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44th Birthday Progress Photos

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

NewNarayan asked me to post progress pics, to see any potential muscle growth from my increased weight loads in my workouts. Honestly, I've been lifting like a fiend (for me), in an attempt to build up muscle in the places that needed a little size to make my whole body match. So this morning, on my 44th birthday, I had my daughter take pics.

The first thing I want to point out is that I did NOT do any "tricks" before having her take these. I did not dehydrate yesterday (actually drank some water before these pics were taken and 1 1/2 gallons water yesterday), or reduce my sodium (had a Taco Casa Taco Light and Frijoles for dinner last night), or restrict my diet in any way in prep for taking these pics. And I did not apply self-tanner. If I'd of done these things I probably could have been 5 pounds thinner and less "puffy", therefore showing more muscle definition. But I wanted these pics to give an honest representation of what I look like on a daily basis.

I've posted these pics on my profile, too, but here they are with some explanation:

This is me standing (semi) relaxed. For some reason in these relaxed photos it is more apparent to me that I am bigger through the upper body muscles than it is in the flexed ones:

Here's a close-up, still relaxed (my fav of all the pics):

Side Chest pose. I can see my chest muscles have a little more definition in this one:

Front flexed more traditionally:

I see good and not-so-good things in this. Can anyone see a dif from several months ago?

And here is a rear photo of me flexed:

I am still NOT happy with my hips and the backs of my legs. I have a feeling that unless I did severe and unsustainable diet changes, there simply won't be a dramatic change to this area of my body. I'll always keep working on it, but it's time to stop beating myself up and just congratulate myself for working hard and focus on the parts that I really like. Me thinks it's genetic.

I made some of my own discoveries when these pics were taken. First of all, I was hoping to see a lot more muscle in my legs than the pics taken at the end of my cutting diet, and I don't. That's kinda a bummer.

Second of all, it's apparent, at least to me, that my chest muscles are finally starting to come around. I don't like a hugely developed chest on a busty woman (I just think it looks silly, when thick muscle is topped off by big boobs), but the neglect of my pectoral muscles was apparent and I needed to put SOMETHING on there to make my shoulders and arms look more justifiable.

And thirdly- Holy Bicep, Batman! My arms and shoulders are bigger! Funny thing is, I was never trying to get more developed arms. I guess when I upped the weight load on my chest my arms kinda got drug along for the ride.

Which leads me to the conclusion that bodies are just gonna kinda do what they are gonna do when it comes to weight lifting. I've lifted like a mad woman on my lower half twice a week for months now, without great muscle gains as I had hoped for. I aimed to make my chest muscles more apparent, which I did manage to do (my upper body responds quickly), but my arms and shoulders showed greater gain than my chest did.

At any rate, I'm happy with the overall progress, and don't intend to give up. I'm still in the process of losing about 9 or so more pounds, and I'll get there. I'll keep trying to improve my legs with my best efforts. They're big muscle groups and use a lot of calories, so even if I never do get the hard-leg look I'm after, working them hard will do nothing but benefit me.

Anyway, not too bad for 44, huh?

I feel like Dori in Finding Nemo.... "Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!........."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RB5656 11/29/2010 12:58PM

    LOL @ the nemo quote

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HEALTHDUDE 11/16/2010 10:25PM


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MISSYGEEN 11/12/2010 9:42PM

    Great Pics. I will be 44 in March myself and would like to tone up some. I do hit the weight room but have not pushed myself to work as hard as I should or can. I look at you and think if she can do it I can too but then I hit the gym and start to lifting after a few reps I change my tune. One day I'll have the guts to push through it.

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LADYGWEN25 11/10/2010 1:42PM

    You DO look great.. I can't wait to have biceps like that! lol.. AS for your backside... WEll cardio would take care of that. Have you tried swimming??? it's great for an all over body toner :)

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CHAOTICMOM4 11/10/2010 12:08PM

    You look great, Happy Birthday. Your hard work has paid off and the reward is evident in your beautiful smile!

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LJCANNON 11/10/2010 11:14AM

    "Holy Biceps" is right!! You look AWESOME!!!
emoticonKeep swimming!!

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DRB13_1 11/10/2010 11:03AM

    emoticon emoticonHappy Birthday! emoticon
emoticon You look emoticon and pretty much everyone would be envious, so just keep taking care of yourself and know you are a emoticon

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WENDEECOURTNEY 11/10/2010 10:17AM

    RAWK it out, girl! You look FABULOUS!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! emoticon

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BNSPIRD 11/10/2010 12:18AM

    wow! You are amazing! and I love that you have 7 kids!! I have 5 and am working my butt off to get lean and ripped! I do not think I will ever do shows, but still want to get really lean! I have come a long way, but it seems like the more progress I make, the more progress I want to see and the farther it seems like I have to go! CRAZY!

anyhow... WTG! You look amazing! You are a real inspiration to me! Thanks!

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COCOAMARIA 11/9/2010 10:48PM

    You look great! One day for me ! Keep up the hard work!

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DBUCK10 11/9/2010 9:45PM

    Nancy, You look amazing!!! 44~doing a happy dance for you and know that we are our own worse critics!! You are and have done a phenomenal job with your workouts!! I will be 44 in March and I am working hard to look as great as you do!!! Thanks for sharing such inspirational photos of your hard work!!! Keep swimming chica~you are making great strides!


