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70 Pounds Lighter (70? Really? Yikes!)

Saturday, January 05, 2013

(Near my 231.5-pound max.)

At 231.5 pounds, the heaviest Id ever been in my entire life, I was a big girl. I knew I was big. But as big as I was, I dont think I saw myself as being THAT big.

(Near my 231.5-pound max.)

(How could that be?!) No matter what my mind thought, I was having trouble breathing while seated, because my stomach fat was pressing up on my lungs. In addition, I thought a thinner me might have better luck at finding a job. I started eating more healthfully and exercising (45-60 minutes a day, five times a week), but progress was slow. The more I exercised, the hungrier I was, the more I ate, the less weight I lost. I was frustrated.

In March 2010, still at 228 pounds, I joined SparkPeople and immediately started reading articles and blog posts. I joined a few groups and started writing my own blog posts. I used the nutrition and fitness trackers. I learned about portion control and about daily caloric ranges. The very first week I saw results. From there, I made a slow, but consisted progression downward. Until April 2011 when I found out that I would be moving to England.

My weight slowly crept back up between April and December 2011. I was stressed and busy finish up at my job, then visiting friends and family all over the United States before my move, then packing and moving, then adjusting to a new country and all its wonderful and delicious new foods that I had to try (every single last one of them!).

One year ago, on the first of January 2012, I weighed 194.5 pounds.

(January 2012 at 194.5 pounds)

With a goal weight of 163 pounds (65 pound loss from my 8 March 2010 start date on SparkPeople), I had a ways to go. I rededicated myself to my weight-loss efforts, resolving to reach my goal weight by the end of the year.

I recall the first 8 months of the year as being a slow struggle to lose weight. I ate well, was mindful of portion sizes and calorie counts, and exercised regularly; but I was leaning too much, once again, on food for comfort. I found that each bout of emotional eating set me back, undoing so much of my positive efforts. This led to frustration at my seeming inability to control myself and disappointment in my progress.

In September, I was becoming disillusioned about my ability to reach my goal weight by the end of the year. After all, Id lost only 13 pounds in over eight months. A loss is better than a gain or even than staying at the same weight, but how was I going to lose 18.5 pounds in four months when I lost only 13 pounds in eight?

(September 2012 at about 181.5 pounds)

Then something amazing happened.

I was walking on the treadmill at my gym thinking that what I needed was a weight-loss mentor. Someone who was an expert and could offer me guidance. Someone who could show me what I was doing wrong and guide me to a better way. Just as I was thinking this, one of the personal trainers at my gym came up to me (mind you, while I was still walking on the treadmill) and asked me whether I was taking advantage of what they gym had to offer to reach my health and fitness goals. I told him about my challenges and he replied that he actually worked successfully with clients with similar issues. At this point I didnt really believe in the benefits of a personal trainer, because I was self-motivated and knowledgeable about exercise and fitness equipment. I had also tried working with a personal trainer twice before (3 sessions with each trainer), but both trainers worked me so hard that I ended up almost passing out. BUT I had just mentally asked for a mentor so I thought the least I could do was listen to what he had to offer.

A few days later, after hearing about the science behind his program and about the great results some of his clients had achieved, I signed up for five weeks of diet menus, an exercise plan, and personal training sessions (one per week). After the five weeks, I had all the knowledge I needed to continue on my own, but I had such good results (almost 10 pounds down) that I ended up signing back on for an additional 10 weeks.

While working with my personal trainer, I learned new and effective exercises, received diet guidance, including evaluation and menu adjustments, as needed, and discussed diet and exercise struggles, which resulted in a lot of mental-barrier breakthroughs. In 15 weeks, I lost over 22 pounds. Not as much as wed predicted, but I had to be happy as the time frame included Thanksgiving and a trip to Belgium (think Belgian waffle topped with melted Belgian chocolate and whipped cream! Okay, not a good idea. Think carrot sticks!). In addition to the weight loss and mental-barrier breakthroughs, I also discovered a way of eating based on glycemic load that completely eliminated all my cravings, allowing me to eat real food when I was actually hungry and to avoid emotional eating. This truly was a life-changing development!

