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New Study Supports Body Shape Index as Predictor of Mortality

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Try out this calculator:

New Study Supports Body Shape Index as Predictor of Mortality
In 2012, Dr. Nir Krakauer, an assistant professor of civil engineering in CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering, and his father, Dr. Jesse Krakauer, MD, developed a new method to quantify the risk specifically associated with abdominal obesity.

A follow-up study, published February 20 by the online journal PLoS ONE, supports their contention that the technique, known as A Body Shape Index (ABSI), is a more effective predictor of mortality than Body Mass Index (BMI), the most common measure used to define obesity.

The team analyzed data for 7,011 adults, 18+, who participated in the first Health and Lifestyle Survey (HALS1), conducted in Great Britain in the mid 1980s, and a follow-up survey seven years later (HALS2). The sample was broadly representative of the British population in terms of region, employment status, national origin, and age. They used National Health Service records through 2009 to identify deaths and cancer cases: 2,203 deaths were recorded among the sample population.

Then, they compared all-cause mortality from the HALS sample with ABSI and other variables, including BMI, waist circumference, waist – hip ratio and waist – height ratio.

The analysis found ABSI to be a strong indicator of mortality hazard among the HALS population. Death rates increased by a factor of 1.13 (95% confidence interval, 1.09–1.16) for each standard deviation increase in ABSI. Persons with ABSI in the top 20 percent were found to have death rates 61 percent than those with ABSI in the bottom 20 percent.

The results tracked closely with the earlier study, which used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted in the United States between 1999 and 2004. This provides stronger evidence that ABSI is a valid indicator of the risk of premature death across different populations. Further, they showed that ABSI outperformed commonly used measures of abdominal obesity, including waist circumference, waist – hip ratio and waist – height ratio.

Also, because the data came from two surveys seven years apart, the researchers were able to assess the effect of change in ABSI on mortality. The found an increase in ABSI correlated with increased risk of death, and that the more recent ABSI measurement was a more reliable predictor. Noting this, the researchers contend that further investigation is warranted into whether lifestyle or other interventions could reduce ABSI and help people live longer.

Persons curious about their ABSI and how it compares with the general population can try the online calculator at

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; the School of Education; the Grove School of Engineering; the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKAHONEY4U 3/2/2014 12:45AM

    I really don't think this is better than using waist circumference or hip to waist ratio especially since it uses WC and BMI in the calculation. I didn't look at the paper to deeply, though (yet). It's common knowledge that body shape is most important in obesity-linked disease. The more apple-shaped you are, the more likely you will end up with the diseases like diabetes, insulin resistance, cardiac, pretty much every type of cancer, and all-round mortality. I'd like to see something that doesn't use BMI in the calculation. It's strange they use BMI and height in it, as height is already used in BMI, so it's all getting canceled out or multiplied more (I didn't try the math!) and seems redundant to me. I applaud looking for a better way to do it than BMI, but I'm not convinced that this is it. It seems gimmicky and just a way for that research group to make a name for themselves without really discovering something new or significantly more useful in prediction of obesity-linked disease.

Comment edited on: 3/2/2014 12:47:54 AM

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TRAVELGRRL 2/27/2014 2:53PM

    Interesting! I was less than 1 also. Glad to know all this work is paying off.

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FINDING_MELISSA 2/26/2014 2:15PM

    Thank you for sharing! Just another reason to add to the many reasons for my quest for better health! :)

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ADARKARA 2/26/2014 11:16AM

    awesome! mine are all less than 1!

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BEEANDHAM 2/26/2014 10:24AM

    Very interesting!

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MAERETH 2/26/2014 8:13AM

    That was really interesting, thanks for sharing!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

So today was a whirlwind. I don't want to get into specifics but my family has mental problems… that are being exacerbated by the fact that we are selling my parents house (or trying to).

Trying to keep my father from driving my mother to kill herself is what is mentally and physically dragging me down. Sorry its heavy but sometimes you realize why the f**k you're messed up and have turned to food in the past.

I made smart choices today to start. I got up early. Ate a good breakfast (I'm saradrenk on myfitnesspal if anyone wants to stalk me). Worked out. Got ready. Cleaned up my room and some other rooms for the realtor. Started making a healthy lunch and then all hell broke loose.

