SLENDERELLA61   153,097
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Lunch Dilemma

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Starting Monday August 2nd, I'll be increasing my work hours and changing officially from a consultant to an employee. The nonprofit agency I work for does a lot of good and I'm proud to be associated with it. My thought today, though, is about how to manage lunches.

I work in a small town where there are few good choices at restaurants. There are a lot of veggies available in the southern cooking cafe next to our office. Unfortunately they are "seasoned" in such things as bacon grease. Biscuits and corn bread aren't whole grain by any stretch of the imagination and the meat choices tend to be meatloaf, fried fish,and pork chops that are far from lean. There's a barbecue restaurant, two pizza places and a couple Mexican eateries. The only chain is McDonald's. So, eating out is not particularly appealing and healthy choices are almost nonexistent. There are restaurants in the town 10 miles north with much better choices, but driving 20 extra miles on a lunch hour isn't very good.

I have taken my lunches many times - salad, leftovers, beans/rice, etc. I can do it again. It is not a perfect solution. I really miss getting out of the office. A lot of times I need to de-stress. Sometimes I just need to catch my breath and rest my brain. When the weather is nice, I have gone to the park to picnic and walk. I will again in October, but now it's too hot and humid. I have chugged/gobbled lunch and then relaxed at the library. My agency is too small to have a breakroom or good space for eating. I don't like eating a meal at my desk. I find when I relax at a meal and really enjoy it it is much more satisfying.

I must admit I lost most of my 80 pounds while working full time at this agency. So there is no reason for me to gain now because I'll be working there. I have improved my eating since being home more, especially reducing sodium. I'm just going to have to give it some thought, make plans, and keep my commitment to healthy eating, no matter what.

Any of your suggestions, though, would be welcome. -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VTORIA3 7/31/2010 3:13PM

    It can be so difficult to eat healthy when there are few choices in the vicinity. Even with McDs, their "healthy" choices are so high in sodium. You are determined and I know you will not let your new environment challenges sabotage you. The lunch pail will become your best friend, I suspect. Keep up the fantastic work!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/23/2010 5:13PM

    You've already had some good advice here Marsha - and past experience show that you will manage.

Is there any space inside your work building where you could walk or sit with your MP3 player during the lunch break to switch off and create some space?

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/23/2010 12:05PM

    Sounds like packing a lunch is NOT the problem but where to eat it is the dilema. Park when not humid sure works, how about pulling your car under a tree and putting on the AC for a bit to cool the car and eat there (I have done this).

With the rest of your time, I would walk up and down the aisles of drug store or whatever stores you can.

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WILD4STARS 7/23/2010 9:46AM

    I totally understand the part about needing to get out of the office to eat. Maybe you could go to one of the pizza places, or McDonald's, get a salad, bring your own dressing and a sandwich and eat at the restaurant. You are buying something from their establishment so they shouldn't mind you taking up a table. Yet, you are bringing part of your meal from home.

If one of the restaurants is a locally owned, rather than a chain, you may even ask them if you could special order something, PLUS bring some of your own food.

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KALIGIRL 7/23/2010 8:40AM

    I always pack my 'lunch' and leave the office. Weather permitting, I walk at lunch, which works well since I now graze (6 small meals) throughout the day. If your work environment allows you to eat @ your desk, you might give it a try.

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MONTY68 7/23/2010 1:41AM

    Hi Marsha
When I started my program, I packed a lunch the night before. I had never done that. we I had a microwave, so I had some options to what I packed. But I could not leave the office. It is nice if you could get out, it does give a better sense of relaxing. You have received some good suggestions, and I am sure you will find the right answer for you. Watch McD's salads, some are very high in calories from what I have heard.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon

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XENA1956 7/23/2010 1:05AM

    I think that was the biggest problem I had when my husband and I visited the southern area states last year. I ordered steam veggies at a place and they came cover in what I think was butter or not. I asked the waitress what was on the steam veggies and she said some kind of bacon/butter mix. I was shocked because it didn't list that on the menu. She was like "honey that's how they always are served". I saw you lost most of your weight while working at your new job so I don't see a problem. Get out and take walks when you can and continue to bring you own food. You can get healthy salads at McD's from what I have been told. Maybe you can ask the people at that restaurant to just steam some veggies for you w/o the seasoning?
Never hurts to ask.

