NANCYANNE55   84,135
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NANCYANNE55's Recent Blog Entries

Palms up, thumbs back!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Sometimes I get compliments on my posture. I do try to keep my spine in proper alignment, not only because it takes pressure off of my skeleton, but also because it makes me look thinner and more confident. Who doesn't want that?

So what is proper skeletal alignment? Glad you asked!

I have a little exercise for you- one that has come in handy and keeps me in check. And you can do it while you are sitting here reading my seldom-read blog. Ready? (This is so simple, it'll make you laugh!):

First of all, skooch forward a little, so that your back isn't in contact with the back of your chair anymore. Bend your elbows in front of your body, holding your arms at a 90-degree angle- like you are sitting in an arm chair. Now, turn your palms face up. Lastly, pull your thumbs back towards your body.

What did you do? Surprised? Yep! You sat right up strait, didn't you? THAT's proper spinal alignment, and the position you should be trying to achieve all the time.

It works equally well standing, also.

If you can do this little posture-check several times a day, sooner or later you will start to hold yourself in proper alignment naturally. Slouching will feel unnatural, and your body will thank you.

This, combined with conscientiously holding your stomach muscles in will help strengthen your core better than any ab exercise I can recommend.

This is also, coincidentally, the "proper alignment" and "neutral spine" people are talking about when they refer to exercising.

Let me know what you think!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCHNAUZERGIRL 5/5/2010 12:35PM

    Awesome! Thank you, I definitely have a slouching problem. Practicing proper posture as I type :)

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WREN67 5/5/2010 7:56AM

    I'm going to share this with the kids...they know how to sit straight, but that doesn't mean that they do it...

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RAEVENSWING 5/4/2010 8:33PM

    Worked for me! I give myself a posture check several times a day.
Thanks, 1 more tool in my arsenal.

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MARLIMOO 5/4/2010 2:46PM

    Nice- will give it a try.

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NYCFA1 5/4/2010 12:52PM

    Cool! Thanks! I'm going to try to remember to do this thru out the day. emoticon

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Lift, Even if You are Overweight!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

If you are overweight with no intention of reducing your calories and therefore losing weight, you are at an advantage for gaining muscle over those who are restricting their calories.

Yes, you read that right.

Let me rephrase: People who eat too many calories and lift weights have an easier time putting on muscle than those who are lifting and eating to lose weight.

You can't build a very big house on a wooded lot if you use only the wood from some of the existing trees on the property to build and ship the remaining wood to someone else. You can build a much BIGGER house by keeping your existing trees and bringing in additional lumber.

In the same manner, it's very hard for the body to build muscle while you are taking calories AWAY from it. So someone who is overeating and lifting weights is probably going to put on muscle at a faster rate than someone who is trying to gain muscle while reducing calories.

Doesn't sound quite fair, does it?

But here is the deal, you can build SOME muscle if you are losing weight, and the good news is that you will actually be able to SEE it as your weight comes down. While the overweight person who is lifting the same weight as the thinner person is more than likely putting on muscle quicker than the thinner person, they probably won't realize it since it's covered by fat.

Case in point:

I was lifting weights heavily when I was at my biggest, which was here:

And the fact is that I was in the process of using my excess calories I was overeating to build the muscle I eventually uncovered here:

Was I as healthy in the first photo? No! But at least I was doing something more with my calories from overeating than simply putting on a lot of fat.

And this explains why I was never in as big a clothing size as my weight said I should be: I was more solid under all that fat than even I realized.

Now, I still have a ways to go. My backside is NOT where I want it to be. My next goal is to build up those legs and glutes and make them something splendiferous. But in the meantime? In the meantime I'm very proud of the muscle I've worked so hard to build, and that I kept up the lifting, even when I felt like my body was almost past the point of improvement. I didn't know it then, but I was helping my future self out.

My point, of course, is that it's advantageous for even the obese to lift weights. The worst that will happen is that they'll put some of those excess calories to good use building something besides more fat. Never mind the other myriad of health benefits that come from lifting weights, to include improved balance and maneuverability, as well as stronger bones.

And the best that can happen is that one day they will gain the frame of mind to lose the weight, and what they uncover might surprise them.

It sure did me!

