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Canajun Thanksgiving! Pre-fab less flab!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

This will be our first Thanksgiving in over 27 years without kids at home! Just the two of us . . .and the weather is gorgeous here, warm and sunny with bright bright leaves.

There will be a very simple "pre-fab less flab" Thanksgiving dinner.

I've already made roasted root vegetable soup: parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, butternut squash all roasted earlier in the week and zapped through the food processor with some broth, onion, curry powder . . . it's a lovely orange red colour, super texture.

And I'll hurl a frozen prestuffed prebasted turkey into the oven while we head off to the golf course. In my view, one of the most amazing technological developments of the 21st century!

With a few simple sides: peas, carrots, corn, wild rice (thanks, Uncle Ben), cranberry sauce (ditto Ocean Spray).

Dessert? probably low fat vanilla ice cream and berries. It will all be ready in a flash.

I've never forgotten my US Thanksgiving dinner in Austin in 2009. Corn bread stuffing with pecans, green bean casserole with French fried onion rings and sour cream, a huge range of salads jellied and chopped, a very special cranberry sauce with pineapple and mini marshmallows and walnuts, home made breads and dips and then a luscious array of elaborate desserts too: at least a week's worth of planning and preparation, each individual dish laboured over and utterly delicious but so high calorie! and waaaaay too much food . . . really!! Much much appreciated but . . . . too much. Yeah!!

Sure there are lots and lots of people in Canada who will be putting on a serious spread . . . but I'm domestically challenged, not planning to change any time soon either! The more time I spend thinking about food and working with food, the more I tend to eat.

So: pre-fab, less flab.

It works for me.

And gives me more time to get out in the glorious crisp air, shuffling through the leaves, looking for golf balls and woolly bears!



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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 10/11/2011 4:14PM

    That soup sounds SO yummy...! I was surprised when I had the Acorn Squash soup at the restaurant to find it SWEET...was expecting lots of different flavors, but not SWEET!

Thx for stopping by my blog...! All your ongoing support really means a LOT! "The Help" really drives a lot of things home which I had only been aware of "theoretically" before.

Don

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JOHAL52 10/11/2011 8:53AM

    If you can make a soup like that you are NOT domestically challenged!! So how was it?

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JOPAPGH 10/10/2011 2:43PM

    Sounds like a great balance between meals and time. Hope you hit them far and straight and enjoyed the sunshine and companionship.

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TKADEEPBREATH 10/9/2011 6:45PM

    Oh, awesome . . . I love your plan. Simple and healthy. We are there with you. Weather is great so far but we are in the deep south so leaves are just starting to turn.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday. I love the sound of your menu . . .

I'm so !!"absent" on my page and with my friends lately. Even though I'm out of sight, you are definitely not out of my my heart and mind. Take care hard working wonderful worthy GF . . . I think you are the best. . . . !

As always, Jan


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WATERMELLEN 10/9/2011 6:41PM

    Stalking majestically across the 17th fairway, five wild turkeys, bronze tail feathers gleaming in the sun!

Five fat turkeys are we,
We slept all night in a tree.
When the cook came around, we couldn't be found:
That's why we're here you see!

Perfect weather, great companions, glorious leaves, blue blue sky: the turkeys were the perfect grace note to a perfect round of Thanksgiving golf . . . Well, not the "golf" part so much actually (although I did have a few good shots!)

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NANCY- 10/8/2011 5:06PM

    While my Thanksgivings here have not been as calorie laden as the Austin one you mentioned. My downfall came from overindulging..Now I take sensible portions from healthier fare. Thankfully my sister loved doing the dinner.

Keeping things simple is the way to go.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/8/2011 4:47PM

    Have a wonder filled day Ellen.

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SALSIFY 10/8/2011 3:21PM

    Happy Thanksgiving!

I think your plan not to spend too much time on preparing the food is great. I really love cooking & I'm totally obsessed about food, of course, so I'm going to have to do the same & make less complicated things. Anything to spend less time in the kitchen which is my Danger Zone.

ps. Thanks for your comment on my blog - I really appreciate your support!

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_LINDA 10/8/2011 11:48AM

    Fabulous meal!! Sounds like something I would do, but you are far better than me -I do not even cook LOL!! So no hot meals here, just my usual spread of fruits and veggies -definitely loving the root veggies coming out now, I also have parsnips, sweet potato, my favorite Russian Blue potato, diakon, kohlrabi, snap peas, carrots, turnip, can't get enough -YUMMY! And never forget beet soup -thanks Mom :)
My sister is putting on the traditional turkey meal on Monday, but I have to work then, so dodged a bullet there..
Enjoy your peaceful quiet thanksgiving!
Hugs,
Linda

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CRYSTALJEM 10/8/2011 1:12AM

    Ok, the soup has my mouth watering and I can't even smell it! Happy feasting and golfing too - loving this fall so far!