Nuclear f***king meltdown time. I'm still shaken over all of the crap that went down today. My family is stressing me out so badly. Its no wonder I've always gravitated towards food for comfort. I did again. I was running late. All of the stuff i had to do today took away from all of the things I NEEDED to get done. So dinner for me was Chai and a Cinnamon roll from Panera. I bought my mom some bagels and cookies from the bakery. She needed it. She's overweight and she was overmedicated and couldn't take any more drugs so I gave her the only thing I could to make her feel better.

I can't stand living with my parents, but sometimes I wonder what would have happen in certain situations if I wasn't here…

A lot to think about. I only ate around 2000 calories, and with my workout today was kept in check. I have enough will power to stand through this and not go to a drive through. My ultimate goal isn't going to be derailed by all of this chaos.

In good news the scale moved down. I was at 202/203 before super bowl sunday, I just hadn't reweighed myself since then. So today started off good. 200.2. 0.2# of pesky weight keeping me from Onederland. I thought about removing some more clothes, but said -- "eh, its a 3# loss." I'll take it now and feel amazing about it. SO the next time I step on the scale (hopefully) it will drop me back into Onederland and I can enjoy my weight again. 200 for me is the barrier I don't want to go over. 200 to me is the sign that I am backsliding and I need to get my butt back in gear.

So that I am. I will make more time for me. I will help out my parents, but I won't let them drag me down with them.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHODGES83 2/13/2014 1:25PM

    Good for you staying in check amidst the chaos. You're a strong lady. Hang in there and try to stay positive.

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AHTRAP 2/13/2014 10:35AM

    Tough to keep track of yourself amidst chaos. Here's to finding that balance between giving the support your family needs, and taking care of yourself at the same time.

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ARUNNINGKAT 2/12/2014 11:57AM

    Sending lots of hugs your way. What a tough situation! It sounds like you are a fabulous daughter and have definitely made the best that you can out of a horrible situation. And bravo for not losing control of your eating. Under those circumstances I am sure that it took a lot of willpower to not just give up completely.

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TALVARADO6 2/12/2014 11:35AM

    That is a lot to deal with. I know it's hard not to turn to food when things get stressful, but I'm glad you recognize that you struggle with this and can work on it.


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STRONG_SARAH 2/12/2014 5:29AM

    I'm so sorry Sara, try not to involve yourself too much. They have problems which are THEIRS, not YOURS. I know, easier said than done right? Stay strong, you are on the right track. emoticon

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DUMBBELLE84 2/11/2014 9:15PM

    Yikes, sorry about the rough going. I admire that you're not going to allow yourself to use this as an excuse to backslide. You're doing great, hang in there!

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SUSIEGKORN 2/11/2014 8:48PM

    So glad you're going to be married and out of that craziness. So sorry you have to deal with it while trying to build your career, and take care of your needs too. You're a good daughter. Best to you and your parents, too.

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STEVEN_D 2/11/2014 8:05PM

    Don't you just want to jump off the merry go round? It's like, did I really grow up in this enviornment and live to tell about it? My best wishes for you and your parents

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KRICKET4 2/11/2014 7:48PM

    Wise choice. I know it's hard, but you're really not responsible for your parents.
I have huge drama with a son (20) who still lives at home. I swear he has mental problems. It's a roller coaster around here most of the time. Of course he won't accept help and refuses medication. He's constantly in trouble with the law, and sometimes I just want to run away! I'm just learning to detach and let go and to not let him walk all over me.
A great boyfriend, exercise, and eating clean are my saving grace :)
Hang in there!

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And now for a happier blog!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I haven't been on in awhile. So two blogs in one day to make up!

The other was focused on the Biggest Loser. Holy crap! Read that if you want.

This one is about other stuff. I have slowly been losing the weight. My fat pants are still my pants. My skinny clothes are taunting me in my closet. I WILL get my a$$ back in those pants!

I know I fail on food most of all -- so in order to get my head right, I am doing less working out (also super busy!) and more focusing on what I put into my body. I know no matter how much I work out, it won't help me if I eat five candy bars a week… which I was doing.