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DBUCK10 11/9/2010 9:45PM

    Nancy, You look amazing!!! 44~doing a happy dance for you and know that we are our own worse critics!! You are and have done a phenomenal job with your workouts!! I will be 44 in March and I am working hard to look as great as you do!!! Thanks for sharing such inspirational photos of your hard work!!! Keep swimming chica~you are making great strides!


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BANKER-CHUCK 11/9/2010 8:58PM

    Happy 44th birthday!! Your progress pictures look totally awesome, as usual. In your 2nd paragraph I think I see way to much qualifying? emoticon I don't think the water or the tacos are reflected in your pictures. You look great. emoticon I think you definitely qualify as a "hardbody". Keep up the dedication and consistency. You have been my inspiration from the first time I joined Spark.

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FITPRIS 11/9/2010 8:55PM

    Great job!!

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TIAGAYEPFA 11/9/2010 6:00PM

    Great blog Nancy and what a great thing to do on your birthday! I think you look awesome. I feel about my stomach area the way you do about your hips and back of legs. Unless I do an unsustainable diet, I'll never keep a flat stomach. You're such an inspiration and I love how you mention about not doing any "tricks" and you just keep it real! Keep up the great work! - Tia


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AKMAMA08 11/9/2010 5:43PM

    Happy 44th Birthday!!! I hope to look as great as you when I'm 44. =) I have the same problem, like most women. The hips/thighs/booty. I chalked mine up my entire life to genetics until I did BFL. I literally cried for about 3 days after I finished the 12-wk program while looking at my "afters". It can be done! Just keep going, err, swimming. ;)

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HARISHABAD 11/9/2010 4:17PM

    You look emoticon!!! I have the same problem, thigh and butt fat. Thay are the last to go *sigh* But if you get down another 9 pounds like you plan, you should be in great shape!! Hit those squats hard!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAJORMOM68 11/9/2010 4:12PM

    You've done great! It's been interesting to see you go through this journey. I'm really proud of you!

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SOCKS117 11/9/2010 3:48PM

  Damn, you tiny abs are inspiring!

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SEORSA 11/9/2010 2:26PM

    Happy Birthday- you look amazing. Very inspirational :)

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FELLE442 11/9/2010 2:19PM

    Happy Birthday!!! I celebrate you today... You look amazing!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/9/2010 2:20:08 PM

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HISARTIST 11/9/2010 2:11PM

    Like I keep saying...I wanna be like you!! AWESOME!! Happy Birthday.

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VIXEN2188 11/9/2010 2:06PM

    You are looking amazing!

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RACHEL_MAC 11/9/2010 2:03PM

    You look amazing, REALLY similar to the pics at the end of your cutting diet! Amazing!!

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CICI510 11/9/2010 1:53PM

    Happy birthday!!! You look AMAZING!!! I want your arms! LOL You continue to be such an inspiration to me. :)

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LASHAY74 11/9/2010 1:16PM

    Happy birthday! Your results are awesome! Have fun this b-day celebrating your results!

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HDHAWK 11/9/2010 12:59PM

    Happy Birthday! Celebrate your successes for all your hard work!

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LDY_ALI_79 11/9/2010 12:53PM

    Nice progress & pictures! Have a happy b-day
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FLEXCHEF 11/9/2010 12:38PM

    Great changes and muscle gains, and I know your body pretty well.

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NEWNARAYAN 11/9/2010 12:13PM

    oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEWNARAYAN 11/9/2010 12:09PM

    thanks for sharing!! when i first looked at the pics i thought maybe you did the whole no salt, dehydration thing because your torso looks even more ripped than it did when you were at the end of the cutting diet, wow! and yes your upper body has definitely muscled up and is very well defined! you say you are a little disappointed with your lower body but all i noticed were bigger quads compared to the last photos. you have def put on more muscle! thank you sooo much for updating us and also for continuing to do more and more, it's so inspiring!! i don't think i've ever been more pumped up to work out! here i go!!

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MCMOM11 11/9/2010 11:02AM

    HaPpY BiRtHdAy To YoU!!!!! You look AWESOME emoticon What an Inspiration, thanks for posting!!!! I'm thinkin you are giving wonder woman a run for her money!!!! emoticon

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TWALKER0475 11/9/2010 10:20AM

    Happy Birthday, Nancy Anne! You look amazing, even if your body has not exactly cooperated in the ways you hoped it would! Thank you so much for sharing your real life results, and setting a great example for how to keep it all in perspective!

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In Defense of the Workout Split

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I have had several people inquire about using whole-body exercises as opposed to working separate body parts. Many times it seems the whole-body camp gets almost charismatic about how their way is better. Me? I don't see it that way. I like separating body parts instead of working all, or most, of them at once.

There is nothing wrong with whole-body exercises. If this is what trips your trigger and keeps you going to the gym, by all means: Do whole body exercises! We all gotta do what works for us. But me? I'm splitting them up. Here's why:

- First and foremost, for me personally I get better muscle definition and size this way.
- It allows me to spend more time on lagging parts and lets the parts the are more developed (namely, my back) hang tight until the other body parts catch up.
- When I work body parts separately I can "custom form" my body more to my own taste. For instance: I've mentioned in prior blogs that I naturally have very slight shoulders. By working shoulders separate I've been able to add width to them, therefore helping to balance my wide hips and turn my bowling-pin body into a true hourglass.
- When I do enough whole-body exercises to make me feel like all of my body got hit as hard as I'd like, it takes a REALLY long time. Splitting things up helps me either do less exercises at a time and get out of the gym faster, or hone in and do a LOT of exercises on one part to thoroughly exhaust it.
- I bore easily. There are only so many whole-body-type moves out there. With splitting things up I'm not stuck doing the same moves over and over, so it helps to keep things interesting for me.