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SYLVIALYNN2 7/22/2010 11:18PM

    Congratulations on your new job. I substitute teach and do not always know if I will be working or not. The best way to know what is in your food is to make it yourself. That said, one of the things I do, is to prepare as much of my lunch as possible the night before. I precook a Smart Ones or Healthy Choice the night before and put it in the fridge to cool. Make a small salad of lettuce and grape tomatoes. I cut up an apple and put in a baggie (I don't mind if it gets a little brown but it rarely does when I add a squirt of lemon juice). I also pack celery sticks and carrots for a snack. I fill a drink container with home brewed unsweet tea.

In the morning, I transfer the "TV dinner" into a smaller container that fits in my lunch bag. I do not mind eating it cold or at room temperature. I add the tea, apple, veggies, salad and a yogurt for desert. I am good to go. If you want to get away, take your lunch to McDonald's and purchase a small iced tea and a small salad. If anyone asks or says anything, say you have food allergies and have to be careful of what you eat. As long as I purchase something, I have never had anyone say anything.

If you have a long ride home, pack something to eat for a snack just before you go home or on your way home (apple, banana, extra half sandwich, cheese). That way you are not tempted to stop on the way home for a fast food and are not hungry when you walk in the door.

Sounds like a good opportunity for you. You can do it. Some folks prepare ahead on the weekend. The main thing is planning and preparing foods you like so you are not tempted to eat something less healthy.

Looking forward to a future blog letting us know how you resolve your lunch problem.

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JHADZHIA 7/22/2010 11:13PM

    The most important statement here is 'I lost most of my 80 pounds while working full time at this agency' So what has changed? Going back to the same place, doing the same things, only this time, you don't have to lose weight just maintain the status quo. You would be happier with your own food, so take a lunch as much as possible. As it is a small town, couldn't you ask to have your food prepared in a healthy manner? I like the idea of a quick lunch, then a get out and walk break for some fresh air best.
Good luck with it!! You can figure it out! You didn't get this far by being stuck in a rut!

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SKEPHART827 7/22/2010 9:43PM

    Luckily, I lost my full time job a year and a half ago so lunches are no longer a problem. I eat all my meals at home now or I bring food with me when I go anywhere. When I did work full time, I usually brought my lunch and ate at my desk. It is much better than going to a restaurant or fast food place to eat. Even though there are restaurants with "good choices", you never know what additives are in their food. I recently found out that Subway has high fructose corn syrup in a lot of their food. It doesn't add many calories but "HFCS" is horrible stuff.
If there is any way to either take a walk or do some sort of exercise during your break, it would be great. Maybe you could bring in an exercise band or even some small hand weights. Good luck.

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WATERMELLEN 7/22/2010 9:07PM

    I take my lunch every day: huge salad of greens and bright chopped mixed vegetables plus lean protein source and low cal dressing; then large chopped mixed fresh fruits to follow (lunch is my major meal of the day). I've been eating like this at lunch for a very long time -- 8 years -- and never get tired of it because of the variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, often 15 or more at each meal. We have a kitchen and a small fridge with a microwave at work -- and have to admit, I generally catch up on professional reading/work place issues with colleagues over lunch. But if you need to get away and it's too hot for the park/no mall etc. -- how about taking a short drive to a scenic spot in your car (with airconditioning??) Maybe a book?

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/22/2010 8:13PM

    I take my lunch, it works for me. Advice? Don't let yourself get bored. And that resolve to keep eating healthy... essential! Just like my "I will not give up my 10 minute break walks!"