By years end, not only had I reached my goal weight, but Id surpassed it! I lost 33 pounds in 2012 and rang in the New Year at 161.5 pounds! Instead of losing a total of 65 pounds since starting on SparkPeople, I lost a total of 70 pounds since I started my weight-loss journey. Amazing!

(November 30, 2012, at 164.5)

(November 30, 2012, at 164.5)

(Christmas Day 2012 at 161.5)

Although I gained so much from working with my personal trainer (who is always motivating and never degrading), I spend only one hour a week with him. The rest of the time I am on my own, so I still find myself logging in regularly to SparkPeople for motivation, information, and support. My trainer, SparkPeople, and SparkPeople's people were all instrumental in 2012's weight loss success. So, thank you!!!!

Even though Im below my goal weight, which had been chosen somewhat arbitrarily, I know that I want to lose more weight, because Im still carrying too much fat on my abdomen and back. But Im feeling very positive about the process and can continue eating as I am doing well into the future. I dont know what weight is best for me, so Ive decided to set 5-pound weight loss goals, reevaluating as I go, until Im at a weight where I look and feel my best.

Year-end goal for 2013: Reach the ideal weight for my body where I look and feel my best.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TECH1960PS 1/27/2014 10:42AM

    Amazing story, emoticon emoticon

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ADAPTINGANNIE 7/16/2013 8:00AM

    Thank you for sharing. Your story is inspirational and motivating. Have thought about looking into a personal trainer, now I guess I will. Hope I find one as good as yours...helpful and understanding. Thanks again.

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SUPERSYLPH 6/25/2013 11:51AM

    I have the same 2013 year-end goal! Thanks for sharing!

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JAMESSKANTOR 5/5/2013 10:44PM

    Great Job. Loved your story and the pictures.

I have lost 50 lbs this year, and have at least 30 more to go. I started at 270 and am down to 220. I agree Glycemic Index, really helped. Let me share one more thing. I have been using a nutribullet everyday. I add 1 cup of almond milk the 30 cal, no sugar added kind, then I add a cup of spinach, 1/2 banana or some berries, 1 TBS of flax oil, and scoop of protein powder. Sometime is I am hunger I will take just some almond milk, fruit and green vegetable, and blend it up.

Keep up your great work. Make sure you maintain your success!

Comment edited on: 5/5/2013 10:46:07 PM

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ELIZABETH5268 4/27/2013 9:19PM

    Great job!

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ELAINE725 4/22/2013 1:59PM

    This is great! Keep it going!! emoticon

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LALALOVELY76 3/27/2013 11:15AM

    Awesome!! Great News!! 70lbs is now my new goal so thanks for giving me hope! I've went up and down but now its time to get serious!!! emoticon

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LOGOULD 3/25/2013 9:38AM

    I too, have been contemplating using a personal trainer. It is expensive, but I think I will sign up for a session a month and have them set goals for me to work for each month for the accountability factor.

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VBA2009 3/16/2013 11:03AM

    Congrats!! You look great!

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    Congratulations on your accomplishments!

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52114ME 3/1/2013 11:47AM

You must feel so powerful.
You make me feel so hopeful.
Keep up the work.

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COLEE82 2/26/2013 10:05PM

    Congrats on your accomplishments! Your journey is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

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SAMMIE2013 2/21/2013 4:53AM

    Amazing! Inspirational! Thank You! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NTAR2200 2/19/2013 12:04PM

    Congratulations!!!! You are so inspirational. Thankyou! emoticon

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LADYJAY714 2/18/2013 1:29PM

    Beautiful transformation! Great job! Thanks for sharing, very motivating :] Keep up that hard work!!!