Here is my current split (a split is what they call it when you "split" body parts up into different days), and why:

- Monday- Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Delts (These are all body parts that I need to build up more, so I work them twice a week. For this reason, I put them on Mondays and Fridays, to maximize healing time between workout sessions.)
- Tuesday, early AM- Abs (On Tuesdays I have a Weight Watchers meeting and do yoga, so I try to keep it minimal to allow time for the rest of my life to happen. I would do no body parts this day, but I like to try and work abs twice, if I can [as far as I am concerned, one cannot have ripped enough abs], and this puts them far away from my other ab day on Friday, again for max muscle repair)
- Wednesday- Chest, Triceps, and Calves (None of these body parts need to play "catch up", so they all get worked just once a week. I put calves here to keep them away from my quad days on Monday and Friday, when they usually get hit as a secondary muscle. This gives them suffecient repair time before they are singled out.)
- Thursday- Back and Biceps Again, I don't need to build either of these, so once a week is sufficient.
- Friday- Quads, Hams, Delts, and Abs All body parts that need to be hit a second time to build. If I'm short on time, I'll do less sets of these and leave abs out.
- Weekends- Off

I also do cardio, but this is a blog about work-out splits. For my cardio schedule, you can check my Spark page, right side, under "My Program".

I no longer worry about only doing some body parts once a week and here's why: Most figure and body building competitors only work each muscle group once a week. My workout partner is the most muscular person I know, and sometimes he goes MORE than a week between working body parts. The thing is, when he works any body part, he really goes at it: Multiple exercises (I've never seen him do any less than 5 for any given muscle group), and max effort.

If you are just starting out and want to try splits, I'd advise hitting all body parts twice a week. I did this for years, until my imbalances became apparent. The good news is that the body can be shaped according to how you'd like it to look with splits, so there is no need for these imbalances to be permanent things.

Here is that split. When I used it, I usually did just two exercises per body part (abs I did 6- two for each obliques, upper, and lower). It was quite effective:

-Monday- Legs and abs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, obliques, upper abs, lower abs)
-Wednesday- Upper body (Pecs, Back, Delts, Biceps, Triceps)
-Friday- Repeat legs and abs
-The next Monday- Repeat Wednesday from week prior

You continue alternating upper with legs and abs, which means that one week you are doing legs and abs on Wednesday, and the next on Monday and Friday (or whichever days of the week you choose to work out). This still hits all body parts twice within a seven-day period.

If you want to lift four days a week and hit everything twice in a calender week, you could still do the above split, but do legs/abs days 1 and 3 and upper days 2 and 4 (or vice verse).

The following split would be good if you want to lift weights 5 days a calendar week while hitting all body parts twice in a 7 day period. With this split you won't be spending hours in the gym each session:

-Day 1- Quads, Biceps
-Day 2- Hamstrings, Calves, Chest
-Day 3- Back, Delts
-Day 4- Abs, Triceps

With this split, you would just start back with day one the next scheduled lifting day after you have completed day 4. Also with this split, personally I would NOT do cardio on day two, because that's a longer lifting day with three body parts.

The above split would also work if you want to lift 4 days a week and hit each body part once. If that were the case, I'd do more exercises per body part (at least 3) to really give it something to recover from before it gets worked again.

I just came up with this last split off of the top of my head. There are no "Hard and fast" rules to setting up a split. There are some general rules, but it's good to even change those up sometimes, just to keep your body guessing. (I'll blog about that next.)

I know this is a lot of information and I hope I haven't overwhelmed, over-informed, or over-bored you. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me and I'll try my best to answer them. I love helping!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LORENVER 3/21/2011 4:52PM

    I've been thinking about doing splits so I thought I would check your blog to see what you had to say about it. I talk to my trainer next week so I think I am going to bring this up as an option.



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HEALTHYME47 12/27/2010 7:50PM

    Excellent information - thank you! Right now my trainer has me doing whole body while I'm in my weight loss phase, but I am really looking forward to splitting up body parts...I just enjoy that type of workout more.

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MRS_4EVER_AFTER 11/3/2010 11:22PM

  Sorry for the second comment, I wanted to subscribe to your blog but it wouldn't let me unless I left another comment.

emoticon emoticon

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MRS_4EVER_AFTER 11/3/2010 11:16PM

  Excellent blog! I am going to copy and print this out if you don't mind; it answered my question perfectly.

Since you are a trainer, you may know this answer as well: Are there any good books or websites that show exercises for each muscle group for the in-home lifter? I can find a ton but many if not most, use weight machines and cables that I do not have access to. I want the variety and benefit without having to drive 30 minutes to a gym. Any ideas?

Comment edited on: 11/3/2010 11:27:01 PM

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AMC120 11/3/2010 11:17AM

    Thank you for the blogs!!!! I enjoy them and learn so much from you!!!

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APMAC_D 10/26/2010 10:26AM

    Wow you always have such great information- I am going to come back to this over and over to learn- Thank you so much!!

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HEALTHDUDE 10/25/2010 11:03AM

    Good blog!

I do splits as well. But when I began lifting I did a whole body workout. I liked it back then because I "felt" stronger all over and it kept me going back for more. As time past I got to the point to where I wanted to concentrate on certain parts and went to splits.

