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Voted Best Dressed (*blush*)

Friday, March 16, 2012

OK, not on any famous list or anything. Not even close.

But: the charming young woman who sells me my newspapers most mornings at my local convenience store (and who is herself quite the fashionista) told me today that the staff there talks about their regular customers all the time.

Who's pleasant (and who's not).

Who smiles (and who doesn't).

And who's best dressed!

She told me: there was no debate about that. It's me!! "Different outfit every day, always so put together. Stylish . . . " She went on and on in this vein. But I was too embarrassed to take it in . . .

So I just laughed. Thanked her but laughed. Told her I don't spend much money on clothes. It's old old stuff I have had forever. Or stuff from the discount store deep sale rack. Or stuff from liquidation stores. Or stuff from thrift stores. Or stuff that girlfriends have given me. FREE. That's my favourite price point of all. Free.

Today's outfit? Cheap cheap cheap cheap.

Camel cuffed pants, ($8, discount sale rack, at least 8 years ago). Cuffed pants in size 6-8 tend to migrate to the deep discount rack because a lot of women would have to have them shortened to wear them: I just wait for them to go on sale!! And then further on sale!!

Quilted camel double breasted jacket, leopard print lining. (High end designer type item, buttons different ways, really like this one: $20, discount sale rack, again at least 5 years old).

Silky white tie blouse. Old old old. (Free)

Camel lace stockings. Old old old. (Free)

Patent camel T-strap peep toes, high heeled. ($12, sale rack)

A camel leather "harness" type belt with gold hardware. ($5, discount sale rack)

A gold chain. (Free, gift)

Leopard print hat. (Taupe, camel, black: $5, sale rack)

Taupe crinkle raincoat. (At least 20 years old and bought on sale then -- but classic high end)

Taupe leather handbag. (Liquidation: $40, well-known brand: retails for at least $200)

Taupe leather gloves (Free, gift)

Amazing . . . today there were no thrift items. But total cost? Less than $100 excluding the coat . . . price of which I cannot remember, but heaven knows it's "depreciated" to nothing over its lifetime! Still in good shape though.

So what's the most expensive item I "wear"??

Hair cut: get it trimmed every 6 weeks at a top end salon. And then it requires very little attention beyond daily shampoo/blow dry. Maybe a few hot rollers while I put on minimal makeup. We wear our hair all day every day, so a good haircut is a good investment I think. (But: no colour, streaks or otherwise).

By far the most expensive item: the $50,000 body!! (Joke, of course). Based on the entirely notional value of all the time I spend at the gym when I could be and should be working and billing!! Exercise costs me a ton of bucks!!

But time at the gym means I work smarter when I am at work.

Time at the gym also makes everything I wear fit better. Makes me feel better, carry myself better. And it's the reason I can "get away" with all those cheap/thrift/hand-me-down clothes!!

So yeah. Worth it.

"Best dressed"? The compliment was much appreciated. Although it's beyond hilarious.
Still, let's be candid. A little shot of vanity never hurts to keep the motivation high!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/12/2012 4:17PM

    All I can say is...I want PIX!! :) of your stylish outfits on that skinny fit you! Seriously... happy for your compliments Ellen!

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TKADEEPBREATH 3/22/2012 11:08PM

    Hey you go GF . . good for you!! I'm sure she's not wrong. You're right it is fun to get a compliment like that.

Very entertaining post . .. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TIFFANIE150 3/21/2012 2:55PM

    Great post

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CRYSTALJEM 3/18/2012 11:57AM

    That is just awesome. I know the kind of spring that kind of unexpected compliment can put in your step for the rest of the day at least. Just goes to show, it's not the price, it's how you put it together on you!

A nice reminder to that those words and gestures we don't even think about live well beyond our few minutes in the store... the opportunities either taken or lost to make someone else's day... who might just in turn, make ours with an unexpected compliment down the road when we need it the most.

Enjoy the glow... you definitely deserve it. CJ

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TUFFMUFFIN 3/18/2012 11:49AM

    I happen to know that part of Watermellen's secret, apart from being loved by her friends, is that those friends' weights are on the upswing. So their old thin clothes become surplus. The secret therefore is to make friends with those not inclined to Sparkpeople ways.

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KALIGIRL 3/17/2012 7:50PM


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CMRAND54 3/17/2012 7:36PM

    Your outfit does sound wonderful, and very stylish. Just shows that it's not the cost that makes a person "best dressed". You investment at the gym was well worth it in a lot of ways!

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TRAVELGRRL 3/17/2012 5:45PM

    Being in a larger size it seems to me that "deep discount" and good quality consignment buys are usually NOT in big sizes!

It could be my perception, but judging from the percentage of obese North Americans, more people are getting rid of their TOO SMALL clothes rather than getting rid of their TOO BIG clothes!

One day soon I hope to be small too so I can scoop up those bargains too. Another goal!!!

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MEADSBAY 3/17/2012 2:24PM

    That is so awesome!
It's funny how even the kind words from (relative) strangers can perk us up.
LOVE your point about the hair-
I need a trim badly.

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NANCY- 3/17/2012 8:39AM

    You have talent!
It is so lovely when unexpected compliments come your way... I wish you many more becasue you deserve them.