So if you are overweight and aren't lifting, START! As I like to say: Lift heavy, lift hard, and lift often. You never know how much you may appreciate your efforts in the future.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CACTUS-WREN 5/6/2010 12:06AM

    Wait a minute - let me get this straight - I may have some muscle under all this fat? I've just started lifting - I'm not interested in competition-type muscles but nicely defined ones. This is good info - thank you!! emoticon

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WREN67 5/4/2010 11:41AM

    I love lifting so much more than cardio. Kind of limited in what I have at home, but I'm determined to do all I can and more!!

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FUNKYMONKEY302 5/3/2010 1:42PM

  Thanks for the info! I don't think I have ever heard that before. I definitely need to be lifting more than I am so thanks for the motivation!

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REDEMILY 5/2/2010 12:51PM

    I think this is really important for people to remember. I lift regularly because I find that I love that "good sore" plus I have an athletic build that can build muscle... I hope that more people read this and take your advice!

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GOLDBERG73 5/2/2010 10:31AM

    Thanks for the info! emoticon

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ETORRES88 5/1/2010 11:34PM

    How much do you lift? How did you start? What is your regime like? You look amazing!!

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HARISHABAD 5/1/2010 10:58PM

    Great point!

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Exercise- Your Non-Negotiable Appointment with Yourself.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How do I manage to keep up a 5-to-6-day-a-week exercise schedule? I make it a non-negotiable appointment with myself. If I didn't, I'd find every excuse in the book to not do it.

Exercise and self-care don't happen by accident. You have to be purposeful.

If necessary (and it probably is), write it down on the calendar, or your day-timer, or wherever you keep your appointments. And then make it non-negotiable. By this I mean that aside from an emergency (and by emergency, I mean an-ambulance-has-to-be-called-emergency), nothing is going to stop you from getting your workout.

There have been a few days when things happened and I couldn't get to the gym. For instance, one day this past winter we had a very unexpected snow storm here in Texas (THAT was weird!). Not only was the gym closed, but driving there was treacherous on untreated roads. So, I got up early before the family was awake, did step aerobics with a DVD in the living room, then lifted weights with my dumbbells in the bathroom. (In case that sounds weird, my workout equipment is in a closet in the master bath.) If I wouldn't have had dumbbells at home, I'd of made it work with body-weight exercises. But I sure wouldn't have done nothing!

The point is, I made it happen, anyway.

It's a difficult way to start thinking at first, but eventually it's a habit and something you can't imagine not doing. Your family gets used to it being important to you and eventually they adjust...... it all starts to fall into place.

But you have to take the first step: YOU have to schedule your exercise.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HARISHABAD 5/1/2010 11:03PM

    I have to do what you suggest otherwise would never work out. I work from home so I have to go to the gym, I cannot work out here with all the work staring me in the face, so I plan to get away 3-4days a week without fail. It's worked well so far..

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MISSYGEEN 5/1/2010 9:05PM

    Although I've been working out regularly since February, I have not thought about it this way. If someone ask me to be somewhere or do something I put my workout on the back burner. I have never thought to plan around my workout! It's like work, church or my son's game. These are important to me so everything else has to wait. You are so smarrrrrrrrrt. I do have trouble saying no. I'm going to give myself a fresh start this week. If I can stick to it, I owe you a goodie. emoticon

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MRSAWILEY 5/1/2010 6:12PM

    That is what helped me a lot. I have certain days that I schedule myself to work out. I'll look at my work schedule, then what work out I'm doing that day, and make a point of getting it all done.

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RAEVENSWING 4/30/2010 9:41PM

    Lol, my workout schedules me! I wake up first thing in the morning
and just get to it. If I don't, I feel very out of sorts the rest of the day.
The few times I have had to miss one, I am very restless with way
to much energy. Have a great weekend!

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WREN67 4/30/2010 1:06PM

    It is so easy to forget. And I have started writing it as an appointment - i just need to get back to actually following my planner (being a SAHM makes it a little easier than I had it in the past to actually follow that). That said, I'm not late for my kids, I'm not late to the drs appt. Just need to get this in my head has being the same deal.
Yesterday (other than frantic cleaning - and then a frantic run through Costco, where I still forgot stuff!), exercise didn't happen.
Today is strength-training day. I had it scheduled for 8am, but had to is on for this afternoon - 1pm!

Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement!

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RUBIA_LIZ 4/29/2010 10:07PM

    Great blog Nancy Anne! I know I need to approach it this way too. My commitment to myself needs to be the most important, because if I'm not on top of my game, how can I be of any use to anyone else? Funny, you talked about that "ambulance-needs-to-be-called" type of emergency that prevents you from working out. My blog today was about the reason why I didn't work out - and while it wasn't for any emergency (thank goodness!), it was still a strong enough feeling for me to know that I needed to switch my day off to today instead of my usual Saturday. LOVE your words girl! Your hard work has paid off a million times over and I'm grateful to you for sharing your wisdom!

