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Now that I know...

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Guys? I think my hypothesis was right. Coconut or gluten - one of them is definitely the problem, because removing them reversed the scale trend immediately. After only a single day not eating either of them, the scale started dropping.

To recap: From February 2013 through April 2014, I maintained my 100-105 lb weight loss with no problem. In that time, my weight fluctuated only about eight pounds, and mostly stayed within a two-pound range. At my one-year maintenance anniversary, I weighed six pounds less than the year before. In March, I gained a pound, mostly due to travel at the end of the month. In April, I also gained a pound, because I spent the second half of the month not exercising at all, with my butt parked in my office chair 15 hours a day as I wrote and wrote and wrote (finishing the novel-in-progress I'd been working on since January). So at the end of April, I was still four pounds below my maintenance line.

Then in May, I started eating tons of coconut oil and coconut butter and just plain coconut, as well as reintroducing gluten partway through the month. I gained six pounds. In June, I started tracking calories again, started exercising again, started eating at a deficit again to try to lose some of those pounds, but continued to eat gluten and coconut on a regular basis. I gained six-and-a-half pounds. On July 1st, I stopped eating both, and the scale went down for the first time since April. In my first week without either, I lost 1.8 lbs and an inch off my hips, despite several days of eating at-or-above maintenance AND going on TOM a full week early (boo). You might say 1.8 lbs is nothing, but for the girl who never loses more than a half-pound per week, that's a pretty big drop. I'll take it!

Honestly, I suspect it's the coconut more than the gluten, though they might both be related. I suspect it because I started the rapid-gain trend about two weeks before I started eating gluten again (three of May's six pounds), and I was eating a LOT of coconut in that time. Also, gluten never made me GAIN weight before I first started suspecting that I was gluten-intolerant. Also, I've always reacted badly to palm oils and coconut is related to them. But either way - coconut OR gluten - I'm keeping both of these foods well away from my diet, and I'll keep working on losing the 12.5 lbs that I gained in May and June (grr).

That is my goal for this third quarter of 2014. Track my food, eat at a deficit most days, get in regular moderate exercise. Try to get back to around where I started in May if possible (the low 150s). Eventually, I'd like to pick up my weight loss journey and get to my final goal of the 130s (probably in 2015), but right now, I'd just like to get back to my body's happy weight - the weight it's easier to maintain, where I feel and look good, where my clothes will fit again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

C8TSON 7/11/2014 12:04AM

    Sounds like you have it figured out! I know I feel much better when gluten is not a part of my diet. Can't say that about coconut though. At least you know the culprits now! emoticon

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BBORDEN86 7/10/2014 9:47AM

    I'm catching up on blogs, hence the comments on both blogs back to back. However, I am thrilled you saw a loss after removing both from your diet! That's good news for sure. Keep up the good work!

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CRABADA 7/10/2014 1:17AM

    That's awesome. Good for you. :)

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JDUFORD 7/9/2014 10:38PM

    I hope it works out for you! :) I would agree that it would probably be more the coconut than the gluten from your description.

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WORDLILY 7/9/2014 8:21AM

    Glad it's working for you!

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DEB62BIE62 7/8/2014 8:08PM


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MOMTO6CUTIES 7/8/2014 4:10PM

    I'm glad you figured it out and was able to drop 1.8 pounds.

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CK-DUBYA 7/8/2014 3:25PM

    Nice detective work ;)

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    I'm glad you're figuring it out! One step at a time. And congrats on the loss!

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PEGGY11 7/8/2014 2:00PM

    I have cut out wheat for the last few days and the scale is going down quite nicely. I also don't seem to need to eat continually either.

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HEIDIJUNEBUG 7/8/2014 1:02PM

    I am glad to hear (read) that you found the source(s) of your weight gain and are now finally losing again, getting closer to your goal. If you have coconut oil left, you can use it to make sugar scrubs. Just melt it, mix in sugar until it reaches desired consistency, and add a few drops of essential oil. :)

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ARUNNINGKAT 7/8/2014 12:24PM

    I am so glad that you were able to narrow down your trigger foods. I am sure that it feels wonderful to start losing again! There is nothing more frustrating to be gaining and you don't know why. emoticon

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RYDERB 7/8/2014 10:23AM

    emoticon emoticon I'm doing a happy dance for you! Congratulations!

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NUTRON3 7/8/2014 8:40AM


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    Amanda, I'm so happy for you! Glad you've figured out what the problem was, and glad you're feeling better and the scale is moving down for you. I haven't used many coconut products, but bought a big jar of coconut oil at Costco on Sunday, only to discover I had done that on my last trip, so now I have TWO! And, I bought a small bag of coconut flour. Hmmm...now I feel hesitant about using them!

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RUNNING-TURTLE 7/8/2014 8:24AM

    emoticon emoticon

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FIT4ME41 7/8/2014 8:24AM

    I've been wondering about this...Glad you have it figured out

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ROXYCARIN 7/8/2014 8:13AM


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FERRNIE 7/8/2014 8:10AM

    Wow! I'm cutting gluten out of my diet today and see what happens. Thanks! emoticon

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Up. And up. And up.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Guys, my body is really starting to worry me.

Here's the deal. I maintained my 100-105 lb loss no problem for 15 months. I rarely tracked, I didn't always eat the right foods, and sometimes I went long stretches without exercising very often. And yet, I maintained my loss easily. I naturally ate right in my maintenance range, and I didn't have to THINK to maintain.

