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Curried Coconut Cauliflower Soup!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Local cauliflower looked gorgeous at the grocery store and well priced too: two huge ones for $5.

I chopped them up and simmered them in two cartons of vegetable broth until just tender, then whirred in batches in the food processor with a package of pure coconut cream, a good sized chunk of fresh ginger and a couple generous heaping tablespoonfuls of garam masala.

I stirred in a can of lentils (well drained, well rinsed) and a can of diced tomatoes.

Simple. Fast. And smells delicious!

Not sure whether this would be best cold or hot: I'll try it tomorrow. But curried coconut cauliflower will be my soup this week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 8/6/2012 8:46AM

    Sounds yummy!

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_LINDA 8/6/2012 1:25AM

    Wow Ellen!! You are making some awesome soups!! Just drooling thinking about it!!

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NANCY- 8/5/2012 7:06PM

    Can't wait to hear which you like better hot of cold.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 8/5/2012 5:58PM

    Oh yum that sounds WONDERFUL! I'll look out for cauliflower at the market today.

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SLENDERELLA61 8/5/2012 1:55PM

    Sounds wonderful! Enjoy!! Thanks for sharing. Perhaps you have given me an idea...

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ALOHAEV1 8/5/2012 10:53AM

    Brillant idea! My stash of garam marsala is about at the end of being "fresh" so this is perfect.

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ONEKIDSMOM 8/5/2012 6:45AM

    Oh, my... sounds delicious!

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PENNYAN45 8/5/2012 12:01AM

    This sounds delicious! I will give it a try.

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IMAGINE_IT 8/4/2012 11:00PM

    Mmmmm....... emoticon i haven't decided what my 'soup for the week' will be....but your soup sure does sound very delicious.....i never tried 'fresh ginger' i always use the powdered kind...i may have to try the fresh one this week.

Comment edited on: 8/4/2012 11:00:27 PM

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    Sounds absolutely delish!

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TRAVELGRRL 8/4/2012 9:48PM

    That's a great price for cauliflower. The soup sounds interesting! I couldn't find garam masala in my small town, so when I visited my daughter in Boston I stocked up! This sounds like a great use for it!

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PHEBESS 8/4/2012 9:15PM

    You are one of the most creative soup chefs I've ever heard of!!!!!

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    That sounds soooo good!

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CARRAND 8/4/2012 9:06PM

    Sounds interesting. My mother loved cauliflower, but I never cared for it. Maybe with the ginger and gram masala, I would like it, too.

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Peregrine Falcons!

Friday, August 03, 2012


Last Saturday morning very early I heard some raucous and repeated bird calls which were new to me. I searched the sky outside and noticed a pair of hawk-like birds roosting at the top of a tall tree with some bare branches. They are a little smaller than a crow, larger than a bluejay, and fly very rapidly. They have vertically streaked breasts and horizontally barred tails. Their hooked beaks made it clear they are birds of prey, hawk-like, but they do not soar like the buteos (red tail hawks) or turkey vultures I'm familiar with.

I got out the binoculars and the bird book, began searching various websites, and have identified them as a pair of peregrine falcons. I've been observing them all week. They are most active in the early morning and before dusk, apparently catching bats and birds on the wing and calling constantly while on the hunt. On Thursday morning there were no falcons, but a robin was innocently occupying the roost, which has been a favourite of robins, jays and cardinals for years. With a sudden divebombing attack at incredible speed, one of the peregrines ousted the robin which let out an absolutely terrified cry. I don't know if it escaped or not . . . . Nature red in tooth and claw indeed.

This morning I was thrilled to see the two peregrines joined by a third and then a fourth, all jostling with wings outspread on the dead branches. It's clear there is a breeding pair with two adult offspring. I've no idea where the nest was -- perhaps on the flat roof of an adjacent building.

