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Comfort Clothes

Friday, August 06, 2010

We talk a lot about comfort foods, the ones that make us feel good, take us back to childhood memories… but do we also have “comfort clothes”? Maybe it’s a particular style or fit, rather than a specific piece of clothing, but I'm thinking I do!

As a “large” person, I often had to buy things that did not fit me through the shoulders, simply to get the length and girth to cover my torso. Once I lost the weight, I still love several of these shirts and sweaters, but let’s be honest, they don’t really fit me.

While it’s wonderful to see my thinner self in clothes that fit, I have to admit that it is comforting to wrap myself up in an article of clothing that is “too big” for my new frame. It was cold at work earlier this week. I put on a sweater that I have hanging there because of the unpredictable nature of office air conditioning and heating. The sweater is now too big for me… even the smaller sweater that I bought a few years ago wraps amply around my tinier self.

I wrapped in around me like a blanket and felt… comforted. It made me feel protected, somehow. Like a little kid wrapped up in mom or dad’s shirt. Then when I took it off, and found myself in clothes that fit, I was OK with that, too.

I want to wear things that fit. I really don’t need to buy the bigger size any more. I want to trust myself to stay this smaller size. I find myself a little more willing to get rid of things that are bigger, too.

But I will keep a few “comfort clothes” around, despite the advice to discard it all. Because sometimes I need to feel like a child again.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SROUS1340 8/8/2010 10:40AM

    I have always been a fan of comfort clothes and those elastic waists have gotten me to larger sizes more than once.
I hit the sales last week and found myself chosing med instead of large, because like you I know want clothes to fit me not hide me. Good blog!

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THIAGRAM 8/7/2010 11:35PM

  I enjoy your wonderful perspective on so many little things that we don't normallly think of. I think old comfort clothes is very comforting indeed and it's so nice to feel comfortable the way we are now! Thanks for sharing!

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MSLZZY 8/7/2010 7:27AM

    I think we all have comfort clothes but that is not a bad idea!

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PENNYAN45 8/7/2010 12:19AM

    I know exactly what you mean. I, too, enjoy being wrapped in a warm, comforting piece of clothing that is too big for me. Often it is a sweat shirt or a sweater - something to keep me warm inside the house, especially during the colder weather. Being smaller myself doesn't take away from the comfort of the clothing. In fact, it makes me feel more petite and childlike.

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MT-MOONCHASER 8/6/2010 11:11PM

    Another suggestion if you have a lot of these "comfort" clothes would be to go to a dressmaker and have them either altered or remade/restyled. Just an idea I'd thought I'd toss out there. Most sweaters or tops can be restyled fairly easily. Pants, not so much. The fabric of the skirt of a favorite dress might be remade into a new top.

Comfort clothes are great. When I was in high school I used to have a sweater that I think my Dad wore in the navy. It was wool and really scratchy and I loved it. I'm not sure what happened to it, but I still occasionally wish I had it.

Enjoy your comfort clothes, most of mine are ones I hope to lose into soon. My "big" wardrobe is mostly a couple pair of jeans and lots of men's XL t-shirts and sweaters in various colors. I work at a farm/ranch oriented business, so the casual attire is job appropriate. I do have a pair of dress pants, a long skirt, and a couple of nice blouses and a couple blazers for dressier occasions.

Have a great weekend.

Comment edited on: 8/6/2010 11:13:04 PM

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WALKINGANNIE 8/6/2010 4:49PM

    Yes! My too-big dressing gown is my comfort clothing. I can't wear it much in public though.

As for other clothes, I tend to feel better in my 'slim clothes' now, especially blue jeans and a black T-shirt - my favourite combo for over 40 years but never comfortable when I'm overweight.

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KALIGIRL 8/6/2010 1:18PM

    I know just what you mean and kept a pair of old jeans until they fell off my hips. I have a flannel shirt that was my grandpa's and love to wrap up in it on cold nights. It hasn't smelled like him for years, but still provides a sense of security.
Here's to the child in us!

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APRILLSCOTT 8/6/2010 11:18AM

    It's okay to have comfort clothing I think! It can always serve to remind us how far we have come, and girlfriend you have come a long way!Don't give it all away we need these reminders! emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 8/6/2010 8:37AM

    I like to keep some bigger clothes too, especially snuggly sweaters. Our challenge is to keep being able to wear the smaller sizes. That way we can enjoy the best of both worlds - snuggly, too-big sweaters, and smaller sizes for our new, svelte figures. If we get fat again, we'll only be able to wear fat clothes, and they won't even be snuggly and too big! Perish the thought! emoticon

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/6/2010 8:01AM

    I have some big tshirts that I wear while working outside and my running shorts that I have worn since I started running several years ago that I still enjoy wearing and are much more comfortable than my "cute" new running clothes.