Food is my weakness, so food is my focus. Until I can get that in check, I'm not stressing about not getting in my cardio. Not that I'm not moving. I've been walking more, and working more. Both schools are back in session. Now on Mondays and Wednesdays I work from 8am to 10pm. It sucks! I teach two lectures in the morning, lunch, then teach a biology lab, then go to the other school and teach a chemistry lab. I'm standing more. I'm walking more. I burned over 3000 calories just teaching and walking on those 14 hour days. That's nuts! The other days I'm working on trying to catch up on grading and assignments and papers and blackboard and homework and prepping. I really did take on A LOT this semester. Three classes and four labs is a lot. Hopefully it will equal a good paycheck, but again, I won't know until the end of February how much I'm being paid.

Lindenwood has been good. I need to get my job application in. They've had me start picking out all of my supplies ;-) So either I'm going to have an awesome lab set up, or the newbie is. The faculty keep talking like I've got the job, but I don't want to sound too confident.

So that's it - I did my quick update. Now back to creating Blackboard quizzes!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHODGES83 2/5/2014 5:19PM

    Food is such an issue. I want food to be my friend, but not in a way that's a problem. Just listening and learning from yourself is the way to go. Your body knows what's good for it!

Good luck with the job!

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    Slowly but surely, just how you got down there once before, you'll be there again. :)

14 hour days are no joke though, I have been doing 14 hours 5 days a week for the last two weeks! Don't forget about "me time"!

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BATCHICK 2/5/2014 12:37PM

    Why does food have to taste SO good and be so readily available?!?

I'm right there with you! Food is my downfall, not lack of activity!~

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MINEA999 2/5/2014 12:28PM

    Remember when you were desperate for work? Now your cup runneth

Like you, I think I need to start focusing again on my food and less on my exercise. The past several weeks I get plenty of exercise but a little lax on the food and voila, no loss. Big surprise.

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KIKKI-G 2/5/2014 11:48AM

    I think food is a huge problem for most of us on here. Every time I fall off track its never for lack of working is ALWAYS the food. Just try to keep positive, I know its hard. I always find that trying to just maintain is better than gaining more. I have been stuck in a bad food rut but still working out & just maintaining. Haven't lost my holiday weight gained but at least I'm not gaining more. I've learnt that this journey is all about small steps forward even if its one step forward 2 steps back. You've got this, really. you know what the issue is & are working on resolving it slowly but surely.

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WHOVIANGIRL23 2/5/2014 10:59AM

    Food has been my super duper downfall this whole time that I've been off track. If you've read my latest blog, you know the sick amount I've been eating. So that's a huge thing to focus on for me. I KNOW that you will get your booty back in those skinny clothes, and before long, those will be too big! We know what to do, we know HOW and WHEN to do things, now we just need to make the knowledge a reality again! We can do this!!

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SPOILERS – My thoughts on the BL Finale

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

SPOILERS – My thoughts on the BL Finale

I love the Biggest Loser. It was a great motivating tool for me. Season 11 made me get my butt off the couch. Season 12 kept me moving. Season 14 was an inspiration... Season 15 was kind of annoying.

Now for the spoilers:

I was pulling for Rachel. She did so well throughout the season and basically hit her goal weight by the last week of the show. She looked strong, she looked confident, she looked fantastic at 160.

Now we know it’s a competition. Putting women vs men in any competition makes it hard. Instead of making it about % body fat or some other thing, and allowing for the fact that women need to have a higher % fat to be healthy... it is about a scale. Having a woman who started at 260 compete against two men who were close to 400# is not really fair, but as you’ve seen in the past, women are dedicated and can win.

When Bobby came out, he looked super skinny and you could see the skin hanging off of his frame. He radiated confidence and happiness. I thought for sure he would win. Then they brought out the other guy. Again! Shocking, skinny, confident! And I thought – okay this could be close. Then they brought out Rachel. Holy S**t. I couldn’t believe that the skeleton walking out was the same vibrant healthy woman. Her arms and legs looked like toothpicks. Her skin was stretched over her skull. The trainers even looked horrified. The poor girl is getting a ton of backlash, and I feel bad for her, but she went beyond the scope of the competition. She had the highest percentage of weightloss ever seen on the biggest loser at almost 60%.

I knew it was going to be low. I thought – dang, maybe she pushed herself to 120ish to make sure she would win... But when the scale flashed an “87” for a second, I knew it was worse than I thought. When “105” popped up, you could hear everyone gasping. For a 5’4” (or 5’5” depending on the website) woman, that put her at a BMI of a little below 18. 18.5 BMI is the minimum for healthy. The healthy weight range is 117-146. She was 12# below that.