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ADRIENNE29 4/29/2010 6:36PM

    It is VERY true that the family starts making adjustments and getting used to my workout schedule...they ask me everyday when I'm going to wrok out, when I don't, they think somethings wrong.

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SHANNON267 4/29/2010 6:11PM

    Thank you for sharing! I need to do that myself. Make it a planned appointment that can not be missed. Thanks for the needed boost!

I hope you are having a great day! emoticon

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False Starts Aren't Wasted Time

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I tried over and over again for years to lose this weight. I'd sometimes give up before I barely got started, and other times I'd lose some weight and either just hold there (got from 197 to 187 this way), or lose and then gain it back (went from 187 to about 174 and back I can't tell you how many times).

And you know what? Every time I lost without success, it was a valuable learning experience that began to put my head in the right place to lose for real. I learned what did work for me (Weight watchers, eating clean, having a ton of variety in my diet, varying my calories from day to day), and what did not (pre-packaged food diet plans, limited food choices, the same calorie level every day). And without all those false starts I'm almost certain I'd have weighed more than I did when I finally decided to get serious and make the real changes to improve my health permanently.

Plus, each time I took a few pounds off I gave my heart a break for a bit.

They say that most smokers who finally stop successfully have tried and failed multiple times. I'm thinking that making a permanent and healthy change in one's diet could very well be the same- Maybe that's just the necessary process of stopping any bad habit or addiction.

So if you have tried and quit multiple times to lose weight, or tried and lost weight and then gained it all back, don't count it as wasted time. Count it as a valuable lesson learned. Think about it, glean what you can from it, then get back to trying again! You never know when this try is the one that finally gets your head where it belongs to make it "for real" this time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUZBFIT 4/30/2010 10:58PM

    Just what I needed to hear as I am still stuck trying to lose the same 5-10 pounds for a couple years now. I know eventually I will learn from my mistakes and keep it off. Actually...I think that time may be very close because things that weren't clicking before are clicking now!!

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SNAPPEAS 4/29/2010 8:17PM

Great blog post and really significant.Many people ,especially those new to SPARK could benefit from reading this post.The major difference between my efforts to lose wei-
ght this time and on previous occasions is the fact that I may fall off the wagon on a meal or two or three .I may fail to get a workout for a day or a few ,but I'm not throwing in the to-
wel and giving up which translated to my returning to a sedentary lifestyle and eating what
-ever and whenever I felt like it.
I've found the more water I give myself the more I crave and the same is true for ex-
ercise and balanced meals.Although,I still experience some fall backs I'm not bowing out .


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ETAYLOR777 4/28/2010 12:51PM

    I completely agree!

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MARK1963113 4/27/2010 8:07PM

    I agree with you Nancy Anne. Great blog and great advice.

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    Great stuff. Goes right along with the stages of change.

The stages of change are:

Precontemplation (Not yet acknowledging that there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed)

Contemplation (Acknowledging that there is a problem but not yet ready or sure of wanting to make a change)

Preparation/Determination (Getting ready to change)

Action/Willpower (Changing behavior)

Maintenance (Maintaining the behavior change) and

Relapse (Returning to older behaviors and abandoning the new changes)

People can fluctuate between various stages before the change really sticks.

Cut and paste this link for more info:

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TESENISIS1 4/27/2010 12:39PM

    This works the same for relationships. I did the same thing when choosing men to date...finally I learned and found Mr. Right! And I am a better person for all the mistakes I made and terrible choices in men I made...


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DS9KIE 4/27/2010 10:20AM

    great blog

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FUNKYMONKEY302 4/26/2010 11:45PM

  Thank you so much. I really needed to hear this today. I have been working my butt off for a month and only lost 1 pound of 30 that I recently gained back. I need to remember that everything is a learning experience. Thanks!

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GOLDBERG73 4/26/2010 9:39PM

Need to hear this from time to time!


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IAMFIRMIN 4/26/2010 6:07AM

    Great read.. I AGREE

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SUNSHINE667 4/25/2010 10:13PM

    If at first you don't succeed, try try I have done many times before. We should not beat ourselves just learn from our mistakes and keep working hard until we get it right to reach our goals.