Good luck, you have a lot of maintainers rooting for you! emoticon

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GATOR12 7/22/2010 8:10PM

    I like the idea of going to park at times. And of making sure you have things on hand that are portable and healthy. Is there a micro available? You said no space for break room. For a change maybe a mcD's salad, no Subway?? That's one of dh & my favorite place to eat. Obviously you don't live close enough to go home. Does any other lady live close enough that sometimes you could go to their house?? I guess maybe there aren't enough employees to discuss other options w/them. Is there any other place, like small mall or somewhere you could take your meal in and watch people?? Just some randoms tho'ts. Good luck. These challenges in our lives cause us to dig deep for answers!

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Another SparkPeople Feature I Just Found

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I was considering resetting the SparkPeople articles because I was having trouble finding articles I hadn't read. But, I knew I had not read them all and I wanted to find the ones I hadn't read. Today I found out how.

Go to the Healthy Lifestyle menu bar and click on Healthy Lifestyle Home. Then click on Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness, Motivation (I'm not sure if it works with Videos and SparkDiet) from the six selections. Then in the third column there will be a list of articles grouped in topics. If you have read them, they are checked. If not, they aren't. You can select them from that location. You can also click on "More _(topic)_______" and you will get a big list of articles with and without the checks.

Now I hope to read them all before I reset them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 7/25/2010 4:20AM

    I reset now and then because I love reading good articles over and over... and there are some articles that I will never care to read - like how to eat when your prgnant or specific problems for mens health.

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JHADZHIA 7/22/2010 11:15PM

    I had asked Sparks about this problem a long time ago and they got back to me about this, so I was able to reset the articles only after I had read them all. It took me a year and two months to get the whole works!! Now if only I could remember what I read so I could do better at trivia LOL.

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PENNYAN45 7/21/2010 11:14PM

    This is helpful. There is so much on this site - it can be difficult to navigate.
Thank you.

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WALKINGANNIE 7/21/2010 3:42PM

    Thanks Marsha. There are so many different ways to use SP. Discoveries like this are a great help.


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EILEENV3 7/21/2010 1:42PM

    Thank you for sharing!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/21/2010 1:39PM

    Thx for the information, I have reset but I always read 3 articles/day, so tend to backtrack.

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DAISYBELL6 7/21/2010 1:12PM

    Thank you so much for figuring that out! They should make that one of the Insider tips!

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DONNABRIGHT 7/21/2010 12:56PM


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KALIGIRL 7/21/2010 12:44PM

    I've done the same.
emoticon for sharing.

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MERALO 7/21/2010 12:30PM

    I keep discovering new little tricks...I love this site...

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MONTY68 7/21/2010 12:27PM

    Hi Marsha

Isn't that a great discovery. It makes it so much easier finding articles we have read. Also it does show some as a new idea. I have been doing this for about 3 months and I am so glad that you made a blog on it
Thank you for sharing

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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An Older Woman's Wonders

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It has crossed my mind a time or two, so maybe I'll just put it out here and see what my SparkFriends have to say. It seems to me that my body is responding to my attempts to build muscle far better than at any time in the past. Do you think this could be related to a reduction of estrogen? Like maybe testosterone increases, or ????

It could just be that with the motivation of SparkPeople I am being more diligent than I have in the past. However, it seems to me that I am getting more results for the effort.

And my hair has gotten curly. I wonder if that is related to estrogen. When I was a child I had curly hair. As a teen and young to mid-age adult, my hair was straight. Now that I've passed mid-life my hair is getting curlier and curlier. Anyone else experiencing this phenomenon?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAPPYSOUL91 7/21/2010 12:05PM

    Don't have a clue why your hair started to get curly. Without estrogen, hair is starting on my chin (gee men get it in their ears, women chin). Hormones do some unusal things for sure

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JHADZHIA 7/21/2010 12:25AM

    My Mom had board straight hair for most of her life, then all of a sudden it went really curly. I still can't get over the change. But then, the whole family, except for me, has curly hair, it had to come from somewhere. She thinks her major surgery brought it out -she had a hysterectomy which saved her from cancer as it was detected early enough..She did not need chemo. She hates taking meds anyway. I have had lots of surgeries and strong meds, but my hair remains as flat as ever which goes with my new flat chest where I lost a lot of weight I didn't really need to lol!
Enjoy your changes! Women pay a lot of money to keep their hair in curls when they are seniors (seeing the long parade of them in my building getting perms all the time)

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AQUAGIRL08 7/20/2010 10:10PM

    When I was young and even into my teens, my hair was curly and wavy. I hit my 20s through my late 40s and my hair was a little wavy but no curl. Suddenly about 5 years ago I started getting the curl back in my hair, just like you! Some of it may have to do with the fact that some gray hair is curly. But, the gal who cuts my hair tells me that the hair that is the most curly is either very dark or colorless. So I don't know.....

