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Don't Pre-Load Your Fork

Monday, June 06, 2011

This is a really simple tip that I heard somewhere lately (I think it was a Weight Watchers meeting): Don't pre-load your fork. Wait to put more food on it before you are done chewing and swallowing the current bite.

I have a deserved reputation among family and friends for being a very fast eater. This is going to sound like a excuse akin to "The devil made me do it", but I really was born this way: There are literally photos of me screaming because my poor mother (who looks caught between amusement and horror) is not shoveling my baby food into my mouth fast enough. When I went off to boot camp I got faster yet. Then add motherhood to the mix and I developed the ability to positively inhale my food.

But when following the "Don't pre-load your fork" rule, I have to pay attention to my food and the process of eating. This helps me to feel more satisfied, which, in turn makes me less likely to overeat.

Nothing horribly earth-shaking, but perhaps it can help someone else.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHDUDE 6/12/2011 10:10AM

    It's a great tip but.....remember this one your mother told you..."Chew your food twenty times before you swollow!"

Yea that really worked.

I eat fast, really fast, faster than my dog. If there was a Super Hero of fast eaters, I would be on that poster. Now, I don't eat like a slob, nor make alot of noises. See, I've perfected nice eating habits at an incredible rate of speed. So I must work very hard at slow eating - my talking. I talk while while food is in front of me. It slows me down to a "normal" rate of eating. Try It.


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ALESHABEE 6/10/2011 10:33PM

    Thanks! Great tip :-)

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CCSDESTINY 6/10/2011 2:18PM

    I love these short cuts and they do work when I remember. My problem is when i get hungry LOOK OUT! I dont remember until I am nearly finished with the damage.

Thanks for sharing, every time I see these reminders it helps!

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KRISTI2661 6/9/2011 6:50PM

    Love it. Always looking for easy sayings that can trigger reminders. My other current favorite is "hunger is not an emergency." Thanks for sharing this!

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CICI510 6/9/2011 5:46PM


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TJBLEEKER 6/9/2011 2:58PM

    Good pointer!

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KIMMAS82 6/8/2011 12:42PM

    Great tip!!

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CONTUSIONS2012 6/8/2011 12:28PM

    Great tip! I also have the ability to inhale my food, usually finishing long before my meal companions. Iíll have to give this a try.

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CHUNKY-DUBSTEP 6/8/2011 10:23AM

  If there's one thing we're similar in is our velocity in which we consume food. My family would always make fun of me on this, and my girlfriend looks at me in horror as she takes her 3rd bite of food and see's my food being devoured.

Great Read

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EMPTRS 6/7/2011 10:49AM

    Love this idea-such a great plan!!! Thanks for sharing-I definitely have problems with pre-loading and shoveling!!! But now I will try to be more self-aware!!!

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PAULAMARIEF 6/7/2011 10:47AM

    Thanks Nancy.

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SARAHNICOLE__17 6/7/2011 2:33AM

    Chewing food properly is so crucial! For so many different reasons. What a great post! It really makes you think.

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KOOZIE1 6/6/2011 10:56PM

    Oh yes this IS me - especially once you have kids. They ask SO MANY QUESTIONS when we eat that I feel like I "have" to shovel in it.
We now have a rule that if someone asks you a ? while you are eating, you just point to your mouth showing that you are chewing. And then everyone waits PATIENTLY while you finish your bite. And it WORKS!
Great post!

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GETSTRONGRRR 6/6/2011 10:16PM

    Great idea, thanks!

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MISSYGEEN 6/6/2011 8:44PM

    Thanks for the tip. I grew up a very slow eater. I was always the last one left at the table. I was forced to sit and eat everything on my plate. I have know idea when it happened but now I eat so fast I don't even notice how good it is until its gone and must have seconds. I've tried counting but that's not a song I want to hear over and over in my head. I have to write this one down. Too bad I was reading this as I was finishing my last bite of pre-loaded forkful salad. Well, at least it was a salad. emoticon

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ONEWAYALI 6/6/2011 7:06PM

    Thanks for posting that tip! I am such a fast eater (perhaps because my mom is as well?) and I am always done with my plate before I even realize it! My boyfriend is usually sitting across the table, with 3/4ths of his plate full, with a look of disbelief!!

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DREMARGRL 6/6/2011 6:44PM

    Fabulous tip, NancyAnne. I shall pass this along with the "dip the fork in Balsamic vinegar before piercing the lettuce" rule. Have a fab new week! Xo MaryAnn
PS I must confess....I know most of the rules, but I don't always follow them. MY BAD! lol.