I'm not good at taking pictures, but the National Geographic image in the link looks most like the birds I'm seeing. There are lots of images on the internet and quite a bit of variation in colouring. This National Geographic link has an audio recording too and if you like, you can hear their characteristic call.

Peregrines were rendered just about extinct by DDT by the 1970s, but now DDT is banned they've become a bit of a "cult bird" with their slow resurgence. Webcams are posted in various nesting sites at tall buildings and bridge spans. There is a Canadian Peregrine Foundation, for example, that reports sightings.

I've never seen even one peregrine before, so this has been pretty exciting for me!

Here's another link that shows just how fast they can fly: over 200 miles an hour!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 8/4/2012 9:27PM

    How exciting!

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TRAVELGRRL 8/4/2012 6:09PM

    I think those are the falcons that were used in falconry in the middle ages! How cool that you've been able to enjoy them up close and personal!

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    That is so cool! How exciting that must be to see such beautiful creatures! You are so lucky, indeed!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 8/4/2012 5:27PM

    That's wonderful! I am so glad that you saw such majestic birds.

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SLENDERELLA61 8/4/2012 2:53PM

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the picture, the video, and your appreciative blog.

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IMAGINE_IT 8/4/2012 2:26PM

    ,,,, such beautiful birds..thank you for giving the link....and aren't you lucky to be that close to be able to watch the wonder of nature... emoticon I love nature...and i wished many...many more people would appreciate and respect what we still have left on this earth.

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_LINDA 8/4/2012 12:05PM

    How wonderful!! To see them so very close is aweome and an amazing experience!!
The Nature conservationalists were trying to preserve the peregrine in our city some twenty years ago. They encouraged two young breeding pairs to roost on top of our old Bessborough, and it was a success as their offspring and generations there after returned to that spot. I have only seen them once. Their almost nocturnal habits make them hard to spot, and I am never around that area early or late. One of my bridge partners, who lives in a building nearby, hears them all the time, and of course, doesn't like the screeching, she would rather hear birdsong
Thanks for the links! Enjoy your lucky front row seat!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 8/4/2012 4:19AM

    How truly blessed you are.

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JIBBIE49 8/4/2012 12:41AM


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PHEBESS 8/3/2012 10:37PM

    Peregrines are incredible - you can just SEE how they're designed for speed, being so small and compact and streamlined! Amazing little birds!

Kestrels are interesting too - we have a lot of kestrels here.

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ONEKIDSMOM 8/3/2012 10:28PM

    Cool! Recently I went on a tour of our State Capitol building, which is one of those tall buildings with a nesting site for peregrins (and a web cam). The guide said these birds of prey keep the pigeons away, saving maintenance of the building! We got a pair of male chicks out of the nest this year. Oh, and they return to the same nesting site from which they hatched, often, to rear the next generation.

When the tour group made a foray out into the observation deck, mama or papa peregrin decided they didn't like it much and they took some pretty aggressive swoops at us, screaming their war cry. We scooted back inside.

The guide told us when they stoop (on lower-flying birds, mostly, your robin story reminded me)... they drop at close to 200 miles an hour, and essentially go inert, slowing the heart and lungs (the falcon), to come awake on impact with the prey, breaking the neck of their prey. I don't think I'd want to get hit by a 200 mph flying falcon! Beautiful, but deadly.

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NOLAZYBUTT110 8/3/2012 10:24PM

    That reminds me of something I saw.......which was in the city. There was a bird sitting on a window sill on the outside of a store on the Main street of our city and on the inside of the store window was a cat going berserk! I wanted so much to have a camera at the time, but one never has it when they see such behavior and catch it! susana

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Three years maintaining?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wow, that's right!

Yay me!!

And huge thanks to all of you who congratulated me: otherwise, the anniversary date might have slipped me by.

Not that I take it for granted: no way. Maintaining requires eternal vigilance! Tracking, weighing, adjusting as soon as weight move up or waistbands feel a bit tight.

