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Comfort Food for Dinner Tonight: Old-Time Beef Stew

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I am cooking a pot of Beef Stew for dinner tonight. Very simple to toss together and smells wonderful already. The recipe is one of Paula Deen's recipes.

Healthy Comfort Food!

Here's the recipe...

Old-Time Beef Stew Recipe


2 pounds stew beef
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch


Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

*** I browned the meat and then tossed everything into the pot and cooked it for 2-1/2 hours. I then thickened the gravy by adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with enough water to mix it into a paste. I then stirred it into the stew and cooked it for a little while longer.

I also added a can of mushrooms. You could add any other vegetables that you like.

Servings Per Recipe: 6

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 279.7
Total Fat: 10.5 g
Cholesterol: 86.2 mg
Sodium: 154.2 mg
Total Carbs: 9.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 35.2 g

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILEYBEE 10/27/2011 2:22PM

    Yum! Wish I lived close enough to drop by your house at dinner time! emoticon

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ROSEWCI 10/27/2011 6:11AM

    This is very similar to the recipe I use Maria! I've been making this since my kids were little! It is the ultimate in comfort food! We always enJOY it during the winter months! Tasty & hearty! Yummy!

Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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RUBYTWOSDAY 10/26/2011 6:31PM

    Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a fall day!

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SEATTLE58 10/26/2011 5:16PM

    That's really good of you to post this. Thanks! That will be so nice on a cold fall/winter day. emoticon

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DFROMTX 10/26/2011 4:45PM

    Sounds wonderful!! Thanks for the recipe.

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GRACEISENUF 10/26/2011 4:03PM

    I love beef stew it is such a good, wholesome comfort food on a cold Fall or Winter Day..I love to make it in my crockpot.

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SMARGED 10/26/2011 3:06PM

    Hi, Maria! The stew sounds delicious. As you know, I never cook (just microwave!), but this recipe has me wanting to try it! Maybe I will....

You said it makes six servings. Two questions:
- About how much is each serving?
- Can I freeze it?

Thanks, Maria. emoticon

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Helpful Hint...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Drink Water before Every Meal & Shave 270 calories!

Drinking two glasses of water before eating may reduce your consumption by 90 calories a meal, report Virginia Tech researchers.

Want other strategies to eat less?

Eating slowly can help you shave 66 calories per meal; chewing gum before you eat can cut another 68 calories.

These ideas are By Emily G. W. Chau @ fitbie.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ARTPRINTER 10/26/2011 8:06AM

    Thanks, Maria! What great tips! I'm going to try them out today.


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RAINA413 10/25/2011 12:27AM

    This is awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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IRON_RESOLVE 10/25/2011 12:12AM

    Thanks, I'm going to try this and see for myself!

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SMARGED 10/25/2011 12:08AM

    Thanks, Maria, for sharing these hints. I, too, need all the help I can get!! I think these pounds just love me too much to leave me! LOL!!!

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1BEACHWALKER 10/24/2011 11:41PM

    Thanks Maria- I need all the help I can get! emoticon

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SEATTLE58 10/24/2011 9:09PM

    Thanks so much. I just saw this now! So very true. I'll have to remember that one every day, before every meal, and during every meal. emoticon

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ROSEWCI 10/24/2011 7:31PM

    emoticon emoticon I need ALL the help I can get!

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SMILEYBEE 10/24/2011 6:45PM

    Thanks for the hints Maria! I need all the helpful hints I can get! (I seem to be gaining rather than losing lately.)

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GRACEISENUF 10/24/2011 4:21PM

    I know the water hint works...I will have to try the others, thanks! I tend to eat faster than I should if I am really hungry.

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HOT4FITNESS 10/24/2011 4:03PM

    We can all use those little helpful hints

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MEADSBAY 10/24/2011 2:58PM

    Great ideas!
I found if I had just finished a cup of tea before dinner I eat less, too.
Of course, then I'm hungry again too soon from not eating enough!