I, too, have a deep fear that my new body is temporary, plus I am hesitant to talk about my weight loss. I may jinx myself or I feel it is bragging and making those who have not had success feel bad. How do you deal with these problems?

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Yes, slumps: where do they come from?

I don't know. They just show up sometimes. Those times when I just say, "Why am I DOING this? I'm tired of all this effort! Can I just stop?"

I've never been particularly good at monitoring my feelings, but I currently believe that a slump starts in the emotional part of me. They start with a feeling. If I don't pay attention to that feeling and "do something" about it, it can escalate into a slump.

Yesterday was such a day. Out of the blue, it seemed. But if I think back, it's part of a bigger picture. Hot weather. Fatigue. Irritation... yeah, I was feeling irritated at work. A few physical discomforts... I won't call them "pain"... didn't really rise to that level, but nagging little things like a not-quite headache and those silly tingles that I've been dealing with of late.

I came home bushed. I went through the motions of my exercise. I didn't overeat. But I was conscious of this "why try" attitude. This could easily become a slump if I let it!

So: how do they end?

Ever notice that sports stars go through slumps? How do theirs end? Well, they keep on playing, game after game. They might get some extra coaching, or take some extra practice. And eventually, their slump ends and they are back!

How do Sparkers get extra coaching? We come here! I did... I was reading the blogs of a few of my spark friends... and they resonated. Reminders of why we're on this journey in the first place. Reminders that we only live one day at a time. Reminders that each of us is worth taking care of. And that the only one who is going to take care of me is me! THANK YOU, fellow Sparkers!

So, in the interest of self-care... figure out what is really bugging me... what do I need? I needed a good night's sleep for one thing. Let's address the fatigue. Went to bed early. Got up on time. As I'm fond of saying, there's not much in life that isn't helped by a good night's sleep.

And I'm contemplating rewards, too... often the feelings that lead to a slump are the result of feeling unrewarded! I foresee a browse in the office supplies, looking at gel pens might be in my near future. It's one of my favorite inexpensive non-food rewards. I buy my own pens and take them to the office where I can take my notes in colors that please me! It's kind of the office joke.

But to get out of an attitude slump... it's the little things that count! Here's to a very short slump... a smiley in color... and keeping on keeping on! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 8/7/2010 7:28AM

    Slumps happen but we CAN get over them! emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 8/5/2010 5:14PM

    Thanks so much for writing this Barb. I had also hit a slump today and - especially knowing how far you have come - this helped me greatly.

This is going to be a lifelong project, so it's important to acknowledge when the going gets tough and to find ways to keep on track.

Hope the sleep helps.

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ANONALEE 8/5/2010 11:24AM

    I can relate to the fatigue, pain, irritation and heat, and I'm trying very hard not to let my current circumstances lead me into a trough of self pity and food. You're right about reading Spark blogs as a way of normalizing the slump and also right about preventing it from becoming a slide. Here's to gel pens and other favorite things that keep us from the Pit of Despair!


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LUCICAMP 8/5/2010 9:31AM

    Your thoughts ring so true. I went through that last week. I call them the blahs. I got through it by coming here and reading about what others are going through or have been through. I get pumped by others successes and it helps me change my attitude to get through it. I'm so glad to have found SP and all the people here. emoticon

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REJ7777 8/5/2010 9:18AM

    I read something once, "The problem with life is that it's so darn daily", or something like that. It's true that our day-to-day lives can get pretty mundane. And it can be a challenge to mobilise the energy and focus to keep Sparking, especially when a slump sets in. But it's important, and like the sports star, we're sure glad afterwards that we kept on keeping on even when we didn't necessarily *feel* like it. I sure do wish you a very short slump!

I'm with you on the pens. I'm a secretary and I've always loved anything to do with pens and paper. My idea of an ideal shopping trip is to spend a couple hours in an office supply store. emoticon I take a long time to pick out just the right pen, and I enjoy the process. So, from one pen lover to another, have a Sparking day! emoticon

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The other side of my break-walks

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I posted some of my downtown work-break walk photos a couple of weeks ago... now I'm going to walk the other direction and find a few treasures. Heading the other way, I walk by a public venue that even today has the temporary sculpture out front from the Special Olympics National Games that were held here in town in July. I expect the sand sculpture will come down before too long, but it was still there yesterday.