Thanks especially to our wonderful team leader at At Goal and Maintaining, 4A-HEALTHY-BMI, who set up this system of recognizing maintenance anniversaries.

Losing it is tough: keeping it off, waaaaay tougher.

We're doing it. Together.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 8/4/2012 12:42AM


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    I so agree with you there (about maintaining being harder). I think it's all about your "why" for doing it in the first place. If your goal gets "fuzzy", the tight clothes syndrome returns. You are a super star to me. I get an attitude adjustment every time I read about how well you are doing.

Way to go!!!

Comment edited on: 8/1/2012 9:35:44 AM

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DONNACFIT 8/1/2012 9:07AM

    That is FABULOUS!! You inspire me..one day I'll get there too!!


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LJR4HEALTH 8/1/2012 8:05AM


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DOKEYOKEY 7/31/2012 10:17PM

    I am VERY impressed! I know it is not so easy, and have three years of data to prove it. I'm so glad you have been able to do this!
Kathleen emoticon

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CRYSTALJEM 7/31/2012 9:26PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 7/31/2012 7:41PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Maintaining is far harder than losing and you are showing how to get it done!!
It sure is a lot of work, don't know how our fearless leader keeps up with everything! I find myself slow and plodding just trying to keep up with all my friend's blogs and am frequently one of the last to respond :P
Keep up the great work, you amazing woman, you!

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NANCY- 7/31/2012 8:47AM

You are a shining example of a healthy lifestyle.

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VHALKYRIE 7/31/2012 8:44AM

    Thank you for setting a wonderful example that reverting back isn't inevitable!


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DDOORN 7/31/2012 8:42AM

    Go you! Thx so much for BEING THE SPARK we all aspire to!


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KALIGIRL 7/31/2012 8:42AM

    Here's to doing it!

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TRYINGHARD1948 7/31/2012 6:09AM

    Congratulations and jubilTions, three years and many more to come. emoticon

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ROOSTER72 7/30/2012 10:59PM

    Fantastic effort! You are doing it.

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OOLALA53 7/30/2012 10:25PM

    Ha cha cha!

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CARRAND 7/30/2012 10:12PM

    You give me hope that I can maintain, too.

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/30/2012 9:30PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
3 goodies for 3 years maintaining! Hooray!! Keep making those healthy choices!

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    Great job!!! You are definitely over the "2 year hump" that 4A-Healthy-BMI talks about!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PHEBESS 7/30/2012 7:20PM

    You are doing great!!!!!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/30/2012 7:17PM

    You are just doing great. Be sure to CELEBRATE! This is BIG!! emoticon

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CARMENB66 7/30/2012 7:16PM

    Wow, that is wonderful!!!! emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 7/30/2012 7:15PM

    Great job! It doesn't get any better, unless it's 4 years...5 years...you get the idea.

Thanks for the inspiration and guidance you give to all of us who are still aspiring to be maintainers!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/30/2012 6:50PM

    Way to go, Chica!


Since it's been more than 2 years, your chances of regain are below 50%!

In another 2 years your chances of regain will drop to 27%!

That is AWESOME. I lurve watching people on our team succeed.

And of course looking forward to my OWN 3-year anniversary eventually...


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ONEKIDSMOM 7/30/2012 6:29PM

    Completely agree! emoticon emoticon

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OK, I'm grumpy but still . . . . SP, your ads are slowing me down again!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I AM grumpy (don't ask, I'll get over it. This year. Next year. Or sooner, likely.)

But still, if I were looking for things to make me grumpy (I'm not, really I'm not) or to justify my being grumpy (I'm not, or at least I'm trying not to, really I am) one of these might be the new cunningly placed "SparkPeople Deals" etc. etc.

It's very difficult not to click on the icon inadvertently when I'm just trying to put in my nutrition or my exercise.

And if I DO click on it, then of course I'm taken to another spot -- an advertisement for something I don't want, don't need, and something for which I resent having my time usurped to deal with.