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_LINDA 3/17/2012 2:49AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
From the way you have described your odd outfit, I could guess that you are great at putting things together! Would sure be nice to see a fashion show!
Of course, have a toned bod to fit in those clothes just makes it the topper!
Shows how well you have done with your healthy lifestyle!
Keep up the fabulous work!

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CANNIE50 3/16/2012 10:46PM

    emoticon emoticon But of course....... I love your point about the hair. I went shopping yesterday, still in workout gear (with workout hair), caught sight of myself in a mirror emoticon emoticon and was a bit horrified. I had let it go too long and it showed. I marched right into a place that took walk-ins, took a deep breath and a chance, and had the girl with pastel colored hair and loads of tattoos, do my hair. She was lovely, it looks far better, and I feel better. At the age of 52, I simply cannot get away with neglecting to care for my hair. I think at 50 and beyond it becomes very much about grooming, exercise, and committing to not dressing as a frumpster. Regular exercise means I move in a way I simply would not if I were sedentary. I simply feel better in my body. Anyway, I didn't mean to go on about me. This was a really fun blog to read.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/16/2012 10:00PM

    Congratulations, you are role modelling wonderfully, not only on Sparks, but obviously everyone you meet can see what living healthy can achieve, as well as being an astute clothes shopper. emoticon Ellen.

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OOLALA53 3/16/2012 9:38PM

    I wanna see a pic of you in this outfit! emoticon

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DONNACFIT 3/16/2012 9:32PM

    Congratulations on the compliment!! I love it when you describe your wardrobe..it always sounds so classic...and beautiful...

We are the exact opposites..except that I am tall also..but my work wardrobe involves chore clothes and rubber boots..even when I dress up it's just jeans and a t-shirt...

Thanks for always bringing a bit of "class" to my day :)

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TBANMAN 3/16/2012 9:30PM

    But of course, dahling? Who else! emoticon

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PHEBESS 3/16/2012 9:17PM

    Well of course you are their best dressed customer!!!!!! That's probably what they call you too, you know - "Oh, here's the best-dressed lady again!"

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FREELADY 3/16/2012 9:04PM

    I just love this blog. You made my day.

I would vote for you, too. When I'm in maintenance, (or when I grow up, whichever comes first....) I want to dress JUST LIKE WATERMELLEN.

Seriously, I'm so glad the employee spoke freely so you could hear this much-deserved feedback! You are adding some elegance and style to their daily world!

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DBCLARINET 3/16/2012 8:57PM

    Erm, I buy stuff on sale or at thrift stores all the time! And when I see something at the consignment store, I wait... and wait... and wait... It definitely doesn't matter how much you spend on the clothes, it just matters how you wear them!

I've been caught in many a discussion with my husband or my friends about how just because you can only afford to shop at Marshalls doesn't mean you have to LOOK like you can only afford to shop at Marshalls. Obviously, you are shopping proof that well-chosen pieces can go a long way!

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DDOORN 3/16/2012 8:48PM

    Yep, that's my 1st reaction to the title...heck it ain't the clothes (although I'm sure your tastes are superb), it's the body filled with that savored life that wears such clothes with such class! :-)

What a wonderful and I'm sure well-deserved compliment!


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NEWKAREN43 3/16/2012 8:46PM

    This reminds me of a commercial...Hear the booming voice "upscale handbag, $200...Haircut, $65...body? PRICELESS!" Yep, because we are...Hugs to Ellen for being "best dressed" when what's underneath (and more importantly inside) counts far more...K.

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First Core Belief Changed? Doughnuts!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thinking back, it was after I'd read Susan Estrich's life-changing book, "Making the Case for Yourself" (about which I've blogged before . . . ): that was when I changed my first "core belief" from "I can eat whatever I want" to "I don't do doughnuts". A modest beginning!

At that point in 2000, I weighted 230 pounds. I'd just completed a long long project. And my DH and I found ourselves, hungry, at a doughnut shop. Where we'd just stopped for coffee. But decided we'd also have a doughnut. He (not overweight) thought maybe he'd like to have two doughnuts. And persuaded me I'd like to have two doughnuts also (not that it took much persuading). And then it turned out that there was a special on, such that six doughnuts would actually cost less than four doughnuts bought individually.

So yeah: we bought six doughnuts. And I ate three doughnuts.

And then we went to a bookstore, and there in the remainder bin (for $5, less than the cost of the doughnuts, as I recall) was Susan Estrich's amazing book.

Which I, filled with self loathing ("How can I have achieved what I've just achieved, when I have absolutely no self-discipline at all about weight control?????"), went home and devoured. Almost as fast as my three doughnuts.

Susan Estrich, a very prominent lawyer and law professor and political mover-and-shaker, had had her battles with doughnuts too, it turned out.

And Susan Estrich, in peeling off the weight and getting down to a size six, had decided that she "didn't do doughnuts".

Without really believing it, that was the point I also decided (and contrary to all the evidence) that I didn't do doughnuts either. I adopted that as my first new core belief (even though doughnuts by definition don't have a core, actually).

"I don't do doughnuts", I decided. (Although I just had: three of 'em).

And having adopted this new core belief, the action followed: I did stop doing doughnuts. Even though my office is next door to a very famous doughnut chain.

I don't do doughnuts. Ever. Don't even like doughnuts any more: greasy rancid yucky stuff.

Would I rather have a cup of fresh raspberries? Or an ooey gooey chocolate dipped doughnut? A chocolate walnut cruller? A cinnamon cake doughnut?