I don’t even have words. Some people are saying “well she can buy a lot of food with $250k!” But what about the lasting health damage to her body and mind? For a second I thought she looked as bad as Matthew McCouneghey in Dallas Buyers Club and he was mimicking someone DYING from a terrible disease. Other people have commented “well real women have curves!” This also pisses me off. We shouldn’t be bashing any women. Ever. We don’t know the circumstances behind every person. They could have a major illness, they could be depressed, they could have anorexia. All of those conditions aren’t going to be cured by an a$$hat on the internet telling Rachel to “go eat a bagel.” Seriously, #RachelEatABagel was a trending hashtag last night on Twitter.

All of it disgusts me, and Biggest Loser needs to address the issues of this season before allowing future contestants to go through what Rachel did in order to win.

Also – Tumi! She was super skinny. When they said Tumi who started at 340 lost 175# I was aghast! She also looked like she was frail and about to break. Her weight was actually in the borderline healthy range for her height, but again, she looked like she went through hell. The other woman who almost won the at home prize looked like a healthy, strong woman. And she lost to a woman who honestly looked like she had gone through an illness. I just pray that these contestants continue to get some professional help to make sure they haven’t turned an overeating disorder into another type of eating disorder.

So what are your thoughts on this?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKAHONEY4U 2/10/2014 4:51PM

    I agree with everything you said!

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NSMANN 2/7/2014 2:14PM

    I have seen posts that say losing weight that fast can cause irreparable organ damage. I think the show gives sick incentives to people to damage their bodies.

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CHODGES83 2/5/2014 10:50PM

    I don't watch bl, but I saw a post my fb feed. WOW! It reminds me of Star Jones. She just didn't look like herself anymore. She was ear to ear smiles, but she seemed off from such a drastic change. I can't imagine this woman that won will be able to maintain her weight loss in a healthy manner. The judges faces look scared. I also agree that people should not be attacking this woman. All the weight shaming needs to stop and people should just be encouraging.

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HARLOW10 2/5/2014 9:51PM

    I agree with you completely. I though the same thing. As a Minnesotan, I was cheering on our hometown girl, but she looked emaciated.
I am actually amazed at how many people think she looks perfect (mostly guys) and commented on the subject on places like CNN. She lost all her muscle!
And where does this stop? If it is ok for her to be underweight, are other women that are on the show going to take it even further? Just think, Rachel lost 155 pounds, which means she is going to have some extra skin. How much of that played into her final weight? Most people lose weight when they get skin taken off, so is she even lighter than what she came in at?

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RENLLY 2/5/2014 1:30PM

    I agree - she just looked so unhealthy. That is not a role model for young girls and women.

Although I will say that I thought Olivia Ward on season 11 looked too thin as well (her BMI was 19.5) - this was even more drastic.

Sigh. I will still watch but I hope they address this and that Rachel can now go gain back 10 to 20 pounds and maintain a healthy weight.

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MINEA999 2/5/2014 12:27PM

    I felt exactly like you about this episode. I was shocked to see Rachel and not surprised at all at the look on the trainer's faces. They knew she'd gone too far too. She was all skin and bone with the odd muscle underneath. I'm sure (and certainly hope) she'll balance things out now that the show is over.

I'm always conflicted over this show. On one hand it encourages me because I see people my size and think if they can do it, I can do it. On the other hand, I know that their tactics and approach is bordering on insane and portraying an unrealistic way to lose weight and keep it off and thus I should not use it as a benchmark for my own success.

Yet I keep watching....

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ADARKARA 2/5/2014 11:37AM

    I think any show that is a competition for weight loss is not providing its competitors with a healthy mindset for health. I don't think weight loss competitions are good for anyone. You should only compete against yourself, because we're all different.

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WHOVIANGIRL23 2/5/2014 10:57AM

    I know you already know my thoughts cause we ranted about this on FB last night... but I'm still super upset about it!! I missed the first half of the weigh ins, so I did not see Tumi. But everything else aside, Rachael is definitely sick. The looks on the trainers faces was enough to say that, if nothing else was. Her arms have no muscle tone, it's pure bone. When she stumbled going up the stairs, my first thought was "she's malnourished". I rooted for her most of the way, because being around the same age as me, I just really felt for her. But now.. I just really fear for her. I hope that she can get the help she needs, and I SERIOUSLY hope the BL addresses this.. it never used to be about losing so much weight that you became ill to win. Look at the last season winner, Danni... she was CRAZY muscular at the finale! Skinny, yes, but MUSCLED. She was healthy! Past winners are generally healthy!! This is not okay!!
Also, did you notice how quick the show ended after it? Usually there's a huge fanfare and party and hooplah... this time it was "She won, congrats, goodnight" which is highly unusual for them... I hope that it was because they were shocked and wanted to address the situation.