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ELIZABETH525 4/25/2010 9:53PM

    Everything in life offers a lesson. Each "failure" is not really a failure because you learn what NOT to do next time. So many people are scared of trying, scared of the hard work that comes with losing weight that they never even they never fail. But they never succeed either.

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WRITINMYSTORY 4/25/2010 9:45PM

    I couldn't agree more NancyAnne. If you don't beat yourself there are many valueable lessons to learn in "failure". Have a great week!

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What's your WHY?

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'd first heard the concept of having a "WHY" from David Greenwalt, a fitness expert who has helped many with his program "The Leanness Lifestyle". He emphatically stresses that until you have good, solid, concrete reasons for taking superb care of yourself (he calls these reasons your "WHY") it's going to be a struggle to find the motivation to stick with it.

David Greenwalt and I butted heads (we are both very strong personalities), but he was right about a lot of stuff. This was one of them.

Until I finally found my true motivation last November I went through the motions, and that was good. Without going through the motions I'd weigh easily 100 pounds more than I do now and have cholesterol through the roof. More than likely I'd be a diabetic headed strait for heart disease. But if I was going to be successful at this over a lifetime, I knew I was going to have to find my true WHY.

In the course of mulling this all over (which, by the way, took about 5 years since first hearing the concept of a WHY) I did some counseling about weight-related issues and the counselor observed something that was revealing to me: I am more motivated by running FROM something than TOWARDS something.

I just had to find something that scared me bad enough to run from it for the rest of my life.

Then, something shifted: I started to acknowledge my family history of heart disease and diabetes. The reality that these things were more than likely eventually going to kill me sunk in. And when it sank in, it scared the devil out of me! I started doing whatever was necessary to keep these things at bay and maybe even avoid them all together:

-I upped my game and got more organized and methodical about how I lifted weight
-I started incorporating more aerobic activity into my workout regime
-I cut back drastically on white flour, sugar, and diet sodas (I'm not convinced enough research has been done on diet sodas to have a steady stream of them pouring through my body.)
-I stopped drinking alcohol
-I started eating less processed foods
-Probably most importantly, I joined Weight Watchers and began the process of losing weight.

I had finally found something truly worth running from.

I'd heard the term "Lifestyle", and phrases like "It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle", countless times. But it wasn't until my first trainer, Ross, said that he wanted to work with me because he could tell I have a passion for this lifestyle that it finally clicked for me. I really HAD made it a lifestyle- he saw it, and now I see it. I have found my core reasons for taking care of myself. Not something I do just because I should, but something I do because I want to. Now, it's a part of me.

And finally, after 5 years of contemplation, last November I was able to write out my true WHY. I revisit and re-read it from time to time, but it's pretty much engraved in my memory now, since it's pretty concise. I wasn't going to share it, but enough people are interested in it that here it is. Maybe this will help to give you an idea and get you started:


1. I have an unshakable desire to do everything I can to at the least delay, and if at all possible completely avoid, my family history of heart disease and diabetes. I donít want to deal with it, and even more so I donít want my family to deal with me dealing with it.
2. I fully acknowledge my responsibly to my Creator to take the best care possible of this body He has entrusted me with.
3. I want to be an active, attractive, and vivacious grandma for my future grandchildren, able to enjoy them fully in every way while at the same time setting an example of how proper diet and an active lifestyle can benefit for a lifetime.
4. I feel a responsibility to be maximally healthy and therefore fully able to care for my adult handicapped son for the rest of his life.
5. I want to rock a bikini in midlife and beyond. :-D

This wasn't my first WHY. My first one was a couple of pages long, in paragraph form, and more wordy. That's Okay. This is just the one was concise enough to finally hit the nail on the head- this is my TRUE Why. And it will evolve as time goes on. Over time I am sure I'll tweak it, and more points may be added or some taken away.

The point is, there is no right and wrong way to do your own WHY. It belongs to YOU. It is simply very clearly stating your motivating reasons for wanting to be your healthiest you. Like I said, there is nothing wrong with going through the motions of taking excellent care of yourself, if you can't pinpoint your WHY. It will come eventually, and any effort you make is not wasted efort. Having a solid WHY is a very powerful tool in your aresenal of weight loss weapons, but not a good enough excuse to not try if you don't have one.