Raspberries, every time. And now: I really believe that's so!

From that first changed core belief (very simple) a whole cascade of other core belief changes followed. And the weight dropped. From 230 to 155 and then (with Spark People, with Judith S. Beck, with fatloser.com) further down to my current 140.

I didn't know what to call this process until I did the fatloser.com 21 day program. And I'm always having to renew my commitment to these new core beliefs, change 'em up and keep on persuading myself by changing my thinking. But there it is.

I don't do doughnuts.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOLAZYBUTT110 4/15/2012 9:13PM

    For a gal whose Daddy was a policeman, it was hard for me to NOT do a donut, but can relate. I have stopped eating donuts, but once in a while I will have one to see if they have any appeal. But all I get any more is a tummy ache afterwards. so I dont do donuts any more either. But I know how hard it was not eating them, because when I was a teenager, it was our only comfort food. My Dad would buy three dozen every weekend and we would devour them (My favorite was the custard ones with choclate icing.) (Dad ate a whole dozen himself and after he died, it was ahrd for me to eat one. Because I believe it was donust that caused him to die young. It was knowing that I no longer could enjoy a donut any mroe. So I do know how they can cause a person a few issues! So I will only eat one on his birthday as a memorial! But its the only time I eat a donut any more. I figure the Police can eat them if they like (Its how many Policemen get so FAT! And its why they die young more than eating them than getting shot! !) Both my Grandfather and my Dad died of what I consider being a dough boy! Eating too many donuts! Its why I dotn do donuts! Somoen ahd to break the cycle! susana

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JELLAJIGGLES 3/17/2012 8:36PM

    Well done. Or not done!

I know people talk about how you don't need to say I will never eat this, you need moderation. But I'm with you there are a few things that I just don't do. It makes me feel better.

I'm glad you gave up what makes you feel bad, and replace it with what feels good!

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HDHAWK 3/17/2012 7:10PM

    This is a great blog! I've been listening to the Inside Out Weight Loss Podcasts for quite a while and am now reading the book by the host, Renee Stephens. I'm also taking the online class and am forcing myself to do the journaling exercises. It's made a big difference already.

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BUTTERFLYBLUE67 3/17/2012 6:46PM

    excellent blog.

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TEENY_BIKINI 3/17/2012 6:28PM

    Fantastic blog, gorgeous.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/16/2012 7:14AM

    Not doing doughnuts -just part of your amazing journey Ellen, and I am so glad you are sharing it with us.

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NEWKAREN43 3/15/2012 8:10PM

    Great blog. Ok, ANOTHER great blog! I ate part of a donut (they really don't deserve all those letters!) a couple of months back at work. Big mistake. I don't do donuts either!

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ID_VANDAL 3/15/2012 7:37PM

    Very impressive and spot on!!

Thanks for that - I'm just out of words right now!!



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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/15/2012 6:44PM

    LOL. Yeah I noticed SALSIFY mentioned that some donuts have a core of sorts.

You guys are too funny.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/15/2012 6:27PM

    "even though doughnuts by definition don't have a core, actually"


And BTW, except under extremely controlled circumstances,

I Don't Do emoticon

Fortunately not tempted by emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/15/2012 6:36:35 PM

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ELDUNBAR 3/15/2012 4:29PM

    Thank you...this is a great tool I'll incorporate. I've been running myself ragged trying to decide what to eliminate...but you know what...I'm going to start with one thing...and stick to it...and then I'll add others. That way doesn't seem so overwhelming. emoticon

Keep Sparking emoticon

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ANNIEONLI 3/15/2012 4:19PM

    Sometimes it is that easy.

Oh, yeah....and I don't do ice cream.

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TIFFANIE150 3/15/2012 3:36PM

    I love that!!

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DONNACFIT 3/15/2012 3:23PM

    Thanks for the great blog!! Need to adjust lots of my core beliefs...thanks for the inspiration!!

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TRAVELGRRL 3/15/2012 1:30PM

    It is so good to continue to incorporate new ideas into your repertoire...it keeps your motivation and thinking fresh and keeps you thin. Thanks for "thinking out loud" so the rest of us are beneficiaries!

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SALSIFY 3/15/2012 1:12PM

    Thank you for inspiring me so much with your fantastic blog. I realise that I've slowly become someone who doesn't do cake. This weekend my brother-in-law didn't even offer me a slice of his delicious homemade fruitcake as he knew I'd say no & I realised that I've become someone who doesn't do cake and it felt really good.

My broadband connection has become so bad I can't play videos any more. As soon as I've changed provider, I'll sign up for fatloser - it sounds great.

ps. Jam doughnuts have a core (squidgy and sickly sweet) - so it's possible to have a belief about them, I guess ;)

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MEADSBAY 3/15/2012 1:03PM

    Loved this and "LIKED" it, as well.
The last doughnut I ate (a few years back) sat like a ton of bricks in my stomach.
Never again!

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PHEBESS 3/15/2012 11:58AM

    Yup, I don't do doughnuts. All I taste is the old rancid grease, nothing else. That oily feeling sticks in my mouth for an hour or so afterwards - I don't even taste DH's periodic fried doughnut stick, or fried cinnamon roll (really, can you imagine? gross!), or any of that.

I need to expand my core beliefs!!!!