As for the muscles, I think that fat produces estrogen. When you lost fat, your estrogen level goes down. You can also see your muscles better because the fat doesn't obscure them. Let's face it Marsha, you are just looking good, girl! Who cares why. You look wonderful and have lots of energy to enjoy your life. Take that, run with it and have some fun!

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/20/2010 9:09PM

    Hmmm -- curlier hair would be nice (hasn't happened). Hubby had the post-chemotherapy curl, but it went away after a few months. (PTL for 26 years of cure - and counting!!) I wonder about the muscle-building. I taught aerobics for several years after my 1st weight loss adventure (mid 1980's) -- it didn't have as much strength training as I do now; not sure if I could compare the 2 outcomes. I don't remember seeing my ribs and hip bones like this, though (and I do love seeing those!!) Let's enjoy our results, whatever the cause!

Comment edited on: 7/20/2010 9:10:08 PM

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MARYMAC45 7/20/2010 8:30PM

    Very interesting. My regrown hair after chemo was curly and more managable. Looks good w/o blow drying or curlers. Otherwise, no changes here.

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DONNABRIGHT 7/20/2010 8:20PM

    Nope, no curls but I do have to say clothes fit better - not so many bulges.

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WALKINGANNIE 7/20/2010 6:12PM

    Interesting observations as ever Marsha.

I'm not as diligent as you are with the strength training but I do seem to 'firming up' better than I have ever done before - but then I've never been this slim as an adult. My stomach still needs more work though.

I've also noticed changes in my hair. I lost a lot of it when I was very ill but since I cut it short, it has grown back surpringly thickly with a more coarse texture and a wave.

I'm not sure about the links with hormonal changes as I had a hysterectomy in my late 30s.

Congratulations on all your positive changes.

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JOYINKY 7/20/2010 5:40PM

    Afraid not, my hair remains poker straight; I'd love a little curl! I'm having better luck responding to exercise too; but never before in my life have I been so consistent in my workouts and weight training. Still, I'm pleased because I didn't expect to be able to tone up this much and with an 80+# weight loss (long story in my blogs) am pleased not to have saggy skin. Isn't life great! Just now reading your blogs; thanks for sharing. My most negative feedback comes from relatives when summer get togethers roll around, your sharing made me feel good. Thanks. emoticon

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Blowing My Own Horn

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I just found a new award on my SparkPage. Celebrate! Celebrate! No modesty here, I'm going to blow my own horn -- just strut and crow -- border on being obnoxious. For the first time, I received a Trivia Leader award for June 2010. I just love awards.

I like this particular award because I believe it means I am retaining and am able to recall a lot of the great health, nutrition, and fitness information I am reading on SparkPeople. And even more significantly, I am using this information to improve my life and my health. Thanks, SparkPeople, for giving me one more form of recognition for me to enjoy and brag about.

If immodesty is a sin, I'm in deep trouble!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONGO2TEN 7/21/2010 5:11AM

    Way to go! Those questions can be hard:)


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BESTSUSIEYET 7/20/2010 9:04PM

    Good for you!!

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JOYINKY 7/20/2010 5:44PM

    Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate!! Your blog has introduced me to another activity I wasn't aware of! Sharing your successes helps us all! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOHAL52 7/20/2010 12:43PM

    emoticon Good, good, GOOD for you!!

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AQUAGIRL08 7/18/2010 10:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PENNYAN45 7/18/2010 7:14PM

    Congratulations!!! Way to go!!


