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Dates that live in memory

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When I was kid, I got tired of grandma and great aunts and great grandmas and all noting special dates all the time. Most of the time they were talking about people I'd never met and their special days.

Now, of course, I've turned into grandma! I have dates in my head that won't go away. I note in passing that Sunday was my daughter in law's birthday, and she was born in the year I married my one and only. It was a bummer of a day with the news so recent that her husband (my son) would NOT be coming home next week like we had come to expect.

Yesterday was a huge date: 8/9/10 (in US representation). Yes, it's one of those dates that grandma used to harp on. My mom's father was born on 8/9/1910! In Missouri, for those of you who live there now. He later migrated to Iowa to take on work, and his eldest daughter crossed the river to marry a Nebraskan, which is how I came to live here!

In thinking of grandpa, I can't help commemorating what he did with the latter years of his life. He retired early, at 55. My dad thought he was nuts at the time. Even now, I'm older than he was when he retired, and I'm still working away.

But what did he do with this retirement? He did a whole lot of Boy Scout volunteering. Was this man active? You bet! Hunting (with bow, muzzle loading musket, and regular guns as well). He cleaned and grandma cooked whatever he bagged. Fishing (with hand tied flies)... a memory I hold fondly as he would take us kids along to Lake Mannawa. He took troops of Boy Scouts on a canoe expedition into Canada, at least once. On his 65th birthday, he hiked 65 miles down in the desert (Philmont Scout Ranch)!

There IS a family heritage for fitness! emoticon Here's to you, Grandpa, for giving a great example of an active and useful life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RACKETMOM 8/11/2010 11:41AM

    Yep, we remember those dates as we age but one thing my mom & grandma used to do was listen to the obituaries on the radio everyday to see who they knew that had died! Used to drive me crazy as a kid! But guess what? I have found myself looking in the newspaper at the obits more than I like to admit LOL


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PATRISNA 8/11/2010 11:15AM

    Thanks for sharing the Grandpa story. My parents were from south eastern Missouri. My dad, mother and brother hunted, and fished. As kids we all went fishing and camping. There were times we were really tired of waiting for Dad to quit for the evening. We also wanted to have hamburgers instead of fish. I marvel now that I love eating fish and I always complained about eating it as a kid.

We were lucky to have a dad who taught us to appreciate the great outdoors. He always called the mountains God's Country. Your Grandpa story reminded me of how much my dad taught me.


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WALKINGANNIE 8/10/2010 4:20PM

    .... and now here you are following in his footsteps giving a great example of an active and useful life!

I hope that you soon have the good news that you are waiting for.

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KANSASROSE67 8/10/2010 4:05PM

    Your grandpa sounds awesome! My grandma rode the Scrambler at the county fair with me when she was in her 70s...and she loved it!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/10/2010 12:13PM

    Ah, yes. Dates in our minds can sometimes be just as annoying as those voices in our heads. Just kidding. I think as we age we all tend to do this, though. Isn't family heritage great?

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ANDI571 8/10/2010 10:26AM

    Isn't it funny how the things that bug us as kids, ends up being the good memories.

My arms looks so much like my mom's (not in a good way), but I see her every time I do my hair. My daughter now fusses about her arms looking like mine. I told her, but I will always be around that way.

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KASEYCOFF 8/10/2010 9:54AM

    Now, that's funny (as in coincidence, not ha-ha). I just sent an email off to my daughter (aged 27) saying 'August is full of birthdays.' Then it dawned on me - more than half the birthdays are of people either gone or that she's never known. Yes, some of those dates - and memories - loom large, don't they? :-)

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KALIGIRL 8/10/2010 9:15AM

    What a great tribute to a great man. It's apparent you have his genes!
So sorry to hear your son is not coming home next week. I'd hoped he was among the group that landed last weekend.
Thoughts and prayers with you.

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SLENDERELLA61 8/10/2010 8:35AM

    Love the grandpa story! Celebrating and commemorating our days is a good way to truly live. Thanks for sharing. -Marsha

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/10/2010 7:52AM

    You have got a lot to keep up with. You don't have to do a 65 mile hike to be healthy though. Be proud of your heritage but make sure you ae doing what you want to do with your life. At least you know you have robust genes and that you can do whatever it is you sets your sights on!

