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Identity and numbers

Monday, July 18, 2011

On the third of July, I did what I always do in the morning. Bathroom, step on scale in the minimum, write it down. I write my weight on the calendar. I walked back into my bedroom to mark it. I am writing about this because I had a Freudian slip that particular morning. Instead of writing "121" (which the scale said), I jotted down "221".

Double take. But there is a point to this. "221" is a number that's been on the calendar in a genuine sense in the past. Multiple times. I had this happen once before during the losing process... instead of writing "148", I had automatically written "198"... or some such.

If the theory is true (again, don't remember where I read it) that it takes a year to adjust to your new body size for every 25 pounds lost/regained... I have three years to go to adjust to the 120's range. Will I make it through those three years without drifting back the other way and undermining these changes? I don't know. I can only live one day at a time. I have more hope than ever before, I can say that.

Several exercises I have been going through recently have me pondering and meditating on identity and body size (again) and adding to my reflections on the topic. The National Weight Control Registry survey questionnaires had me digging through my old calendars. My brother's visit, and seeing his graphs of his daily recordings of weight (with a similar "life happens" pattern of gains and losses, just not as extreme as mine) added a piece. I think I already knew that "normal" eaters also cycle with life events, also eat for comfort at times... they just don't go as crazy as those of us who self-identify as compulsive eaters.

Yesterday I streamed the video of the most recent episode of "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" where the subject, Wally, is indeed a compulsive eater. Like me. The trainer ended up leaving him at an addiction center and abandoning the transformation project, 9 months into the year. I'm very glad they showed one like this, because for those of us who are compulsive eaters, weight is a symptom, not the whole problem. For us, a solution has to be more than the mechanics of losing pounds.

What's the point of all this? I suppose that it is a huge uphill battle to change one's concept of oneself. When you look statistically at those who have successfully maintained, long-term, a significant change in weight / body size, it is under ten percent. Which is why I joined the study... may as well contribute to learning about it.

It makes me think: is my identity from the inside out, or from the outside in? From the outside, I am thin and fit, as my brother and others can see. From the inside, I occasionally write down erroneous weight numbers that reflect how I see myself. From the inside I know what I am capable of doing to myself with food, and I choose each day to pray the serenity prayer.

I think I finally know what it means to be "abstinent" in an OA sense, for me (but don't get cocky, Barb). Fitness is a joyful element of reward for living this way, and I live one day at a time.

Life's good. Spark on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 7/18/2011 9:24PM

    Great insight!

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MOBYCARP 7/18/2011 7:21PM

    While I can't speak to the accuracy of the one year for 25 lbs. metric, it rings true to me that time is required to adjust to a different body image. I remember being 185 lbs. and thinking I was fat; getting used to myself over 200 lbs., where dropping below it was a fantasy; and coming down to touch 185, briefly, after I'd thought I couldn't go that far. There's definitely a lag between my weight changing and my becoming accustomed to the current weight.

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/18/2011 3:11PM

    Love it, Barb! Keep challenging to think!

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KALIGIRL 7/18/2011 1:06PM

    "Fitness is a joyful element of reward for living this way" - beautifully said and I can attest that in your case, it's very true!

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SEATURTLE86 7/18/2011 10:50AM

    emoticon Very interesting blog today.

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/18/2011 9:15AM

    Gret blog, thanks. Three years...hmm I never adjusted to the fat me so maybe I will just be what I think I am ;-)

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FITFABJENN 7/18/2011 8:45AM

    Thanks for the info on the year to every 25 pounds. That means I'll need 4 years to adjust to my goal weight.

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WATERMELLEN 7/18/2011 7:57AM

    This is a terrific blog: both important and moving.

I'm interested to learn that it takes 3 years to adjust mentally to the weight loss . . . for me, maybe more!!

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One thing... outdoor edition

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We are in an excessive heat warning week... it is predicted we could top the century mark on the Fahrenheit scale every day from Monday through Thursday. Today they said "99"... yeah. Like that makes a huge difference.

