soft Taco. (Oops. I left ordering "fresco" out of the changing tastes narrative.) But I'm eating a lot more stuff that is traditionally considered healthy, which leave less room for the calorie dense, indisputably unhealthy stuff I used to love. Maybe I'd still love some of it, like that cake. But what I eat is much closer to a nutritionist's recommendations than what I used to eat.

And I might not be done changing. After all, I can't change everything at once.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BBECKER1955 8/2/2012 6:26PM

    Great post, sounds like your tste buds are getting healthier too! emoticon

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KRISZTA11 8/2/2012 3:59PM

    Sounds great for a day of disruption.

I have the same experience with salt.
Last Sunday we had my parents over for lunch and they salted almost everything, and all food tasted perfect to me, it would never occur to me to put salt on it...

I like your new picture very much!

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HEALTHIERKEN 8/2/2012 12:08PM

    Way to tell it like it is!

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MSLZZY 8/2/2012 10:25AM

    You have come so far and learned so much. Thanks
for sharing your observations. Looking back and
looking ahead. You are a success and an inspiration!

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KANOE10 8/2/2012 9:15AM

    You have made excellent healthy changes in your life. Great inspirational blog.

emoticon emoticon

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JAZZEJR 8/2/2012 8:46AM

    emoticonMobycarp! Glad to see you're still going strong--slim and in control! I'll have to look for some of those Atomic Fireballs. emoticon

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RG_DFW 8/2/2012 6:51AM

    Change is a process and a journey... keep going

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    Words of wisdom indeed. Keep on Sparkin'!

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NWFL59 8/1/2012 10:24PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEBRITA01 8/1/2012 10:11PM

    You've made some really great dietary changes and your tastes now support that. It's interesting how that happens. I'm finding my own tastes & preferences are changing, too. Who would've thought I'd prefer fresh peaches over a sugar-laden dessert?!
Keep making those healthy choices! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEBBY4576 8/1/2012 9:56PM

    I really enjoyed your day of eating. I think anyone reading what you were able to eat, and stay within your calorie range, would be encouraging. People tend to think all a diet is, is rabbit food. You just showed the world how you can sample, and avoid. Great blog today, for you and me. Thank you.

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RRBSKI 8/1/2012 9:55PM

    Great job...and very very my SP Phone App. My food choices have changed but after 71 days I definately don't feel deprived. All the best.

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ONEKIDSMOM 8/1/2012 9:47PM

    If you only knew how broad your sister's smile has been reading this. I remember our conversation a year ago... "You don't really have to change anything, just start out by measuring it and writing it down..."

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Ya think that maybe, just *maybe* I could have predicted this might happen for you? I'm thrilled. Healthy feels great and the food here tastes great!

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Before & After

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lately I've seen a few blogs with before & after pictures. This is timely, as one year ago today I took my before pictures. On the morning of July 31, 2011 I weighed in at 192.4, down 4.2 lbs. from when I signed up with SP. This morning I weighed in at 160.8. So how do the before and after look?

The mug shot:

The kettlebell snatch, front view:

And my favorite comparison, the kettlebell snatch, side view:

A couple weeks ago I moved a pair of dumbbells from the basement to my living room, so they'd be there when the mood hit me to do renegade rows. That let me add a shot to today's mix, the dumbbell press:

NWFL59 asked whether these were 45 lb. dumbbells. Well, that's embarrassing. They're only 30 lb. dumbbells. But the question got me thinking. The renegade rows weren't really challenging with 30 lb. hex dumbbells. So today I moved the pair of 35 lb. dumbbells up from the basement. Did one set of 10 renegade rows to test them, and they were challenging enough. I want the renegade rows to be some work, but I don't want them to be so challenging that I end up putting the DBs down hard and banging up my floor. I think I can manage that with 35 lb. DBs, but I'm definitely not there for 40 lb. DBs.

One year ago today, my goal weight was 175 lbs. I thought that was a stretch goal. I wasn't sure I could get down below 180, because I thought I'd added some muscle lifting weights. Like many overweight people, I was grossly overestimating the muscle mass I had added.

Today I don't particularly want to lose weight below 160 lbs. I can do renegade rows with 35 lb. hex dumbbells. (For those keeping score, renegade rows with hex dumbbells are easier than with round dumbbells, which are easier than with kettlebells of the same weight.) I can do Turkish get-ups, windmills, and snatches with a 45 lb. kettlebell. I can do 60 pushups. I can do 8 real pronated pullups. One year ago, I might have been able to do the renegade rows with 35 lb. hex dumbbells; but I couldn't do any of the other stuff.