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PHEBESS 10/7/2011 10:14PM

    I totally agree with your pre-fab plan!!!!! Easy, expedient, and minimal - that's the way to go!

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ALEANAI 10/7/2011 9:13PM

    Ah! Did that make my mouth water! It seems like you know exactly what to do for this holiday, talk about planning in advance! Great example, you inspire me and I think I'll do the same instead of wait the day before to figure it out. emoticon

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MOBYCARP 10/7/2011 9:05PM

    In a month and a half, I'll have my first Thanksgiving as an empty nester. This shouldn't be a big deal, as I've had nontraditional Thanskgiving dinners with daughter since 2002. A turkey would be too much for two people, so I planned steaks in 2002 . . . and ended up buying hot dogs for my daughter. After that, I was smart enough to consult her before planning.

This year, I don't know. Maybe I'll go with a steak. Or maybe I'll just treat is like any other day off work and not focus on food at all.

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SLENDERELLA61 10/7/2011 8:32PM

    The meal sounds lucious! Wish I could taste your soup. Enough is as good as a feast. I believe that. Suspect you do, too. It is just true. Enough is as good as a feast. Really. Enjoying the outdoors sounds just wonderful, too. Have a great time. You deserve it. -Marsha

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October Gold!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

October is a wonderful month. (My favourite, probably -- second only to May and its fuzzy green euphoria!).

The leaves are beginning to turn bright golden yellow, with a few flashes of red. There is a real fall snap in the air: I had my red leather motorcycle jacket on for the first time this season.

After the laundry and the soup making (red cabbage and lots of other veggies) and the grocery shopping (fresh dill for the soup) and the gym, Charlie and I went for a walk in the woods. No question it's got that distinct autumn fragrance now. The sky was blue and the last of the fringed bottle gentians are still blooming blue, in among the goldenrod and the dark purple asters. There was a sign up warning of bear sightings but I am happy to report that I did not see any. I am, however, on the look-out for woolly bear caterpillars! None just yet . . . .

My house is 122 this year and it's on an ancient Canada goose flyway. From the third floor, I can hear them honking directly overhead as they practice their southbound Vees: in fact, they are close enough that I can even hear the wind in their wing feathers. I have to wonder how many previous residents looked up at this time of year to wave the geese on their way.

October. It's golden!

PS: provided by VALERIEMAHA, the most perfect Mary Oliver poem below . . .

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUDLECRAZY 10/6/2011 1:49AM

    Lovely!

And I agree, October is an exquisite month.

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_LINDA 10/6/2011 1:49AM

    I love October too (autumn colors look best on me), especially because it has Halloween, my favorite celebration (because of the fantastic costumes, not the junk food) and I love going through 'haunted houses', although they haven't had one in a while. What it was, is the engineering students would get an old house rigged up with neat things, and charge admission for the proceeds to go to charity..They did a great job. That must be amazing living in a historical house like that. I wonder what 'ghosts' haunt it? Unexplained creakings at night, anything like that? That is also amazing you are so close to the migration path of the geese and can hear the wind in their wing feathers -like WOW!
Perhaps you could share some photos of yoour remarkable house sometime?
Thanks for sharing that lovely poem, it was wonderful!!

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DSHONEYC 10/5/2011 5:52PM

    Good to catch up with the goings on in emoticon and you.

No fall here. It went from 72 yesterday to 62 today (that might not sound like much, but here in San Diego we call it winter) with wind and rain (sort of). Its probably waiting to pour during rush hour, when all San Diegans discover their brakes - too late.

The poem is wonderful, and your house, too. Oh for some geese in San Diego, I'd trade the sea gulls. Are they coming my way?

emoticon Ciao, Bella.

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GROEDER 10/4/2011 1:13PM

    You are so right about October!!! I love the smells, colors, and the sounds of the wildlife. I'm under a goose flyway too!!!! I hear them every day, this time of year.
Have a great month.
Gregg

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DDOORN 10/4/2011 12:59PM

    The colors are coming slowly here...I think because of all the RAIN...but I'm hoping it will bring us lasting enjoyment in a hopefully slow transition to all those wonderful colors October brings to us northerners!