I had been troubled by the state of this tree's undergrowth for some time. It makes it harder for the cars coming down the street to see children playing, people jogging, other cars approaching the intersection, etc.

As with yesterday's Volkswalk, the better part of valor for yard work this week is to do it EARLY. So I did this between 7 and 8 a.m., before church time. Humming "Baa, baa Black Sheep" because I thought so: a three bag job.

I'd say I got my morning "one thing" done for today. emoticon

Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/18/2011 8:18AM

    I agree with Linda -- that's citizenship!! Love the "three bag full" part too!!

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CHRYS13 7/17/2011 4:59PM

    Great job!
We're in the same advisory here in southwest MN! Oh, so humid!!

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MARVEEME 7/17/2011 2:31PM

    One less hazard! Great job!

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_LINDA 7/17/2011 1:06PM

    Well done for being a conscientious citizen!! Hot here too, 100 humidex today and 43 C (109.4F) tomorrow. We haven't had temperatures this high in a great many years! Means morning workouts, or best : pool workouts!!

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MNTWINSGAL 7/17/2011 10:50AM

    You sure did....and so smart to get out there and get it done early! We are under a heat advisory all week too....90's all week, but so far no 100's predicted. The humidity is awful though.

Stay cool, and stay hydrated!

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LEANJEAN6 7/17/2011 10:03AM

    Good morning to you too!!!! The early bird gets the worm eh??--LOL--- You did a great job there!--Lynda

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KARIDIAN1 7/17/2011 9:40AM

    Looks great-what an improvement. We are in the same heat way here in MN. Hubby went for his walk around 7 am and came back after 30 minutes and promptly took another shower. Today may be a mall walk or something along that order.

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Sparking in Person!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This morning I had my second "in the flesh" meeting with another Sparkler. Photo above to prove it now has a place on my front page, too. We've been writing and commenting on one another's blogs for over a year now... and when we both discovered we were participating in the same 10K Volkswalk today, we opted to meet and walk it together. We knew we were in the same town. What we didn't know was that we live essentially in the same neighborhood!

About time we Sparked together! It was a blast getting to know KALIGIRL better. Of course by now she knows I'm just as chatty in person as I am on the blog. But she still says we can exercise together in future! I love tolerance.

Of course from reading HER blogs, I already knew she's a kindred spirit... full of insight and intelligence and spunk. So, those of you who haven't yet met a Spark friend in real life? I recommend it. Spark people are real people living real lives, and sharing this piece of it right here!

I only had the one snapshot taken, not knowing how much of the 10K we might jog & didn't want to carry the camera. I got to see parts of the city that I don't normally, including part of the full marathon route. We spotted a HUGE turtle emoticon (gotta go back and snap its picture one of these days for the Turtle team). Passed a chum from my work place who pointed out a rainbow to us. Met a few of her running class. We got back safe before the heat got too heavy, and even got sprinkled on... and now, post-shower, I'm still bubbling with good feelings and endorphins.

This journey is so worth it, fellow Sparklers. Live well, Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 7/18/2011 2:42PM

    Congrats on completing the 10K and how special to do it with Kaligirl!

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KALIGIRL 7/18/2011 1:09PM

    It was such FUN!
Here's to you my much better fit kindred spirit emoticon
You will conquer Friday's 5K emoticon

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CHRYS13 7/17/2011 5:00PM

    how wonderful for the both of you! emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/17/2011 8:57AM

    How fun! Glad you had a great race with a fellow healthy spirit!

emoticon with emoticon WOOHOO!!


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MSLZZY 7/17/2011 7:10AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 7/17/2011 2:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Well done with the walk and meeting KALIGIRL!!
That is fantastic!! I would so love to meet my fellow Sparkers!

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REJ7777 7/17/2011 2:14AM

    emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/16/2011 9:08PM

    So cool: two of MY favourite Spark Friends get to meet face to face!!

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LJCANNON 7/16/2011 2:30PM

    I LOVE Face-To-Face Sparking!!
emoticonYou both look GREAT!! I can't wait to meet the Turtle.

