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ABC's of Maintenance: I is for Identity and Image

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"There once was a girl with a strawberry curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good she was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid."

This old nursery rhyme was quoted at me often as a child. As I had strawberry blonde hair, I viewed it as my personal roadmap or something. Anyway, it says a lot about the on-off all-or-nothing kind of thinking we can take on.

Is your image of yourself taken to extremes? Does what you see in the mirror change based on what you saw on the scale this morning? Do you "throw in the towel" on the whole day because you ate ONE cookie at a staff meeting? If you do, you might be indulging in some of this kind of thinking.

I was already pondering along these line when I spotted another Spark blog this morning about the "All or Nothing Attitude". LJR4HEALTH wrote essentially about the same thing I was thinking, and about ditching that attitude to be successful.

Anyway, here's to the balanced self-image and identity, accepting that we are NOT "very, very good" OR "horrid" but somewhere humanly in the middle! And moving in the direction of another I: "Improvement".

Oh, and life's good, even when I'm not particularly... Happy Halloween! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 10/30/2011 3:30AM

    Love the costume... and your words are food for thought as always...

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KARIDIAN1 10/27/2011 9:11PM

    Great blog and great costume. Have fun this Halloween. We had our Boo Blast at work this evening from 4p-7p. We were expecting 1000 kids to come in for the event.
I was off at 430pm so only saw part of it, but helped with the set up and decorating this afternoon.

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DEBRITA01 10/27/2011 6:54PM

    Ah, that's something that I'm working hard to change as it is a roadblock on my path to success (in all areas of life, not just weight loss). Good blog...and loved the costume. emoticon

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ANDI571 10/27/2011 4:12PM

    My mom called me a knot head. Hmm? I always thought I knew everything even as a child, lol. So if she told me the moon was white, I would argue it was a different color. Or it could have been that I was always falling down or running into something and putting a knot on my head. That could have been it too.

On the serious side though, I was so skinny when I was a child and everyone commented on it. They would say, she is so tall and skinny. I think when I beat myself up, I think of those days and how I would like to have those comments again, when in reality, I would be way to skinny now. It's hard to get those thought out of your mind.

I'm enjoying your blogs, keep them coming. emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 10/27/2011 1:36PM

    Great post. I think we all need to look in the mirror and start seeing a beautiful child of God!! Smile and say job well done.
I love the costume. Happy Halloween.

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MSLZZY 10/27/2011 10:12AM

    It's all avbout balance. Great costume! HUGS!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/27/2011 9:54AM

    Oh yeah! The all-or-nothing thinking; the good/bad thinking; the black/white thinking -- all of those attitudes prevent me from making the permanent postive changes I wish to make. Must work on that.

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SUNNY332 10/27/2011 9:01AM

    There is always room for IMPROVEMENT - something you know and came out loud and clear today in this post. I have in the past started over several times in a given day but today, I am making much healthier choices but know that at any times, it can revert back. Being aware of my goals and commitments help.

I have to remember that - All Change is not growth and all movement is not forward. Author unknown

The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.

Arthur C. Clark

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KALIGIRL 10/27/2011 8:26AM

    Love it - improved image just in time for treats!

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CIRANDELLA 10/27/2011 8:03AM

    Reasonable...healthy...sane! Thank you...and you make an adorable witch, Barb! emoticon

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DEBRA0818 10/27/2011 7:42AM

    Or, as my beloved Ashleigh Brilliant says, "Just because I accept you as you are does not mean I abandon all hope for your improvement."


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ABC's of Maintenance: H is for heroes

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yesterday as I was driving to work, I was thinking of my "H" and "heroes" came to mind. We all need heroes. People we see out there doing things we respect and admire... whether it is battling the moral issues, overcoming personal obstacles, or fighting the fight to protect the defenseless. Some people with great success stories spark us to start or continue our own journeys. We look to their writings and sayings to keep us going when the going gets tough.

Spark People is a site chock full of unsung, often unknown, and un-famous HEROEs and SHE-ROEs (I word I'll attribute to one of mine, Sunny332). I could list a lot of Spark names here, but don't want to leave ANYONE out... from my first Spark friend who sent me to the site, MISSDIANE, to WALKINGANNIE (who I haven't seen around in a long time and miss), to my local very special Spark friends that I've actually met, HOT4FITNESS and KALIGIRL... and many, many, many more.

I have fitness heroes and sheroes, like JUST_TRI_IT who gives me dreams to drive for and my baby brother MOBYCARP, who makes me jealous even while he makes me proud with his six foot frame and 7:xx minute miles!