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10 Things That Might Surprise You About Me

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1. I eat. A lot. I enjoy a large volume of food and this helps to keep me from binging. My secret? My plate is piled high with non-starchy vegetables, and I have gi-normous salads often. To season my veggies I sprinkle on various seasonings, but most often I just use salt, pepper, and lemon pepper (the secret here- no butter or oil!).

2. I eat out often. I have to. Right now I am raising my daughter alone, plus I have an adult handicapped son that she and I frequently spend time with (my husband lives and works far away). As the sole driver for her many activities I just don't have time to do as much cooking as I would like. Plus, I really enjoy letting someone else do the dishes. I always look for places that have healthy options at a great value.

3. I rarely share my meals. I'll let you have a taste, and I might taste yours, but it's my food, and I'm hungry! If it's a day where I need to be careful I'll order a grilled chicken salad and have them hold the cheese and crunchy things (Dressing is always on the side and I fork-dip), or get the baked chicken with broccoli and baked potato (toppings again, always on the side and I use sparingly). If I feel like splurging I work it into my daily macronutrients, but I'll be eating the whole danged thing, thank you very much!

4. I'm not careful at all about sodium. Yes, I know this is evil, but the rest of my diet is pretty tight (most of the time), so I've been letting myself have this one. I imagine there will be a day when I start to work on this, too, but not today. :-)

5. I have an intense sweet tooth. A couple of times a week I'll have a few cookies or a small ice-cream cone or some other yummy thing. I've found that as I've gotten leaner I can afford to do this less and less, but the fact is that I have a sweet tooth and to deny it entirely is unreasonable, if not impossible.

6. I usually take weekends completely off from exercise. I do long and hard workout sessions most weekdays, but I don't want to have to worry about going to the gym on the weekends- they're for me and my kids.

7. I binge. This is a hard one to admit, but it does happen sometimes. Thankfully, not as often as it used to, but occasionally I do go nutz with the eating. This is a psychological (and sometimes hormonal) issue, and I'm working on it. But it still happens from time to time. (It usually starts with peanut butter.) The difference from now compared to when I was heavy is that I no longer view it as utter failure and allow it to send me into a downhill spiral of continuing to eat like crap for days on end. I start fresh the next day and really clean up my diet to help off-set the damage by reducing carbs, being careful about sodium, and making sure to get plenty of lean proteins, non-starchy veggies,and water to help the garbage I ate move out of my system. I also try to get in a little extra cardio the next few days to help burn the stored glycogen from the binge out of my system before too much of it can get converted to fat.

8. I take at least a week off of exercise every 10 weeks or so. This varies according to A.) How intensely I have been working out and 2.) What is going on in my life. When I am really hitting the gym hard, the break will come closer to the 8-week mark. When my intensity level isn't so high, I'll take a break every 12. These breaks are important to both my fitness and mental well-being, and I look forward to them.

9. I usually go for the full-fat/higher calorie version. Fat free sour cream? Way to ruin a perfectly good taco! Light mayo? Would rather have a scraping of the full-fat on my sandwich. Deserts made with Splenda and apple sauce in place of the oil? Forget it! I'd rather have a little of the "real" stuff than a bunch of bad-tasting (and unsatisfying- at least to me) low-cal stuff. And don't lecture me about how much worse this stuff is for my body. I know, and I'm eatin' it, anyway.

10. I eat a great, big breakfast. I mean, huge. It's calorie dense and yummy, although usually very healthy. A typical breakfast for me is 1/2 C of dry oatmeal (this makes a pretty big bowl of oatmeal, BTW) with a chopped up apple cooked in it and about a teaspoon of Smart Balance Margarine and cinnamon mixed in. I'll eat along side this a whole egg scrambled with 1/2-3/4 C of egg beaters or egg whites. I like to start my day with a full belly.

Being fit is work, but I am far from perfect, and there are some things I just won't compromise on. Maybe some of these things will change as I progress (#7 would be a great one to lose!). But if none of them do, I'm not kicking myself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Excellent blog.

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DVASQUEZ 6/6/2011 7:14PM

    Thanks for sharing! Love reading your blogs!

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DAISY4114 6/1/2011 3:23PM

    Thanks for being so truthful. I believe that the journey I'm on now is a lifestyle. I'm not going to give up the desserts and other favorites, but I'm not going to have them all the time nor in as large a portion as I've had in the past.

Thanks for being a great role model.


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EDWARDSC393 5/24/2011 11:43AM

    I agree about eating more , but clean. My body needs the food every 3 hrs. Glad you wrote this blog, so many people are lowering their calories too much, then they can,t understand why they don,t lose weight! Thx, for teaching! Cherie

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REBYTR 5/23/2011 11:14AM

    Thank you for posting this! I can relate to everything you said!