Sunday someone asked me if I was all right, since I'd lost so much weight. Yes, I'm all right. I have a bit of a foot problem and can't run for any distance right now; but I'm all right. Life is good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAZZEJR 8/2/2012 8:48AM

    Ah, man! What a stud you are now with that tummy gone and those guns! I like, I like! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/2/2012 8:48:43 AM

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TIFFY0906 8/1/2012 7:21PM

    Awesome job - great before & after pics, looking good

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HEALTHIERKEN 8/1/2012 11:42AM

    Looking good, looking very good, SparkFriend!

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RRBSKI 8/1/2012 9:11AM

    GREAT Job...all the best on continued success

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PLMITCH 8/1/2012 8:59AM

    I am mad at myself for not taking better/more before and after pics so I'll just have to marvel at yours!


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BBECKER1955 8/1/2012 5:53AM

    Great job. emoticon

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RG_DFW 8/1/2012 4:39AM


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MSLZZY 8/1/2012 12:40AM

    What a transformation and inspiration! Fantastic!

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LAURIE160IN2013 8/1/2012 12:36AM

    Thank you for the inspiring photos and commentary!

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WATERMELLEN 7/31/2012 8:40PM

    You've gotta be very very proud of these before and afters . . . it's not just the weight loss, it's the fitness!

Now: maintenance!! Lots of support here for that too!

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NWFL59 7/31/2012 8:34PM

    Thanks for this before and after blog with photos. Wow you've done so well in meeting your goals and getting healthier and fitter! Your success and approach to achieving it are very inspiring to me and I can make use of it despite our having vastly different starting points but my long term goal is the same as yours in that I want to achieve and maintain 160 lbs give or take 2-3 lbs. I figure it will take me about a year and half or so to achieve this from my present point. I have a nice set of dumbbells I can use that start at 10 lbs and go up to 50 lbs in 5 lb increments. Several years ago (long before joining Spark) a friend and I were on a health kick and I'd worked up to be able to do a single set with the 50 lbs but most of the time I did my dumbbell routine using the 30 and 35 lb-ers. My arms have definitely atrophied since those days (LOL). Now 10-15 lbs is about all I can use with proper form but I've started working on it again. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/31/2012 8:26PM

    Great before/afters... I have a really, really before of you I found from the same trip as my before. You had hair, a cat (Ashley) on your shoulder, and a USA Los Angeles 1984 t-shirt on your tall thin frame. It was also pre-glasses for you.

Ah, yes, youth... so wasted on the young! emoticon But fitness knows no age limit... it improves us at every age!

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  Way to go!!..Im new and hope I get great results too..

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Sunday Ramble

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's been an odd Sunday, but a pretty good day on the fitness front.

I started out by sleeping for 9 and a half hours last night. Hmm. Guess my body really needed the rest; when it doesn't, I can't sleep that late.

The extra sleep gave me less time for a pre-church routine, but that was okay. I got done everything that I needed to, including the standard morning exercises.

Got another "are you all right" comment after church. In the summer, we have "Lemonade on the Lawn" for social time. I've been pretty good about controlling myself with respect to the snacks that go with the lemonade this year. Hence, the comment: "Do you eat anything any more?" She meant well, but this is coming from someone who has known me for 20 years, and seen me at a healthy weight for the first time less than a year ago. I assured her that I'm maintaining this weight deliberately, and that I'm as fit as I've been in my adult life.

As I reflect on this episode, I remember several blogs about other people being less than supportive of weight loss efforts. That's not what's going on in this case. This person has known me for a bit over 20 years, and had never seen me at a healthy weight until last fall. Also, she has seen several family members and close friends develop serious health issues within the past year. Her concern is genuine, and I can forgive her for having "quick weight loss = health problem" as a first reaction.

OTOH, I *have* maintained pretty much the same shape for a half year or so. These comments are less common than they were a few months ago.

This afternoon's project was trimming the hedge around the house, then mowing the lawn to pick up the trimmings. Traditionally, I want to do the trimming on Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. I missed Memorial Day this year because I was in the middle of Sedentary Work Hell then, so the hedge really needed a haircut.

Got the hedge trimmed, and started with the mowing. Halfway through picking up the trimmings, the mower quit on me. Then it started briefly, and died again. This is an electric mower, and I think it just got overheated; I'll try it again with the mowing only another day. Today, I was stuck raking the rest of the trimmings into the mower bag to haul them to compost.