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MRSLAURALEE 2/5/2014 10:14AM

    I agree with you. I think there will always be people out there that will over do it because of their competitiveness (many of us have been accused of that).

I think we all need to look at the big picture:
Am I getting healthy or am I creating another problem?

emoticon Laura

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BEARSGIRL376 2/5/2014 10:09AM

    Wow! I hadn't watched the finale yet, but I knew who had won, so I decided to read your post. I'm shocked that she went to that extreme and disappointed with everyone's negative reactions! I can't believe that hashtag emoticon I remember a previous season, where Tara seemed a shoo-in to win, and then Helen came out looking quite unhealthy and won! I think it's more motivating to see a strong woman win, than someone who appears to have been sick, like you said. I would love to see the Biggest Loser address this issue since it seems to be a regular occurrence now. I still intend to watch the finale, but wow!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have a great day!

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JOHN_SKIM 2/5/2014 10:07AM

  That's what is all about. How can u address that? They can stop the show. What else?

BTW, tv makes you look fatter so in reality she looks even skinnier and less healthy. Scary... ;)

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I needed a bit of yay!

One of the schools I'm adjuncting at just put up a posting for an assistant professor job. The dept chair has been talking to me for awhile, and it looks like they tailored it for me. Instead of it being a straight Chemistry job, they added OR Biochemistry (aka me!).

That might not seem like a lot, but its got me hopeful that I could have a real big time adult job by the fall. I still have to apply and interview and get approved by the main campus (which apparently is the hard part) -- but I could be well on the way to having a real job.

Fingers crossed!

Als0 -- been doing better with food. Eating more veggies for sure. Got over 100 protein yesterday. Drinking a lot of water -- getting well over 10 cups a day. Not exercising as much as I'd like -- relearning Organic chemistry well enough to teach it is certainly a challenge. I'm doing ALL of the homework for each chapter and trying to understand it well enough to explain it clearly. Apparently I'm a teacher who wants to make sure I am TEACHING and not just being paid to talk. I didn't know there was a difference, but my students seem to like it…

So on the right path. Just keep swimming!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISTY_MOUNTAINS 1/23/2014 7:24PM

    Good luck!!

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TRAVELGRRL 1/21/2014 8:08PM

    Sending positive thoughts your way! I always had to work through all the homework before I assigned it...if nothing else, there are errors in answer keys. I know your students will give you positive reviews, which should help your prospects!!

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GYPSYGOTH 1/21/2014 6:13PM

    Hooray for hopeful prospects, and teachers like you who care. I may have mentioned that I wept through chemistry in HS (never took hard science in college) and have much admiration for anyone who takes the time to help someone understand it.

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KRICKET4 1/21/2014 1:26PM

    Fingers crossed...

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TREP13 1/21/2014 12:35PM

    That is great news!!!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

P.S. My fiance is currently getting his bachelor's and I totally know what you mean about getting paid to teach vs. getting paid to talk. Most of his teachers don't teach anything and I know it's frustrating for him. Glad you're one of the rare professors who teaches. :)

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SUSIEGKORN 1/21/2014 12:06PM

    This is sooooo exciting! Which school? Being a retired teacher, I loved reading about all your prep and your realization about actually teaching, not just talking. Wow! I'm sure you are making a difference!

Eating more veggies and getting in so much water is fantastic! Since I've been doing that the last several weeks, I've been staying satisfied throughout the day and not eating poorly at night while watching TV.

Best to you with your interviews, and I'll say a little prayer that you get that job!
Woo-hoo for YOU!

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JUJUFISH 1/21/2014 11:36AM

    Hooray!! I really hope it all works out for you!

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ADARKARA 1/21/2014 11:29AM


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KIKKI-G 1/21/2014 11:26AM

    good luck!

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KARENE10 1/21/2014 11:26AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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