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JENNJO322 5/23/2011 9:57AM

  Thanks for this blog, I was struggling with the real vs. no fat low fat versions, but you're right a scraping of real mayo once in a blue moon isn't so horrible!! Thanks Nancyanne for your sensibility!!

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MISTYMOVIN 5/23/2011 8:25AM

    As always, awesome and sensible blog! I love the no substitutions. I use real butter (sparingly), since I'd rather have the real deal. I do get reduced fat sour cream lol, but never fat free, yuck. Have you tried the Kraft Olive Oil Mayo? It's pretty yummy!

Salt is my downfall, I love tortilla chips. I've gotten to where I'll buy a bag of chips and salsa every other week instead of every week, hehe. And chugging that water like a mad woman.

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TABS17 5/22/2011 8:45AM

    I am so with you on the low fat junk! lol If I am going to eat something of that nature I am going to enjoy it. Plus I am not a fan of all of the chemicals used to reduce the fat. I never use artificial sweeteners. If I want to sweeten something I will toss in a bit of sugar. It is rare anymore but I still will stick with this plan!! Sour cream is occasionally yummy!!

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ANEPANALIPTI 5/22/2011 8:43AM


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LAXMOM167 5/22/2011 7:51AM

    Love this blog!!! I could relate to a lot of #'s!! You are so fit and I am happy to hear about your time off from working out. I thought it was me...losing the mojo after weeks of hitting the gym and road! Thanks again.

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    I definitely agree with #9, when I tell people I've been able to lose weight while eating real cheese and having full-fat versions of things they feel like I am lying to them. I cook with real sugar and I find that it's easier to have just one cookie than have a bunch of them because I'm searching for that taste of real sugar.

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SUNSHINE667 5/21/2011 8:31PM

    Thanks for sharing your honesty! I don't have a sweet tooth (my husband does) and I'm not an emotional eater, but I love a glass of red wine here and there. I too feel that if I want something, I should be able to eat, enjoy it and move on. Good rules to live by!!

You have done well and look emoticon

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BOBINVA 5/21/2011 8:27PM

    Amazing. Loved #2. None of that is easy, but you seem to be able to fit it all in. Great job.

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ALESHABEE 5/21/2011 8:24PM

    Thanks for sharing this and for your honesty!! I too have binged one too many times in the past. Mine are usually triggered by emotions and I have had to be extra careful to ensure I keep myself super organized, happy and satisfied during competition prep to avoiding binging. The times that I have become overwhelmed I have literally had to talk myself out of it, and I have a 1L bottle of water stashed on my kitchen counter that get guzzled when the self-talk doesn't work :-D It's been hard but it gets easier with each day :-) We eat pretty much the same breakfast, lol, I have peanut butter for my fat and swap the apple for strawberries...yumm!!

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MUSCLES586 5/21/2011 8:06PM

    Absolutely LOVED your blog! BTW, you look AMAZING in your picture!

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MRSAWILEY 5/21/2011 6:27PM

    I usually tell people to go for the full fat version of things. Yogurt for example, when you go for the low fat or fat free versions, it has way more sugar in it. So pretty much they're making up for the lack of fat by adding sugar. Not much better in my opinion.

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THEHONESTME 5/21/2011 5:38PM

    It's nice to know you're just as human as the rest of us. Sometimes we look to people who are "there" and think they don't have or haven't had the same struggles. It's comforting to know that you do -- thanks for sharing!

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COCOAMARIA 5/21/2011 4:56PM

    Thanks for the blog! We all neeed to hear that someone is not perfect but is cleary still encouraging to us all. Thanks to you I am finally losing weight again down to 122 emoticon

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KOOZIE1 5/21/2011 3:57PM

    Your honestly is so refreshing and I KNOW that it helps SO MUCH for SO many. I am the exact same on #1, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 10. Good minds & bodies (except #7 :) act alike. I just need to work on the "taking an exercise break" waaaaaaaaay more often.
Thanks for sharing!!!

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CICI510 5/21/2011 2:53PM

    It's nice to know that I am not alone on the sweet tooth thing. That is my biggest OMG and I wish I could change it but now I'm trying to embrace it and find healthier sweet tooth options. Thanks for another awesome blog!!

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HDHAWK 5/21/2011 2:35PM

    Love it and your honesty! I have trouble with a binge now and again too and am working on it.