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STEVIEBEE569 2/17/2013 10:31AM

    Way to go! Awesome! You're such an inspiration! Continue your good work!

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SEEINGCLEARLY53 2/17/2013 10:27AM

    Congratulations x 10! us all hope and keeps us going...thanks!

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JOYOUS1917 2/12/2013 6:04PM

    emoticon You ar giving me hope that I can succeed too...thanks for that....70 sounds like such a huge number....that is my number too... emoticon emoticon

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LUV2CRAFT 2/11/2013 12:32PM


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SPSPSP1 2/11/2013 3:17AM


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FALLNTENN 2/9/2013 7:26PM


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SERASARA 2/9/2013 7:10PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FANTASTIC731 2/8/2013 8:45PM


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NHEMBERGER 2/8/2013 12:37PM

    Great job!

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PAWSINAZ 2/7/2013 12:29PM

    You look great!

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NANCY361 2/6/2013 11:16PM

    What an amazing & inspirational story. Thank you so much for sharing!! Congratulations on all your success! Being focused and sticking with it was awesome. And I love how the instructor that was right for you just showed up out of thin air, when you asked for him.

Way to go! and Thank you!

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JAZZII4 2/6/2013 5:00PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Such a beautiful, motivating, story. Great pictures, also. emoticon

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    Awesome, thanks for sharing your journey! emoticon

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SHANECODER 2/6/2013 1:12PM

    emoticon on finding what works for you!!!

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AURORAMILLET 2/6/2013 12:45PM


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JKSJEN 2/6/2013 12:33PM

    Great Job!!

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JODIMV 2/6/2013 8:46AM

  Awesome! Great Job!

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CLAUD1313 2/5/2013 7:57PM

    Enjoyed your Success story. You look fantastic - Congratulations!

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BRENDARUN 2/5/2013 6:44PM

    You look awesome! Great job! Way to stay on board!

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SUNFLOWER7556 2/5/2013 5:00PM

  Your look great in your photos. I bet it feels great to travel and feel good . Not worry about the airline seats and having the energy to do things. WTG!

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STANDFIRMAJ 2/5/2013 2:59PM

  emoticon Thanks for sharing, you look awesome!

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DOTTY7267 2/5/2013 11:00AM

    emoticon emoticon

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    great blog and you look amazing !! great job and enjoyed reading about your journey! thanks for sharing, I really appreciated you and your efforts !



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FITITGIRL 2/5/2013 4:24AM

    Amazing.. You look gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

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    Absolutely amazing!!! Congratulations! emoticon emoticon

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SHANNONY84 2/4/2013 11:11PM

    Truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. And the progression pictures are so great to see. Its a way to really stay on track and gave me a great idea! Thank you!

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STAYCXL-NOMORE 2/4/2013 10:27PM

    Congrats great success :) You look amazing !!

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KARENLEIGH32 2/4/2013 8:19PM

    You look great! Really great!

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2JEN-MARIE 2/4/2013 6:45PM

  What a transformation! You are an inspiration for me as I start my own path to better health and fitness.

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SAZZLERAZZLE 2/4/2013 5:53PM

    Wow you look amazing! The weight loss has made a huge difference, not only to how you look but by the sounds of it how you feel - good for you!

Where in England did you move to? i live in Bath.
Good luck with maintaining your amazing loss!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VENUS2011 2/4/2013 4:22PM

    I just have say emoticon WOW and WAY TO GO!!!

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SOSHIV2011 2/4/2013 1:49PM

  Thank you so much for writing this blog.
Could you share some of what you eat (high glycemic foods) and how you made substitution.
BTW: your pics at 191 look great...all muscles!

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PATIENTSAM 2/4/2013 10:59AM

    You look amazing!

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NDKARIKARI 2/3/2013 10:40PM

    your story is incredibly inspirational, thanks for motivating me this evening!

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I Did the Splits!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I really can't believe it myself!