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NANCY- 3/15/2012 10:40AM

    Love your core beliefs
I don't do .. can apply to so many things.

"I'm always having to renew my commitment to these new core beliefs, change 'em up and keep on persuading myself by changing my thinking." This is what makes you successful... keep on sparking girlfriend!!!

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FREELADY 3/15/2012 10:38AM

    These compact concepts you bring me, "Change your core beliefs" and "I don't do _____" are so portable and doable. They stick with me and nudge me when I need it!

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SWAZY33 3/15/2012 10:12AM

    I'm with you...fresh fruit does taste better and I now choose that over donuts or other items with no nutrition! We ARE stronger than those donuts!! And there are so many better choices like... emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I still do struggle with avoiding emoticon though! But am strong enough to just have one vs...a dozen! haha

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CANNIE50 3/15/2012 10:07AM

    Another well written, insightful blog - thank you for sharing this transition. I think one of the scariest things to contemplate about a project like weight loss is the thought that we have to do everything at once, give up everything, change everything yet often it all begins by changing one thing. I will think of this the next time I cross the border and spot a TimHorton's - I will remember that I, too, "don't do emoticon"

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DDOORN 3/15/2012 10:00AM

    I'm still @ the "fakin' it till I make it" stage re: doughnuts and other high-carb processed stuff...I tell myself I don't "do" 'em...but have to admit that I still fight the craving and "stumble" here & there. These kind of ingestible things (I won't call 'em "food!") are highest on my list of triggers and the toughest for me to resist if I am near them.

Kudos to transforming your taste buds and brain waves! :-)


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_LINDA 3/15/2012 9:15AM

    Awesome! Very powerful, a person's core beliefs. Very hard to change and accept too. Well done for being successful!!
I need to change my belief that I need potato chips or other salty snacks. I have never had salt in my diet, being told from an early age its bad for my RA, so I have to wonder why I crave them so much??
Congratulations on a job well done!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRYSTALJEM 3/15/2012 8:37AM

    You're right, the best core beliefs are those you are aware of. I don't do doughnuts except for the hole, and that's lucky for me. But you are right, there are other things that I used to love like cinnamon buns. Now I can only handle a very small bit otherwise that food hangover is right around the corner. But now that little bit is a real treat, and I can happily leave the big bit alone. I'm learning too. Thanks for being such a good teacher. I've learned so much from you since getting to know you. The journey is a lot more enjoyable when you have good friends and good resources to help navigate the path. Thanks again for a great blog.

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KALIGIRL 3/15/2012 8:27AM

    Now I understand...
"renew my commitment to these new core beliefs" - we all need to find what works for us and continually renew and re-commit!
Love it!
Namaste my friend
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/15/2012 8:27:49 AM

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Challenging My Inventory of Core Beliefs about Dieting

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fatloser tells me (this was the day 19 lesson) that I probably have a whole lot of "core beliefs" about dieting. And that many of them might not even be conscious beliefs.

Here are a few typical and unconscious core beliefs about weight loss and dieting, according to Steve Siebold, the "mental toughness coach" on fatloser.com:

1. Dieting is painful.
2. Dieting is short term for weight loss, and then I can stop.
3. I can lose weight without focused dieting (without tracking . . . just "cutting back" is enough).
4. Diets don't work anyhow.
5. I'll be unhappy if I can't eat what I want when I want (and I shouldn't be unhappy. That would be unfair).
6. Dieting means I'll have to deny myself all my favourite foods (and that wouldn't be fair either. Other people can eat whatever they want . . . and I should be able to also).
7. Dieting will mean I can't eat in restaurants. (And I like eating in restaurants).
8. Dieting is too much work (and I don't want to do the work).
9. Dieting requires extreme discipline (and I shouldn't have to be self-disciplined).
10. The pleasure of being "fit" (or slim) is not worth the pain of dieting.

Any of these familiar once they're dragged out into the light of consciousness? They sure were, for me.

Siebold suggests that we quite deliberately adopt a new set of core beliefs to replace those old unconscious beliefs. Here are his suggestions:

1. Dieting is pleasurable because it makes me feel successful, energetic and in control of my body.
2. Dieting is long term, like sticking to a budget, and and that's good because it will keep me on track and successful.
3. Focusing on my diet (tracking, 100% compliance) means I'll be successful.
4. Diets work perfectly every time, so long as I follow the diet.
5. I can be happy (much happier) choosing foods that make me feel fit and healthy.
6. I can develop new favourite foods that make me feel fit and healthy.
7. I can prepare to eat in restaurants by deciding what I'll eat in advance that is in compliance with my diet.
8. Being fat is too much work because it weighs me down all day long and makes me feel miserable.
9. Dieting is only a light discipline but it has disproportionately high rewards: I'll feel great and look great and get big compliments!
10. The pleasure of fitness is worth any price I have to pay because without my health I have nothing.

Siebold tells us that these are, in fact, the core beliefs of people who are fit rather than fat. How does he know? He's interviewed over 500 fit people, and these 10 beliefs came up over and over again.

What if I just don't believe those new "beliefs?" No problem. I don't have to believe them, I just have to tell myself that I believe them. I just have to be smart enough to copy the beliefs that already work for people who are already fit and not fat. If I copy those beliefs, then the appropriate actions will follow. The results I want. Fitness not fatness. Because these are the beliefs I need to believe in order to be successful at weight loss. Changing the belief changes the action. It might feel kinda phony at first to tell myself I believe what I don't yet believe, but persistent repetition of the new core beliefs will make them mine.