I would like to see a blog (get your opinion) on supplement's. Creatine, whey powder vs Soy, Glutamine and other legal Supps you would recommend or warn against.

Thanks - Tony

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SUNSHINE667 10/24/2010 9:11PM

    Ruben have me on splits and I enjoy it a lot! I love reading your blogs, I learn so much more than I did before! Your information is always so helpful...THANK YOU!!!!


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WENDYSPARKS 10/22/2010 6:58AM

    Loved your blog!! emoticon

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REDEMILY 10/22/2010 6:53AM

    Thanks for your insight on your own split. That's awesome.

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CPESCE1 10/22/2010 6:34AM

    I agree - I love your blogs and have learned so much from you! I also split my workouts - give myself a chance to heal in between.

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FELLE442 10/21/2010 10:50PM

    NancyAnne...Thanks so much for this information. I've been trying to organize my splits and the suggestions you provide here are great...and will help me to set a regular routine based on the number of days/available time I can ST.

Your blogs are always soooo very informative and I really appreciative you sharing the information! Thank you again!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Yep.... Here I Am..... AGAIN!!!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Okay, I have a big confession: As of this morning I am at 160.4 pounds. This is about 3 pounds over where I was allowing myself to be for the purpose of muscle gain, 8 pounds over the top of where I would like to "normally" be, and 12 pounds over where I would truly like to hold my weight on a permanant basis.

There is a bit of a history to this: I started German Volume Training (you can read about it here: ) almost 6 weeks ago in an effort to gain some muscle in my legs, chest, and delts. I was only going to do this for 6 weeks, so this is the last week. At any rate, bodies tend to gain muscle better when they are carrying a little extra weight, so I made the choice to allow myself to hover around 157. My plan was, and still is, to get through the training, then take a week off and start working on losing the weight in fairly short order. I had it worked out so that I could still weigh at Weight Watchers once a month, but had time to get down to my goal weight before I had to do my October weigh-in. Or so I thought. The thing is, I gained 3 pounds more than I had intended, and I'm having a real issue with getting it off. 3 pounds may not sound like a lot, but when you add it to the original planned gain, I'm getting off into some dangerous (for me) territory, here.

I know another part of the reason I am at this weight is because of PMS bloat (Sorry to any guys reading this), but the truth is that this isn't a good enough excuse, because my "normal" weight should be low enough to give wiggle room for this.

The fact is that the REAL reason I am up higher is that because I have let myself have a little too much of this here and that there, and it's adding up. And I've been eating more carbs lately, which really holds water and makes me look a lot "fluffier".

And I love baking! I've started doing that again. Of course, I always want to eat what I bake.....

It also hasn't helped that I have been struggling with finding a goal right now. I made the decision not to do figure competition, which I blogged about last. So I lost that goal.

Then I thought I'd found a photographer to do fitness photos on my 44th birthday, but he started showing signs of not being very reliable, and was going to charge me a pretty penny. (As a friend of mine said "That's a lot of cheese for 2 hours of time in front of the camera!") I felt uneasy about using him for my photos.

So I've been a bit adrift, not feeling anything looming over me as far as a goal.

Regardless of the excuse (and these are all excuses), the fact is I am simply too heavy right now. It not only shows on the scale, but also in the mirror.

So I'm back to the old grindstone of being in weight-loss mode.

I guess for now, weekly weigh-ins with Weight Watchers will have to be motivation enough. And next week I WILL BE weighing in, regardless of whether I have to pay dues for being over my goal or not. With WW the highest I can be is 157 (dressed, or course). So unless I lose about 5 1/2 pounds in the next 5 days, I'll be shelling out $12 in dues next Tuesday.


Additionally, as much as I would like to work with a nutritionist again, budget won't allow it, so I'm on my own. It's a LOT harder to self-diagnose than it is to help others, I am finding. But I'm giving it a shot......

Here's my game plan:
- Keep up my lifting and cardio. Honestly, it'd be hard to do much better in this department than I already am. Lack of exercise is NOT why I am where I am. Diet is.
- I'm going to clean up my food choices. Refined carbs are going to all but leave my diet.
- I'm back to a minimum of a gallon of water a day. Water. Not unsweetened tea w/ Splenda. Water.
- I will continue to log my food by writing it down in my WW Journal. I only log breakfast here usually to get the Spark Points. My regular logging is done by hand.
- I will go back to weekly weigh-ins with Weight Watchers, and will continue to do this every week for eternity, as well as continue to stay for the meetings.
- Daily weigh-ins at home until I am down to where I want to be, and I will daily change my weight on the tracker here on Spark to reflect that number.

So here I am, a little back slidden, but not defeated.

I also want to say thank you to the people who have seen my frustrated status update and contacted me. RachelMac encouraged me to blog about this, and RockinButterfly shared her struggles which led me to come back with a "can do" attitude. Then there's Sheri (GymRatAt_40) who wrote me and reminded me to pay attention to the details.

And as always, Anita (Sunshine667), your sweet encouragement has helped to lift me up at a time when I was threatening to wallow in the mire of feeling defeated.