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RHONDAHONDA2 7/18/2010 6:29PM

    nice job marsha keep up the awesome work emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MONTY68 7/18/2010 5:58PM

Congratulations and your idea of what you have learned and use is fantastic. When I first started playing Trivia I was so angry at missing any. I soon learned how little I knew, My lifetime percentage of 68 will show my knowledge and the nice thing about the trivia, you have times where you get the same questions and finally remember. I think it is a valuable tool, one on one of my teams that we actually share the questions and more opportunity to learn. I saw your name and Said Hey, I know her and WOW, she is brilliant. So toot your horn as much as you want, maybe we will toot with you to honor you.
Congratulations, that award does mean a lot.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/18/2010 4:55PM

    Please, toot, shout and cheer. Awards are great and really keep us motivated

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EDUCGRAD 7/18/2010 4:49PM

    way to go ,I wish I could do better on Trivia,I think I read them too fast as some of them are tricky are you don't watch the wording emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 7/18/2010 3:53PM


You toot that horn loud and clear!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WILD4STARS 7/18/2010 2:18PM

    I think modesty is highly over rated!! Congrats on yet another award!
I keep saying it, and I mean it, "You are an inspiration to us all."

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JHADZHIA 7/18/2010 2:13PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon That is very well done! I suck at trivia, even getting questions wrong I have seen before LOL. I am currently at 88%, highest I have ever been. But because I am usually in a hurry and so very sleep deprived, I find I am unable to concentrate and retain much of what I see. Some day maybe I will solve the sleep problem.
Have a great Sunday and do blow your own horn! You deserve it for that!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DONNABRIGHT 7/18/2010 1:58PM

    emoticon Wonderful - I'm aiming for the 80's and will be happy with that!

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MARYMAC45 7/18/2010 1:24PM

    emoticon on the award. You should be proud and strut your stuff. I do trivia every day and I'm only at 75. I am not retaining all that much. you are doing a fantastic job. Keep it up. emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/18/2010 1:02PM

    Man oh man.. I need to hang out with you MORE.. That award is no where in my future! So, I will do a vicarious happy dance .. knowing you might just make me smarter!!!

THIS IS FOR YOU! ---- emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/18/2010 1:02:53 PM

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DAWNDMOORE40 7/18/2010 1:01PM

    emoticon emoticonon your award! You are doing an emoticonjob! emoticon

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ANGELBELIEVER 7/18/2010 12:56PM

    Congratulations. You should blow your own horn because it was blown for you first! Enjoy!

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"How Long Are You Going to Do This?"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On my recent vacation a relative with a history of yoyo dieting similar to mine (until I met SparkPeople) asked me, "How long are you going to do this?" She was talking about what she perceived as my diet. I assured her my new lifestyle is forever. I can't say she scoffed, but the face she made sure let me know she didn't believe me. She clearly didn't think it was possible. I suspect she doesn't even think it is healthy.

However, my lifestyle is a healthy one. And more and more I'm coming to believe that it is sustainable. Living at goal weight does not make life perfect, but for me -- without a doubt -- living life at goal weight makes for a better life. -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAGIRL08 7/18/2010 10:01PM

    You are right on target Marsha! It is a lifestyle and not a diet. People who have a diet mentality can't begin to imagine doing "this" for the rest of their lives. I would imagine that they think that once they "get" thin that they can go back to "real" eating again and get on with life. LOL We know better. The only thing that will do is take a person right back to the place they started.

Change is scary and takes a long time, as we all know. Most people don't want to give up the things that they love to eat or behaviors they are comfortable with even if they are not healthy. Your relative is fighting change and looking for ways to prove you wrong. That's okay because it's her choice. You on the other hand have made wonderful healthy choices that enable you to have energy and feel good about yourself. Kudos to you for that!

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MARYMAC45 7/18/2010 1:26PM

    Way to go. You are doing fantastci!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/18/2010 11:38AM

    On the nail as ever Marsha. This can't be temporary or the effort won't have been worthwhile.

When you know all the differences between 'before' and 'after', why would you ever want to go back?!

Here's to optimum health - forever!