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SNOOPY-ACE 5/21/2011 2:14PM

    GOOD 10 RULES! emoticon

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RAIDAN988 5/21/2011 1:07PM

  I'm glad your honest with yourself, something some people may forget on their journey. And you still look great too! emoticon emoticon

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REDSHOES2011 5/21/2011 1:06PM


Nr 2 it is impossible with 2 ADHD teenagers-to take them both into town.. Son Nr 2 gets hyper and Nr 1 gets upset at him for embrassing us and I get stressed keeping them a part.. Nr 3, I am getting better at, I draw the line at invading fingers- if there is more in the pot or pan take it from there.. Nr 9 is getting alot easier especially when it doesn't any longer affect my weight since I strength train..

Great blog

Comment edited on: 5/21/2011 1:09:23 PM

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MISSYGEEN 5/21/2011 12:55PM

    I too still binge every now and then but it is no longer an excuse to throw in the towel and it is happening less and less.

What are the names of the restaurants where you can get healthy yet reasonable meals. I don't eat out a lot but would like to make good choices when I do.

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Make Sure Your Trainer or Nutritionist is Qualified

Friday, May 13, 2011

Make sure that who you hire as a Personal Trainer or Sports Nutritionist is qualified to help you. Here's a few tips:

- Ask to see their certification. In person, either a personal trainer or sports nutritionist should be able to show you a little card given to them by their accredited organization that tells when their certification expires. When working with a trainer long-distance they should be able to send you to a profile on-line with the organization they are certified by. I'm not trying to solicit business, but just so that you can get an idea of what I'm talking about, here's mine:

- Watch out for their phrasing when they discuss who they are certified with. For instance, if they say "I have been certified with", and then rattle off a bunch of accredited organizations, beware! This probably means they are not currently certified. It also means they are trying to be deceitful. Do you want to pay money to someone who is trying to deceive you from the get-go?

- While personal trainers can legally give you some help with diet, to hold the title "Sports Nutritionist" a person must have a degree in a related field (duh!), and in most states they also need an additional Sports Nutritionist certification. If you ask to see the certification, you can pretty much know that they have the degree. So a chef who is also a personal trainer does not a Sports Nutritionist make.

Here's an article on it, if you want a little more info:

And trust me, you won't have to ask if they have a degree- any accredited Sports Nutritionist will let you know right off of the bat that he or she has a bachelors in Sports Nutrition. If they don't, either start asking questions or run away!

- Just because someone is a sports nutritionist does not mean they are a personal trainer, although changes are they will also have that certification, as well, because it just makes sense.

Why is certification so important? Because we have to keep our certifications current, which means we are taking CEC courses, which means we are learning the latest in at least one area of our field. I have taken CEC courses in lifestyle and weight management, women's fitness, targeting exercise specifically for the clients needs, and senior fitness. Additionally, at least with ACE, we get a monthly publication that keeps us abreast of all that is the latest and greatest in the health and fitness world. When someone has access to the very latest information (I usually find out about it before non-certified people do) , they can give you the best help possible.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DETERMINED56 6/19/2011 8:02AM

    Great advice. I truly lucked out with my pt. Has the right accreditations, knows his stuff and has been integral in a total lifestyle change. I whined a lot in the beginning but I really feel that he is the best.

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ACTIVE_AT_60 6/18/2011 7:58PM

    Great reminder . This is an interesting topic in a field which is largely unregulated.

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DREMARGRL 6/18/2011 7:33PM

    You've come a long way, baby! Congrats! XO emoticon, NancyAnne

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NSG4729 6/18/2011 7:06PM

    Thanks for the great advice!

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LUVYA04 5/21/2011 3:27PM

    Thank you

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APMAC_D 5/18/2011 10:25AM

    Very good information to know

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JAZZID 5/17/2011 11:06PM

    Nancy, thanks so much for all the information. ~ Dee

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JENERIN01 5/15/2011 5:26PM

    This is really good advice, thank you.

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AARONSGIRL420 5/15/2011 4:39PM

    Thank you for great advice.

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BEACHGIRL76 5/15/2011 11:16AM


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_FITMAMA 5/14/2011 4:32PM

    Great advice!

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ONEWAYALI 5/13/2011 9:32PM

    Thanks for all your great blogs, Nancy!

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CICI510 5/13/2011 3:02PM

    That is so true!

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EDWARDSC393 5/13/2011 3:00PM

    You,re right Nancy, a lot of people are not qualified. Glad you brought this up! Cherie

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KERRYG155 5/13/2011 1:49PM

    Good points. It's also important to ask around and see what others think of the person and find out if they have experience in people with your same needs.