I have articulate heroes and sheroes (and here's where I'm in serious danger of leaving someone out), like DEBRA0818 who has had three different Spark names in the time I've been reading her stuff. Or CookMe123. Or Andi571. Or KaseyCoff. You may not think of yourself as heroes, but when you tackle your feelings and failings and successes and put yourself out there, you are showing both wisdom and bravery! I will run out of room if I keep down this path, so please forgive if your name is not here... if you've ever seen my name crop up as a comment on your page or a blog, you're on my list!

In my book, every one I encounter who is fighting the good fight, or struggling with him or herself to enter the fray... is a hero. They are people I respect and want to emulate.

Oh, yes, heroes are essential to any life, to make it worthwhile. I have many, many heroes, right here on Spark, as well as in real life.

Here's to your heroes and sheroes, and to mine! Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 10/27/2011 1:59AM

    Spark has introduced me to many people I admire and am honored to know. So grateful we crossed paths on this enormous web site!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY1432 10/26/2011 10:35PM

    emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 10/26/2011 7:45PM

    "Shero" is a terrific word . . . and you are a terrific shero for so many of us here! Thoroughly enjoy so many of our mutual friends, and of course your bro MOBYCARP too!! It helps to know that others are fighting the good fight and prevailing, both at SP and in the "real" world (not that we aren't real, of course).

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/26/2011 5:38PM

    You are more of a hero to me than I could ever dream about being. But thanks for the kind thoughts, Barb. Everybody does need a hero. Thank goodness SP has so many for us to draw from!

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DEBRA0818 10/26/2011 2:44PM

    I have a lot of people here at SparkPeople that I look to for inspiration, motivation and consolation and you're at the top of my list! It has been a real blessing to duck in and out of SP and always find you here (with the same name -- easier to find).

Your blog covered a topic that my DH and I have discussed at length. Growing up the way we did, neither one of us had heroes. I think we were both struggling just to keep our hair on (as the Brits say). As adults, we have both come to admire and emulate certain people, but there's probably no great substitute for the kind of feeling that comes from a child's heart when a hero is identified and followed.

Great blog!

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ANDI571 10/26/2011 12:01PM

    Oh my, I wasn't expecting that, and am so humbled. If I have helped in any way, I am so thankful.

But you too are a she-roe. Often when I think I can't lose anymore and decide to make my goal where I am at, I think of you. And your running, I just can't imagine. When I did my 5K the other day, I couldn't help but think of the time you did your last one in. I know I was walking, but I am in awe of anyone our age that can actually run. I did run the last few yards just to see if I could do it, and I did.

I agree, there are so many unsung heroes and sheroes on here. I have found many that gives me the inspiration to go on.

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DEBRITA01 10/26/2011 11:09AM

    You are so right...there are so many Heroes and She-roes here on SP who continue to inspire me everyday! emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY332 10/26/2011 8:26AM

    Heros/she-roes are not born but made and you are definitely one of my mine. Your hard work, your persistance and your dedication are amazing - not to mention your "6 pack" and your guns. You look amazing and I am in total awe of all that you have accomplished. You should be very proud.

Keep up the great work for the "health" of it.

Hugs, Sunny

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WENDYSPARKS 10/26/2011 7:57AM

    I have many heros in my life...thanks to SPARK!!!

Wendy emoticon

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MSLZZY 10/26/2011 7:52AM


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AZMOMXTWO 10/26/2011 7:30AM

  thank you for reminding me about heros and she-rows

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ABC's of Maintenance: G is for gratitude

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I took yesterday afternoon off work to make up for the overnight stints over the weekend. It was a a gorgeous day, so I took a long walk around the lake in the Autumn sunshine. I ended up covering a part of the long track from Sunday's Making Strides walk... observing the trampled down grass past the golf course, and in my mind envisioning the sea of pink striding the other way on another really nice day.

I was contemplating my "G" words... generous, giving, God loving a gracious giver, not gruding... and of course giving from a sense of abundance... all of which come down to starting out with a grateful heart! What better or more timely G for the season of Thanksgiving than gratitude.

But what does gratitude have to do with maintaining healthy habits? After all, I'm here, in the promised land of maitenance, and I worked for it, right? Hang on a minute there, super-ego! Much leg-work was involved, true, but what about the gifts received along the way?

The first gift of motivation? How about a little appreciation / gratitude for that?

The friends who supported your efforts, and wrote or said encouraging words just when they were needed? Ditto.

The availability of healthy choices and the freedom to make them? You bet!

The fact that my body can still respond, despite years of ill treatment, by becoming healthier? Absolutely.

I could go on and on, but an attitude of gratitude keeps it green, makes me aware of how fragile and precious it is to be in my goal range. It preserves the knowledge that I am here through a measure of grace... some legwork, yes, but the grace and gift of the desire and the ability to do it. I think I "get" the athletes who thank God when they win a big game or catch a key pass. So much can "go wrong"... there are many dropped passes in practice before the big one is caught in the game!