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LEANJEAN6 7/16/2011 2:19PM

    Oh wow!!--I'd LOVE to mkeet another Sparkler!!!! You are so fotrtunate!!---- Glad you enjoyed it!!!

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FITFABJENN 7/16/2011 12:31PM

    Awesome! It must be so wonderful to meet up with fellow Sparkers. You both look so happy in the pic.

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LINDAJOYWK 7/16/2011 12:05PM

    How fun! You both look so happy & healthy!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/16/2011 12:01PM

    What fun! I've had the pleasure of meeting SUSIEMILO last year and hopefully we'll have a chance to meet again once this summer. And this January SHARONSPARKLE and I are planning to hook-up when we both travel to Arizona. There are a few others that I've gotten close to but live a state (or more) away. I keep threatening to plan a road trip one of these days, and maybe I will. It is fun to meet in person. We already feel like we know each other because we share so much of our lives with each other.

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SENATOR9 7/16/2011 11:54AM

    Glad you had a nice run and meet a new friend in person

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Obese 90 plus year olds?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The radio was playing in the background as I went through my morning routine and at some point I heard one of the speakers say, "You just don't see obese 90 year olds." Hmmm. The point, I'm sure, was to emphasize the link between longevity and maintaining a "healthy" weight.

But it got me to thinking about the people I have known in my life, the anecdotal evidence. My great-grandmother, whom I remember as "well-padded" from my youth, went into a nursing home when she was in her 80's, I think. By the time she passed, she had lost considerable weight. She didn't make 100, but she was over 90, and thin.

I had seen pictures of my Dad's mom, who I always thought of as being trim (she walked EVERYWHERE)... at a heavier weight when she was younger. Don't know if that "heavier" photo was a PG one, or if she really did drop the pounds same as the rest of us... but I do remember her growing her own veggies and all that walking. She lived to 84, I think. Her husband, whom I remember as tall and thin, passed when I was only 4, with his children under 30.

Another "well padded" grandma that I never knew as truly slender... passed before her own mother, and I think she was under 80 at the time. From a family perspective... I have not seen an obese 90 year old. I have seen an obese cousin pass at 34, a "big" nephew at 33, a "stout" brother in law at 54, and a couple of "fluffy" friends I remember in their 50's or 60's. My mother's death certificate described her as obese. She was in her 60's.

As for me: I don't know about numbers of years, but I do know about quality of the time I have. I'd rather live as I am now than eat the way I used to and have the problems that came with it. I don't think I want to test this fellow's theory.

How about y'all? What does your collective experience tell you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANA717 7/19/2011 8:04AM

    WOW!! That is sobering!!! TRUE!!! and sobering!!! Thank you for writing this!!

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ASRMOM 7/16/2011 11:01AM

    Interesting thought! Thanks for getting me thinking!

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WOMANCHEF 7/16/2011 9:08AM

    Hmm food for thought:
I knew 3 great grandmothers who all lived into their 90's - two out of three were quite slim and the other was average weight. My maternal grandmother died in her 80's and was of a healthy weight and my paternal grandmother was 93 and a tiny butterball of a woman - very round and she smoked most of her life. My paternal grandfather was in his 80s and tall and slim, my maternal grandfather passed at 55 and was obese. My dad fought weight his whole adult life and died at 75. My mom is skinny as a rail and is very healthy at 77 but is starting to suffer from dementia. Kind of a mixed bag...but I am going to stick with healthy eating and living to make the most of what I have.

Comment edited on: 7/16/2011 9:09:13 AM

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    In general, as people age beyond the "insurance average", they tend to not have the same appetite as they did in their youth. Or is it that those who live to extraordinary age in good health are the smarter ones?
That being said, there is a great correlation between healthy weight and longevity. Less stress on internal systems and structure. We see and feel it now!