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My List of Advantages for Losing Weight - Updated

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Several days ago I mentioned finding a list I created in 2007 called:

My Advantage Response Card

This was an exercise from a book I was reading called: The Beck Diet Solution - train your brain to think like a thin person - by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D.

I said I would pull that book out & re-read it. I have decided to use this book to help me think like a person that wants to maintain her current weight for a lifetime. The book says this program is for everybody - 'It doesn't matter if you want to lose 5 pounds or 100 pounds or if you just want to maintain your weight.' It's Cognitive Therapy to be used with any food plan a person chooses. So it works with the way I have been eating here at SparkPeople since June, 2010.

So today I re-wrote my reasons for wanting to maintain my weight loss.
Some are the same as the original list. Some are new. And I will continue to add more as I go.

My List, October - 2011

Advantage Response Card
• I’ll be healthier
• I’ll live longer
• I’ll feel more comfortable in my own skin
• I’ll be more positive and upbeat
• I’ll feel better about my body
• I’ll be able to exercise without getting out of breath
• My knees, ankles, hips & back won’t hurt as much
• I’ll have less aches & pains
• I’ll be more flexible
• I’ll go to sleep easier, sleep deeper & better
• I won’t just sit on my butt as much
• I’ll be able to wear smaller sized clothing
• I’ll be able to buy & wear cute clothes that fit & flatter my body type
• I’ll enjoy shopping
• I’ll enjoy eating out in public
• I’ll get more compliments
• I’ll be more physically fit
• I’ll be in a normal BMI range!
• I’ll feel more in control of my choices: food, exercise & life in general
• I’ll have better self esteem & confidence
• I’ll be less self conscious
• I’ll be less self-critical
• I’ll be a happier person!
• I’ll feel more outgoing
• I’ll be more assertive
• I’ll have amazing energy for a 50-something woman!
• I won’t worry about being comfortable in public
• I’ll accept invitations do go & do more things
• I’ll feel like a ‘normal’ person – whatever that is anyway
• I’ll be proud of myself & what I have done to take care of myself
• I’ll love & respect myself for investing the time & effort in caring for me because I AM WORTH IT!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEATTLE58 10/26/2011 5:43PM

    Oh Maria, I love all those things you listed and I sure can feel the opposite of them now. I know that I will be able to say those exact things one day and thanks for posting them! It's helping me today! emoticon Karen

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MEADSBAY 10/22/2011 2:46PM

    Excellent list!
I am right behind you, Maria!

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ONEGREATCAT 10/14/2011 4:49PM

    You're so darned right...YOU ARE WORTH IT! What a wonderful, wonderful list.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROSEWCI 10/14/2011 8:05AM

    ALL good reasons to keep up the healthy lifestyle you've worked so hard to maintain!!!

emoticon You GO girl!!! emoticon

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GRACEISENUF 10/8/2011 3:15PM

    Great list and reasons!

emoticon emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 10/7/2011 1:40AM

    Great list for all of us! Good idea! Sounds like a good book! Good for you! emoticon

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MISSLISA1973 10/4/2011 11:39PM

    One of my coworkers read this book and highly recommended it. It's definitely on my must-read list.

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SMARGED 10/4/2011 10:38PM

    I just read your list again, Maria! I can identify with every one of your reasons, so that could be my list too!! A list like that is really motivating!! Both while I'm struggling toward goal weight and then to keep it off!!

Thanks for sharing! emoticon Marge

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SMILEYBEE 10/4/2011 10:34PM

    I love your list Maria. Thank you for being so open and sharing!

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My Journey, Revisited September 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I just had some one comment on a blog post I made on October 28, 2010 - ELEVEN Months ago. I had to re-read it to see why anyone would care to read it.
It has helped me this morning to realize WHY I am doing this...

*Since I started SparkPeople I am 58 pounds thinner & 9 pounds below my Spark People goal...trying to make maintenance my new way of life!