So today, my G is gratitude. And as part of that, specific gratitude for SparkPeople
emoticon, for the various programs and books I've learned from, and for all the wonderful Spark Friends I've made along the way.

Life's indeed good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDI571 10/25/2011 11:01PM

    I like that......

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KARIDIAN1 10/25/2011 8:29PM

    Vitamin G-you sure pegged it!

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DEBRA0818 10/25/2011 4:08PM

    Love the Vitamin G -- try to take a mega dose of it every day!


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/25/2011 10:39AM

    Gratitude vs. grumbling. I think I need to do more of the former and less of the latter. It's so easy to become fixated on all the self-imposed rules and sacrifices. Yet you make an excellent point and remind me of all the things I need to be grateful for. In spite of myself.

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_LINDA 10/25/2011 9:39AM

    Kaligirl's wonderful blogs first introduced me to the concept of an attitude of gratitude and I have nothing but gratitude for Sparkpeople and all the wonderful people I have met on here!! The Spark flames burns brightly!
emoticon emoticon

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CIRANDELLA 10/25/2011 9:28AM

    Vitamin G is a wonderfully nourishing thing, isn't it? I'm with you on gratitude for having my body respond to better exercise and eating despite years of ill treatment! It's amazing that this could be, but happily, it often is! I'm grateful to have met you here on SP, Barb :) - Susan emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 10/25/2011 8:13AM

    An attitue of gratitude -- sounds so cheesy, is so essential! A lot of overeating can be eating to "fill the void" -- to make up for what wasn't given, and therefore is "justified". If I feel I've been given in abundance and choose to feel grateful for that, I'm so much less likely to overeat.

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SUNNY332 10/25/2011 8:07AM

    At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
Albert Schweitzer

I am also very thankful for Sparkpeople and the wonderful Sparkies I have met on my journey.

Hugs, Sunny

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BUGGYS 10/25/2011 7:54AM

    I am grateful for so many things and for that I feel blessed, especially for my friends here on SP who support me in everything I do...this journey would be impossible without them! emoticon emoticon

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DEBRITA01 10/25/2011 7:43AM

    emoticonI love Spark People, too and am grateful for the impact they've had on my journey. Keep Sparking....Life IS good! emoticon

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ABC's of Maintenance: F is for fun!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Remember back when initiative was strong and you were envisioning life at your goal weight? See chapter one of goal-setting. I'll bet there were at least a few "fun" things in your vision: did you see yourself playing with your grandchildren? Mine included such oddities as getting on ice skates and on a horse. Some of you may have dancing or swimming, a specific sport like playing that family football game on Thanksgiving? Golfing with the gang?

The important point is that once you get to maintenance, remember to still have fun. Remember to revel in it! It's part of why we established healthy habits to begin with! Because we wanted to LIVE, to be alive and aware and be able.

What do you LIKE to do, just for you? Give yourself the gift of making a few of these things priorities or rewards in maintenance, too! Like to paint? Draw? Write? Read novels? They don't have to be active things to be effective rewards.

Is there anything you have long wanted to LEARN? To play an instrument? To build something? Sew? Crochet? Cook? What better time than in maintenance! You've worked hard to do this... you've had some success... take advantage of that criss-cross effect.

Having fun doesn't mean giving up the healthy habits, it just means letting yourself enjoy and develop in ways that are attractive to you, personally. To be the natural and authentic YOU.

That's what makes Life good. Spark on! emoticon
(The sister waving is our breast cancer survivor, beside her, our youngest sis... I'm hiding behind the camera.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 10/25/2011 12:54AM

    For me, my exercise is my fun, I just love it. That is why I always advise people to choose a workout they can actually enjoy -I think several buddies will be trying Zumba some time in the future and they won't ever look at exercise in the same way again ;) I haven't given up on bowling yet, still too crunchy bending over, but look out when everything gets fixed up!

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KARIDIAN1 10/24/2011 9:21PM

    Having fun is something everyone needs to do!.

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ANDI571 10/24/2011 8:28PM

    Fun is such an important tool in life and weight loss. While on vacation we were walking the beach in our shorts and sweatshirts. It started to rain and we just kept on walking. Our clothes were soaking wet, so I ran out into the ocean. We had so much fun. Maybe that's the reason I only gained a pound over vacation.

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DEBRITA01 10/24/2011 8:01PM

    emoticonHere's to having a little bit of fun each and every day!

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BUGGYS 10/24/2011 7:22PM

    BRAVO, Barb!!!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/24/2011 4:58PM

    Great food for thought. Thanks for the little "lift."