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Is beginning really beginning?

Monday, August 09, 2010

I was just reading a blog but it could have been any number of blogs that talk about fresh starts or beginning again... when this thought popped into my brain: "Are we really beginning again... or are we continuing?" . o O (Uh-oh, she's going philosophical on us again!)

The path of self-care began when we were children, infants, even. When we first reached to feed ourselves, or started to crawl, we began didn't we?

It is a journey of enlightenment, of learning, and of discipline. Our personalities play into how we perceive it, big-time. To me, it's all about choices: learning to make ones that will take us where we want to go. Everything from learning how to walk to school or which way leads to the park as kids to more adult choices: what to buy at the grocery store, what career path to follow.

While learning what to do to get us where we want to go... we need first to understand where it is we want to go. What is our heart's desire? Only each of us can know what that heart's desire is: perhaps even figuring out what we want / are meant to do in life is part of the journey.

I may not even be able to express my heart's desire in words. When I was a kid, and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had a one-word answer in my head: "Happy". What I most desire is inner peace... freedom from fear. To feel contentment. I know what it feels like, I've felt it... but it is elusive. It can slip away when the picture around us changes! If you're a sensitive soul, it can slip away from simply seeing someone else struggling! If you're a controlling personality, it can mean you start trying to fix life for everyone else!

Responding to others, then, is also part of the journey. Because we are not alone. Self-sufficiency also requires community sufficiency. This journey never ends. Even when "beginning", we are really "continuing". Continuing to learn, to grow, and to work to achieve our heart's desire.

For today, I will put aside the things beyond my control, and do what I can. I will nurture my body and my mind and my soul. I will be kind to others but I won't try to live their lives for them. I will accept the grace of contentment without complacency.

May all who read feel a peace within... that elusive contentment... and be kind to yourself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 8/9/2010 3:18PM

    This is a lovely thought-prompt full of humanity. Self-care and serenity....

Yes, here's to contentment without complacency...

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DEBRITA01 8/9/2010 12:58PM

    I like that...content but not complacent...For me, I've found happiness and contentment starts with gratitude, and I've much to be grateful for...

Wishing you continued contentment...great blog!

Comment edited on: 8/9/2010 12:58:44 PM

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ANDI571 8/9/2010 12:19PM

    I agree completely. I think it is a continuation. I wonder if we would think of it in that way, would we get so discouraged. When we say we are beginning again, that puts a thought into our mind that we failed. But if we just continue on, the stress is taken off some.

It's funny you saying you wanted to be happy. That is what I have always said about my daughter. I want her to be happy. I spent so much time trying to make that happen for her, and after some struggles, I finally came to the conclusion, I can't make her happy, she is the only one who can do that. So I now work on making myself happy.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/9/2010 12:09PM

    Well said, Barb!

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GOHUSKERS2 8/9/2010 9:47AM

    Contentment....word of the day...great message!

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PATRISNA 8/9/2010 8:16AM

    emoticon Great blog!

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MSLZZY 8/9/2010 7:52AM

    Contentment, even though elusive, can be obtained! Excellent! emoticon emoticon

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Being vigilant... what does that mean?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

One of my major themes in this journey is learning to treat myself gently when I'm not "perfect" about the plan. But another major theme that I subscribe to is, indeed, what Marenamoo says "Be ever vigilant."

I was whimsically thinking of what to blog today and this title popped into my head: "Being vigilant doesn't mean you can't be gentle!" Just to be sure, I looked it up!

Vigilant, according to Webster, means "staying watchful and alert to danger or trouble." That's it. Being aware of what's going on around us, and in us. This is not an impediment to being kind to ourselves.

I like to think of parenting my inner toddler at times like this. When I slip and slide I imagine a little girl with red curls stomping her patent leather-clad foot and putting her hands on her hips and saying "No!" Yep, Toddler Barbie wants what she wants!

I don't know about you, but when I discipline a toddler, I have trouble keeping the twinkle out of my eye because they are so darned CUTE, and you can't help being crazy about them! Besides, it becomes a "teachable moment". I can talk about WHY a behavior is wrong, and how it benefits to behave differently. I can give Toddler Barbie another way to look at the world. There is nobody more adorably serious and remorseful than a toddler learning to make sense of the concept of "being good".