Something changed at the beginning of May. In the past two months, I've gained nearly 15 lbs. Sure, there were days/weeks when I was eating more than normal. However, there have also been weeks when I've tracked every bite of food that goes in my mouth and made sure to eat at a calorie deficit. I've also been mostly sugar free and have had 5+ servings of freggies daily for 75% of the last two months. I've also been exercising regularly for the last few weeks. Other than maybe two weeks of that two month period, back at the beginning of May, I've been eating exactly like I did during the 15 months of maintenance before then. And yet, I've gained nearly 15 lbs, plus several inches in each location I measure, and the scale continues to go up EVERY SINGLE FRICKIN' DAY. My clothes have gone up 1-2 sizes in the last month alone (which is a problem, because I gave away all the bigger clothes I own, having not needed them for longer than a year). I look and feel terrible.

These are the two pictures I took at my writer's conference this past weekend. Now, they're slightly exaggerated, because that shirt is too short for me and really doesn't fit well. Still. You can see just how much I've gained. I look obese again. This is NOT COOL. Something is WRONG. It's very unusual to gain 15 lbs in two months while eating the same way you did during your 15 months of easy maintenance. The last time I gained weight rapidly like this was before my tooth infections were fixed in 2009. I am really worried, and so of course, have been looking for possible culprits, and I can only see two possibilities:

1. Coconut. I began replacing vegetable oil with coconut oil back at the beginning of May, and I started using coconut butter as a sugarfree replacement for my sweet-tooth. Coconut butter, for anyone who doesn't know, is just pureed coconut pulp, and I would mix it with unsweetened cocoa powder and put it over fruit for a little chocolaty treat. Because coconut butter is very high calorie, I was very careful with how much I ate - never more than a tablespoon in a day, which is roughly like having a spoonful of peanut butter, around 100 calories. When I started tracking again, I had no problem working that spoonful into my daily diet. However, back in early May, when I was using tons of coconut oil in cooking, I got lethargic, my blood pressure increased exponentially, and my skin turned opaque (which it tends to do when my cholesterol skyrockets). These symptoms could have been from other dietary things changes that first week of May, but in researching online, these symptoms are often associated with coconut fats. Before May, I almost never had coconut in any form, and I've had a ton of it since then. It might be affecting my body.

2. Gluten. Last year, after testing food allergies all year, I determined I had a gluten intolerance. It caused a ton of symptoms, the worst of which was severe bone/joint pain (feeling like I was burning from the inside out). I discovered in early May that these symptoms were related to a medication I'd been taking since before I pinpointed the gluten allergy, and now that I was no longer taking it, I no longer had any reaction. I've started eating gluten again (and after a week of eating all the things I hadn't been able to eat for a year, I started eating it just at normal times - no binging or anything). After six weeks of eating gluten, however, SOME of the symptoms are starting to come back. I've developed sores all over my scalp, and my other skin problems have flared up. I'm starting to get that gnawing hunger within an hour of eating gluten. I have brain fog even when I'm eating healthy foods. The last cold I got turned into bronchitis - something that happened with every single cold BEFORE I gave up gluten, and with NONE of my colds after I went gluten-free. Thankfully, I'm not getting that internal fire anymore, but it's possible that the medicine was only exacerbating symptoms that were already there. It's possible I *am* still gluten-intolerant. (Sigh.) And if so, it also might be affecting my body.

These are the only two things that have changed in my diet in the last two months. This unexplained rapid weight gain has GOT to be related to one of them. (At least, I hope. PLEASE I hope I don't have another silent infection somewhere...) I know some people will point out that the last two months have been very stressful, with this relocation stuff, but I know that can't be the cause of the gain. I've been under SEVERE stress for an unrelated matter for the last year as of tomorrow - much worse than this relocation stress - and I maintained my weight with no problem during ten of those months. Plus, both stresses have actually been going down in the last few weeks, and yet, the scale is still going up and up and up. I'm sure stress isn't HELPING, but it's not causing me to gain 2 lbs a week, either.

So. Coconut. Gluten. As of today, you are GONE. Back out of my life again. Good to know you, it's been fun, but I don't think we are compatible. We should probably go our separate ways, even though that makes me very, very sad.

Hopefully, this will start putting me on the path of reversal. I would like to get back to my maintenance weight, and feel good about myself again.

PS - I know I haven't been here very often. I've been focusing a lot on my writing, and on my blog (link below), and on prepping to move. I update my blog 5-6 times a week, and for now, I'll probably be there more often than I'm here. I'll still check in periodically, though. Hopefully by the next time I check in, I'll have good news.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BBORDEN86 7/10/2014 9:43AM

    I hope those two things you mentioned are the culprits. That'd be the easy route..., but I have no doubt that even if they aren't, you'll definitely find whatever it is.

Stay positive!!

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    I bet those two items, along with the stress, is causing the weight gain. Also, you had mentioned earlier that you weren't exercising as much as you did. And you have said that for you the exercise is so important. I find it so easy to slip extra calories in when a person isn't 'looking'.

I find when I eat gluten I feel sluggish and hungry, and my skin doesn't look as good when I eat it consistently, and my skin starts getting itchy. It's weird. SO I limit it as well. Which does really, really help with my sweet tooth- hello, desserts anyone?? And carb tooth (if there was one! lol).

I hope it isn't anything more, but I bet you've nailed it.

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MISSB8604 7/3/2014 1:09PM

    Have you been to a doctor? Maybe they can give you tests to see what's going on.

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TINAJANE76 7/2/2014 9:03PM

    I'm so sorry to hear that you've been experiencing this inexplicable weight gain, Amanda. I think you're doing the right thing in eliminating the likely triggers and hopefully that will reverse your symptoms pretty quickly.

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WORDLILY 7/2/2014 4:22PM

    Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Bad news!

Hope this is the solution, though, and maybe from your latest status posting, it seems to be.