Onward and DOWNward!!!!!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNSHINE667 10/24/2010 9:21PM

    Thanks for the plug, I feel special. Well you are to me! And besides you are my girl Nancy Anne annnnnd...well, you already you know what I AM GONNA SAY, lol! You may be bummed about being have a plan to get it off. Life happens and unfortuately it gets in the way of what we may want to do sometimes or it knocks us back. You have acknowledged that and have a plan of action on correcting it. I am flying solo now, but I am trying really hard to instill what Ruben and you have taught me. I know how you feel and we ALL have been right where you are! Nonetheless, you are STILL an inspiration to me even more because you don't come off as some superwoman who has master this weight loss thing nor do you pretend to are human and I think that's why so many of us look up to you. You remind us it's ok to have setbacks, but have a plan to get back on track!

I know those 5 pounds will be gone (if not already) in no time!


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GODZDESIGN95 10/17/2010 9:57PM

    I wish you much success on your journey. You look awesome to me but that is me emoticon

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SAUDA01 10/16/2010 6:35PM

    I know you can do this it's just a very small set back, I admire you. You are an inspiration to me. You have a plan and it will come together for you and before you know it you will be right where you want to be. I thank you for posting this, I have not been on this site June. Now I know it's not easy even when you get to the weight you want you still have to maintain your weight . You have to stick with it even when you think you can't. I know you are going to do this,

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TWALKER0475 10/13/2010 3:31PM

    Thanks for blogging about this, it helps to see that maintenance is not easy for anyone, even those we look to as leaders have times when they struggle. I have been struggling with the fact that I have crept up about 10 lbs since I began marathon training, and am really 15 lbs over where I want to maintain. It is so easy to beat myself up over this, which often leads to poor food choices, rather than assessing the situation in a neutral manner and deciding on a plan of action. My marathon is 3 weeks from this Sun., so after that I plan to tackle these extra lbs full force...the problem is just surviving these next 3 weeks without doing any further damage!

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RACHEL_MAC 10/11/2010 11:06AM

    Glad to see you have a plan and are ready to get back on track :) You, of anyone, can do this. And really when you think about it, you're not so far off track. You have a new goal and something new and exciting to work toward, you look fantastic and you know exactly what you need to do. The great thing about living a healthy lifestyle is that fat ain't permanent, you can put it on and take it off, allow for some treats sometimes and scale them back at others. I remind myself that the cupcakes will always be there, but if I have a big weekend and enjoy a lot of tasty food--in control, of course--I tell myself "in exchange for that fun, I'm going to carry around 3 lbs of water weight/carb bloat, and it'll take some time to take it off." You don't have to weigh 148.0 every single day of your life to be fit, healthy, and "at goal"!

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AMC120 10/11/2010 10:56AM

    Sounds like you have a great plan moving forward and there are no doubts in my mind that you will be back to where you want in no time!!! Way to go Nancy!!! emoticon

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AKMAMA08 10/8/2010 7:48PM

    Just tell WW you've put it on in muscle ;) Way to go with making a set to weekly public weigh-ins (that sure did hold me accountable when I did WW after I had my son to lose some of the weight along the way...but I was nursing so got 10 extra points a day...can't imagine having those taken away!). I know the feeling of coming off a strict regime and putting on a few...I gained 8lbs after BFL & 9lbs after my vegas show w/ Ruben. As long as I stay in the 120s (10lbs is pretty generous fluxuation I think!) I'm happy. You'll be back at a more comfortable weight in NO TIME. You've got a great, solid foundation, so those muscles will burn it all up for you. Kick up the cardio, and sweat it out girl!

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LADYBUGRUNNER 10/8/2010 1:26PM

    I always enjoy reading your blogs! You always share a wealth of information!!

You got this!! You can do it!! I have always admired how you have transformed your body!! I wish to have your teeny tiny waist!!!


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CPESCE1 10/8/2010 7:00AM

    You are an inspiration to me and have been since I started on SP. I won't even pretend to give advice but I will comment that I know you WILL achieve your goal. I love that you do things in a healthy way and are accountable. I would love some advice from you on getting over that "carb" addiction. I am very conscious of what I eat and log nearly everything but I would really love to seriously cut back on my carbs (I average about 130gms per day) even though they are healthy carbs (no white flour, no white sugar) but can't seem to do it. I would love to stay around 75-120gms. Maybe I should look into carb loading like I read on Reubin's website. I have to work harder and must read more of your blogs because you do inspire me so! Best of luck to you Nancy Anne.

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FITPRIS 10/7/2010 11:51PM

    I understand your struggle with the diet portion of wt loss. Exercise is not the beast of's the food!

You can do this. Sounds like you are focused and determined!!

Have a great Friday!

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NEWNARAYAN 10/7/2010 6:41PM

    girl we are all in this together. not having a very specific goal has led me down a similar path. it is comforting to know others deal with the same problems now and again. thanks for sharing and good for you for catching it while it's so close to home base!

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MUSKWA2 10/7/2010 6:05PM

    Well regardless of how you see yourself in the mirror at the moment (which one cannot trust on the best of days) You are to be admired for all you have done, do and will do and the number on the scale does not reflect who you are. It will be interesting how much lean muscle you gained and when you reach your goal weight how you'll look, I'm sure you are going to be impressed with the results; I read a magazine with German Volume training as a feature and wow man there's no way you're not going to be impressed. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

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GODZDESIGN95 10/7/2010 5:49PM

    As I've said before you look awesome. I'll trade places. emoticonI know you are not pleased with the weight gain and you want a better number on the scale. But I have looked at most of those who lift weights and to me they look man-ish. (Not putting anyone down beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I know they are working hard at it .) You have curves and you are toned. I think you are very attractive and pretty just at you are. But if you are not pleased then that is a different story. I have also seen some of eat what I call un-natural food or little food at all. You seem to eat natural food then most I've seen. I am sure with your determination and hard work you will reach your goals soon. Getting on the scale in front of people was too stressful for me. I always felt like I was going to the electric chair. The cost grew too much for me to continue ww. But I wish you nothing but the best on your journey.