I'm never going to live long enough to learn everything I need to know, but that's OK. Because I can just copy the beliefs of successful people, leverage their knowledge and borrow their experience. If I do that, I'll become successful too. At weight loss . . . and at other stuff as well.

What an intriguing idea: I don't have to believe my beliefs. At first. But these beliefs will become my beliefs. Through practice and persistence. The actions that follow. And the results then follow the actions.

I took off 80 pounds in 2001. From 230 to 150. With a few blips, I've kept them off . . . and lost 10 more. Consistently at 140 (and still would like to be a few pounds lighter, about 138).

What Siebold made me realize is: I HAVE changed my core beliefs.

1. Dieting actually is pleasurable. (Almost always: although I grumble occasionally!)
2. It's permanent.
3. I'm pretty consistently 100% compliant. Hardly ever over my calorie range.
4. This is working for me.
5. I'm happy to eat healthily (and hate the "food hangover" feeling of high fat or salty foods).
6. I now prefer (genuinely) vegetables and fruits in salads and soups, lean protein, healthy fats. (Don't ask me about potato chips, however).
7. Had lunch at a restaurant yesterday: decided in advance it would be salad and chose a great one: grilled veggies with a little goat cheese and Parmesan crisps. Mmmmmm. Black coffee. No bread, no butter. No cream soup to start. Just half a teaspoon of DH's pecan pie. Enough? Yes it was. Delicious, in fact. While the others at the table ate quite differently. No problem: they don't have my metabolism.
8. Love feeling lean all day long, moving easily and lightly through life.
9. Love the compliments! "Those pants look fantastic on you" (yesterday). Vanity, I know . . . but I'm less than honest if I don't admit that it's great to look as good as possible.
10. Got my third year all clear mammo results back last week and I'm anticipating a good check-in at the oncology clinic on Monday. My health is worth this, yes it is. Not that freedom from recurrence is ever guaranteed or that recurrence, if it happens, would be "my fault". But, I know that I'm doing everything I can with healthy diet and exercise . . . and that's all I can do. So: not panicking. Not worrying. And that's a good thing too.

Fatloser.com helped me realize what I already knew. What I've already learned. But without being conscious of it.

Fatloser.com is a stellar program. And once again, I recommend it.

Yeah, Day 20 was terrific too . . . and I'm sorry that tomorrow it's all over. But: I've made notes. And I may try some of the other Steve Siebold resources. Because what he's offering (free, mostly) is pretty valuable . . . or at least I'm thinking so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRYSTALJEM 3/15/2012 8:31AM

    Core beliefs, how very true. We all have them about all areas of our life. And you are right - most of them are unconscious. I can relate to the beliefs you are stating and actually writing out new ones is an excellent idea that I am going to flagrantly steal!

When I reassess my core beliefs, I am always surprised at the ones I've taken as simple fact until I realize that it just all goes back to my perception. Believing really is seeing.

Thanks for this really insightful blog. Oh, and I'm totally with you on those potato chips - my other downfall... beef jerky.

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ROOSTER72 3/15/2012 12:51AM

    I relate to core beliefs 5, 6, & 7

5. I'll be unhappy if I can't eat what I want when I want
6. Dieting means I'll have to deny myself all my favourite foods
7. Dieting will mean I can't eat in restaurants.

Rather than focus on them, I am going to focus on new beliefs 9 & 10. I know these both to be true - but I need to keep them front of mind!

9. Dieting is only a light discipline but it has disproportionately high rewards: I'll feel great and look great and get big compliments!
10. The pleasure of fitness is worth any price I have to pay because without my health I have nothing.

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    Wow... Just wow.

A week's worth of food for thought.... like a trip to a cognitive farmer's market.

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LUCKYONE60 3/14/2012 11:17AM

    Wow, that's some POWERFUL stuff. Thanks for sharing it here. Keep up the good work!

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SWAZY33 3/14/2012 11:11AM

    It's true how we can train ourselves to like food that is good for us and what we need for nourishment vs...what sugary snack is arund to binge on! Someone gave me a lil fun size bag of m & m's yesterday and I can't believe I'm sayin this but they didn't taste good! crazy!
Diet is a lifetime committment and we ARE worth it!

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TEENY_BIKINI 3/14/2012 10:09AM

    Totally fantastic and intriguing blog. What if we changed core our beliefs about everything that affected our life? How interesting would that be? I find that many of these philosophies can be applied to our entire lives - not just food. They are life beliefs.


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ID_VANDAL 3/12/2012 3:10PM

    Thanks for sharing all of that. I'm starting those FatLoser tapes today and looking forward to them. Every comment I've read about then is positive!!

Keep up the great work you are doing.



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LISALGB 3/12/2012 9:35AM

    Awesome!! This is great! And, I'm going to check out fatloser.com right now. Thanks!

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DDOORN 3/11/2012 6:43PM

    Definitely see good doses of myself in both categories...and as someone else noted sometimes there is a heckuvalot to be said for "fakin' it till you make it!"