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TANYA602 7/1/2014 9:58AM

    I love that you are actively seeking the source of your weight gain and making changes - like a true detective. I hope that kicking these two elements to the curbside helps you regulate and control the situation. I hate to say it, but yes, one of my first thoughts was that it was stress related. I hope that you are feeling more energetic soon, and that your bp returns to normal, as well. Hang in there. You will get back on track; you're strong!

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RYDERB 7/1/2014 9:53AM

    For your sake, I really hope you've identified the problem. emoticon I know EXACTLY how much it sucks to be doing everything right and start gaining weight. I've been struggling with mysterious weight gain too. So far, after a zillion medical tests, my doctor has identified few things. Vitamin D deficient, and age related low estrogen levels. emoticon (Both can contribute to insulin resistance - which means I have to start limiting normally healthy stuff like starchy veggies and fruit),
Good luck with your writing and your move.

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NOTGVGUP83 7/1/2014 9:03AM

    bummer but you seem to have picked up on the two changes and maybe now that you're saying good bye to them you'll start to feel better and see those 15 lbs disappear. BTW you DO NOT look obese!! Dont be so hard on yourself you have a lot going on. It could just be the stress. I'm sorry I dont have better advise but hang in there!

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DEB62BIE62 7/1/2014 8:04AM

    Hope things go well and you lose what you found.

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EVIE4NOW 7/1/2014 8:01AM

  I have never used coconut oil. Too high in fat for me. Medication can affect your weight and also conflict with another med. Remember too, the older we get, the more our metabolism slows down. (Beats the alternative tho.)

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I need a new me...or, Day 1.

Friday, June 13, 2014

"I need a new head. I need new teeth. I need new eyes. I need a new me. New head, new teeth, new eyes, new me, new face, no trace. Where did I go?"
--from "I, New" by my favorite band, Stiffs Incorporated

I am tired of the old me. The old me has spent far too long wallowing in depression, angst, and paralyzed fear. She has stopped moving forward - or even holding still - and has started falling backward backward backward. She hates her body and has no motivation, drive, or willpower. The only thing she has in plenty is excuses.

I do not want to be that girl anymore. I am not okay with the fact that I've gained back 10 lbs and am overweight again. I am not okay with my clothes feeling too tight and my body feeling uncomfortably sluggish. I am not okay with self-loathing and body-shame.

It's difficult. The personal Bad Stuff I've been going through for the last year (and worse in the last few months) has left me drained. Spent. My energy is completely sapped. Just getting through each day is tough. But the only way to get out of this hole is to claw my way out. I need to eat better, exercise more, interact with my friends more often. Force myself up inch by inch each day.

So I am taking steps. I've changed up my Sparkpage. I've created new goals, focuses, and motivators. I've joined new teams. I've made new plans. I know that there's a strong possibility that I will stumble and fall repeatedly along this new path, especially in these early days, but I will do my best to keep getting up. I also know that the first 10 of the 25 lbs I need to lose will hold no victory for me, because they are pounds I've already lost once, but I will keep working toward 100% brand new numbers on the scale.

The plan:
- Exercise 5x/wk, 30-60 mins, including heavy ST 3x/wk.
- Active recovery - I need to not be sedentary outside of exercise!
- Take lots of slow, easy walks in addition to exercise.
- Stretch and foam-roll 3x/wk.
- Cut out all flour/sugar 85% of the time (6 days/wk).
- Eat 5-10 freggies per day.
- Check in daily on Spark and with my accountability buddy, Stephanie (INEEDACAT9).

To start:
As of this morning, I weigh 159.2 lbs. Ugh. My arm is 11.5 inches, bust is 37.5, waist (not sucked in) is 32, hips are 40, and upper thigh is 23. ALL of these measurements are up 0.5-2.5 inches from where they were two months ago. Sadface. And, the final nail in the coffin, new "before" photos for the new journey, which really show the regain:

(Note: First side pic is sucked in, the second is not sucked in.)

I've changed my ticker to reflect my new starting weight and my goal of 135 lbs. Also, I took an extensive fitness test this morning - the same one I took on January 1st and also last May - to see where my current, post-surgery fitness levels are. My abdominal surgery was exactly five months ago today, and my core strength disappeared completely on that day (as you'd expect, given they moved my ab muscles in five inches!). Not much has returned, especially as I wasn't cleared to do any core work beyond basic balance stuff until very recently. Between the extremely weak core and my total lack of fitness over the last two months, the results of today's test aren't good:

1. Resting heart rate: 64 bpm
- Jan 2014: not tested
- May 2013: 64 bpm

2. Pull-ups: 0.75
- Jan 2014: 4
- May 2013: 1.25

3. Vertical leap: 11 inches
- Jan 2014: 13.5
- May 2013: 13.25

4. Push-ups: 17
- Jan 2014: 31
- May 2013: 15

5. Toe touch: 3 inches past my toes
- Jan 2014: 3.5 inches past my toes
- May 2013: 4 inches past my toes

6. In & outs (V-crunches, hands on floor): 21
- Jan 2014: 21
- May 2013: 21

7. Seated wall squat: 1:23
- Jan 2014: 1:05
- May 2013: 0:42

8. Arm curls to failure: 46 w/10 lb weights in each hand
- Jan 2014: 20 w/10 lb weights in each hand
- May 2013: 14 w/10 lb weights in each hand

9. Heart rate maximizer:
--179 bpm after 2 mins jumping jacks (Jan: 178, May: 177)
--155 bpm after 1-min rest (Jan: 146, May: 150)
--138 bpm after 2-min rest (Jan: 125, May: 139)
--128 bpm after 3-min rest (Jan: 119, May: 129)
--127 bpm after 4-min rest (Jan: 121, May: 120)

The pull-up one makes me particularly mad. Grr. Ah well. It's a place to start, at least. That's where I am. Starting over, at the beginning of a new journey. Not as BIG a journey as the last time I began losing weight - only 25 lbs instead of 120 lbs to lose - but still a journey. I need a new me. Time to go find one.