I realize that me sharing this is not going to help anyone to immediately figure out their WHY, but it may be the seed that starts the process growing within you. People tend to want quick solutions, and for me there was nothing quick about arriving at my WHY. I'm relieved I've finally found my WHY, but by the same token I'm grateful for the process it took to get me here.

This lifestyle is who I am. It will be until the day I die. I'm sure of it now. I want you to be sure of it, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TANYAP71 8/9/2011 1:53PM

    I've never heard of a 'WHY' before. A few days I blogged about 'what's the secret?' in which I reflected on how there must be something MORE than 'eat less, move more, love yourself' that had made everything gel this time. I talked about my arm injury. I don't EVER what to go back 'there' - in pain (muscular and neuropathic), with severely restricted activity, dependent on other people for so much (just meeting my personal grooming/dressing needs was a painful workout). It's not my whole WHY but it was the WHY that got me into PT and into the gym. Thank you for sharing.

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SUNSHINE667 4/25/2010 10:06PM

    Great blog Nancy Anne! I have so many why's, many of what you wrote as well. I think more importantly, I want to be healthy and for vanity purposes, look hot in a bikini (as you said).

I'd be interested in learning more about the Why concept.
Thanks for sharing and as always, I LOVE your blogs!!!


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STRONG-FIT-GIRL 4/23/2010 9:09PM

    I could not begin losing weight despite desperately wanting to until I physically wrote down a list of my "whys."

The big two were:
1) I was over 300 pounds and did not want to die.
2) I was having mobility issues and did not want to continue missing out on opportunities to do social activities with my friends and play with my young nieces and nephews.

Once I got that straight, for me, it became relatively easy to make healthy choices.

Thanks NancyAnne for another great blog.

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NANCYANNE55 4/23/2010 4:09PM

    I added my WHY to the blog, and changed some of it to answer questions I felt people were wondering, based on the posts below. I hope this helps everybody! :-)

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LADY_SHERRA 4/23/2010 3:56PM

    Excellent Blog! I love the posts that I have read.

I thought I had a 'why', but after reading this, I sat down a little while to really think about it. The knee-jerk answer I would give was, 'to lose weight' or 'to be healthy' or something generic and pat. Though they were true, after thinking about it, they were not the main 'why' I thought they would be.

I have come up with this - 'Because I CAN do this'. IT IS POSSIBLE! I can have a healthy toned body in my 40s. I am proving to myself (and to others)that I have what it takes to succeed. This is one 'why', maybe I will come up with another. With the pounds & inches coming off, there is a new insight that I have about myself and about living and eating healthy. I learning more each day.

Thanks again NANCYANNE

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SQUINKLY 4/23/2010 3:11PM

    Great Blog! I think you should write about your Why! I am interested in hearing it!

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FUNKYMONKEY302 4/23/2010 2:40PM

  I agree with the other posts here. I would love to hear more about the WHY and the guy who focuses on this concept. I have been asked that question before and I think I have a concrete why but I'm not sure if it is detailed enough or if it is REALLY my reason why. I think my why might have to do with the person i want to be. I want to lose weight and be healthy because I want to be the kind of person who can run a half marathon, eat healthy without obsessing about it, and fit into non-plus size clothing. Is that the right idea?

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BIRDONFIRE 4/23/2010 12:55PM

  My original WHY this time was coming to the realization that life is short and time is passing by. Hitting 50 shocked me into motivation to do what I'd always been starting to do, but never following through on. Now my WHY has been evolving and refining itself from that starting place into something else.

Discipline for it's own sake?

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PAULAMARIEF 4/23/2010 11:50AM

    I guess part of my "why" if I'm understanding it correctly is almost my whole life struggle with liking myself and having an ED that made me so unhealthy, but mostly when 2 years ago my cholesterol was rising and I didn't want to be on more medicine than I am. Also in November I was in ICU and well, almost died. It's on my page, I won't rehash that. I guess I run from things too and it takes some drastic things to happen to ME not just others I love to make me change.

Is this kind of what your status is reflecting? I would like to know your "why"!



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TRINITY4001 4/23/2010 11:43AM

    This is a great blog and I would also love to hear more about the WHY. I am currently journaling trying to identify and understand what keeps holding me back. Hard work! emoticon

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TESENISIS1 4/23/2010 11:15AM

    This sounds like a great revelation and one we all need to come to...could you share more with me and more about David Greenwalt. I think I need to read his book or follow-up on his plan/idea to help me move along in the right direction. I think I am like you as is easier for me to avoid things than to hit them head on.

Thank you for sharing.

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