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Tight Abs and Loose Skin

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lately I've been getting quite a lot of positive comments about my abs on my new professional pics I posted here on Spark, mostly because I've had four babies and women are marveling at how I got my abs into the shape they are in. While I really appreciate the positive comments (Keep 'em up!), I want to be really honest about a few things:

1.) I have a little loose skin in my stomach, and the skin around my belly button is droopy. (I also have stretch marks, although they have really paled and blended over the years.) I almost had a tummy tuck because of it. I backed out at the last minute because I felt that the scar all the way across the bottom of my abs would look worse than the loose skin does. You don't see the loose skin in my photos because a.) I know how to pose (most of the time) to take up the slack. And b.) I'm not going to post pics that don't show me at my best! :-D

Except now. Here's some pics of me all stretched out and looking the way I want to for pics:

And here's reality (smaller like these the loose skin isn't showing up, but the full-size you can really see it):

2.) Given that, I think I got blessed in the skin elasticity department. I have God to thank for this. Yes, I work out like a fiend and eat right to have very little fat over those muscles and look as good as possible, but there is NOTHING I did after birthing four babies to make the skin as tight as it is. This was just God in my corner. (I think He was making up for the cellulite and broken spider veins in my legs and bum.)

3.) I can thank my Mom for my waist-to-hip ratio. I believe that if she'd taken better care of herself I'd be bearing LOT of resemblance to her in the body department right now. So while I have had to work hard (really, really hard!) to get the body I have, being able to get a waist to 25" after multiple pregnancies is something that not everyone can do, because not everyone has the genes I do. Again, I lucked out on this one.

4.) Thank you very much for the compliment, but I do NOT have a six pack! A six-pack is the wash-board look of horizontal lines going across the abs. It's stunning, but I don't have that. Wish I did, have been shooting for it for years now, but don't and probably never will. Why do I doubt this? Because even when I was a 5'8" 135-lb size 4 19 year-old with a 22" waist (yes, you read that right!) who had never experienced childbirth I STILL didn't have a six-pack. I have muscular abs, but it's not a six-pack. I think this is a genetic thing, too.

The fact is that we all have our strong points. Abs are one of mine, and I have learned to enhance and draw attention to them. It's because I want to draw attention AWAY from my least-favorable area, my legs. And I've built up my shouders to help even out my hips. If you have a good shoulder line, work on making those delts more defined! Legs? Put on a cute little skirt and show 'em off! (I envy you!). I have good abs and I work to make 'em better. Play up your assetts!

And never stop lifting and trying to improve- you'd be amazed how what you consider one of your worst parts can turn into one of your best. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll have the hard legs and a tush that have eluded me for so long now........

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LILIAPLACE 9/21/2014 11:38PM

  Make skin tight with Dermelastic serum i am also using that same product really it's make my skin too tight and smooth

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THECRAZYMANGO 8/21/2012 8:44AM

    I think you look GREAT! Thanks for posting.. I have been considering having surgery at my 5 year maintenance mark!

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ATINYDANCER 6/12/2011 12:16PM

    I love your positive attitude. I want to start strength training eventually and some of the other people who are into it on this site are really hard on themselves and don't leave me feeling excited about it the way you do. This is life and it's not about being perfect all the time. I would way rather eat a few bites of the real thing, like you, then load my pantry with sugar free everything!

To each his own but I am glad you are here to inspire me and others! Keep up the great work! emoticon

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COOL_CHARLOTTE 6/8/2011 11:54AM

    Love this blog!! Thanks for sharing!!

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FITBUG78 5/20/2011 6:03AM

    I love your confidence despite having problem areas, you just embrace it. I think you look amazing regardless because I know how hard it is to achieve a healthy/fit body when genetics is not in your corner. Keep up the awesome work, you still inspire me!

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MEGSMILEY 5/18/2011 1:01PM

    awesome blog... I am just working at peeling away the last lasyer of flab under the skin on my belly... I hope I look as good as you do when I'm done. :)

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PAULAMARIEF 5/18/2011 11:36AM

    Beautiful photos and wonderful blog. Thanks for your take on the whole abs issue! I totally agree with playing up your assets.

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    Thanks! Need that this morning. Muwah! emoticon

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MELLYBEANS0919 5/17/2011 9:13PM

    You are beautiful, thanks for being so open and real.

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MIMICOTO 5/17/2011 2:09PM

    I just happened across this blog and am so glad I did! Your honesty - and your willingness to post the photo that shows your abs in a different light - totally lifted my day! I had both of my beautiful babes after the age of 40, and have the same kind of loose skin as you do....and you know what? Seeing it on someone else makes me realize that it does not look that bad AT ALL! Looking at you, I see it as a part of the whole - and this helps me to look at myself the same way.

Thank you again!