Don

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SLENDERELLA61 10/4/2011 10:10AM

    Your celebration of October is just right -- and beautiful. Thanks for sharing your astute observations. Things are just beautiful here, too.

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KLONG8 10/4/2011 12:40AM

    OK, I just love your writing. Thanks also to ValerieMaha.

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CRYSTALJEM 10/3/2011 1:58PM

    Love it!

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NANCY- 10/3/2011 9:35AM

    Looking up at the geese if you are directly underneath them can be hazardous. October is wonderful and your blog brings joy and peace into me. Thank you.

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/2/2011 5:13PM

    Meanwhile here in Australia, we are enjoying the cascade of flowering cherries and the budding of the oak tree, while the gums shed their bark and the lorikeets and other parroty things fill the sky in resplendent flashes of colour.

The Wild Geese poem brought memories of Scottish Autumns back to mind as the cooler winds from the North started to make their presence felt. Thank you for a lovely blog.

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DONNACFIT 10/2/2011 4:56PM

    Thanks for the great blog..I love October and the fall colors too :) ...Fly on :)

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PHEBESS 10/2/2011 12:57PM

    October always seems to have a golden light, that makes all colors brighter. Even the blue of the sky has a golden tinge in the late afternoon. A lovely month!

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TBANMAN 10/2/2011 10:39AM

    The trees here on the South Coast of BC are just hinting at their blazing futures right now, but next weekend I'm driving through the mountains home for Thanksgiving, and I'm so looking forward to seeing the changing colours of fall. Thanks for the poem - it gave me goose bumps.

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VALERIEMAHA 10/2/2011 9:18AM

    Great month...great blog...great Mary Oliver:

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


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AJB121299 10/1/2011 10:10PM

    october is a great month

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Insomnia or Polyphasic Sleep?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quite a few of us on SP "suffer" from insomnia. And that's why I was so interested in an article about University of Toronto researcher Jessa Gamble describing some of her work in the area of circadian rhythms. It was published in the fall issue of the University of Toronto magazine. Here's the link if you want to read the whole thing.

www.magazine.utoronto.ca/feature/jes
sa-gamble-circadian-rhythm-chronobiolo
gy-seasonal-affective-disorder-polypha
sic-sleep/


Essentially, it's Gamble's finding that each person needs to become aware of his and her own natural patterns of wakefulness and sleep on an hourly, daily and even on a broader seasonal basis, as they vary in response to naturally occurring cycles of light and darkness.

When it comes to insomnia, Gamble suggests that waking up after a couple of hours may be normal for lots of people. It's comforting to know this was the typical pattern for a few "famous and accomplished" people such as Winston Churchill and Buckminster Fuller! Previous generations were apparently less clock-driven and more accepting of this interrupted sleep pattern. Individuals experiencing it just used the wakeful "small hours" time for meditating or praying or (ahem) "communing with one's spouse" before then returning to sleep. (Here's hoping the spouse was in the mood for communing!) They caught up with naps as needed during the day. So it may help to recharacterize sleep/wakefulness/return to sleep as "polyphasic sleep" which is normal and natural for a particular individual. (And of course it may also help for polyphasic sleepers to find those nap opportunities later in the day: easier said than done depending upon work situations and other responsibilities).

Gamble looks to the problems created for children who are diagnosed with ADHD because their circadian rhythms don't fit the norm. As a result, they may not be ready to learn at the same time as other children.

She suggests that increased incidence of obesity and even mental health issues among Inuit peoples may be related to disruption of seasonal historic sleep patterns. Traditionally such peoples experienced much more frenetic activities of hunting and gathering during long summer days under the midnight sun, followed by much more sleeping during the lengthy dark winter nights. And now Inuit children are expected to be up and ready to learn at 9 a.m., just the same as children who live much further south . . . under very different light conditions for much of the year. "Circadian imperialism" is the term she uses.

As biological entities, humans experience many aspects of health to be circadian-linked. Digestive cycles, nutrition, optimal lung efficiency in the early evening indicating that running is easier then . . . even the effectiveness of cancer treatments may be related to their timing, with early morning radiation less toxic than such treatments later in the day.

The research is fairly new, and there is still lots more to explore. However, for now I do know that one of my own worst side-effects of insomnia is fretting about not sleeping. So next time I'm lying awake at night, I'll be telling myself: this is just "polyphasic sleep". No worries!