June 13, 2014 - emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I love the tracking you do! And the pictures. I should take more pictures!

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TRUE-NESS 6/27/2014 8:55PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRABADA 6/18/2014 10:01PM

    "I am tired of the old me. The old me has spent far too long wallowing in depression, angst, and paralyzed fear. She has stopped moving forward - or even holding still - and has started falling backward backward backward. She hates her body and has no motivation, drive, or willpower. The only thing she has in plenty is excuses."

You read my mind. I was thinking almost this exact same thing earlier today -- and hoping that the fear that I will either waste another decade of my life being fat and isolated, or that I will have to resort to some kind of surgical solution (which I desperately don't want to do!) in order to avoid that fate -- will finally motivate me to make the changes I need to finally shed this weight that paralyzes me in so many ways.

Thanks, as always, for sharing so honestly. I hope you know how much it means to me (and many others).


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WHITNEYLD 6/17/2014 10:18AM

    Good luck meeting your goals! I was down to 142 after having my first baby and now I am up to 168 or so seven months later, so I just revamped my page yesterday and ready for a change!

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TINAJANE76 6/17/2014 9:41AM

    Just playing a bit of catch up and saw this and your other blog. Believe me, I understand where you're coming from, Amanda. I've spent a good part of the past year struggling to combat a normal vacation weight gain that I ordinarily would have kicked right off on top of a heap of other personal issues. It wasn't pretty at times, but I slogged through it and the great news is that I finally feel like I'm out of that slump now and am feeling so much better. You're determined and tough and I know you'll do the same. Please lean on the support you can find here however it helps you the most and don't hesitate even for a second to give me a holler if there's anything I can do to help you out.
P.S.--I checked out your personal blog and just love it! Your rental house in Newton is super-cute and I think you'll really like it there. I went to college nearby and it's a great place with lots to do and many opportunities to help you along with your healthy living goals.

Comment edited on: 6/17/2014 9:42:37 AM

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BRADMILL2922 6/17/2014 4:14AM

    Welcome to a fresh start! At least you know you can do it and you know what works. Best of luck to you! You can do it!

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BBORDEN86 6/16/2014 2:26PM

    Welcome to the NEW start. You'll reach your goals I have no doubts in you. Don't be so hard on yourself though... it's all part of the journey we slip sometimes. Just get back up again, that's what really matters. :)

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CHANGINGSAM 6/15/2014 8:54PM

    I completely understand. I have been going through periods of being super motivated and then not so motivated. It is frustrating. I hope you find some motivation soon; if not, rely on determination. ;)

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BARBARAJ73 6/14/2014 8:41AM

    Fresh starts all the way around - best wishes and stay strong! emoticon

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TENNISJIM 6/14/2014 8:06AM

    Good plan and you will succeed.

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    You can do it, Amanda! Having a plan in place is a great start. You are a beautiful person no matter what, but I know how hard it is to believe that when one is not at their idea of the perfect weight. I'm pulling for you!

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JDUFORD 6/13/2014 10:17PM

    Wonderful plan! You will reach your goal. You are such an inspiration for the rest of us....With everything you have going on, only gaining 10lbs and not waiting for life to settle down before jumping back on to the horse. Good luck with life!

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GINILEE4 6/13/2014 4:12PM


Hello and welcome to your new life!!!! This will be completely different for you. Everything has changed. Not only your body, but your mind as well. Stay in the present and deal with each day as it comes. Place NO past expectations on yourself and be the best Amanda you can be. That's. more than enough for anyone! Have fun and welcome to the game field.

Gini emoticon

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MEH50BEWELL 6/13/2014 2:39PM

    You are fierce and emoticon refocusing on an even more improved you. You will be kicking your bad self to the curb leaving room for the new you. emoticon Now you've given me more motivation to kick things into gear as well. I love reading blogs!!!!! Thanks for continuing to share your story.

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EVER-HOPEFUL 6/13/2014 1:46PM

    looks like you and i have been in the same place lately only that you are coming out of it.i think for me to come out of it will be when i finally get my ops done.they have rescheduled it for next friday as this is the actual 6th time the op has been resceduled i canīt say that it will 100% happen on friday but i am hoping.know you can do this love. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WORDLILY 6/13/2014 12:42PM

    You can do it!!! Way to go!!!!! Proud of you.

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C8TSON 6/13/2014 12:12PM

    I think coming up with fresh goals is a good thing. I know that this has been so hard on you, but I also know you are a fighter. No matter what, keep pushing each day!

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LORILEEPAGE 6/13/2014 10:15AM

    You definitely are in good company on your weight gain. I too have had lots of struggles and worked really hard this last month. When I look back over the past month (after gaining 30 pounds in a couple of years) I see my new attitude toward food evolving. I'm learning to live in the moment and not go backwards every time I have regrets about the past day's eating disasters. Calculations reveal that I actually was able to do an 80/20 on how many days I stayed on track. This encouraged me though I had inflated it in my mind to this idea that I'm "always" doing terrible! I'm doing better at not obsessing over the scale, as the weight issue should resolve itself since I'm becoming less obsessed by sugar. I'm finally making connections that rotten food makes me feel rotten. I hope some of this helps. I'm right there on the journey with you! It isn't easy but it is possible! We can do this!