So, that's what today is about. Vigilance with kindness. I actually feel pretty good this morning. I slept well.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDI571 8/8/2010 7:49PM

    As with the other comments, you are right on. Treat ourselves as we would a toddler, with kindness.

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KALIGIRL 8/8/2010 6:49PM

    Vigilance with kindness - a great motto for a healthy journey!

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LJCANNON 8/8/2010 4:45PM

    HMMM, "Vigilance with Kindness"
It never occurred to me to treat the Spoiled 2~Year Old in my head with Kindness. And I never thought of her as 'Adorable' either. That is certainly something to think about the next time she is stomping her patent leather clad foot on my Brain.
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SROUS1340 8/8/2010 10:38AM

    Great blog Barb, great analogy with the toddler inner child!

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REJ7777 8/8/2010 10:27AM

    emoticon Couldn't help but smiling through that blog!

"Vigilance with kindness." I love it! emoticon

emoticon emoticon Toddler Barbie emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/8/2010 10:28:25 AM

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APRILLSCOTT 8/8/2010 10:18AM

What a great blog! Thanks for the reminder! I need to be practicing both Vigilance and Kindness! My toddler Barbie is a force to be reckoned with! emoticon

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DEBRITA01 8/8/2010 9:47AM

    A good blog and analogy. I feel I am in the Toddler Stage of my journey, still trying to make sense out of this world of healthier living. Sometimes I think I am in my Terrible Two', I am learning to be less defiant.

While caring for my toddler grandson, that's exactly what it is:Vigilance and Kindness. You have to watch his every move (and he moves a lot) and treat him with kindness, patience, and love as he navigates his way along.

I think I need to try that more often with myself...thanks for the reminder!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/8/2010 9:35AM

    You paint such a good visual in your blog. I love it. Yes, we must be ever vigilant while being gentle. Something I need to learn is to be more loving and gentle towards myself. I give "The Restrictor" way too much leeway, I think. Now is the time for "The Compassionate Observer" to take charge for a while. But most of all, I need to find that balance that will allow me to go forward and make progress.

Thanks again for the great blog, Barb. Have a great day!

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GOHUSKERS2 8/8/2010 9:12AM

    That's a great combo....vigilance and kindness. I think that's great!

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/8/2010 8:55AM

    This applies to so many aspects in our lives including our relationships! I like it!

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MSLZZY 8/8/2010 8:45AM

    Vigilance with kindness! I like that! Something I should learn and practice! emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 8/8/2010 7:58AM

    I love this!

Toddler Barbie is indeed very loveable - and you might just be onto a great concept to counteract her plastic, commercialised namesake with the false figure and manufactured lifestyle!

Vigilance is about keeping us safe and comfortable. Glad you feel good today and thankful to learn from your experience.


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Dragging my feet about blogging today

Saturday, August 07, 2010

It's Saturday, and it's a lazy weekend. My attitude has continued to be one of dissatisfaction and rebellion. Not good blogging material if you're trying to be positive.

I had my maintenance weigh-in consultation this morning. This should have put me in a good mood, as I have continued to lose slowly, even during maintenance. I fessed up to my insecurities, and all the craziness going on in my life, thought I had a good plan, and then came home to the blahs.

I was hoping to see my son on line. But he wasn't there. Frustration.

Held it together until after lunch, then fell apart with food. It started innocently enough... all healthy stuff. But then my son did show up on line with the message that I should not count on him necessarily coming home early as we'd been thinking he would. I was just adapting to that plan and like a yo-yo... it might not happen.

Napped in front of the TV, but not before continuing my little binge. In the end, I consumed about double my calorie range on the day, and did stop before it got as bad as it COULD get. And strange as it may sound, felt kind of OK about the entire episode. OK about a minor binge?

Yeah... kind of like: "I knew it was going to happen. It's happened. I can put it behind me."