And as a back-up? As the days get shorter, by December if not earlier I'll be back to using my 10,000 lux light box every morning. Not for "seasonal affective disorder" but just to get myself thoroughly woken up. Optimizing "cognition" in the morning, when I need it most . . . yeah!!



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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUDLECRAZY 12/17/2011 8:45PM

    Hmmm, perhaps the best thing I've read about sleep in a long time.

Thank you for this post and for referring me to it.

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_LINDA 10/6/2011 1:42AM

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, I find it very interesting! I didn't used to be like I am now. I don't remember when my insomnia started, but I used to have good solid sleeps when I was much younger..I will take a nap given the time though, my Dr. did say it wouldn't interfere with my night attempts at sleep. Lately, I have been on the go so much I haven't had any nap time :(
I sure wish I knew why I don't get notification of your blogs :(( Oh well, with my new high speed internet coming it will be no biggie to keep checking..

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SLENDERELLA61 10/4/2011 10:17AM

    Very interesting. I'm going to read the whole article. I do agree that worrying about not sleeping sometimes is the worst part of insomnia. Looking at it differently may help. Thanks.

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TRAVELGRRL 9/30/2011 5:45PM

    I always thought I slept enough. If I'm not sleeping one night, I'll sleep soundly the next. Then I got a GoWearFit device and was horrified to find I sleep (generally) between 4 and 6 hours a night! We've been told lack of sleep impedes weight loss, so yet another hurdle for me!

AND, I never nap.

Don't know if I'm normal or not!!

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DBCLARINET 9/29/2011 8:59AM

    Interesting post. I've never really had sleep problems, although I always thought it was odd that I was a big-time nap-taker. Maybe not, though.

I also always thought that saying, "Oh, it's winter" was just an excuse, as opposed to embracing it as a reason for wanting more sleep. I suppose if I have the time, I should embrace the nap, instead of fight it.

Wow, that was really interesting!

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NANCY- 9/29/2011 8:29AM

    is there a normal? Everyone's needs are different. Like the difference between the night-owl and perky morning people.
I too have what I call my "Happy Light" as the sun gets lower in the sky I can feel the changes and have thought about going back to using the light already. Perhaps that is why I fell off the wagon lately...prepping for winter. ;o) Great blog to get us thinking about our body's needs.

We are complicated creatures and that's what keeps life from being boring.

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TBANMAN 9/29/2011 12:16AM

    Very cool - especially for us Canucks and our long cold winters.

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JIBBIE49 9/29/2011 12:13AM

    I've never had a sleep problem, but my brother has. I read that you should take a warm bath before bed. Then have the room completely dark and NEVER turn a light on during the night. Stay in the bed and don't get up no matter if you stay there awake all night long. Don't play music. Then during the day, never take a nap now matter how tired you are.
Having s#x for a man is a sure way for him to fall asleep but I don't think it helps a woman at all. emoticonShe lays there and thinks about how she could have done more with her life. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PHEBESS 9/28/2011 8:30PM

    I've always had sleep problems, even as a baby - I think some of us function on a 28 hour cycle, rather than 24 hr (or some days it's a 26 hr cycle........but you get the idea). So that sleep doesn't come easily as the same time every 24 hrs.

My way of coping has been to stay slightly sleep deprived during the work week, so I can fall asleep about 6 or 7 hours before I need to wake up in the morning. Of course, then I'm a bit groggy in the morning and later in the evening - but at least I can get up when I need to.

Summers and vacations, I really do find myself staying up later each night - not good, but there isn't much one can do about one's own natural cycle.

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Reversing the Creep

Sunday, September 25, 2011

OK, scales are moving back below middle 4 after several days of renewed diligence with both the fitness and the nutrition tracking. (Thought I HAD been diligent: but there's about a million ways in which I can deceive myself about that . . . and the scales tell the story. Can fool myself, maybe, but I can't fool the scales!)

D'ya think it's possible there's a connection?

Today: 138.5. Acceptable!! And it's a gorgeous sunny day. I'm going to hit the gym, then plan a stroll around the golf course, swinging clubs intermittently.

Followed by a concert this evening.


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRYSTALJEM 9/27/2011 12:56PM

    I hear ya! Weighed in this morning and

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So Now I'm back to

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It wasn't a lot, but the number was still bigger instead of the same or smaller. Spent a bit of time trying to justify only to decide the same thing... back to being diligent.

Have a great day and way to go!