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SLENDERELLA61 3/11/2012 2:11PM

    BIG CONGRATS on 3 years of health and overcoming. Thanks for sharing these insights. I've certainly changed my core beliefs, too, but perhaps could find a few more to change or slightly modify to improve my behavior and, therefore, my health. I just love, "I can be happy (much happier) choosing foods that make me feel fit and healthy," because it is so true. Soon I'll be back to regular Sparking. The break hasn't been bad, though. It has kind of let me know I can do this healthy lifestyle without Spark if I need to. -Marsha

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NANCY- 3/11/2012 12:57PM

    Wonderful blog... thanks for the sneak peek. I'm on day 7. It is true that our beliefs guide our actions.
You are doing awesome.

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DBCLARINET 3/11/2012 7:27AM

    I was thinking about one diet belief -- "Other people can eat whatever they want... and I should be able to, also." I have a friend who used to eat "whatever he wanted." He liked Lean Pockets and Cheez-its. He's skinny, about 130 lbs. on a heavy day. But holy cow, he can eat WHATEVER HE WANTS!

If you took two minutes to get past the part where he eats "whatever he wants," you would realize that he eats extremely small portions. Yeah, he eats Cheez-its every night. About 5, and then he's full and puts the box away. He made a box of Cheez-its last three weeks.

We were a fun pair to watch, me with my healthy food and him with his perpetual junk. He's since taken to riding his bike a lot and eating healthier stuff and takes pride in raving to me about how much better he feels. But the truth, just like with the Twinkie diet, is that you can stay skinny if you just don't eat a lot. Period.

I have never seen diet beliefs so nicely organized like that, and yet when I read through the list, I realize they're all true! And Siebold's altered beliefs are so true, too! I was in the lounge a few weeks ago and someone had brought in cookies, or cake, or something to that effect (yet again...), and one of the guys was egging two of us to eat some. The one guy had a bite, and I had none. Someone was kind of backhanded sticking-up-for-us (..."Hey, they can't eat that stuff if they want to maintain their weight...") and the guy said, yeah, but look at what they eat!

My first thought was, "Hey, I LIKE my salads, thankyouverymuch."

"Dieting" IS pleasurable -- and when something is pleasurable, you want to stick with it. Because my particular diet is grain-free, I've had the opportunity to explore an enormous range of new foods and found so many delicious things in the process. I actually don't have a "favorite food" anymore because so much of it makes me feel so good and satisfied. I always check out restaurants beforehand to see what they have to eat, and the more they have that is in compliance with my diet, the more excited I get. It builds anticipation for the experience of going out and turns it into a real treat. When I see people who are seriously out of shape and struggling to move, or people to whom age has not been kind, I feel even more inspired to keep eating healthy and working out because I want to be fit as a fiddle in my old age! No pills, no creaky bones, no achy joints, just a healthy, functional body.

I never put it in those terms, but that's exactly what I believe. Sorry for the ridiculously long comment, but you (or more appropriately, Siebold) hit on a huge thing there. I remember walking around an amusement park with my husband and in-laws, walking past an elephant ear stand, and when I didn't say anything she asked if we wanted an elephant ear. I said no. She said, "Wow, I can't believe you can walk by that and smell that and not want one." And then she went and bought herself an elephant ear. It was kind of a sad moment.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/11/2012 7:15AM

    Once again, thank you Ellen, definitely looking forward to the journey.

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MEADSBAY 3/10/2012 9:02PM

    Thank you so much.
You could have been one of SS's Fit 500!
I am on day 5 and still need to work on my core beliefs.

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_LINDA 3/10/2012 7:24PM

    Thanks so much for the excellent summary on what a healthy lifestyle attitude is truly about. Its nice to get it put out there in black and white! So very happy to hear your test results are good!
Keep up the fabulous work!

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DONNACFIT 3/10/2012 5:28PM

    Love it..can't wait to get all the lessons done..I'm on day 3 :) It's great!!

My Happiness project has .."Act the way I want to feel" emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 3/10/2012 5:05PM

    Day 19 speaks to two quotes that I hold dear and use often:

"Fake it 'til you make it."

"Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself." - Will Rogers

I just love how flipping the core beliefs from negative to positive make them seem so achievable and desirable!

Thanks for sharing (since I never made it to day 19!) emoticon

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FREELADY 3/10/2012 4:07PM

    Every time I get on an airplane, I have to tell myself what I don't yet believe. "This machine is skillfully engineered. Its flight is based on sound principles. Flying is statistically much safer than driving. I am very likely to have a safe, uneventful flight." Our minds and emotions do play tricks on us already; what you are describing is what I like to think of as replacing the status quo of self-trickery with TRUTH!

Your blog is tremendously beneficial, to have all this valuable info & insight together in one spot. You are a true mentor; you are digesting this good stuff in your own life, and generously sharing its blessings with us! Thanks!

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Quitting at Day Four

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A number of us here at SparkPeople are trying fatloser.com . . . with varying degrees of pleasure!

I'm a fan. Really.

Fatloser is about mental toughness, and it's bigger than losing weight . . . it's about controlling our thinking by monitoring our moods and emotions to effect change in every area of our lives.

Steve Siebold pulls no punches. He says that if I'm fat, it's my fault. But that although there is a big price to pay for becoming "fit", I also pay a huge price (a bigger price) if I'm fat. So I've got to expect to experience pain, doubt and turbulence . . . work through the "season of pain" . . . grow up and fix the problem. Diets are "linear", he says: do the work, get the result you want. End of story.