Go down the block and you can peek into a garden, tucked in the middle of downtown, where they play live concerts every Wednesday noon during the Summer.

As I keep walking, I am in the midst of the old and new architecture... notice we are a bicycle friendly city!

Turn a corner and you can see the "new" Cornhusker Hotel. It became the "new" hotel in 1981 or 82... when they imploded the old one and built from the ground up. They televised the old one coming down, and from our tiny first house in the outlying neighborhood my husband and I watched it on TV and had the door open to listen to the boom through the air, lagged by a few seconds... the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound. Maybe that's a metaphor... the speed with which your body adapts, followed by the mind adapting to your healthy lifestyle changes? emoticon

Out front of the hotel, part of a community art project from a few years back. Told you we like bicycles in this town:

Speaking of art, if you stroll a few more blocks, you can find the next community art project, celebrating our being a "Star City":

This concludes the second half of my little break-walk tours. Being aware of the beauty around us is a good and healthy thing! Here's to your awareness, and to your health!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 8/5/2010 9:29AM

    I love it when people blog about their walks and towns. It's a great way to get to know a bit more about one another. You sure do live in a beautiful city! It's great when a city makes it easy for people to take their bikes! emoticon

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THIAGRAM 8/4/2010 10:01AM

  Sure enjoyed seeing your beautiful city! Thanks for sharing!

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/4/2010 8:56AM

    It is so clean and pretty. I love the area you walk in and the Haymarket area.

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WALKINGANNIE 8/4/2010 8:36AM

    Thanks for sharing your walk. It's interesting to see other people's surroundings.


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How do you think about your blog?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

There are so many metaphors...

* A blog is like a personal journal, where you can celebrate or vent, remind yourself where you came from, or dream of your goals!

* Because it is public, a blog might be a little like a "share" in a group session! You're talking from your own experience, strength and hope. You put it out there and it blesses whoever it happens to bless... you have no idea who might be helped by it, you're just moved to write it!

In some ways a blog is the ultimate narcissistic exercise: it's all about me, me, me... how I feel, what I did, what I think or care about... what's happening around me, but mainly how that affects ME! Nobody really has to read it, not everybody may like it! If I write with the thought of getting applause, I may not write what I need to write today!

That said, is it cool to get supportive comments? You bet! But that can't be why I write, or I'll self-edit too much. I self-edit enough without that thought!

That said, yesterday's adventure was at the blood bank. For the first time EVER in my time of being a donor... I got "deferred" for not having enough iron in my blood (hemoglobin). They have fancier machines to measure now, and while not anemic, I didn't meet their standards.

My brother tells me he has to go longer between donations to get his built up. My one sister had the blood bank tell her "go see your doctor" this summer, because she was so low. But I've never had a problem. Of course, I haven't been in to donate since before my surgery last October! So, something has changed. Time to reassess what I'm doing with nutrition... again!

I read their list of iron-rich foods... I eat them, folks... my food journal will prove it! They mentioned calcium interfering with iron absorption. Hmmm.

Perhaps my change in vitamins and supplements (which was made pre-surgery) needs to be reassessed. They took me off almost everything, and I never resumed a lot it. Of course, it COULD just be that last week's one-day illness took its toll! In any case, it has me thinking, and I think I'll be re-introducing my multivitamin, and phasing out the "Anytime Bars" I have been using as a vitamin substitute.

I can do this. Give me a couple of weeks, and we'll try again. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 8/5/2010 10:02AM

    I find that the authenticity with which most people blog is what makes the blogs so useful in my own personal growth and journey towards a healthy weight. I can see myself in so many of the blogs and reading about how others are handling the challenges helps me to deal with my own struggles. I try not to offend anyone when I blog, because I realize that not everyone is at the same stage of their journey. But I do try not to "self-edit" too much, and be real, because the blogging experience is useful in and of itself. I'm always surprised at all the support and encouraging comments I receive. The support makes blogging doubly effective! emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/5/2010 10:02:33 AM

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THIAGRAM 8/3/2010 4:09PM

  Thanks for all your blogs! I know I've missed a few of them, but whenever I read one, you get my brain to thinking! So why do I blog? Maybe that depends on what I feel like saying. My daughter has been on the receiving end of the blood donations. So a big thank you for those of you who donate blood! Sorry you got turned down. That is not good. I am quite confident that you will figure it out! Bless you!