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REDEMILY 10/7/2010 5:24PM

    Do you find that having that much water really helps? I am kind of in the same boat as you right now, been working out really hard, and therefore adding extra cals, etc. My body fat is in pretty good shape, however I am finding that my thighs are flabbier than I would like. If they were super solid I would feel fine, but my pants are not fitting too well any more.
Water would be an easy fix though, and if I am going to continue working out as much as I am, I know my cals need to be up higher...
And yes, its not all about numbers, etc, as you are saying, but I am somewhere (lbs wise) I have never been in my life!
Good luck, and any knowledge you can bring, I will take!

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BECKY_ROWE1984 10/7/2010 5:11PM

    You are such an inspiration to a lot of us on here, it is hard for me to even begin to think of ways to offer you advice. All I can say is you are great at what you do and you only have to look at your previous progress to know that you can achieve ANYTHING you want when you put your mind to it. You will get back onto it because you are passionate about what you do so keep up the PMA and I can certainly offer you smiles to feel good!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAJORMOM68 10/7/2010 5:02PM

    Well, at least you know you're not alone. Hang in there, you've done it once, you'll do it again.

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GYMRAT_AT44 10/7/2010 4:56PM

    Woo hoo !!!! That's more like it!
Go get 'em... and, while you are at it: check out Doug Jantz Photography (just google him)... worth it! I will let you know how it turns out :)

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Why I've Decided NOT To Compete In Figure

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I frequently have people asking me when I will do my first show, or as someone at the gym asked today my "next show" (like there ever was a first!). I had every intention of competing just a few months ago, but my mind has changed on this. Instead of typing out the reasons over and over again, I thought I would blog about it and have a place to send people to read my reasons. I know this doesn't really go along with the general direction of my blog, so please forgive the diversion.

In posting this blog I want to make it very clear that I don't want to discourage anyone else from competing. It's a marvelous venture for so many and if you want to do it, I say go for it! My reasons are simply that: MY reasons. We all have to do what is right for us individually.

When I did my 12-week cutting diet last spring, life became very much about me. I called it the Nancy Show. It had to be: I've never been one who can partly immerse myself in something and still get full benefit. I knew if I was going to be successful I would have to eat, breathe, and live training and eating plan. So I did. And I was successful. But in being very honest with myself I had to admit being that self-focused felt extremely phony for me. You see, I had come to realize before I made the decision to undertake the cutting diet that one of the big purposes my Creator put me here on this earth for is to help others. I had a very hard time being empathetic and giving practical advice when my own life was being lived at such an extreme. (It's hard not to think EVERYONE should abandon carbs after noon if I am doing so.) It felt like I had lost my balance, to a large degree. It really bothered me that my focus was on myself and not others.

Secondly, my main reason for losing all that weight in the first place was to get healthier. While most of the cutting diet was perfectly healthy, there at the end the diet was extremely limited. My coach had me supplementing well, but there wasn't a very wide variety of food, which I think is important for the best nutrient balance. Additionally, in an effort to show as much muscle as possible, I was pretty danged dehydrated by the time the final photos were taken. Quite frankly, I felt weak and like I was about to collapse. This didn't seem to me to be in line with my main directive to be as healthy as possible.

Now, don't get me wrong: This is the very nature of cutting diets (or "leaning in", as most figure competitors call it), and pretty much what people in the industry accept across the board as necessary to look stage-ready. My cutting diet was the most generous and varied of any I have heard of.

The other big reason I decided not to compete is one that I almost hesitate to mention because it's a very hush-hush subject in the figure world, but one that I found out through some research is extremely common: Steroid use among figure competitors. It's present at all levels, but it's downright common and accepted among the figure pros. As a matter of fact, I've read from more than one source that virtually all of the pro figure competitors are using steroids. And one gal in my own gym who competes pretty much copped to the fact that she used them, and seemed to have the attitude that if I wanted to seriously compete I would, too. Another gal at our gym didn't have to admit she did them: We could all tell just by looking at her that she used them before her last show. And this time she finally placed. Go figure. (No pun intended!)

Quick FYI: The figure competitors who use steroids (it's generally very low doses)don't use them for the purpose of muscle gain so much as for the purpose of fat loss quickly before a show.

At any rate, I don't see any point in dropping a lot of money (the least amount I've heard of anyone I know spending for all of the stuff needed to compete in a show was almost $900), to participate in something I simply can't win. I may look good for 43, but I know darned well that with my body type (all my fat on the bottom) the likelihood of me placing without steroid use is slim.

I've never done an illegal drug in my life, and I don't want to be borrow trouble by intentionally exposing myself to others who use steroids.

Lastly, there is the financial aspect. This is a very distant reason for not competing, but it does factor in. At this stage of the game our family needs to be concentrating our finances elsewhere.

I had first considered competing so I could have a goal looming out in front of me to help keep me from gaining weight back. Now I don't know what I will do for a goal, but please don't think I have quit! I'll think about it and find something.

Even though I don't plan to be a figure competitor, I sure as heck want to continue to be mistaken for one!