For me, this 21 day free fatloser program is as valuable as Susan Estrich's "Making the Case for Yourself", Judith S. Beck's "Diet Solution" (I've blogged about both of these) and even SparkPeople itself. The fatloser site has a whole range of other resources . . . some free, some not . . . but there is no hard sell.

He's essentially focusing on the most debilitating addiction of all . . . addiction to the approval of other people. Being a "people pleaser" is something we learn as children, and it leads many to a place of "fear and scarcity" where the consolations of excess food become problematic. What's the solution? We have to use our logical minds to make decisions, and our emotional minds as cheerleaders to sustain the motivation to carry out those decisions. Regardless of whether other people approve or not.

And many of us know: there is huge social pressure to eat unhealthily. Especially in a society where 66% are overweight or obese right now, 75% will be by 2020, and 90% by 2032.

The weight loss industry in North America generates some $68B a year in profits by persuading people that they need to buy special products or coaching or supportive services to lose weight. There is no profit to be made in telling people that they can do it themselves. But people do have within themselves the willpower to do it for themselves. At no cost. Make a decision, develop the mental toughness to stick to it: that's Siebold's prescription and he spells out just how to do it. And Siebold's own fatloser program is now FREE, although he used to sell it for close to $500 a person.

Overeating, Siebold says, is not an addiction. Obesity is not a disease. We don't need medical attention to deal with this issue. (He does make an exception for the tiny fraction of the population with an eating or psychological disorder). But most of us just need the mental toughness to stick with a diet. Eating too much high calorie food just because it tastes good is . . . a bad habit. A tough habit to break. But: not more than that. Hmmmm. Siebold even says that if I'm a bit hungry when I'm ready for bed, that would be an indication that I'm sticking to my diet. And I need to think about it that way.

This makes sense to me. And made me consider: the mental toughness I learn from fatloser.com has to be useful in so many other areas of life.

So: how can it be that most people drop out of fatloser at about day 4 or 5? That's what he says at day 17. Which really astonished me.

Although: I'm betting that quite a few of those who make it past day 5 will pack it in at day 13. Day 13 is when he talks about the topic (THAT topic) which is pretty much NEVER discussed in weight loss venues . . . which would include SparkPeople. So I won't either. Even though Siebold is absolutely persuasive about how important it is. Matter-of-factly. But inevitably it's an approach that a whole lot of folks just might find . . . um yeah. . . . a little bit excessively candid?

Not me. I made it past day 5. And day 13. I'm definitely sticking it out for the last four days, and I'll be sorry when it's over . . . I'm hoping to take a couple hours and review all of the videos sequentially when I'm done. It's my understanding that the emails will all self-destruct shortly thereafter: and fair enough. It's quite a gift to provide this program at no cost even for a "limited time only"!!

Sure, I can see fatloser could be kinda in your face for some people, even for a lot of people . . . but it's so evident that Siebold had no intention of offending. He is simply trying to explain, to set out, with clarity and forcefulness, an approach to weight loss and to life itself which he has found infinitely useful. And valuable.

We can take it! We're tough enough. He's sure of that.

I can. It's great stuff. And: I do recommend it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAVELGRRL 3/9/2012 7:42PM

    I have to say I quit listening around day 15! For me he got a tad smug and repetitive, but I totally agree he "tells it like it is!"

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ID_VANDAL 3/9/2012 12:11PM

    Thanks for the reminder - I was going to do that before I had to go to Australia but now that I'm back - no excuses!!

Great summary - thanks again.



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TRYINGHARD1948 3/8/2012 7:13PM

    You definitely got me interested so I logged on and it is certainly a good time for me to face what he is saying. . I already love the first days stand out comment for me. "most people look at food and think of the pleasure it will give them, ohealthy people look at food and ask how healthy it will be for them.". Thanks, I'll let you know how I am going

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NANCY- 3/8/2012 10:54AM

    I just finished Day 4, now you have me curious about Day 13. Steve is an interesting individual. Here's to you completing the FAT LOSER PROGRAM. I know you will do it.

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DDOORN 3/8/2012 10:42AM

    Thx for keeping on with your enthusiasm for fatloser...I keep saying to myself, hey, gotta check this out...but haven't. Crazy/busy day...not going to happen today, still putting it off...argh! But I will definitely make it happen soon!


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PENNYAN45 3/8/2012 9:28AM

    Now I'm really curious!!
I am going to check this out. It sounds interesting and worthwhile.

Thanks for putting us on to yet another great resource.

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_LINDA 3/7/2012 11:34PM

    So glad you are finding this new approach a good wake up call! It would be very refreshing if people would tell it like it is and not sugar coat things!
Glad you are finding it helpful!

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DONNACFIT 3/7/2012 9:06PM

    Thanks for the interesting blog..I joined fatloser and have just watched day 1 and have 4 more days stacked for when I'm not so blasted busy..plus my crappy internet takes for ever to watch it...watch for 10 seconds..wait for it to download for a minute or more...over and over..wish his site had just reading instead of the video..I don't think I'd get much if I just read and did the questions..his talk is the most important part..My take is it's making me even more mentally tough..haha

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CANNIE50 3/7/2012 8:39PM

    Very interesting - and of course, I am thinking, hmmmm - is "that" topic the thing I think it is, that I think is very often true of overweight people, men and women - almost a primal protective instinct. Anyway, thank you for blogging about this. I do think people-pleasing is a big, fat (excuse the pun) problem and as I grow older I become less and less interested or willing to please people at any expense to my integrity or self-respect. I just don't have it in any me, any more, and I was an incorrigible people pleaser for many years of my life. I forget how far I have come in that area until I read or hear something about someone letting others rule their world via opinions and demands. You have definitely picqued my curiousity about the fatloser site.