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KALIGIRL 8/3/2010 1:03PM

    Sounds like a good plan. My doc says while they might not help, multivitamins don't hurt. I also take an iron pill - have been turned away several times...

I blog to keep in contact and it's my way of attempting to give back all that's been given to me.

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PENNYAN45 8/3/2010 11:38AM

    When I blog - I am always keenly aware that others will read it. Knowing there will be an audience influences the topics I write about - and how I approach those topics.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about a medical condition that I had been dealing with - posted it - and then deleted it two minutes later. Once I had experienced the benefits of writing about it - focused on it with a clearer look - and gained a better perspective - I decided it was not something I wanted to share with the rest of the world after all.

(It's funny, because a Spark friend of mine was about to post her response to that blog - and suddenly it disappeared!)

Knowing that there will be an audience, I think helps me to be a better blogger. It helps me to stand apart and look at a topic with more objectivity and less emotion than if I were just writing for myself.

I am amazed at folks - like you - who can blog every day. And I am grateful for you. You stimulate my thinking on many different topics. I simply cannot come up with that many ideas on my own. On several days each week, I just don't have a thing to say. I very much need the stimulation of others' thinking.

Thanks for your blogs! They are always thought provoking!

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Comment edited on: 8/3/2010 11:45:02 AM

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ANDI571 8/3/2010 9:56AM

    It's funny you wrote about blogs. I deleted 2 of my blogs the other day. When I started getting comments there were a couple that wasn't quite going the direction I thought the blog would take the subject.

The second blog was a spoof off of the first one, because I found them funny. Then I got afraid I might offend someone, so I just deleted both.

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/3/2010 8:52AM

    I was turned down 4 years ago because of high blood pressure. This was my first indication that I had a problem but before I couldn't because of low iron also. I was told it is a common problem with women in their 40's. I started taking vitamins and hbp medicine and was okay after that. It just shows we don't always know what is going on "inside".

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WALKINGANNIE 8/3/2010 8:46AM

    Sorry that you're concerned about your iron and hope that you can resolve this. Your comment on calcium is especially interesting given the current media reports on links between calcium supplements and heart health. I'm going to ask my doctor about this.

I'm very glad that you continue to blog as you always give food for thought - whatever your reason for writing. I started to blog privately and found it therapeutic to get thoughts out of my head. I deleted a lot of them when I joined the Community Team and made my page public and, like you, I still delete bits before I post. Essentially, I blog because it keeps me focused. I appreciate comments very much and enjoy reading what other friends - like you - write.

When you and others write your blogs and respond to mine it makes me feel that I'm not alone in this lifelong mission to maintain weight and good health.

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GOHUSKERS2 8/3/2010 8:39AM

    That was interesting! I was diagnosed with diabetes thirty years ago this month so it's been that long since I donated blood. I was a regular and felt good about doing it. I guess I hadn't thought about them doing it differently now, but it makes sense with all the other changes in medicine. Sorry you weren't able to donate and sorry about the enemia. I also didn't know about calcium interferance. So I learned alot just reading your blog and thank you for that. I'm sure you can get it built back up again, and you'll probably feel better maybe they did you a favor. Have a good one.

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Secrets naturally thin people don't share with you

Monday, August 02, 2010

In my decades of going up and down the scale I have discovered some of the things that naturally thin people don't think to tell their friends who struggle with weight. Oh, they may mentioned a few of them in passing, but many of us in our obsession with weight did not believe them!

The biggest one I ignored over the course of a lifetime was: "Losing weight won't make your life perfect".

Since my biggest lie to myself over the course of my first four decades of life was that all my problems were due to my weight... of course I firmly believed that if I only got rid of the excess pounds... oh, let's see some of the biggies...

1. The weight would stay off once I reached goal, no matter how I behaved.
2. My husband would be happy when I reached my goal weight and stay that way.
3. I myself would be happy all the time.

Wrong! On all three counts. What thin people don't tell you is that they have to deal with everything that those of us who eat to comfort ourselves deal with. Only they manage to do it without turning to excess food (a self-destructive behavior).