I know this blog will stir up a lot of controversy, angering some people and making others look at figure competitors in a new light. Please believe me: There are plenty of amateur and near-pro competitors, as well as a few pros, who are not doing steroids, and the figure industry is a marvelous thing that allows women to celebrate and show off their hard work. But for this woman, it's not the right choice. I am going to return to my purpose: Setting an example for and helping others.

Let me know what you think! I always appreciate your comments!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKMAMA08 10/24/2010 9:48PM

    I really enjoyed this. It's a shame that some of the people in the industry are turning towards drugs to change themselves rather than nutrition. I will not succumb to this & be proud of it! You reasons are very logical. You have every right to your opinion & decision because you have actually done the work and gone through the process of what it takes. KUDOS to you for that.
I can't even imagine what the 2nd coaches cutting down diet would have looked like! I did really well w/ & liked Ruben's. Esp cuz he let me have PB. =)

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MRS_4EVER_AFTER 10/20/2010 10:34PM

  I like your reasons, and if I were at the point were I was abl to do a figure competition, I wouldn't for exactly the reasons listed. It's not for everyone and that's ok. As long as you do what you want, then it's all good!!

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BECKY_ROWE1984 10/7/2010 5:37PM

    You are so logical and rational in the way you look at subjects. It is each to their own and I am glad that you stand so firmly in your beliefs.

I certainly do not see that you have given up just made a concious decision to change the direction slightly. Have you ever considered mentoring or life coaching? I think you would be brilliant at it, you are certainly inspirational and have very wise words to share.

Keep up all the good work and hope you find your new goal soon.

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SUNSHINE667 10/6/2010 2:10AM

    You are still my SHEro and that will not change because you decided not to compete. I admire you, not just for being my mentor, but as my very good friend. I know that if I have a question, you will tell me the truth...honestley! I too have never wanted to compete in any shape, form, or fashion but like you said, I just want to be healthy. Ruben has helped me get back so much of what I thought I lost as far as self-esteem and the "can do" attitude back as far my weight goes. I can't thank you enough for referring him to me.
I admire you for speaking out and informing us on things we may not be aware of. Like I said I never want to compete, but look good in my clothes, feel good about myself, and overall be healthy! I totally understand each and every reason why you decided not to compete and if people disagree, so what they disagree. Can't please everyone, right? These are YOUR feelings not anyone else's.

Thank you for being the WONDERFUL person you are not just to me, but to are an AMAZING Nancy Anne!!!

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REALRADIANT1 10/5/2010 7:09PM

    Hi Nancyanne,

Your journey is very motivating and I have enjoyed watching your progress.

I think it's great that you were able to get down to 10% body fat and go through the process that a competitor would go through.

I have wondered if I might like to compete in the future, and it really gave me some perspective to read your blog. After reading your blog, I realize I might not want to compete, but like you said, I wouldn't mind looking like someone who competes.

I think you have a very wise perspective on this issue and I appreciate you sharing it in this blog.


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THEBOOKBINDER 10/4/2010 11:58AM

    Great attitude! Im here with you!

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ILOVEROSES 10/3/2010 7:36AM

    You look emoticonI admire your attitude!

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FITPRIS 10/2/2010 2:23AM

    Having great health is first on the list! Being able to look into the mirror daily and know that you are doing the best you possibly can do is second on the list!!

Do what's right for you and your body!

Excellent blog!

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GODZDESIGN95 10/1/2010 4:20PM

    Not by any mean a personal anything. But I kinda know you mean. things can occupy and over take us sometimes. My diabetes care seems to be getting that way. I so want to break away from all the counting and stuff I have to do. You spoke the truth in the business. I say emoticonfor standing on your principals. Competing or not you are still inspiring. YOU look great!!!

Comment edited on: 10/1/2010 4:20:30 PM

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ROC9612 10/1/2010 9:18AM

    You know I watched the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster (it's about steroid use) this week. It was interesting and they say how if you want to be something in the athletic world you have to use steroids and performing enhancement drugs. It's sad that it has come to that. But yeah I like do things naturally and I am coming to the conclusion that I could use the use of a nutritionist myself but don't have the money right now. The reason why is cause I am figuring out that I don't know that much about food and cooking so that the family could have different things instead of the same things we have periodically, plus the use of different spices too. Anyway it is a very good thing to stand up for what you believe in. Thanks for all that you do on spark, it is appreciated.

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JOSOP2009 10/1/2010 9:17AM

    If you do the right thing, for the right reason, you will get the right result. You clearly have gotten great results (I doubt anyone would guess your age if you didn't tell us. We'd all be off by 10 years or more).

Keep doing things the way you want to do them. You'll find a new goal soon enough.

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BANKER-CHUCK 10/1/2010 12:10AM

    You have done a beautiful job with your body. It is impressive that you have a very sharpe mind and very rational in your thinking. I think you have made a good choice, for you. Use of drugs are rampant in most competitive sports to get an edge. And to be competitive you should not have to give up your belief system.
Keep working and maintaining for you. Relax and enjoy life and eat nutrition to make you happy. You can always impart your wisdom to those willing to learn.
Good luck to you.

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CICI510 9/30/2010 11:21PM

    I admire you for standing up for what you believe in!! You are an amazing woman and you continue to be an inspiration to me. :)

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You Haven't Failed Until You've Stopped Trying.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The title of this blog was posted as a comment by a gal named Christy on one of my earlier blogs on It struck a cord with me and has been rambling around in my head ever since.