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TRAINER_T 5/17/2011 12:12PM

    Looove it and your honesty is amazing. This made my day!

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AMC120 5/17/2011 12:09PM

    NancyAnne! You write the best blogs ever. I always know I will get something encouraging, honest and benificial every time I read one! Thank you for that! I'm a much shorter version of your body type, being just 5'2.5"... I have the small waist and carry all my weight in my legs & bum... fight cellulite like crazy, but it's always there starring back at me. However, I won't quite fighting the fight! emoticon

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    Thanks for sharing. I have been noticing as I lose more weight that I am having trouble with skin.

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RASCALRACCOON 5/15/2011 12:49PM

    A beautiful honest blog - thank you :) What an inspiration - all to often I have heard people making excuses as to why they cant get into shape but you have tossed any excuse in the bin, worked SUPER hard and proved to us all that it can be done :)

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OFFDREA 5/15/2011 11:09AM

    One of my goals was a six pack, Im thankful to know now that even with all that hard work it just may not be possible!!!! You are very inspiring, thank you!!!

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MISSYGEEN 5/13/2011 12:07PM

    Thank you for keeping it real. All too often we see images of beautiful people with beautiful bodies and want to emulate them. We may even think it is impossible to achieve and give up. But such honesty gives people a reason to continue persisting. As always you are an inspiration.

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GODZDESIGN95 5/11/2011 2:45PM

    Awesome! your abs are beautiful. Stretch on tummy is very common especially after having kids. Funny you are talking about them....I fell out with my hubbie over mine. I too have kids. Don't down your looks. You look GOOD! I'd like to have abs like that.

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SAMSON826 5/11/2011 10:10AM

    thank you for this blog!!! everyday i try to love my whole body and say this is who i am and that i am trying to make me the best me as possible. plus also to realize everyone has an issue with a body part or doesn't always feel awesome about themselves. you are so amazing and inspirational keep on going!!!

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CICI510 5/11/2011 9:38AM

    Another awesome and honest blog. I am trying to learn to love the parts of my body I hate (mostly my thighs). Even though I'm 133lbs my thighs still jiggle and shake horribly. You wouldn't happen to know the best thing to do for that would you? I do squats and lunges and can feel the muscle but the flab is still just OMG. I do cardio so I'm not sure what else I can do.

Thank you again for another thought-provoking blog! :)

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JESSLYNND 5/10/2011 8:54PM

    Thank you for your honesty! :) I really enjoyed this post!

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WINTERRAIN 5/10/2011 5:34PM

    Awesome blog, very honest! Thanks for sharing!

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FUZZY1TOO 5/10/2011 4:54PM

    Everything else aside....I think you look great! And you give me hope for my own belly when I'm done my 'journey'. I, too, have birthed 4 babies and have another on the way and am looking forward to the day when I can post pics in which I look as wonderful as you do.
Wear your stretch marks and loose skin with pride, hunny, you have 4 beautiful babies to show for them.

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ELECTRICITY3699 5/10/2011 4:47PM

    Thanks for being real Nancy!

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    You are so right. Accentuate the positive huh? Maybe I should start listening to my bff and start showing off my legs, for some reason my fat resides upstairs and not downstairs! LOL

P.S. I think you look amazing!

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SHRINK71 5/10/2011 3:32PM

    Awesome & honest!!! When I look at my stretch marks I just think - "They were SO worth it! Look at my 3 beautiful children!" & I'd do it all over again. I strongly believe in shooting for the best "YOU" you can be... not shooting to be someone else entirely! the best ME is going to always have a little pooch from pregnancies... & I wouldn't have it any other way!

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CYNTHIAMINUS40 5/10/2011 2:57PM

    I'm so glad you posted this today. Through some of my spark friends who are also on your spark friend list I've read several of your blogs and alway marveled at your abs! I've lost 40 pounds now to date and this morning I was thinking about my abs. Everything else is great, I'm very content, but that wiggly jiggly mid section bugs me. I, too had a 22" waist when I was younger. I'm a shrimp - just under 5'4". I once weighed 105 with a tiny little 22" waist. I've never had children so I'm blaming my waistline on menopause. But you've renewed my resolve to keep at it and do the best I can working toward my goal. Thank you!

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MOMASAURUS 5/10/2011 2:57PM

    Thank you for being so real!!

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BOBINVA 5/10/2011 2:31PM

    One lean, mean, workout.....mother with character marks.