The good news is that gathering the trimmings was not nearly the amount of effort it used to be. It used to really knock me out to rake all that stuff up and bag it, which is why I started mowing to pick it up in the first place. The good/bad news is that the lawn doesn't really need to be mowed. It was too wet to mow yesterday, but today it was dried out again. We're officially in a "moderate drought," which means I haven't mowed in the month of July and really don't need to; but this level of drought would not impress anyone from the Great Plains. There is still green in my yard, even in some parts that I haven't watered.

After not mowing the lawn, I took a walk. I had intended to forego formal cardio today in order to get the trimming and mowing done, but with the mowing aborted I had time. Walked 5K so I could record an entry in the virtual race that carries a drawing for something or other free that I probably wouldn't use even if I won it. But it's one of those stupid motivational tricks, and it worked on me.

There are a few things I would have liked to get done this weekend that I didn't get to. But I got the important stuff done, I got a good start at getting back on a normal sleep schedule, and I feel like I was able to relax.

It's nice to have a real weekend without having to get anything done for the paid job.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAZZEJR 8/2/2012 8:54AM

    Been years since I got 9 hours of sleep--got to try harder. You're right to take the high road with the weight-loss comments. Assume people have good intentions always. It's less stressful on YOU :)

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NWFL59 8/1/2012 11:41AM

    Sounds like you had a good Sunday and fielded the comments well. I too decided to do my virtual 5K Sunday even though I'm having a flare up of my gout in my left big toe. Because I already have neuropathy in both feet, the gout pain isn't so bad that I couldn't wear a sock and shoe and do some walking. Continuous sleep still eludes me but I'm working on improving that too. emoticon

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BBECKER1955 7/31/2012 7:43AM

    I've got the same same "are you feeling OK" comments too. I think at a certain age, folks are trying to not be insensitive to a health issue. I can understand that folks don't want to comment on a weight loss and then find out your sick.
Sounds like you had a productive, enjoyable Sunday.

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PLMITCH 7/30/2012 8:09AM

    I'm with you on the "are you OK" comments! And I'm sure a few folks are wondering with my new dome if I'm in chemo or something! Not true on all fronts!

I am envious on the 9.5 hours of sleep! 8 is about as much as I can get in, although this morning the 6 hours was clearly not enough (curse you Red Sox-Yankees!!).

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WATERMELLEN 7/30/2012 8:02AM

    Healthy weight is becoming abnormal such that people do comment, "Are you OK??" It's interesting . . . on the other hand, "functional fitness" is very definitely its own reward!

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MSLZZY 7/30/2012 7:38AM

    Great weekend and lots accomplished. We have
not mowed since the Memorial Day weekend and
will not be mowing until we get a substantial rain.
The way it looks now, that could be next year LOL!
Be all you can be! HUGS!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/30/2012 5:06AM

    emoticon for the weekend without job stuff.

Love that things are easier than they used to be. That's one of the benefits of a healthy weight, you're not working "extra" to cart the spare tire about.

emoticon May your sleep continue on track!

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HEALTHIERKEN 7/29/2012 10:51PM

    Sounds like the Perfect Sunday! Glad you're doing well with your sleep,

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Unexpected Calm Motivation

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Motivation is an odd thing.

Yesterday I disrupted my normal routine. I went to a minor league baseball game with a group from my church, and took my daughter along with me. That's a twofold disruption. First, the game goes late with fireworks afterwards, so I know I'll be up past my normal bedtime. Second, there's ball park food for supper.

The weather was great, the company was congenial, and it was a fun time. The local team lost 2-1, sending a grand total of 28 batters to the plate for a lackluster performance, but that's okay.

I had the SP app with me, and I chose well for dinner. Since I had lots of calories left, I could fit in some ice cream. Yum! I even got to eat a normal bedtime snack at an abnormally late hour after I got home.

Comes the morning. The alarm has been turned off, but I'm up anyway. I get myself to go back to bed, and get up permanently an hour an 20 minutes later than the alarm would have gone off. I'm moving slowly, since I'm still sleepy-tired.

Moving slowly is okay on a weekend. It's one of my luxuries and I'll enjoy the ability to do that. Took my sweet time to get around to the first set of pullups, then the pullups and pushups went normally.

Didn't feel like doing the KB exercises while the steel cut oats were simmering, so I didn't. I told myself I'd do them later. Yeah, right. Where have I heard that line before?