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MELYROD18 6/13/2014 10:13AM

    Great Plan, you can do it! emoticon

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Long Overdue Update

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You guys already know that things have been difficult for me over the last 1-2 months. I'm struggling with a lot of stress and some personal things, and that has resulted in gaining back about 10 lbs. I'm now about 5 lbs over that magic healthy-BMI line, and nearly tipping back into the 160s again - AND that's on my home scale, which is always about 6 lbs lower than a doctor's scale. This is not okay, but every time I try to rein in the damage, something happens: a night where I only sleep 3 hrs, a family crisis, another party someone throws before we move away from all our family and friends, a sudden house-showing which means we have to eat out again. Life is very chaotic right now, and there's very little I can do besides minimize the damage during the parts when I DO have control.

I am doing my best to cut out flour and sugar whenever possible and eat 7+ freggies a day, but honestly, this isn't enough. Most people say that losing weight is 80% diet 20% fitness. This has never been the truth for my body. For me, losing weight is 80% fitness 20% diet. And the fitness portion...isn't happening. We are into triple-digit heat here. The boys are home from school and I need to watch them. I have to keep my house in show-ready condition 100% of the time, which not only takes a lot of work/time, but also means I can't have super-sweaty exercise clothes (and believe me, they would be in this heat) stinking up my house. Sure, I can spend some time walking around my 80-degree living room to get in SOME movement. It's not enough, though. It's not real exercise for me, and frankly, if I can't sweat-up my clothes except the twice-a-week laundry days, I'm just not going to get in enough fitness. That's the sacrifice I make trying to sell a south Texas home in June.

Two years ago, when I wasn't allowed to exercise at all for 10 weeks due to a stress fracture, I managed to maintain my weight. I wasn't under the stress I'm under now, though, not to mention there weren't parties, outings, or restaurant dinners (because of house showings) every couple nights. It's easier to maintain when you have control of your diet 95% of the time, rather than only about 50% of the time, especially when the 50% of the time you DO have control is somewhat difficult due to stress, family crisis, and extremely little sleep. I'm doing the best I can, and it's NOT enough.

There is some good news in all this, though. We've had quite a few showings on the house, including some second-showings, so I'm hopeful that soon we will have an offer and can get it sold. That'll be one less thing to worry about. We've also secured housing in Boston as of August 1st, so we know exactly when we'll be moving, and where to, and how to budget for it. Last night, there were a few semi-positive steps made in the personal area (see previous post), and while I don't expect things to be better for many months now, I'm hopeful that they CAN be better one day, which is something I haven't had any hope for since April. This last bit is the most important, because the personal area is the one that is feeding my self-destructive behavior (as in forcing myself to eat as much junk as I can for multiple reasons - again, see previous post). If I can get that stressor out of my life, or at least alleviate it, I can start working back to a better mental and physical level again.

I really want to start working my way back to Spark again. Today is Wednesday, and I have the idea that I should start doing regular Wednesday Weigh-in kinds of posts, with a bit of chat about the past week and how things are going. Maybe a weekly post like that would help me. It seems a positive step forward, and I need as many little positive steps as possible right now. I can't guarantee that I'll follow through with this plan, but I'm going to try. That's about all I can do right now: keep trying. In the meantime, I'll try to start following along in my friend feed again, which I've barely glanced at over the last six weeks, and I'll keep writing on a more regular basis on my personal blog. If you're interested, the link is here:


I wish I had better news, overall. Things are very difficult right now, and will likely remain so for the next two months at very least. All I can do is keep stepping forward, and hope at some point I can heal from the injuries I've acquired over the last year.

"No one knows the battles we survive." --Umbrella Brigade

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    1 month and 10 lbs gained? That's me. I'm just trying to get caught up on my spark friends and back to tracking. The gain will come off me soon, as it always does when I track and eat within my calorie range.
I would like to say (*like* to) that we control 100% of what we eat no matter the circumstances, but I know as well as anyone that willpower only goes so far, and it doesn't go very far at all when a person is hungry. It is hard to resist the dinners out or parties or stressful moments. When a person wants to be social and the choices are limited, then it's a battle. Especially if it's between high-calorie foods that dance across the tastebuds or raw veggies.

Good luck on the house and stay strong!

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TRUE-NESS 6/27/2014 8:50PM

    emoticon There's not much I can say, except that I'm here for you.... supporting you and sending you hugs ((( )))...

But, one thing I just thought about for exercise is mall walking. Maybe you could hit the air-conditioned mall and do some walking in there.

In regard to sweaty workout clothes: (1) Sweaty clothes can be stored outside in a laundry bag until ready to wash or (2) you could rinse immediately in plain water or (3) dunk in a bucket of laundry detergent a few times just to get the sweat smell off of them. Then just wring out and let hang to dry before putting in the actual dirty clothes basket.

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BBORDEN86 6/16/2014 2:20PM

    Sorry things are still stressful for you! I totally understand prepping for moving, although we don't have to worry about house showings. Thankfully. Things will get sorted out, and I have no doubt once you have the control over eating, etc. when you move. Weight will slowly come off as well. Don't worry too much about it right now, you have enough to worry about. Let life happen... you won't see a lot of your Texas friends for who knows how long!

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CHANGINGSAM 6/15/2014 9:03PM

    I am so sorry things are stressful right now, but you will get through it. Just keep doing your best. As for getting in exercise, can you do exercise videos (ex P90X or Insanity)? That would allow you to get a better session in without being in the heat. Here in South Carolina, it is getting hotter (and more humid) by the day, so I completely understand. In fact, I have had to change my runs from late afternoon to morning. Anyways, hope your house sells quickly so you can be less stressed!