Here's that Post...

Thursday, October 28, 2010
My Story: How did I End Up at Spark People Anyway???

I had a new Spark Friend ask me to tell her more about myself and my journey.
As I wrote my reply to her, I had to sit back and just go through in my mind when and how this Journey all got started.
I will share those thoughts here today, as they have helped me understand and put it all into better perspective.
It’s a journal entry that is shedding some light on various issues for me.

Here’s a bit about me & my journey. I’m married (22 years), a Mom to one daughter in college (20). I worked in business for 31 years (28+ in banking) left my job at the end of last year and gained 27 pounds from January to June, 2010 on an already overweight body. I like to cook and bake and want to find a way to continue to do so but in a healthier manner.

I have struggled with weight issues for as long as I can remember. I went on my first diet when I was 16. I weighed 150 pounds (5’6”) and thought I was overweight – based on all my shorter, skinny friends. I thought 125 sounded like what I should weigh – so I went on a diet that summer. I lost 15 pounds – not 25 and thought I was a failure…can you see how we get sucked into believing there’s something wrong with us at such a young age and we can’t shake loose of it? From that point on, I gained weight. I sure wish I weighed 150 right now! LOL!

My Mom was a chronic dieter. She belonged to TOPS and Weight Watchers…so that’s where I got the idea I needed to diet and that 125 should be my goal…because that was her goal (she’s only 5’2”). How unrealistic was that?

Yes, Weight Watchers was a good program. I lost 80 pounds on it when I was 19 -21 years old. It was a diet. I thought I had to diet to lose weight. I have thought that most of my adult life.

Until I got to age 45. I said to myself “enough dieting, I’m not doing this anymore!” “If dieting doesn’t work? What does?” I always thought if I could just eat like a thin person I’d get thin.

I started by walking…I bought a pedometer (Digi Walker SW-200) that just counts steps. I really researched which one to buy. I wanted a simple step counter that was VERY accurate. I started using it and discovered that I was walking 4,000 to 4,500 steps a day (real shocker!).

My goal was to get to 10,000 steps a day. I had read that people who count steps move more than people who exercise for 30 minutes a day. I since have determined that is true! 10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles.

As I focused more on increasing my steps…I found I was eating less, making better choice in foods. The weight started to drop. I went from 200 pounds to 155 in about a year. And I wasn’t dieting. I thought this was the way to go! I felt so good!

Then for whatever reason…I wasn’t walking as much, I started eating more and not focusing on my choices. I lost the magic! I realize now there is no magic. I need to stay aware of what I am doing.

So here I am, using those tools that helped me on that leg of my journey.
But I also realizing after talking to my doctor that I need a program that helps keep me more accountable.
He suggested Weight Watchers…I told him that I think DIET when I hear Weight Watchers.

I had read about Spark People. So I came to the website on Wednesday, June 16, 2010. I had been to the doctor on Friday, June 11th – had a nephew’s wedding on the 12th – started to be aware of what I was eating and started walking again on Monday, June 14th. I also weighed myself that day. Since that day I have lost about 25 pounds.

I eat healthy foods that I want to eat. I use the calorie range Spark People has given me. But I choose the foods.
Do I eat perfectly? No – there’s no such thing. I do eat better and well.

I exercise almost (I schedule 6 days a week with Sunday off – but still want to reach 10,000 steps) everyday for about 60 minutes. I walked outdoors during the summer.
Some days for 60 minutes at a time, other days 20 minutes 3 times a day… I tend to break it up.
I live in Minnesota so I needed to find a plan I could use indoors for the winter months. I am using Leslie Sansone’s Walk Slim and right now am using 3 Fast Miles. It’s 45 minutes. I add additional walking or yoga to it.

I’m not breaking any records here, but I am moving forward slowly and surely. It doesn’t feel like a diet. I do have to motivate myself to exercise. But I am always glad when I do because I do feel good. I’m trying to take it a day at a time.