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/26/2011 5:25PM

    emoticon

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DSHONEYC 9/26/2011 1:45PM

    Creeps, don't you just hate 'em? Good going back to 13X land. You are an inspiration. Ciao, Bella!
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KALIGIRL 9/26/2011 12:44PM

    Amazing how that creepy creep can creep up on us - I'm there too. Guess it's time to listen to the universe?
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JUDI_CUTIE 9/26/2011 10:10AM

    Good job! I had also been creeping, and I made a few false starts to reverse the creep, but now I am feeling much more confident that I am really DOING it! Thanks for being an inspiration!

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PUDLECRAZY 9/26/2011 6:03AM

    Congrats on kicking those numbers back on the scale. 138.5 is very respectable indeed!

How was the concert?

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DREMARGRL 9/26/2011 2:46AM

    Great going, Ellen!
I've managed to let a few creep on and am now on the 17 day diet. With this change to mostly veggies and chicken or fish....and...the help of tracking on Spark, I too, will beat the creep! haha.....I am weighing in at 139 and like you....that's acceptable. I know that we're really not supposed to shoot for a number, but like most of us, I do. 135 is mine. I don't have to say good luck because I know that YOU GOT THIS! You are strong, You are Ellen!
Have a glorious fall season, my pretty friend!.....xo MaryAnn

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JOHAL52 9/25/2011 10:19PM

    What a motivator--thanks so much Ellen! I need to shift this holiday weight! You've shown the pathway.

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PHEBESS 9/25/2011 11:44AM

    You motivate me to get out and weed the garden!

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NANCY- 9/25/2011 11:05AM

    You are one emoticon lady!


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VALERIEMAHA 9/25/2011 11:03AM

    I wanna' be like you when I grow up!
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Maha

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IMAGINE_IT 9/25/2011 10:49AM

    You successfully did the 'reverse' emoticon emoticon
Enjoy your day! emoticon

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MSSNOWY 9/25/2011 10:17AM

    Sounds like you're doing well! I need some serious creep-reversing here. I'll take you as my inspiration. You can be my role model.

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DONNACFIT 9/25/2011 9:16AM

    Great going..reversing the creep..I need to do some reversing too!!

Keep on Sparkin'

Happy fall emoticon

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Weight Creep Up: ARRRGH!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Looking at my last few blogs . . . . all about food . . . makes me realize: yup, I'm thinking too much about "delicion" rather than just "nutrition"

And: scales this morning point to 140.

So more attention is required, a return to the eternal vigilance. Because I want to maintain with a middle number 3 at about 137/138.

Will be rereading my Beck cards. Eating sitting down. Pretracking. And telling myself: hunger is not an emergency!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOKEYOKEY 9/24/2011 9:38AM

    Thanks for the reminder that hunger is not an emergency! When I remember that, I actually kind of enjoy feeling a bit hungry.

I'm in a similar situation that you are: I've lost my weight and want to see my weight stay steady with a 6 in the middle -- i.e., 162 to 164.

I'm glad that you've recommitted!
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TRYINGHARD1948 9/22/2011 6:51PM

    Commiserations Ellen, I so know how you feel.

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CRYSTALJEM 9/22/2011 2:10PM

    Way to go! Recognizing and acting so quickly will pay off. Pat yourself on the back cause you absolutely deserve it.

Smiles!

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NANCY- 9/22/2011 10:33AM

    emoticon on being attentive.
There are delicious ways to eat healthy, Try to focus on food as fuel. What does my body need?
I know you will find your balance.
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TBANMAN 9/22/2011 12:38AM

    Eyes on the prize baby - eyes on the prize!

Easy for me to say - I haven't tracked a thing all week. I expect a reprimand from the scale tomorrow.

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PHEBESS 9/21/2011 11:34AM

    So easy to gain, so hard to lose - being ever vigilant gets frustrating. But, given the choices, oh well, some of us need to stay ever vigilant.

When I finish my mystery series set in Venice (loving them! one left!), I plan to tackle Beck. We can "oh well" together.

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_LINDA 9/21/2011 10:34AM

    Good for you Ellen! Just a little retouch and more focus and you will be right back down there again. Its great you had this wake up call before it became too late. Those weight gains can happen all too easily :(( Soken from the experience of a former yo yo dieter, hopefully permanently reformed..
That Beck plan is so good!!
You go girl!

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KALIGIRL 9/21/2011 9:23AM

    Sounds like a super plan - not to worry or beat yourself up... as my massage therapist says, fall is the time to store up for winter - natural time to gain a little weight...
Your emoticon plan will keep it off!

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