I think too many of us have decided that we've failed in the health game. I know I had! I looked at the fact that I was fat and didn't look the way I wanted as failure. But the fact is that I'd never really given up on myself enough to stop trying to be fit and a healthy weight, so I was never officially at "failure" status. And unless you've thrown up your hands and said "I'm never trying to get healthy again.... Please pass the cupcakes!", YOU aren't a failure, either.

I've said before and I will say again that unless a doctor has said to you "It is unwise for you to eat healthy foods at a calorie level that will enable you to lose weight, and you should not do any physical activity of any kind", any reason you have for not taking care of yourself isn't a reason: It's an excuse.

When I tore my rotator cuff I was informed that lifting weights and any jarring motions would be bad for me. The only exercise I was cleared to do was walking.

So I walked.

When I was recovering from surgery, 3 of them in the past 3 1/2 years, I was only approved by my surgeons to walk for exercise.

So I walked.

Did I like walking? No. Did I feel like it was really exercise, after being accustomed to hitting the weights and doing the elliptical at a vigorous pace? No. But did I understand that not following my doctors' orders and doing any more physical activity besides walking could result in big problems for my body? Yes. Did I want to give my body the benefits that would come from something even as simple as walking? Yes.

So I walked.

A lot.

And I'd like to point out that none of my doctors gave me a free pass to eat crap. I probably don't need to list reasons why feeding your body garbage while it's trying to repair itself is not a good idea. So I tried to keep my diet high in nutrient-rich foods.

My point is that I did what I could. And I wasn't failing, even though I was fat for two of the three surgeries, because I had not stopped trying.

As long as you are still trying, there is still hope for you. And there is ALWAYS hope for you.

Youu ARE worth the effort: This is something you have to tell yourself if you are to make positive changes. But whatever you want to achieve CAN be done, one way or the other.

It's never to late!

One foot in front of the other. That's trying..... And that's success!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AGAIN1 2/1/2011 2:30PM

    I loved your post! You look AWESOME!! I love you page period! i am a HUGE wonder woman fan!

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MONET06 10/3/2010 7:43PM

    Thanks for writing and sharing of yourself. I just recently had surgery and I don't want to let myself go and gain more weight. I'm going to take baby steps, even if it walking for 30-60 mins.

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PHEBESS 10/3/2010 11:07AM


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KOOZIE1 9/29/2010 9:28PM

    you are SO right and SO positive! thanks as always.........

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KELMAZ 9/23/2010 8:37AM

  Thanks Nancy Anne. I have been struggling forever (at least it seems like it!) and lately I have been feeling like a failure. In fact, my husband and I were just talking about this yesterday and he gently reminded me that I am not a failure just because I haven't reached my goal yet.

BTW, you look awesome and congrats on your endeavor with Flexchef! emoticon

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GONNA_BREAKAWAY 9/21/2010 4:36PM

  I get tired sometimes. The healthier road is the harder road. Thank you for reminding me that I am worth the effort and not a failure and to not quit!

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YOGINIMAMA108 9/21/2010 1:27AM

    Clearly this speaks to many of us! Great blog, and for me...timely.

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ALESHABEE 9/20/2010 7:26PM

    Now that's the truth!

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REDEMILY 9/20/2010 5:57PM

    Thanks Nancy Anne. That was great, and it is definitely something for us to remember!

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    Thanks I needed to read this... Been MIA for a few days surrounded by CAKE my daughter's bday ( posted a pick) . Needless to say I was feeling like a failure. Thanks for the pick me up.. now I'm ready for insanity tonight !!!!

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THEBOOKBINDER 9/20/2010 9:56AM

    Hey that was one great blog, I needed that today, thank you!

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HEALTHDUDE 9/19/2010 10:00PM

    Have I told you that I really like your blogs.

I really like your blogs!


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RACHEL_MAC 9/19/2010 3:35PM

    LOVE this quote!! It shows that one or two bad cheat days (or a hundred) don't matter as long as you can pull yourself back up and get back in the wagon. It's not failure till you give up. Thanks for the blog, Nancyanne!!!

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MCMOM11 9/19/2010 1:30AM

    emoticonLoved it, Needed it;)

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/18/2010 3:34PM

    And today is what counts! Not yesterday or tomorrow.

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BECKY_ROWE1984 9/18/2010 1:56PM

    I love this blog and can seriously relate to it!

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CICI510 9/18/2010 1:46PM

    emoticon Such a great blog post with so much truth!

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KAREN8WORCESTER 9/18/2010 1:40PM

First time reading your blog. The title reeled me in. And it's true. As long as we keep trying, ANY progress is just that - PROGRESS. And we always have hope. I'm more determined than ever this time to not stop-to not give in- to my emotions and the way other people can make me feel about myself. I'm NOT going to give any one else the power to make me fail anymore. Please keep writing. Thanks.

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    Thank you so much! This is exactly what I needed to hear and at just the right moment too.

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BANKER-CHUCK 9/18/2010 1:22PM

    I am always impressed by your wisdom. You are such a wise motivational person. Myself, I have never considered myself as a failure even 60 lbs. ago at 277 lbs.. Getting fit and losing weight was always on my mind, but I never felt guilty but did feel lazy and unmotivated. I knew I needed to start a nutrition and fitness program, so on Jan. 2010 I got it going and getting results. Following your results and dedication keeps me inspired.

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