And, yes, I pray about it – everyday.

And my Spark Friends are an awesome help to me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEADSBAY 10/22/2011 2:51PM

    We have so much in common- a lifetime of 'dieting' and getting fater and fatter (just like our moms).
I'm focusing on getting/ staying/being healthy now.

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GRACEISENUF 9/30/2011 8:19PM

    Perfect/healthy sense to me :)

I missed this blog cuz I was gone on my birthday until evening...glad I stopped by and got to read it.

My Mom also belonged to Weight Watchers (got me to join at a very young age) and was CONSTANTLY dieting. What is it with dairy farmer wives, tee hee! Just kidding of course.

You have come so far in such a short time proud of you!


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THINRONNA 9/29/2011 7:42AM

    So inspiring! No wonder it is till worth reading again! I remember this blog! emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 9/29/2011 1:55AM

    You are a very inspiring SPF! You have come a long way with your changes to your life in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and staying away from the diets! Yes, we have to make it an everyday routine, no matter what! Whether it is for 20 min or 60-always do something to keep us motivated and feel like we are doing something to improve our lives. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROSEWCI 9/28/2011 7:07PM

    Maria, you're a JOY! You've always inspired me to keep moving forward & strive to be better & work harder! You've done an awesome job & I know you'll continue to practice the healthy lifestyle you've worked so hard to maintain! I have no doubt you'll succeed! You're a winner!

emoticon emoticon

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ARTPRINTER 9/28/2011 2:14PM

    Maria, I loved reading your blog from last October! You've done such a fabulous job of changing your lifestyle to a healthy one you can stick with. I'm so inspired by your success!! You've accomplished so much in such a short time. Maintenance is just another step along the way. Congratulations, and thanks for being my Spark friend.

emoticon Terry

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ISHIIGIRL 9/28/2011 1:41PM

    Love this blog Marie. Thanks for sharing a part of your journey with us. I really appreciate that you are still here and have reached and surpassed your goals only one year later.Great job!

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COOKWITHME65 9/28/2011 12:11PM

    Maria you aree such an inspiration to me. You are so busy on the farm some days that that gives you the exercise you need. I love the idea of the walking dvd's when it is not nice out. Snow is coming and you have a great plan in place.

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SMILEYBEE 9/28/2011 11:49AM

    Maria, you are so good at expressing yourself and sharing your perspective. You really motivate me! I've slacked off on exercise for the past couple of weeks because I'm so wrapped up in working on our remodeling project and I'm sore and tired much of the time. I'm going to turn the corner on that soon and get back in the groove! Thanks for your friendship. You rock!

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SEATTLE58 9/28/2011 10:45AM

    Oh wow, I AM so PROUD of you! It's little things all along the way that help us to really know how to take care of ourselves better. I'm right in the middle of that these days. I'm loving the feeling of feeling better and stronger. I just need to keep going with this feeling. It's people like you that help people like me! Thanks a million! emoticon

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What Keeps Me Motivated?

Monday, September 26, 2011

That was a question I read on the message boards this morning.
It got me thinking - which led me to a little slip of paper I keep in a nutrition counter I have on my computer desk.

In September 2007 I read the book: "The Beck Diet Soultion."
(I think I will pull that book back out sometime soon and look at it again.)

Anyway, one of the projects at the beginning of the book was to 'record the Advantages of Losing Weight." It was called making a "Response Card."

Reasons I Want to Lose Weight...2007

Here's my list from September, 2007

Advantage Response Card - to be read atleast twice a day:

(I need to read my Advantage Response Card at least twice a day if I want to resist temptation. I'll take only a few seconds. It's not a big deal. I might not need it psychologically today, but I'll need it soon. I have to cement these reasons in my mind for when the going gets tough.)