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TUFFMUFFIN signs up!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


What a guy: the incomparable TUFFMUFFIN!!

He thinks he needs to lose 10 pounds before the start of golf season.

I think he looks pretty darn good.

But . . . it's how you feel. As we all know. And carrying 10 extra pounds plus golf clubs . . . maybe more than the ol' knees can tolerate.

The knees have been fixed three times with arthroscopy (how many legs is that??) and most recently, an injection of some kind of goop that's supposed to ease the crunchy joint . . . it was good enough that TUFFMUFFIN (aka DH), Charlie and I were able to ski together on Sunday!

First time this winter. Charlie did NOT want to get into the car, really dislikes the skis which pass-through the back seat from the trunk . . . wouldn't get in until we removed the skis, closed the pass through hatch. And then of course Charlie simply pretended that they WERE NOT THERE at all when we re-inserted them, gazing stoically out the back window all the way to the golf course. But, it was worth it. Funny that skis don't bother him attached to our feet. And funny how he realizes that standing in front of someone trying to ski downhill is not a good idea.

He was in his glory, running back and forth between the two of us, covering about three times the distance we did . . . too bad I couldn't have taken credit for HIS fitness minutes too! The track has been lengthened, the wax was just right, the chickadees were singing . . . and Charlie was equally unhappy about getting into the car with those terrible SKIS (no, they're not here, I'm not looking) to go home.

So: there's a fun picture of me and Charlie on TUFFMUFFIN's photos . . . and TUFFMUFFIN is also joining me with the fatloser.com series. And so far, making great strides in logging his nutrition.

I know this guy pretty darn well after 33 years of marriage. Am I betting he's going to take those 10 pounds off before golf season starts??? Yes I am. He WILL do it!

But: your support will certainly help. So thank you!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWKAREN43 3/7/2012 8:04PM

    Welcomed your darling hubby! Thanks for introducing a new friend! Got to say I'm just a tiny bit jealous that he only has 10 pounds to lose but I'm getting over it! Hugs and blessings. Karen

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TRAVELGRRL 3/7/2012 7:49PM

    Hilarious! I wish I could get my DH to join -- he is doing the whole weight loss thing but hates the computer.

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SALSIFY 3/7/2012 3:41PM

    I went over to Tuff's page to say hello.

It's odd what dogs will take against - one of mine dislikes the little carts that street sweepers use & I have to drag her past howling whenever we see one.

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KALIGIRL 3/7/2012 8:59AM

    Sent him a WTG note - definitely congrats to both of you!

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DDOORN 3/7/2012 8:53AM

    Hooray for TUFFMUFFIN! You two sound like you just love the heck out of each other! :-)

My bet is that Charlie (re: funny how he realizes that standing in front of someone trying to ski downhill is not a good idea) learned this the "hard way"...lol!


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NANCY- 3/7/2012 8:21AM

    Strange how I could relate to Charlie pretending something isn't there. :)
SP has the tools to help TUFFMUFFIN reach his goal and with your support he can only lose. (sorry bad pun) but it is true that he will achieve his goal.

Comment edited on: 3/7/2012 8:37:04 AM

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CRYSTALJEM 3/7/2012 7:47AM

    Great blog... those knees can be tough when they aren't behaving properly. Good luck to both of you, you'll meet your goals yet, cause that's just what you do.

I too have often wished that I could log my dog's fitness minutes... I'd be at the top of the minute count then I tell ya! Have a great day. Stay fit.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/7/2012 6:01AM

    Gorgeous photo of yourself with Charlie. You both look in great shape, and TuffMuffin lives up to all you have said. Love the word picture of Charlie enjoying the ski-ing.

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_LINDA 3/7/2012 1:06AM

    What a great day! Its so wonderful when the three of you can all have fun outside together!
We finally got our winter here -enough snow to snowshoe in -my Mom's enjoying it at long last! Took until almost spring to get some lol.
Lovely photo of you and Charlie!! You look STUNNING!!
May you all enjoy many more fun activities outdoors! Those pounds will be quaking in their boots!!

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CANNIE50 3/6/2012 10:44PM

    emoticon so sweet

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TUFFMUFFIN 3/6/2012 9:41PM

    Tuffmuffin is glowing from the high praise from Watermellen. She is very kind and supportive. She really wants me to lose those 10 pounds. Can I even get remotely close to that billing? What a target for anyone to have to live up to!

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PHEBESS 3/6/2012 8:08PM

    I sent him a "hi"!

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DBCLARINET 3/6/2012 7:35PM

    That's great! I agree that TuffMuffin looks great, but I also sympathize with wanting to lose a few pounds because it makes you feel good. And heck, 10 pounds is pretty tough when you're already in good shape! So, best of luck to TuffMuffin -- I'm sure he'll make it!

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    Getting and staying healthy together is a beautiful thing!
I am sure you two will have many happy healthy years together!

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