First, I haven't been able to do the splits since I participated in gymnastics in my youth.

Second, this was a goal of mine for the year. It's only March!

I've slowly been increasing my flexibility because of my regular yoga practice. Today, I felt particularly limber and thought I'd give the splits a try just to see how much farther I needed to go. Turns out that I could do a full side split on both sides. Woohoo!!!!! (I never have been able to do a middle split...maybe that should be my next goal.)

I am so PROUD of myself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


  This helps p, too!

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BLUEMERLEME 4/1/2012 1:27AM

  This is a goal of mine I started a few weeks ago. I hope I have as much success! I've actually never done the splits before.

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GINCHIFER 3/14/2012 7:08PM

    Amazing!!! Keep up the flexibility work!

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PINKBEANBOO 3/14/2012 4:55PM

For years I've been wondering, if I worked on it, could I do them again? You just might have inspired me to put my thoughts to action.

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KAITMEND 3/14/2012 4:48PM


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MINIUM 3/14/2012 4:37PM

    Brilliant! What an inspiration! I wasn't sure what 'doing the splits' meant but there are many websites that explain how to do them so you can get ideas for the middle slip.
I'm very proud of yourself too! What are your other goals?

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LEASIM1231 3/14/2012 2:30PM

    I am so proud of you too! Yes, it is ONLY March! Nice work.

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It Doesn't Have to Be That Hard.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Today I read the perfect quote painted on the wall at the gym:
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

What a great quote. The trick is to get to the point where you don't even have to think about it. Because if thinking is involved, choices may be considered. Then decisions are made, not always in the right direction.

This morning, as usual, I woke up in time to make my Body Balance class, but when I did I SOOO wanted to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. I have a standing appointment with myself. I should keep it. Then I thought about how good I feel after taking that class. Getting out of bed wasn't quite so difficult then.

At that point it occurred to me, my life has always been a struggle, a battle between me, myself, and I. Every thing, even simple tasks, required coaxing and cajoling. I never realized that others didn't struggle like I did. I never knew that others didn't have a wet blanket over every day of their lives. But I guess that's the difference between minds with untreated depression and "normal" minds.

Last night it occurred to me how "normal" I feel since finding the proper medication. I realized that I'm not the same person I always thought I was. Everything does not have to be a struggle. I don't need to constantly push and push myself to get things done. I can just make a list and cross one thing off at a time. I need to stop thinking like the old me and embrace the new me.

My first step this morning was a huge success! I got out of bed, ate a nutritious breakfast. Got dressed and out the door on time. Took my class, then did my first day of 5K training on the treadmill. Now, I'm back home and ready for my next project.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARENEY 2/22/2013 1:21AM

  Thanks for sharing...I could see myself in much of what you wrote...Karen

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POUNDSAWAY13 2/1/2013 12:45PM

You have gret determantion and should be very proud of the changes you are making. Keep up the good work! emoticon emoticon

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GONABFIT 1/31/2013 10:13AM

    This was a great blog! Thanks for sharing! I agree that habit definitely makes things much easier... Time to make NEW habits!

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LEASIM1231 2/7/2012 1:13PM

    Yay for the day!

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LIBELULITA 2/6/2012 4:21PM

    What a wonderful epiphany you've had and wonderful changes you're making to your life and yourself. Carry're doing a great job emoticon emoticon

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MINIUM 2/6/2012 2:50PM

    Brilliant! I'm so glad:
1. to hear from you
2. that you're on the right path!!! Way to go!!!

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SMOCKON 2/6/2012 12:04PM

    Congrats on your turnaround!

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ELRIDDICK 2/6/2012 8:36AM

  Thanks for sharing

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Goals for 2012

Monday, January 02, 2012

2012: Day 1 194.5 lbs

My goals for this year are to write a book and reach my goal weight. Big goals, I know, but absolutely doable if I keep focused on the ultimate prize: accomplishment of goals that truly matter to me.