I'll be healthier
I'll live longer
I'll feel more comfortable in my own skin
I'll be more positive and upbeat
I'll feel better about myself
I'll be able to execise without getting out of breath
My knees, ankles, hips and back won't hurt anymore
I'll have less aches and pains
I'll be more flexible
I'll sleep better
I won't sit on my butt as much
I'll be able to buy cute clothes that fit and flatter my figure
I'll enjoy shopping for clothes
I'll have better self esteem and be more confident
I'll be less self conscious
I'll have amazing energy and won't get tired as quickly
I won't have to worry if I'll be comfortable in public
I'll feel like a normal person
I'll be proud of myself

Today, September 26, 2011 - I CAN say YES to ALL of the above!!!

I wrote this list in September 2007 (I joined SP in June 2010) and I can say that today, September - 2011 I have accomplished all of these things on my list and I need to create a new list - so I can keep growing!

Just reading this list helps to keep me motivated each day - because I smile and feel good about what I have done for myself!!!

What Keeps YOU Motivated? Please share your tips with me, too! Thanks & have a wonderful week, friends!

~Maria in Minnesota

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 10/2/2011 8:19PM

    I came to thank you for reading, and leaving such a lovely comment on, my "body" blog. I am glad I discovered you, your page, and this blog. What a great list. You have done, and are doing, a fabulous job. 52 isn't so bad, is it? Imagine how bad 52 would feel if we were in our "fat and getting fatter" phase. You look great! emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/2/2011 8:20:28 PM

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THINRONNA 9/29/2011 7:45AM

    What a great list. There are so many things on there that I can relate to. Beingable to move and play with my kids is one importiant thing that keeps me motivated...and wanting to feel comfortable in my own skin!

Thank you for sharing your list from 2007!

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SMARGED 9/26/2011 11:33PM

    I loved your blog, Maria! Thanks for sharing!

What keeps me motivated? Feeling stronger and more flexible, having people comment on how good I look, and wearing a smaller size clothes - even tho I still have a long way to go.

You - and others like you - inspire me to keep on working toward my goal. As others commented, it isn't easy - it's hard work. My downfall is food - that's how I gained back 13 pounds! But thanks to the encouragement and support of my Spark Friends, I'm back on track and have lost 5 of those pounds!!
emoticon Marge

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BGSTELLA 9/26/2011 8:48PM

    I remember Beck's book too -- and those cards were a great idea that I will start-up again (I don't think I kept the original ones:) --- nice blog - thanks for writing it - Bernadette

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DRLCORNETT 9/26/2011 7:41PM

    I had many of the same items on my list and, like you, I'm enjoying accomplishing them. I've added "Get stronger" and "Get faster", because those are goals that I can keep chasing forever. I can always work on lifting more and running farther and faster. :)

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CHALLENGER15 9/26/2011 6:28PM

    Thank you for sharing!

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ROSEWCI 9/26/2011 4:09PM

    Excellent list Maria! You've got it!
I try to focus on one day at a time! And I try to apply what I've learned to each day! Eat healthy! Move my body! Drink the water! It sounds so simple, don't it! But we both know! It's hard work!!! You've done so well! Keep moving forward! You CAN do it!

emoticon emoticon

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LITTLEBJANET 9/26/2011 11:29AM

    I like your list. Congrats on meeting all of your goals.

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MARZIPAN22 9/26/2011 10:59AM

    What a reward to look back at your list and have the satisfaction you must feel ! It's interesting that you mention about updating/adding to your list of rewards to reflect the ongoing progress you want to attain. I wonder if NOT doing that is a large part of the reason people gain back weight that they worked so hard to lose. Thanks for the upbeat post !! emoticon emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 9/26/2011 10:47AM

    You have done such a great job!! Being able to wear cute clothes again definitely keeps me motivated. And the fact that other people notice the changes too. Losing weight just has so many advantages, but it is a challenging process. I just wish so many more overweight people would take on that challenge. Thanks for sharing your motivation on Spark today. Let's keep sparking on!

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