What I found out was what most of you already know:

1. Maintenance is as much work as losing, maybe more. "Be ever vigilant" is not a joke. It doesn't mean you can NEVER have food treats. But it does mean you have to be careful about how many, how often, and whether it's worth it! And you have to be extra careful to deal with Ms. Perfectionist who lives inside your head! The hardest part of all is remembering that it's worth it, that YOU are worth it. This is why I preach it so much in comments back to other blogs!

2. Husbands and wives, relationships in general are complex things. If you're losing weight to please somebody else... what happens when that relationship sours for other reasons?

Being a generally unhappy person, my being thinner did not make my husband happy. It just made him expect more of me. And when I was mad at him... there was a strong temptation to eat in retaliation, as well as to comfort me! The light bulb on that one came on about 15 years ago, and has stayed on, thank goodness.

If I'm going to do healthy things... I'm doing them for me... and I AM worth it.

3. Emotions that you dealt with by over-eating to suppress them... do go away, fade, become less intense as time passes. It's important to face, identify and acknowledge them so you can deal with them: fear, anger, resentment, sorrow, grief, sadness? Hey, it's OK to FEEL them! Yes, they hurt. But stuffing them down with food just transfers the feelings into something I considered more acceptable... it was OK to be angry with myself for eating. It was not OK to be angry at someone else for their behavior, in my old world-view.

What about angry words you stuffed down with that food? Weird things happen when you no longer eat to suppress them. Words may slip out you didn't intend to say out loud. You have to deal with not just the initial feelings but the consequences of words! I had been using eating as a coping mechanism rather than learning to deal with social situations and the anxiety they gave me.

Naturally thin people learned some lessons I skipped growing up! I've had to learn them later in life, and you all know about old dogs and new tricks.

My own secret: Old dogs CAN learn new tricks! Losing weight did not make my life perfect. Getting fit did not make my life perfect. But it has made it better. Here's to keeping that better, better!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 8/5/2010 9:50AM

    Great blog! I tried to write a blog similar to this one a couple weeks ago, but I wasn't able to express myself as well as you have. Losing weight doesn't solve all your problems! As you said so well, it doesn't make your life perfect, just better. And maintenance is learning to Spark in the midst of all the stresses and disappointments of an imperfect life. And, we ARE worth the effort! emoticon

This blog evidently comes from years of experience and learning. I've learned a lot in the last few years too, and that's why I'm hoping that this time, I'll succeed in not only reaching goal, but maintaining it... just because I'm worth it! emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 8/3/2010 8:36AM

    Wise words as ever Barb. I see my reduced weight and improving health as giving me fewer things to worry about but not as solving all life's problems.

You have made some great observations - and you really are worth it!

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CONCHA77 8/2/2010 3:40PM

    Great blog-You have such a "God Given" talent with words. emoticon

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ANONALEE 8/2/2010 12:13PM

    One blogger called this the "Fantasy of Being Thin" which is right up there with the "Fantasy of When I Find the Perfect Man (and Get Married)" and "The Fantasy of When I Land the Perfect Job." Some of us love to pretend that life can be different than it is and these fantasies assist that pretense. Much better to give it up and accept life on its own terms. Great blog, Barb!

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SROUS1340 8/2/2010 11:22AM

    Great Blog. I'm dealing with anger issues right now with my sister. I can't stuff words anymore, but I do have to release this anger so that it doesn't eat me. Good words to hear and remember!

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KALIGIRL 8/2/2010 8:53AM

    Wonderful blog Barb.
I am a' naturally thin' person (gained weight with menopause) and I'm not so sure I 'knew' things you didn't, I just think my self destructive behavior (bad child) manifested in different ways than yours. Too much selfishness, wine, silence, blowing off deadlines and friends, the list goes on.
I do believe you are 'spot on' with the hard work our journeys take and the first step is loving ourselves.

PS - love your new profile pic!

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PATRISNA 8/2/2010 8:41AM

    emoticon for another great blog! Something to think about for sure.

I know you write blogs to help yourself on this journey. I am glad I can read them because you always seem to come up with the perfect blog when I am trying to figure out my own process. I still have a long road until I reach maintenance, but you are paving the way.

That reminds me of rich people who say money can't buy happiness. We forget thin people may also have self esteem issues. There are other ways to self destruct besides eating.

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JAM2DREW 8/2/2010 8:41AM

    Great blog! This is so true. You have to lose the weight for yourself and yourself alone. And no it doesn't solve all the issue.

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