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JANET0116 5/10/2011 2:13PM

    Thank you for this post! My stomach (while getting smaller) still looks like I was ran over at a monster truck rally. I've only had one child too - darn kids! LOL My stretch marks are very severe and I have seriously thought about a tummy tuck. Not sure if its worth it or not. Plus not at my goal weight anyway yet so we'll see how it looks when I get therE1

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KLPEFFERS 5/10/2011 2:04PM

    I absolutely love this post! Thank you for your honesty and candor. It's so refreshing to see a bodybuilder be completely honest about what is and is not. It's that simple. Some things truly are genetic and no matter how hard you work, its not going to undo nature! REGARDLESS you look FABULOUS!

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THEHONESTME 5/10/2011 1:57PM

    This is what I love about you -- you are REAL! You tell it like it is and you make us all feel better about ourselves. I'll say it til the cows come home... YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION!!! A beautiful, small waisted, abs-to-die-for inspiration! emoticon

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CAROLYN1213 5/10/2011 1:52PM

    I love your abs Nancy! I could have written a very similar blog last week when someone commented on how tight my skin is and how shapely my body is (especially considering I've lost 115 lbs.). I told them that I purposely pose in ways that accentuate the positives and draw attention away from the negatives. We all have good features and others that no matter how hard we try will not be all that great. Thanks for sharing!

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GYMRAT_AT44 5/10/2011 1:50PM

    Nice post Nancy.

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BANKER-CHUCK 5/10/2011 1:49PM

    May not be "six-pack" abs as you described but you look great with a well defined waist line. You may be to critical with yourself about the loose skin. I don't see the issue you are describing. You look great and after having 4 cannot tell.
Overall great photos and a great looking body.

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The Importance of Water

Sunday, May 08, 2011

One of the keys to losing and now maintaining my weight has been drinking copious amounts of water (rarely less than 1 and sometimes up to 2 gallons a day). I promised someone a while back who was surprised I considered it so important that I would post a blog on the subject. I'm finally making good on that promise.

Here are a few of the many benefits of drinking plenty of water (not zero-calorie beverages: WATER!)

- Let's start with the most motivating one: Water helps waste move through the body in a mighty way. This means that a bunch of crud won't be hanging around inside you so you're more likely to weigh less on the scale in the mornings (after you've peed), because the content of your intestines will weigh less. Full intestines can cause several pounds of scale weight gain if you are.... er..... stopped up. So drinking water helps to give you a truer scale weight.

-Water helps to break down the nutrients in your food better, thus increasing your metabolism. Not only that, if you are getting the nutrients you need the chances of cravings is reduced.

- Water helps regulate blood sugar, which helps insulin levels to stay steady, also reducing your likelihood to overindulge in sweet stuff.

- Water helps to give your stomach a full feel so that you are less likely to overeat.

- Plenty of water in your system helps your body to keep you cool during workouts, therefore allowing you to work out harder and get more bang for your exercise buck.

- Water is the primary ingredient in the synovial fluid around the joints, which allows them to move freely and gives them cushioning during your workouts.

There are a TON of other ways that water benefits the body, but these are ones that specifically relate to weight loss and fitness.

Generally speaking, you want to drink all the water you can. Someone noted in the comments on this blog that Spark says 5-6 cups of fluid a day is adequate and it doesn't all have to come from water. I've been seeing that Spark tries to keep things as easy for people to maintain as possible- They don't want you giving up! But if you want to take your body to the next level you are going to need to drink more than that. (I personally get way too hungry when my water is below about 12 cups a day and am almost guaranteed to binge.) Besides, I've never once heard of a figure competitor (which I aspire to look like) or any sort of serious athlete who doesn't drink way more than they traditionally accepted 8-cups of water a day.

Can you drink too much water? Yes- There is such a thing as water toxicity. But to get that you have to drink stupid amounts of water. The kidneys can process quite a lot of water an hour (over a quart) easily. You'd pretty much have to TRY to drink too much water to get water toxicity. Stay away from water-chugging contests and you'll probably be fine. :-)

And I know you are wondering..... Do I pee a lot? YES! But you don't pee out all that you drink- water goes out of you in other ways like sweat and respiration, too. And I will say that my bladder size has increased since increasing my water intake, so while I still visit the bathroom more often than most other adults I know, I'm not seeing the inside of the ladies room as often as I did this time last year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BROCKJUL 4/14/2012 12:19PM

    I totally understand this concept-it's just implementing it is the problem. I took a nutrition class in college and we had to keep a daily diary of everything we ate and drank, and we had to give it to our professor. One day after class my professor asked me "What is wrong with water?" He noticed that I never drank it, only drank Diet Dew. I told him that I don't like the taste of water . He then asked me "Why not?" I said " Because it's not sweet enough of a taste" He told me then that I trained myself to not like water by drinking all that artifically sweetened soda. Which is totally true-I just made it o.k. in my mind because it wasn't a regular soda. I do enjoy water if it is super cold but if it is lukewarm then I cringe.