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ALLEY2300 6/11/2014 10:13PM

    It sounds like you are striving to make the most out of the situation!! It is never easy to do that! Keep on keeping on and things will eventually work out! (If I don't keep telling myself that I will go off the deep end myself). I have started back into the Spark community slowly again. Pacing myself is a good thing.

One day, things will fall into place again. Remember--as long as we keep on trying, we are making progress!

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DEB62BIE62 6/11/2014 8:13PM

    I was not aware that the heat had gotten into the hundred's. I know the heat index is. Anyway, sorry that you are having issues. The heat is always a problem here. Where I've been working this week I've been freezing- they have the A/C turned up so high, but I'm not going to complain. I'd rather it be too cold than hot.

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C8TSON 6/11/2014 4:56PM

    emoticon Amanda, I'm sorry things are so rough right now. I think even managing 50% healthy is better than most in even just one of your situations--much less everything you have going on. Moving cross country is highly stressful. I have done it four times, and those were some of the most stressful times of my life. Just keep taking it day by day and try not to beat yourself up too much. Every day will have its challenges, but you have overcome so much--I know you can do this.

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CHAOTICMOM4 6/11/2014 1:32PM

    Yikes, you're not kidding there's stress. You bought a house but still have one to sell. I remember going through that. My car would be loaded with dirty laundry and clutter everytime there was a showing scheduled.

Where did you end up buying? I think you said you were looking in the Framingham area?

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MOMMACASSEY 6/11/2014 11:33AM


My husband and his family moved from just north of Boston (Lynn, Mass--my grandmother-in-law names all towns up there with -Mass as a suffix, so it'd be easy to think that every town and city actually ends with "-mass"!) to south Texas when he was a kid--looking for work, which wasn't readily available there in the 80s, apparently. It has been quite the transition for them, and some of the family members are still very clearly not-Texan.

For instance, my sister-in-law called me in October, 10 years ago, sobbing and barely able to talk, to make sure that her brother and I knew that the Red Sox had beaten the Yankees, at last. He was at work, and now we don't have cable or satellite TV, but his family makes sure they have a subscription to Boston's sports channels, and they keep him apprised of all things Boston sports-related.

I definitely hope to see more of you on SP. I'm sure everything will go well!


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WORDLILY 6/11/2014 11:24AM

    I'm glad for every little positive you find these days! It's good to hear from you here, no matter the news. You'll get through this, too. You're strong.

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EVER-HOPEFUL 6/11/2014 11:02AM


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KRAZYF 6/11/2014 10:41AM

  I know how you feel. We are also trying to sell a house and have been for several months. We are also trying to repair after a storm to get the house back to a good presentable state. With the kids in sports this summer time at home is limited. It is definitely a struggle to eat healthy in this fast paced world. I have gained about 30 pounds back over the last year and have been struggling with getting back on track with eating better. For me the exercise isn't much of a problem as I take an hour over lunch to go to the local gym which is across the street from my office. Just 15 minutes of high intense exercise helps me to deal with the stress. I can usually find that much time but even that can be difficult sometimes. All I can say is to just keep working hard and it will work out in the end. I have to tell myself this daily!!!

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SAPHRAEL 6/11/2014 10:26AM

    Hi Amanda. Selling a house and moving your family across the country is incredibly stressful. Stay positive! Stay focused on all the positive choices you do have control over. I hope the transition goes quickly and smoothly so you can get settled and establish new routines in your new home.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May has been a very bad month here. I think it was pretty obvious in my last blog that I was in a really bad place, mentally. I won't say much about it, but I'll say that Bad Stuff has been happening in my life for almost a year now (since July 2nd), and that Bad Stuff has stressed me out and worn me down for so long that I have almost no energy left. Recent extra stresses have made the situation worse. We're moving cross country in the next two months, prepping to sell our house, saying goodbye to friends and family, and suffering from major heat waves in San Antonio. I finished working on a major writing project at the end of April, and have yet to find direction on a new one, so I don't even have a focus to keep my head together while I juggle all the mental stresses. On top of that, I had a major internal realization about my personal struggle with these last 15-20 lbs, and that realization makes me very, very helplessly angry. All this adds up. Then, add it to the very frustrating time I've had in terms of weight loss (whether or not my own mental block is causing it), and it doesn't look good.

I counted every calorie I ate from January 1st to April 30th this year. I had enough of a deficit in that time to lose about 10 lbs, and yet I didn't lose an ounce (or an inch, except those surgically removed). I actually gained two pounds in March/April, so that I began May up at 151 lbs again. Sigh. So I changed things up. I tried Whole30 and lasted 9.5 days until I was so sick that I had to quit. I also gained 3 lbs in those 9.5 days on Whole30 (taking me to 154 lbs). In the 9.5 days since then, I said f--- everything, and exploded. It helped (or not) that I discovered that my gluten-intolerance was actually a medication issue. I've spent the last 9.5 days binging on everything I couldn't eat for the last 9 months.

Chocolate chip cookies. Onion bagels. My favorite frozen burritos. Pop-tarts. Sundried tomato wheat thins. Oatmeal Squares cereal. Crackin' Oat Bran. Fish and chips with malt vinegar. Lucky Charms. Sausage kolaches. Doughnuts. Whole wheat pasta. Bulgar. Hamburgers on normal hamburger buns. Dominos pizza. Twix bars. Graham crackers. Milano cookies. Cheese danishes. And so on.