And the major element of the binge? Lean ground beef! I was low on iron anyway, per the blood bank, on Monday. So, maybe I'm just responding to the urging of my body? And then again, maybe the little devil in my head got its way. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 8/8/2010 10:46AM

    emoticon The difference between "before" and "now" is that we get back on track rather than continuing to binge for the rest of our lives!

The day after my son left, I was turning around in circles. I couldn't seem to get up the energy to get out and walk. I sat in front of my computer much too long, snacking. Like you, the snacks were healthy - fruits, nuts, etc. But I ate way too much, just nibbling away mindlessly trying to comfort myself. emoticon It was the first binge since I started Sparking in March. And I'm surprised at how I was able to forgive myself and get back on track immediately the next day. Reading the blogs and comments of people like you has helped me so much! Thank you for blogging honestly about your struggles and successes.

Let's Spark! emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 8/8/2010 5:49AM

    To err is human, to forgive yourself divine....

Thank you for being so open about this down-time Barb. It's an important lesson for us all to recognise that this path is not always straightforward and that we all have times when we need more encouragement and support, no matter how much progress we have made.

Reading all your recent blogs suggests that you are feeling tired, you're still losing weight - albeit slowly - and you are low on iron. Of course you are also feeling emotional about your son's situation. Who wouldn't? But perhaps we are so used to looking for emotional explanations about how we feel that we overlook physical causes. Is your body telling you to get more iron and to build up your physical reserves? Is it encouraging you to take more protein on board and get some more rest?

You know yourself best and will work out the answer but, in the meantime, try to celebrate just how far you have come, what you have achieved and what strategies you used to get here. Your's is an amazing success story and all the more inspirational because it hasn't been easy and is always a challenge.

Your friends are all here and rooting for you.

Take care of yourself and try to find the self-counselling voice in your head. It talks more sense than the devil that might lurk there sometimes. emoticon

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KASEYCOFF 8/8/2010 4:31AM

    Some consolation in the fact that it was a 'meat binge' rather than a 'carb binge.' Relatively mild way to (re)-learn some fundamentals about our psychological approaches to food in general. Most of all, tho, as Marenamoo says, Be ever vigilant. And you're right: take from it what will be useful, put it behind you, and get right back on track. That's what life is, ain't? :-)

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THIAGRAM 8/7/2010 11:29PM

  And all this time I thought you were perfect!
I know when my daughter is low on blood it really affects her moods and desires for food.(She has had 5 units of blood once and 3 units another time, because of heavy periods) I've watched that happen so many times. I think it's natural to need more food when you are, as she says "a pint or a quart low"....Keep all that healthy stuff around and you already know all the rest!
Sure hope your son gets to come home soon!
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ANDI571 8/7/2010 11:13PM

    Considering your stress, I think you deserve a blah day, especially since you binged on lean beef. It shows you have grown. What would have been your binge before? emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/7/2010 9:53PM

    Just commenting again only because I forgot to re-subscribe to your blogs. Somehow, I wasn't being notified when you posted a new one. Techonology . . . .

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/7/2010 9:51PM

    Sounds to me like you've "worked it out." A one-day binge of basically healthy stuff (you needed that extra iron) isn't awful. I'm just coming off of a 2-week binge. UGH! But the key words are that I'm coming off of it. Hang in there. Prepare for a later return of your son. Then, if perhaps things change and he can return sooner, think how wonderfully surprised you'll be. Is he in Iraq or Afghanistan? Both hell-holes, in my opinion. I pray that he, and all of our military, are safe. Take care and God bless.

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NELLIEC 8/7/2010 9:15PM

    Presumably confession is good for the soul.

Well, I suspect that 99.99% of Sparkers have fallen off the wagon -- if not 100%. But you did stop and you are aware of it, so now to climb back on that wagon -- and maybe take iron pills.

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NELLIEC 8/7/2010 9:15PM

    Presumably confession is good for the soul.

Well, I suspect that 99.99% of Sparkers have fallen off the wagon -- if not 100%. But you did stop and you are aware of it, so now to climb back on that wagon -- and maybe take iron pills.

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CMAXSON 8/7/2010 9:12PM

    Its all good!, everyone has binge days here and there. Atleast you are here on spark holding yourself accountable for it and like you said, now you can move past it.

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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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