I want to log my nutrition, log my exercise and be done. Fast.

Arrrrrgh. Stop it already.

I get that this is a "free" site and it's funded by advertising. I'm grateful for Spark People. Really I am.

But you've pulled this kind of stunt before. I didn't like it then, I don't like it now. My time is not free. Don't annoy me. Get rid of this intrusion on "my" page pronto please.

And in the meantime, ("mean" time, yeah) I'm working on the general grumps, really I am, with my usual remedies: sunshine, exercise, bird watching, flowers.

There is a huge bouquet of glorious red roses on my kitchen table (completely unexpected gift from someone to whom I gave a little help over the phone).

I had coffee on the verandah with the newspaper and Charlie this morning early early as the sun rose and got warmer.

There are new birds in my neighbourhood, noisy prey types, not soaring buteos, different flight pattern, smaller than a crow: probably a species of falcon. Pigeon hawk? I've been out with the bird book and my binoculars!

Golf scheduled for later today. Fresh peach and raspberries and blueberries and yogourt: mmmmmmmm.

There: I'm feeling better already!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 8/4/2012 12:42AM


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CARRAND 7/30/2012 10:30PM

    I'm pretty good at avoiding the ads, so they don't bother me much. It sounds like your grumps are over. Have a good week!

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IMAGINE_IT 7/30/2012 10:25AM

    Oh yes Ellen i am right there with you! The ads emoticon but i always justify it with 'but Spark is free...still free' i am kind of wondering if it will stay free....let's hope it does..because if not i most likely quit.
I like when you describe the nature around you emoticon because where i live there isn't too much to look at...(Army base with dusty training areas almost right behind my backyard....and endless rowes of apartment and houses in front of me) so i am very good at picturing how pretty it is where you live.
Enjoy your golf emoticon

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NANCY- 7/30/2012 9:49AM

    It is annoying when you are trying to focus that there are distractions... I admire your resolve to stay focused and not have it distract you from you intentions and good spirit.

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KALIGIRL 7/30/2012 8:48AM

    Wonder what the 'young' folks think...

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TRYINGHARD1948 7/30/2012 3:41AM

    ...and so you should feel better, You are in the middle of Summer. We are having a wet, wet, and did I say wet Winter, and those intrusive ads, well I hate how the page jumps around so that you do hit one when you were aiming for something completely different. Sigh! Such is the price of FREEdom.

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PHEBESS 7/29/2012 9:00PM

    Yeah, those pop up ads drive me crazy! And I don't always navigate around them, and end up with being transported elsewhere. Very frustrating!

But fresh peaches would cheer me up too!!!

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MOBYCARP 7/29/2012 6:02PM

    Yeah, the ads. SparkPeople has motivated me to use the Google Chrome browser when I'm on WinXP, or the Chromium browser when I'm on Linux, just for the SP site. Why, you may ask? Because there's an ad-block for Chrome/Chromium that's more flexible than the ad-block for Firefox. It lets me block the ads that come from SP as well as ads that come from an ad server.

Normally, I don't mind ads in the content. But when they flash in my face, or they entice unintended clicks to stuff I don't want, I draw the line. Advertise to me, okay. I can live with it. Try to get me to click when I don't want to, **BZZZT**! Wrong answer. Either the ads get blocked, or I stop using your site. Some effort is required to get this to work; but if SP can go to extra effort to trick me into clicking somewhere I don't want to, I can go to extra effort to not see the offensive ads.

I'm happy to say that I don't see the ads that annoyed you on the nutrition tracker or exercise tracker. And I'm not going to disable anything just to see what you're talking about. I saw enough when I went through the drill of blocking offensive stuff.

