Feb 26, 2010
So what's new in my life?
Thanks for all your support on my last post - it meant alot. I am in a much better frame of mind today, actually I was yesterday as well. I still don't know what the right calorie level is for me, but I haven't know that before and that didn't stop me from eating healthy and exercising - so I just need to keep doing that. I keep monitoring my portion sizes, eat mostly whole/real foods and drink lots of water and exercise. My other strategy is to keep meals balanced, protein/healthy carbs/healthy fats at every meal to avoid blood sugar spikes.
Just like driving to work this morning - all I can do is keep going, no matter how slow it is or how long it takes. There really is no other choice for me.
I have finished Beck and need to post the last few chapters so I can close that out on the blog. As far as I know I have a quiet weekend ahead so that's top of my agenda right now.
Feb 24, 2010
When I was thinking about my title, I wanted something that would reflect what my blog was about and be a play on my name - Downward TrEnz seemed perfect.
The downward part? Not so much.
The last two weeks, I've been eating more. I have to tell you, it was difficult to eat more. I found myself making excuses to NOT eat more...but I did. For the last 14 days, I've stayed between 1450-1550 calories. Every day. Without fail. I kept my exercise the same - treadmill, 30-45 min - 5-6 x a week. My 300 extra calories were healthy, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein - I wasn't eating cheeseburgers and fries and ice cream to hit that number.
Results? No drumroll please.
I have gained 6 lbs.
I have to say the first week I gained 3. I was worried, I was confused, I was angry. Even though I knew it could happen, that it might be my body hanging on until it new this new 1500 game was here to stay...so I kept at it. End of week 2, I am 6 lbs up. I am horrified, I am scared and I am just plain pissed at the world. I am very close to 220. 220 is a number I never want to see again. I don't know what to do now. I don't know if I should continue for another two weeks, risk gaining more weight - you all know those 6 lbs won't come off as fast as they went on.
I'm not asking for advice, honestly - I know some of you are going to want to throw some at me - really - I am not in the frame of mind for advice. Tonight I feel like I have tried and done everything I'm supposed to and I'm still failing. I know how far I've come, I know how long it's taken to get here - I'm not discounting that - but if I can't continue, if I can't get to a healthy weight then I have failed.
Today, for the first time in just over a year - I am questioning if I can actually do this, if I am strong enough, if I am smart enough, if I want it enough.
Today for the first time in a year, I deliberately did not count calories or points. I ate three meals and two snacks - normal sized portions, normal foods I eat every day, no splurges or indulgences. The menu today was not different from any other healthy eating day I've had lately. I felt panicked all day - I felt like I had to count, I had to write it down....I didn't. I forced myself to do something else, I forced myself to stop mentally counting. It was hard. I know the meals were healthy, I know they were in my calorie range and yet I was so scared of overeating. How could I? I premade all my meals myself, I know what was in them - after a year, you pretty much memorize the points in all your every day foods.
I'm not sure where I was going with this post; just to update you all on this 1500 calorie experiment at the 2 week mark, just to put it all in words to see if made more sense (it doesn't ), just to know that I am still here, not giving up because that's never been an option; just to say that tomorrow's another day and I will wake up and fight another day.
Feb 23, 2010
I'm interested in what their program offers and will give them feedback as requested. I hope you'll take a look and some of you will join so we can continue to support each other. I am looking at this as another tool on my weight loss marathon and the more knowledge and support I have, the better armed I will be to be successful in the long term.
The group is called Downward Trenz and my user name is Enz.
- Here is your Private Group Link: http://www.ichange.com/
partners/downwardTrenz Please feel free to post this link to your blog and/or send it directly to your interested readers.
- The link will take you and your readers to a registration process where you/they can sign up for the test program
- There is a 7 day window from today to register your group. After that registrations will be closed. If by some chance you need a couple more days just let me know.
- Once sign-up is complete, you will all be in a private group that will be headed up by Diana Young, one of our Registered Dietitians
- The program will be a 30-Day Challenge where Diana will give you and your readers a nutrition plan and set of guidelines with a goal of starting a healthy weight loss program of ~2 pounds per week.