My dad,who has 7 lives left(chronicled in my blogs), is back to walking about 1/2 mile a day with his walker/seat combo. He is determined to do this every day. THEN he exercises including using weights. He'll be 88 in September. No better role model for me! emoticon

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DOTTIEJANE1 7/15/2011 7:00PM

    No obese folks but overweight , I am not where i want to be BUT I am on my way . My mom is 90 and in an assisted care facility and doing great mentally and physically . She gradened most of her life up until she went to a care facility. Now walks with the other walkers.

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COMPUCATHY 7/15/2011 5:07PM

    Hmm...I never knew my grandparents. But mom passed in her 80's and she was very thin. She had such a problem with arthritis. I can imagine that her problems would have been ten-fold if she would have had to deal with weight on top of the arthritis. Just moving her little thin body was hard enough. I think being thin and healthy at any age...and probably especially in the golden the way to be. Thank you for all your encouragement! I hope you have a TERRIFIC weekend! Enjoy! Celebrate your blessings! Spark on! emoticon

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MSLZZY 7/15/2011 3:16PM

    My maternal grandmother was very tall, large-boned and lived to be 87. She was "well
padded" but being 6'4, she didn't look like she carried an excess. My mother, always
thin and a hard worker, lived to be 77. She was born with an irregular heartbeat but
did everything she needed to raise 5 children. My paternal grandmother was petite but
packed a few extra pounds until very late in life. She passed at age 74. I can't find a
correlation but that's okay. I am living better now that a few years back and I love
the changes I have made.

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KALIGIRL 7/15/2011 1:08PM

    My grandmothers were different in almost every way.
My maternal GM was tall, elegant, sharp to the end (avid bridge player), and although she gained menopausal weight, I guess in a healthy BMI range. She died @ 105 we think (she may have been older - married a younger man...)
My paternal GM was short, motherly, suffered from memory loss and I assume obese most of her adult life. She died @ one month shy of her 100th birthday with still a considerable amount of body mass.

Given those genes, Iím planning to see well past 100 and like you Barb, plan to do it with quality!

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BOOKWORM27S 7/15/2011 12:57PM

    So true, the elderly that are in good health in their 80's and 90's are always slender and make an effort to stay active on a daily basis.

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_LINDA 7/15/2011 12:26PM

    All the ones I have seen or read about were thin. Guess that is pretty telling! An interesting note to the side. It seems there are a lot of obese grandfathers. Most men do not live as long as women. Even if their spouse looks after themselves and eats well, a lot of men still choose to eat what ever they want. There are more widows then widowers. Both my grandfathers died before the grandchildren even came along, but smoking was the cause for the early departure. A lot of women on here speak of the struggle to stay out of their husband's stash of junk foods or having to buy or make them their treats. I see a lot of photos of thin women beside chubby hubbies on Sparks..
More food for thought..

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SEATURTLE86 7/15/2011 11:10AM you have me thinking. Great blog! Well I do know one thing, I agree with you when you said "I'd rather live as I am now than eat the way I used to and have the problems that came with it. " That is exactly how I feel now. I am trying to nip all the health problems in the bud! And I plan to live to 100! emoticon

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LEEZAB 7/15/2011 10:57AM

  interesting... my grandmother died at 85 and was overweight. She had an allergic reaction to a drug so perhaps it was before her time. My Dad began to lose weight within 2 years of his death. He died at 75 due to heart failure. It may be that after he late 80's... there is some switch over. I do know that many older people lose their sense of taste and then food just doesn't have the pleasure it did and many have difficulty swallowing. My almost 90 father in law is active but he can't really taste the food and always complains he doesn't enjoy eating as much as he did,

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TURTLETALK 7/15/2011 10:17AM

    Wow, great food for thought. I have plenty of "well-padded" relatives but the only ones who made it into their 90's were thin by the time they hit that number. My grandfather passed away 30 days before his 100 birthday but I always remember him as tall and thin with perfect posture. Hmmm, I guess I'd better get with it because I intend to hit the magic 100!