In the midst of doing the cheap Spark Point drill, I took time out for the TGU/Windmill combos. Those felt so good I went right into the KB snatches. I have lots of time, so I did 3 sets of 10 instead of my usual 2 on work days. This is all taking quite a while, as I move loads of laundry through the weekend process and spend some time playing on the computer.

As I'm doing a set of KB dead clean/squat combos, it occurs to me that this is what motivation looks like today. I'm not hot to get to the next exercise, and I'm not pushing to do better than I did last time; I'm just *doing* it, because it feels natural.

I had about decided to deep six cardio for the day in favor of trimming the hedges and mowing. But the weather failed to cooperate. I woke to rain. The grass dried out enough to mow later, but by the time I would have got out, we had another thundershower. So I went for a walk in the aftermath of that shower, and walked through a few sprinkles. Covered 5K in 45 mintues and small change, for a reasonable but not exceptional walking pace. Again, low level motivation in action.

The bad foot is still not ready for real running. It let me do a couple laps of jog up and down my hallway this morning, but that's about it. Still . . . if I can keep up what I'm doing today, I'll be okay when the foot is well enough to let me run again.

Of course, today's level of motivation and pace of activity would totally fail me on a work day; but I'll worry about Monday when it gets here. This was Good Enough for today, which was a day after disrupted sleep patterns. The plan is to get to bed on time tonight, get the sleep back on schedule, and see how well I move by Monday morning.

For now, this is enough. Motivation has returned, from I don't know where and sparked by I don't know what. I'll enjoy it while it's here.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/29/2012 10:07AM

    "The best is the enemy of the good": Voltaire was right (or at least a lot of the time). Motivation is a funny thing: I no longer expect to experience it BEFORE doing whatever it is to be done. It's always after-acquired, for me.

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RG_DFW 7/29/2012 7:51AM

    sounds like a good day

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TIFFY0906 7/28/2012 9:42PM

    Sounds like you had fun at the game.

emoticon with the workout.

Comment edited on: 7/28/2012 9:43:10 PM

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VICTORY2XS 7/28/2012 7:58PM

    What a great time to have spent last night. I am sure it was worth everything.

And today, you could have decided not to exercise at all, but that was not what you chose to do. I little bit of extra sleep may have been cathartic.

Finding peace on a Saturday is truly a gift from Above.

Best wishes,


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NWFL59 7/28/2012 7:56PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/28/2012 7:51PM

    Enough is such a great balancing concept. Glad you had a good day.

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Wednesday Maintenance Musings

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday has been a better day than Tuesday was. I got enough sleep. Maybe it wasn't enough to catch up on the deficit I've been running, but it was enough that morning exercises had proper motivation.

The bad foot is still griping about yesterday's abuse. It griped enough that I limited my lunch walk to 20 minutes, at less than full pace. But it didn't grip enough to keep me from getting in 10K steps today.

The weight trend is looking pretty sideways. That's a good thing, and a little puzzling for the issues I've had with getting exercise. But I'll take it.

Along about this time last year, I just started hitting my stride in losing weight. This year, I've become accustomed to seeing my year over year comparison be down 30+ pounds. That should change in the coming weeks, as my weight last year went down and my weight this year needs to go sideways. I'm trying to prepare myself for regarding that dropping year over year number as *normal*.

It just now strikes me that I've been tracking what I eat every single day, for over a year now. This has become the new normal for me. I'm seeing anniversaries of risky events, like the church breakfast in the park last Sunday. A year ago, I blogged about eating too much there. This year, I ate more but kept it in plan (an expanded maintenance plan) better. Tracking my food isn't flashy, but it's important. It's a Good Thing that I can do this naturally, regardless of the ebbs and flows of my motivation for fitness and regardless of my injury status.

I suspect that's what I need from the fitness effort, too; the ability to just do it, regardless of motivation, regardless of what else in my life happens to demand top billing. I'm there with food tracking. I'm not there with exercise. I'm not there with getting enough sleep. For now, I think I need to focus more on the sleep; if I mess that up, it's a Bad Thing for the exercise, too.

And with that thought, I'll post this and wind down for bed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 7/26/2012 7:46AM


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MSLZZY 7/25/2012 11:40PM

    Exactly! Focus on sleep first and the rest will come.

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HEALTHIERKEN 7/25/2012 10:45PM

    Yep. Sleep first. Unless you decide that a little more exercise would enhance your sleep patterns.

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NWFL59 7/25/2012 9:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/25/2012 8:51PM

    When motivation flags, sleep is a very good place to start the focus! emoticon emoticon

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