To write a book, my first short-term goals are:
- read my book on outlining, and
- read or write for one hour per day.

To reach my goal weight, my first short-term goals are:
- work out five times per week, preferably at the gym (to take advantage of my membership and to get out of the house),
- drink 8 cups of non-caffeinated beverages,
- be mindful of portion control,
- eat when hungry, and
- eat as cleanly as possible.

To work out regularly, it would be very helpful if I could wake up by 8 am each day.

To do this and not be tired all day, I plan to get to bed by midnight. This may be the most difficult, but also the most necessary if I want to accomplish my larger goals. To facilitate sleep earlier, I plan to finish chores by 11:30pm so that I can have half an hour to relax before bed.

I know that I will not be perfect. I expect that I will fall short on occasion, but failure is not measured in a day. It is measured at the end of the year when goals are met or not. 2011, 2010, and 2009, all difficult years, are behind me. They are over. No more dwelling. Focus on today. Start fresh every tomorrow. You can do it! I know you can.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KASEYCOFF 1/10/2012 2:47PM

    How's it going so far? I have a 'writing resolution,' too, tho I don't know yet if there's a book in it. But I think writing is just as important to thinking as reading is.

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LIBELULITA 1/3/2012 3:01PM

    Sounds great and very achievable emoticon emoticon

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MINIUM 1/3/2012 2:45AM

    What great goals you have! Wonderful!
Speaking of which, I've found this blog quite helpful:
And I know my SparkFriend Ywen did a writing project she was quite happy with (but I didn't get the time to ask her the details).
See you very soon on SP!

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LMBARR1 1/2/2012 9:58PM

    Yay Sherryl, I love your goals. They are doable and I know you can and will accomplish them. I am so glad you have them in writing so you can see what you have conquered at the end of the year! emoticon

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I'm Moving, But I'm Still Here (on SparkPeople)!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I can't believe it's been almost two months since I posted a blog. I could say that it's been because I'm really busy, but the truth is that I've been pretty depressed and just didn't want to be a total bummer. Turns out that I wasn't just pretty depressed...I was clinically depressed. Life really took a toll on me these last two years, but I'm working my way out and am already feeling a lot better. Hopefully, I'll feel up to posting regularly again. We shall see.

I have not lost weight, but I am very happy to be maintaining. By maintaining I mean that I keep gaining and losing the same pound or two over and over, but I'm keeping within a very small range so that is very good. I hope to exercise more once I stop working. That's right! I finally got a paying job (it's full-time temporary), but just in time for me to leave it, because I am moving to England in about three months. Yay!
I'm really excited (and a bit scared). There's so much that needs to be done to get ready for the move, including finishing up at work...the sooner I finish my two final projects the sooner I can stop working and start focusing on the move and my health again. I also hope to have a bit more time to dedicate to SparkPeople. I miss my Peeps!

I hope you are doing well, feeling well, and enjoying spring!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MPAGE257 2/1/2013 12:15PM

  Thank u for the encouraging words! I have just started my 60 pound weight loss journey!! Seems so daunting!! I try to breaking it up into 10 pond segments so it doesn't seem like an possible task! I have lost 7 pounds so far! I am trying to lose 2pounds a week. Thank u again!!! U look great!!

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LMBARR1 5/20/2011 1:59PM

    Thinking of you, missing you, can' wait to see you! So glad you are maintaining. I am doing the same thing w/the same two pounds over and over. I am doing all of the same things as before, but not losing. But...I think if I tracked my food, I would find out why.....
SO happy to hear your job is going well!!!!!!!!

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MINIUM 5/18/2011 4:18AM

    I'm so happy you're feeling better! And soon you'll be closer to us in Europe - that's great news!

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LEASIM1231 5/18/2011 2:33AM

    I'm glad to hear that you've been maintaining and for the job! And for your move of course :)

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KAYE454 5/17/2011 10:41PM

  good luck on your move

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