I do not have a binge disorder, and I do not binge the way those with a disorder do so. When I "binge," it involves simple (rather than catastrophic) overeating, so that I eat more often and bigger portions at each meal and become uncomfortably full, but I sincerely doubt I ever eat more than about 3000 calories in a day. When I'm eating junk like I named above, other stuff (like real food - protein and fruits and veggies) simply disappears, plus I start skipping meals as well, so it moderates out the calories a bit. I still consider it a binge, though, because of the mentality behind the act. I binge when I am helplessly angry. In that rare moment when I am very, very angry, but have no direction to place that anger, I turn inwards, and I punish myself by forcing myself to eat. In other words, the last 9.5 days boiled down to three things:

1. I can eat gluten again, so I'm going to eat ALL THE THINGS.
2. Because of a personal, private reason that I won't talk about on Spark, I feel absolutely repulsive, so I'm going to eat and eat and eat and make myself LOOK as repulsive as I FEEL.
3. I am helplessly angry, and that anger has to go somewhere, so food becomes a weapon against myself, because it's easier to bear the pain of gluttony than the pain of anger.

I won't apologize for any of these feelings.** I very rarely come to a place where I fall so low and feel some combination of negativity that leads to a full-on food-attack. In the nearly five years I've been on this weight loss journey, it's literally happened three times. Each time, I scrape myself off from rock bottom after 7-14 days, and start again with grim renewed determination. I am nothing if not stubbornly persistent. As my friend TRUE-NESS has told me more than once, I am no rock star on this weight loss journey - I am a WARRIOR. And so, like a true warrior, I nursed an injury that might have been fatal to someone else, and now it's time to dust myself off and walk again, even while I still hurt pretty badly.

Yesterday, I woke up and decided it would be my last binge day. I decided to eat ALL THE REST OF THE THINGS, and then to start over fresh this morning. In my 9.5 days of binging, I gained an additional 5.4 lbs, bringing me to 159.4 lbs. I am currently higher than I have been since December 2012. I know probably 4-5 lbs of this will drop off quickly, because I'm carrying a lot of water weight and girl weight at present, but even after they drop off, I will be way too high for my own comfort.

I'm tired. This processed junk makes me feel terrible. This level of anger and self-loathing exhausts me. My clothes are tight and I've gained anywhere from half an inch to two inches in every place I measure. My body, which has straddled the line between healthy and overweight for over a year now, definitely looks overweight again. Actually, it looks like I've gained 20-25 lbs, not just 10. Beyond that, I'm craving freggies and real food. My sugar addiction has returned full force and I am ready to escape it again. I haven't exercised in weeks and my body is aching to MOVE.

So I start over. Start fresh. Start moving forward again, step by grim, determined step.

**This is going to come off sounding really defensive, but I've experienced this too many times now here on Spark to not address it. Please, if you don't know me well or are seeing me for the first time on this blog, don't tell me about therapy and prayer (I'm not Christian) and things I should/shouldn't do or think or feel. Trust me, I know myself VERY well and I already know all those things. Those sorts of comments are the opposite of helpful/supportive when I'm trying to push myself toward a more positive mentality, and will therefore be deleted outright.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RADOOGA 6/8/2014 4:35AM

    Hi, I don't know you at all, and wouldn't dream of offering you advice, but I just want to say that your blogs are moving, honest and connect us all with the struggles we go through. From reading your blogs, you sound like a gutsy lady, and I have no doubt that you will overcome and conquer, one day at a time.

Best wishes for the rest of your journey x

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JDUFORD 5/31/2014 1:08PM

    emoticon Like you said, today is a new day and you will get through it one step at a time!

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    I'm sorry you're going through such a tough time. I don't have any words to make you feel better of course. I just wanted to stop in here and offer you some emoticon . I do hope things get better for you.

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SAPHRAEL 5/24/2014 4:38PM

    I'm a little angry too...that some thing's happened to bring you down so hard. I hope you can move past the ugliness of whatever it is and know that it's not a true reflection on you.

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CRABADA 5/23/2014 3:27PM

    As always, I appreciate how much you share with us. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help.


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MOMTO6CUTIES 5/21/2014 5:21PM

    You got this. You've done it before and I know you can do it again!

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LILSPARKIE85 5/21/2014 11:44AM

    I can't say I know how you feel, but some of this definitely resonated with me. Let's start fresh together. :)

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SUNPANTHER 5/21/2014 9:24AM

    I don't know you at all; I am here because of your honesty with yourself and us. Thanks for being real to me. I know you are writing this for your own journey, and not for us, but I appreciate your words in my own life also. They engage me. They articulate not my own struggle, but an essence of it, and helps.

It is what it is. I like the Warrior imagery. For me it conjures up blood and pain and threat, and persistence and determination and fierceness.

Fight on.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/21/2014 7:42AM

    I've been having a rough time too. And I too am faced with a big relocation, including trying to sell a house. My move is happening in a week. I'm just holding on and waiting until my life can settle down into a new "normal" and I can set up my healthy infrastructure again (routines for food, exercise, etc.)

Hang in there as well as you can. You have only lost the war if you give up. Keep trying. Just keep on trying.


Comment edited on: 5/21/2014 7:44:48 AM

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CHOCOHOLIC2276 5/20/2014 10:04PM

    Sometimes we hit survival mode and just get through it. No judgment. Tomorrow is a clean slate. You are strong, you will get past this.

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AHORSEY1 5/20/2014 8:03PM

    Tomorrow is a new day! I'm sure you'll do great.

PS. The East coast isn't too bad either. I transplanted to there from the Houston area about 10 months ago.