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HOT4FITNESS 10/24/2011 4:12PM

    Hmmm.. Not sure I would want to ice skate while on a horse, but I have done some odd things in my time. LOL. If we can make fitness fun then we will concur and maintain. Thanks for sharing

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DEBRA0818 10/24/2011 11:03AM

    You're right and that's that!


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LJCANNON 10/24/2011 10:25AM

    Having FUN is Definitely an important part of any Successful Journey!!
emoticonThanks for the reminder!!!

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SUSIEMT 10/24/2011 9:33AM

    WooHoo! Good for you and all our Spark Friends! Good reminder have fun out there today!

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CATHOLICCORGI 10/24/2011 9:04AM

    Thank you for the reminder!
I am not at my goal...yet! But I need to remember it is a journey and to enjoy it ALL along the way!

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SUNNY332 10/24/2011 8:43AM

    Facts are Facts - you are FABULOUS in every aspect of the word. You are FANTASTIC and I hope you heard the FANFARE playing for you as you crossed the FINISH line yesterday.

and in case you didn't know, I am one of your biggest FANS!

Hugs, Sunny

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MEDDYPEDDY 10/24/2011 8:18AM

    You are so right - if I ever get there emoticon I will remember your wisdom...

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KALIGIRL 10/24/2011 8:17AM

    Were you @ Holmes yesterday? I helped 'man' the registration desk and was amazed @ the turnout - couldn't have been a better day for a fun and fruitful walk!

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ABC's of Maintenance: E is for evidence

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Evidence: it's what we look for in figuring out "what happened". Investigators of everything from program bugs (that's my personal experience) to crimes and disdemeanors look at physical clues and interview people who might have memories... they accumulate documents, including program logs and outputs (me), photographic evidence from security cameras, eyewitness testimony, etc.

What does "evidence" have to do with weight loss and maintenance? LOTS! What is the single most referenced tool people point to when they are explaining their success? TRACKING! Tracking is a vital piece of evidence in determining why and how we got the outcome we did.

In maintenance, when we stop tracking, it is analogous to turning off the program traces or the security cameras. We start relying on the eyewitness testimony as to "what happened" when we seek to explain our results.

It has been shown that eyewitness testimony is unreliable... how many of us "remember" those licks and samples we took when cooking? That snagged bit of chocolate we took on the way past the office candy dish? If we keep on tracking, we have our evidence if something starts to slip. We can clearly see what needs adjusting.

So, in my toolbox of the ABC's of maintenance is the continuing collection of evidence: of my success, in the monthly snapshots, of my following (or not) the plan in logging my food and exercise, and in a record of daily weights. Evidence to show not just THAT it's working, but WHAT is working (or not).

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDI571 10/24/2011 8:29PM

    Whenever I quit tracking, everything goes UP, if you know what I mean.

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HBCOPELAND 10/24/2011 11:15AM

    Tracking is a great way to keep moving forward. I often forget to track on the weekends and find I am lax in how I eat then. I am going to work on the tracking on the weekend too!!!

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KARIDIAN1 10/23/2011 9:17PM

    Tracking is the key!

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KARIDIAN1 10/23/2011 9:17PM

    Tracking is the key!

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WATERMELLEN 10/23/2011 8:47PM

    Tracking is Essential -- no Excuses!!

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MOBYCARP 10/23/2011 5:48PM

    A timely blog. Right now I'm looking at my accumulated evidence, and concluding I need to make an adjustment. It's comforting that the pieces of evidence I'm looking at are pretty much the same things you list.

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_LINDA 10/23/2011 5:01PM

    Tracking both my food and fitness has kept me on the staright and narrow. I will have no excuses if I gain any weight back, and so far, after 36 months, I haven't. The evidence is there. Tracking works, but only if you are using it accurately and as intended..
E for another excellent letter choice!

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LJCANNON 10/23/2011 3:32PM

    Documentation is such a Big Part of a Nurse's Life. If you don't Document it, it didn't happen.
The Food Tracker is the most important Tool I think, but the Fitness Tracker must be right up there in the Top Five.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEBRA0818 10/23/2011 11:41AM

    I can see such a huge relationship between my daily intake (and calories burned) and the results on the scale and the tape measure, that I'm convinced it is a habit worth keeping for a lifetime (tedious as it is sometimes).

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/23/2011 11:18AM

    Tracking is essential. It's so easy to just "forget" the little tastes and licks.

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DEBRITA01 10/23/2011 9:28AM

    I have been lax lately with tracking...not wanting to see the evidence of my actions, I guess. Thanks for the reminder about how important it is to our success!

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SUNNY332 10/23/2011 8:32AM

    In Nursing, we did "evidence based charting" on our patients.

I was never a big fan of the food tracker but have learned to use it. I do think it is now better than ever. I even have the tracker on my AOL home page so it is more convienent.

Take care and have a EFFECTIVE day.


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