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_LINDA 7/29/2012 4:39PM

    A wonderfully peaceful morning! We have a number of kestrals soaring and screeching throughout our city.
So they have brought back that annoying add parked almost on top of the Nutrition Tracker have they? I am not seeing it on my trackers though... I actually hate the new style trackers, find they are slower loading, that the old style was quicker even though you have to enter each thing separately.
I enjoyed some fresh cauliflower and broccoli cut right off the stalk that morning for lunch today. We lucked out in stopping at the Roberston Valley farm. They actually had this stuff for sale even though its normally too early in the season for these veggies here -they get a jump start on the growing season by starting their crops indoors!
Hope your Sunday is super!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/29/2012 1:50PM

    Yeah, you've got a point. Those ads are annoying. Your cures, though, are really effective: sunshine, birds, flowers, fresh fruit, coffee, newspaper, dog friend, SparkFriends -- yeah, you'll beat the grumpies.

Wish we could help SP come up with a way better than annoying ads to keep this site free. Any ideas?

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MRE1956 7/29/2012 12:52PM

    I really hate it when these popping ads appear RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF where I want to click!


Of course, that makes me even more hell-bent on NOT responding - so.....heh, heh......payback/karma is a bear!


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TRAVELGRRL 7/29/2012 11:59AM

    Sounds like you got over your grumps soon enough AND have a great day planned! I saw a lone fawn on my front lawn yesterday! It was so strange, didn't see the mama at all. It was such a day brightener. I'll try to remember to post a picture tomorrow!

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TKADEEPBREATH 7/29/2012 10:08AM

    I am totally with you on the accidental trip to the unexpected when you're trying to do you thing here. It's so annoying. But we all know why it's that way. I've learned to really try not to touch anything that will send me off somewhere. I like to stay focused. We certainly agree there.

With what you have on your schedule, sound like your spirits will be lifted high above it soon.

Take care my friend . . . enjoy your day! emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/29/2012 10:05AM

    Golf and sunshine... AND fresh fruit? Gotta help!

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ELRIDDICK 7/29/2012 9:54AM

  Thanks for sharing

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Maintenance: pretty much all we need to know! Thanks again, 4A-HEALTHY-BMI!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

OK, 4A-HEALTHY-BMI's done it again: followed up her inspiring video with a truly amazing blog on maintenance.


It's full of links to various resources and information. Because we all know . . . taking it all off is just the beginning of the story.

And keeping it all off is the work of a lifetime, every day.

Is it worth it? You bet.

Is it easy? Not so much.

Here's what we need to know to make it possible!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 7/28/2012 9:25AM

    Angela provides a wonderful compendium on what it takes to nail it and maintain it!


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TRYINGHARD1948 7/27/2012 4:41PM

    Great link Ellen, thanks for sharing.

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_LINDA 7/27/2012 10:47AM

    Angela works hard at it, doesn't she? She is the absolute best leader for the maintaining team! Thanks for the link!
Have yourself a fabulous Friday and a great weekend!!

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NANCY- 7/27/2012 10:25AM

    What a sweetheart you are to share this with all of us. Even though I am far from getting to maintaining... I realize that it is a lifestyle and if I start working on it now it will be easier to "maintain' when I get to my goal weight.
Thank you for being here, informing and inspiring me.

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SWAZY33 7/27/2012 8:32AM

    emoticon emoticon

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PHEBESS 7/27/2012 8:21AM

    Thank you for the link. (And your comments today)

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KALIGIRL 7/27/2012 8:07AM

    Here's to staying healthy!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/27/2012 6:25AM

    Totally on board. Maintenance is WORTHY of celebration... the journey doesn't end when the scale says "goal"... the game's a lot longer. And 4A-HEALTHY-BMI is one of our Super-Stars not just for her own success but for her strong advocacy!


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NUOVAELLE 7/27/2012 2:00AM

    Thank you for sharing the link. I watched her video and I'm going to read her blog now.
She's a real inspiration!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/26/2012 11:09PM


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ROOSTER72 7/26/2012 11:08PM

    Maintainers have got to keep the goal front and centre. Thanks for the link

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VENISEW1 7/26/2012 10:01PM


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