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INEEDACAT9 5/20/2014 4:31PM

    Hopefully the Saturday 5K will get us both back on the exercise bus! And I hope that you feel better mentally soon. Given the amount of stress you're under and the sleep issues, it's no wonder that you're feeling overwhelmed/exhausted/angry/upset/e
tc... I know we haven't known each other super long, but I'm here if you need a venting ear or a sounding board or just a hangout buddy to give your brain a break! :)

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PRETTYPITHY 5/20/2014 4:03PM

    There were two things I really identified with:

" When I "binge," it involves simple (rather than catastrophic) overeating, so that I eat more often and bigger portions at each meal and become uncomfortably full, but I sincerely doubt I ever eat more than about 3000 calories in a day. "

This! When I say binge, I think people think I'm eating two pizzas and two boxes of donuts or something. I do not have a binge eating disorder, I never binge that way. I'm more likely to go out for Mexican food, eat the chips and my entree and two margaritas or something. I call that a binge because it is a binge -- but few would recognize it as out of control binge disorder eating. I think it is almost harder to address our kind of binging because, in this society it is just considered normal eating!!

" I am helplessly angry, and that anger has to go somewhere, so food becomes a weapon against myself, because it's easier to bear the pain of gluttony than the pain of anger. "

This, too! I have been depressed all year because of a difficult situation in my life and I'm really just eating an extra few hundred calories a day but the weight is packing on. I've continued to exercise regularly and vigorously which makes the gain especially disheartening.

Comment edited on: 5/20/2014 4:04:44 PM

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    Sorry to hear about your rough patch. I was hoping you'd emerge soon! (If you wouldn't I would have started sending messages ;)

"Yesterday, I woke up and decided it would be my last binge day. I decided to eat ALL THE REST OF THE THINGS, and then to start over fresh this morning. " -Good GOD how often this has happened to me.

As a warrior you know the fight continues and you will get through this. You are beautiful and you (and I and all of us) need to treat ourselves like we are. Healthy foods, exercise, sleep.


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GINILEE4 5/20/2014 2:06PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISTY_MOUNTAINS 5/20/2014 1:09PM

    You take care of yourself. We all fall down... we all fall hard for different reasons. It's hard not to fall into the shame spiral, but it sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on it. I have no doubt that you've got this.

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ARUNNINGKAT 5/20/2014 12:46PM


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TANYA602 5/20/2014 12:09PM

    You've been one of my strongest motivators and leaders all along and I can feel your struggle here. I imagine that the stress has to be so unbearable if it's pushed you to this point. Yes, YOU know best what works for you. Just know that we are here to support you any way we can. Seriously. You have that warrior mentality and I know that you will begin gaining your strength and confidence back and kicking those demons to the sidewalk.

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DEB62BIE62 5/20/2014 11:41AM

    Thanks so much for sharing. I'm going through several things myself, and I have gained 6lbs. I exercised myself last week for at least 160 minutes and still gained a pound. How is that even possible? I kept within the calorie range. People tell me it's muscle. Yea in my stomach. Anyway, I know right where you are. Hope you come out of it strong. I'm hoping I can get through it too.

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COFFEE_123456 5/20/2014 11:21AM

    Hi - I am really sorry to hear about your stress. Let me know if I can help with the move planning/info - I sent you a sparkmail about it too. I would love to reciprocate your kindness - when I was trying to figure out how to get veggies in my kids (and how to swim...) and you took the time to write me a thoughtful and helpful response really meant a lot to me!

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MTN_KITTEN 5/20/2014 11:16AM

    Take care of yourself ... you deserve it.

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MJ-SHE-BEAST 5/20/2014 10:43AM

    Warrior - that's one of my favorite words to describe myself and it fits you PERFECTLY. Others may give in and give up. Others may let the wounds fester into permanent inability to fight. Others are NOT WARRIORS.

Whatever is going on, personally, physically, and mentally, I know you are going to approach it in that methodical, deliberate, Sherlock Holmes Body Detective way you do and you will get it all sorted out. It's what you do and one of the things I admire most about you. emoticon

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SGTSUNNY 5/20/2014 10:34AM


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MISSB8604 5/20/2014 10:24AM

    You can do this, you have the strength deep inside you and you will reach your goals. It may not be as quickly as you'd want, but it WILL happen. Your journey has been absolutely inspiring and regardless of how you feel right now, there are people on here that are sincerely rooting for you. You're not alone. You CAN do this. emoticon

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JSPIN74 5/20/2014 10:09AM

    emoticon emoticon

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FAIRHAVENQUEEN 5/20/2014 10:01AM

    I SO understand that strange, self-punishing binge thing, as I've done the same many times. And I also just had some days of eating ALL THE THINGS. Made me feel so tired and crabby! Anyway, I've been worried about you, and am so glad to see you are back to blogging, and moving forward. Hopefully the grim baby steps will soon become happy leaps of joy!

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RINLYN 5/20/2014 9:55AM

    I'm radiating love and support in your direction. You don't need platitudes right now, and I know you'll be able to push through this because you are that warrior.
I'm here for you, in spirit or in person if you need it.

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TINAJANE76 5/20/2014 9:51AM

    I'm sorry to read that you've been going through such a rough patch, Amanda. I don't have any profound words of wisdom to offer, but I hope that things turn around for you very soon.

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NOTGVGUP83 5/20/2014 9:46AM

    The TX heat doesn't make anything better! Sorry you're in a rut but it seems like you have a great plan in place and know you're going to over come these obstacles in no time. You will conquer this monster! emoticon had to add my hug! lol

Comment edited on: 5/20/2014 9:46:56 AM

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WORDLILY 5/20/2014 9:42AM

    I'm glad this post goes the way it does. I was afraid when I saw the title that it was going to say some version of the opposite. You CAN do it. I've witnessed your hard work and determination and success.

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C8TSON 5/20/2014 9:41AM

    So sorry that this time has been so rough for you. I know you can do this though. You are a warrior, you are strong, and you have come so far. emoticon

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PEZMOM1 5/20/2014 9:10AM


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