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BESTSUSIEYET 7/18/2010 10:46AM

    Hooray for You -- again! (You do so well, I get to say that often!!) For those of us who have lost and gained several times, I'm sure others wonder how long before we go back to the old ways ... can't totally blame them, 'cause those old thoughts "you've failed before - why do you think this time will be different?" do sneak into my mind now & then (esp. when I'm cleaning out the closet and giving away all the x-larges!)
I guess we just need to continue making wise choices for today, and praying that we can do that every day for the rest of our lives. I think SP will help a bunch -- it's hard to get on here without being encouraged to Keep Up the Good Work!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/18/2010 9:43AM

    How long....for as long as it takes! Was your friend trying to sabotage your effort?

Living healthy as you are doing is not a diet, it is a life style. Am I perfect...not by a long shot, if I was then I would be out creating worlds.

You are great!

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JHADZHIA 7/17/2010 8:52PM

    Hopefully, some day, your relative will see the light. Spark people right from the start says its a lifestyle change needed, not a diet. I get that. I am so happy you do too, and my sister as well. Would love it if everyone else would get on the wagon!
Here is to spreading the Spark of a healthy lifestyle!!

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BITTYGIRL51 7/17/2010 7:36PM

    I couldn't agree more! Does a healthy lifestyle mean that we do everything perfect? Absolutely not! For example: I had two days this past week when I was totally off program...once was Olive Garden where my choice was the delectable ravioli dish that they are advertising and the other was just a bad case of the munchies all day...the other five days I was OP and exercising my fanny off - thus my WI this morning was identical to last week's. Considering the poor choices I made and the diffucult days...I'm happy that I maintained!

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SYLVIALYNN2 7/17/2010 6:03PM

    I am so glad you posted this. It will give you encouragement to over ride the friend's comments. Isn't it great to have such lovely, supportive friends here on Spark People? Isn't it great to have new people whom you didn't know before stop in to add their encouragement? Congratulations on your NEW ATTITUDE! You go girl. Keep on keeping on! Way to go! All your friends and new friends are here to cheer you on, on Spark People.

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Comment edited on: 7/17/2010 6:06:24 PM

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/17/2010 5:26PM

    Way to go on a lifestyle rather than a diet. Diets fade... Lifestyles thrive!

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MEXGAL1 7/17/2010 5:11PM

    Oh man, do I agree with you. Life isn't perfect but at least being healthy and taking care of yourself allows you to handle life's challenges with strength. Keep up the great work.

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UUCEEJAY 7/17/2010 4:29PM

    I am with you! My lifestyle change is permanent and I am in a very happy place. Every time I start to go back to my old ways, I just need to remind myself of how I felt physically then and how I feel now.

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PENNYAN45 7/17/2010 3:38PM

    Your decision is a GREAT one! It's just where I want to be one day.

Way to GO!!!


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FABANDFITAT40 7/17/2010 2:47PM

    I like that you say it is a lifestyle not maintenance etc. Hopefully someday your relative will find her inner switch and get off the seesaw of yo yo dieting someday. She'll be lucky to have you there. Great blog.

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/17/2010 2:07PM

    Love it! Great blog. This is something we need to do for ourselves, whatever else happens around us. emoticon

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    WTG Marsha! Great blog, I am voting for it!

We can truly live long and happy lives!!

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MONTY68 7/17/2010 1:55PM

    Hi Marsha
You are right, this is a lifetime commitment that we make for our self. I don't think it is called maintaining but actually living life. Your advantages is that you now have knowledge, awareness of healthy eating and living and you put all the things to work living each day in a much greater way than ever before. I don't think once we get there , we lose all that we were learning and doing. It becomes an automatic way of doing things. Just so you know, I have pretty much lived like that for 2 1/2 years. Will we continue? Can we sustain it for the rest of our lives? I would suggest that the only way it would not continue is we would have to have a change in attitude, new negative feelings about life in general, these kind of changes happen every day for 1,000's of people. BUT we always have choice and the ability to stay positive forever, Since I have met you, I have seen nothing but a positive attitude, a motivated and excited woman about life and I see no reason why that will change.
You are fantastic.

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