Thanks so much for all of your wonderful help and advice!!!

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ICYCLE2 5/19/2011 2:14PM

    This info makes sooo much sense and I am taking it with me. I forget to drink water quite often but decided yesterday to start charting it and then I read this blog, the first one, (I am a beginner to SparkPeople) and now it's in my face...thank you!!!

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MYWALK2FITNESS 5/17/2011 1:35PM

    Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing! :)

Shug away! emoticon

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SNOOPY-ACE 5/10/2011 2:10PM


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HISARTIST 5/10/2011 12:31PM

    Thanks for the blog! I like what you said about your hydration affecting your sweet cravings. Maybe I need to look into this. My doc said he wants me to drink a gallon to a gallon-and-a-half a day...always seemed like a lot, and I'm usually only getting about 3/4 of a gallon, but I do feel better if I get more.

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LOIDAEG 5/10/2011 3:06AM

    Great blog!!!!! =)

I try to drink water before my meals so that I feel full faster. I eat a proper serving then drink more water after and actually get to the point of feeling "stuffed" but I know it's just all the water I drink lol It makes me feel guilty sometimes to get that full feeling but I keep reminding myself it's just the water. I ate a proper sized meal. Nothing to feel guilty about but then after dinner I feel quite satisfied and am NOT hungry again for the rest of the night! I love that! And I have noticed when I don't drink enough water in a day I end up feeling heavier for a couple days (I weigh myself and surely I am heavier than normal). I don't like that feeling so I have to try my best to drink at least 10-12 8oz glasses per day. It's hard at first. Still hard sometimes :)

thanks for this!

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CYNTHIAMINUS40 5/9/2011 4:38PM

    Water's always been my beverage of choice and now that I'm dealing with some pretty horrendous hot flashes again there's nothing that puts the fire out like tall glass of iced H20

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AMC120 5/9/2011 3:57PM

    This is a huge downfall for me! I just can't seem to drink that much water a day! I'll keep on trying though!!!!

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THEEMPRESS 5/9/2011 2:48PM

    Thought about bringing a gallon jug and straw to work today!! Thanks for this post!

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THEHONESTME 5/9/2011 8:24AM

    I love my water! The more I drink, the more I want! And, yes, the more I go to the bathroom -- hey, added steps in a day with all that scurrying to the ladies room, right?! ANOTHER PLUS! LOL
Have a great day, NancyAnne -- hope you had a nice Mother's Day!

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SHRINK71 5/9/2011 7:44AM

    Yes... all true... although I think that 2 gallons is a LOT for me!!! I just cannot fathom visiting the bathroom quite that often!! A gallon will do me just fine! LOL

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SNOOPY-ACE 5/8/2011 11:15PM


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CALIRPM 5/8/2011 10:37PM

    Interesting blog. Especially loved the first point! Haha.

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BANKER-CHUCK 5/8/2011 10:22PM

    Your Blog is just in time!! I am leaving on my motorcycle for So. Cal next week where the temps are getting hotter. Then on the 18th I join the Run For The Wall group in Los Angeles, about 800 total motorcycles with 400+ going on the Southern route, and head out on the Southern Route for Washington DC. I hear it is hot in New Mexico and Texas now. It will take us 2 days just to get through. This will be my 3rd year and I know how important water is to the body. On a motorcycle it is hard to determine how hydrated you are and if you don't keep hydrating often it can be a dangerous situation
We use the term drink till you pee clear. That way you know you are well hydrated. I may have hydrated to much at times because when we stopped for a fuel stop I didn't know if I should get gas or pee first! emoticon When we re-fuel we do so as a group and should not pull out of line. The last time we went through Odessa it was hot and raining. I think I was sweating while it was raining.
By the way...great sexy Avatar. Keep up the great work. I will be MIA for about a month when I return back to Oregon after the Run For The Wall.

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KATYAROSE 5/8/2011 10:20PM

    Great blog - I drink tons of water every day too, but it's great to read a reminder as to all the wonderful things water does for our bodies!

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FREDDYB29 5/8/2011 10:16PM

    I read on Sparks nutrition that 8 glasses a day is a misconception. Weird huh? They say 4-5 cups a day will take care of your daily intake of water. And also, water itself isn't all liquid you can have and be qualified as your daily water intake. Apparently you can get it with other liquids in the same manner as what they say water does for you.

Something that was interesting to read.

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WANDATIME 5/8/2011 9:56PM

    Great blog, thanks for the info, I learned some new stuff!

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