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DEBRITA01 7/15/2011 9:08AM

    At my part-time job, I interact with senior citizens every day...most of them are living independent, fulfilling lives in their late 80's and 90's. The common theme seems to be they remain ACTIVE both mentally and physically. My husband's grandma lived to be 100 and she remained active as long as she could...and when the body gave out, she kept her mind active. When she was younger she was obese, but as she reached her late 70's she lost weight without trying. Although she wasn't slim in her earlier years, she did eat all meals from scratch~no processed or fast food for her!
In thinking about it, it seems to be a 3-pronged approach to longevity: an active body, an active mind, and healthy foods. Good blog and something to think about...

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/15/2011 8:55AM

    I think that when people reach a certain age (not sure what that age is, however) it becomes more an issue of eating to live, not living to eat. Once that switch is flipped, they naturally lose weight. My mom battled with weight issues most of her adult life but was only 100 pounds when she passed away in November. My grandmother who was "average" for all the time I knew her, was quite heavy in younger days. Perhaps as we age, just staying alive becomes the priority and focus and eating for enjoyment takes a back seat. Which is probably why "they" say: with age comes wisdom. . . .

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PUPPYDOG0613 7/15/2011 8:39AM

    I have never really thought about this, but I believe you are right. Interesting. I'm going to add this to my motivational quotes. :)

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LESS_IS_MO 7/15/2011 8:30AM

    Your assessment sounds right. I've only seen unhappy, lethargic obese grannies. None that is spry and energetic.

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ELSEEBEE 7/15/2011 8:28AM

    You are so right, Barb! We know excess weight leads to all kinds of problems. I'm with you on the eating healthy and exercising lifestyle as being a permanent change in my life. We don't know how many days we have left, but I plan to enjoy every darn one of them! emoticon

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National weight control registry

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A few weeks back I finally set the stake in the ground and signed up for this study. Today a whole sheaf of questionnaires showed up in my mailbox. I spent most of this evening filling them out. In order to do so, I had to drag out all the calendars on which I had recorded weights... and for that matter, back into my Weight Commander software. I suppose it might be a bit of a statement about my obsession with the scale that I have nearly 20 years of records!

emoticon However, I found out how faulty my memory is, in the process. I had thought that I was back up to my highest weight in 2005. I discovered when I really looked it up, that it was in 2001. Mostly I hung out between ten and twenty pounds under that, even in my heavy phases. That "top" number didn't stay long, either of the two times I reached it... because it was really, really unhealthy and my survival instincts would NOT allow me to stay there!

When you are out of breath from walking five steps to answer the telephone, it's time to *do something*! When you hurt all the time, it's time to *do something*! I never want to go back there again. And that is part of my putting the stake in the ground of joining this study of those who are maintaining weight loss, long-term.

And tomorrow I will fill out the final study questionnaire and send it back.

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 7/15/2011 1:02PM

    How cool.
emoticonfor advancing research!

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LINDAJOYWK 7/15/2011 6:14AM

    Very cool! By the way,what is weight commander software?

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LJCANNON 7/15/2011 1:13AM

    emoticonWay To Go!! Spreading Your Spark Nationwide!!
I am so glad to be your SparkFriend. I believe we will help each other--and many others too--to beat the Statistics that say so many people gain their weight back!!

Comment edited on: 7/15/2011 1:14:48 AM

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    What a milestone....helping others through the registry.
Great Job!!

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THISYEARSMODEL 7/15/2011 12:15AM

    Congratulations on your success!'s not just you. I have weight charts in my old journals dating back to age 13 or 14. Ridiculous, isn't it?

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_LINDA 7/15/2011 12:06AM

    Wow! 20 years!! You make a good study case alright!! But it seems you have come a long way from your early beginnings. Lessons learned. you only get one shot at good health and you have decided to put the odds in your favor! Wishing you continued success at maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle!!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/14/2011 11:19PM

    There's no doubt in my mind (based on what I've read in your blogs) that you've made a fairly permanent change in your lifestyle and way of thinking about food, health, etc., that you'll be able to maintain this new, healthy weight for the rest of your life. I've said it many times, and I'll repeat it here: you are an inspiration to so many of us sparkers. Thanks for all you do to share knowledge and wisdom and to just support and encourage us.

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