- It will be absolutely FREE for everyone in your group. After the 30 day test, you and/or your participating readers are free to continue with the nutritionist led program for $19.99/month, but there is absolutely no pressure to continue. We are interested in getting feedback about your experience at this point.
- You and your group do not need to disband after the 30 day challenge. The groups functionality of the site is a free feature available to all members so you'd be welcome to continue, as a group (without the nutritionist) after your 30 day Challenge.
Feb 19, 2010
I'm chugging along with my 30 points a day (approx 1500 calories) and am going to give it a full two weeks before posting any updates or thoughts about it...so stay tuned. I am still walking 30-45 min on my treadmill 5-6 times a week and I am doing my own modified version of what I learned from C25K, although I'm not running, I walk faster during the intervals. I can actually feel the strength in my thighs and see some definition under the fat. This is pretty amazing to me and I've only being doing this consistently for about 5 weeks. I am also making a huge effort to cut out (as much as I possibly can) processed foods including white sugar, white flour and white rice. I've done this to a great degree already, but there was probably 1-2 servings a day of those items (total, not each!) in my diet so my goal is to replace them with whole grains.
The few straggling servings were mainly due to lack of planning and being lazy, since I can control both of those habits - I should!!
I was also a Diet Coke/Coke Zero/Diet Pepsi addict and some days would easily drink up to 2L a day, I'm down to one can a day with lunch now. I know diet pop is bad for you, but that's not what made me make the decision, it's that I don't think I was hydrating my body properly and I was drinking that stuff instead of water. Since doing this, about 3 weeks I guess...my skin is definitely clearer and fresher looking - I've gotten several compliments the last week asking if I changed my makeup or cleansing routine - pretty amazing what water can do for ya! Other than the diet pop thing, I don't have an issue with caffeine, I have a cup of coffee in the morning on weekdays and occasionally a cup of tea after dinner.
I am returning to tennis this weekend after a short hiatus with my tennis buddy, Tina, and we are looking into another class we can do together in the Spring. She has some arthritis issues as well so we need to find something low impact for both of us...we are really interested in kick boxing, but I'm a little worried that might be too hard on my joints - top of my list right now is Body Flex so I can build up some muscle for when this fat melts and starts to show them again.
Weather here this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous and although I do have some commitments I need take care of, I am hoping to fit in a longish walk as well.
I am also hoping to wrap up Beck in the blog here over the next few days as well, I think there are 4 days left and then two following chapters. It is a huge sense of accomplishment to me to know that I followed along the plan this long and have learned so much from it.
Feb 16, 2010
The first thing she reminds us is from Day 21:
Don't expect the scale to go down every week; it won't.
She divides plateaus into two categories, short term and long term. She says short term are when the scale doesn't move for a week or two, or goes up and down the same few pounds for a few weeks. Long term is more than a few weeks.
To be honest, I think what she is calling short term plateau is not a plateau at all but our bodies adjusting to our new weight, to our new muscle mass, to our calorie intake, to our exercise - I don't think it's realistic to call less than 4 weeks a plateau. When you have alot of weight to lose, in most cases, it's going to take a long time and during that time, your body needs time to heal and readjust.
Her suggestions for getting through or over a plateau are nothing new and we have all seen them here on other blogs and weight loss sites. My comments are in red.
1. Continue to do what you're doing and see if you continue to lose again.
I honestly believe that about 80% of success in weight loss is persistence and consistency. It's not about being perfect 100% of the time, it's about continuing to do what is working, day in and day out and making adjustments as you need to. There may come a time when what you're doing isn't working, but I think that time is longer than a few weeks.
2. Reduce your daily caloric intake by about 200 calories (check with a medical professional to make sure it is safe to do so).
The whole WW Momentum program is based on this theory, that as you lose weight - your body needs fewer calories to sustain it, so you should eat less. I have a whole book to write on this later on in this post - Tamara - keep reading!
3. Increase your daily exercise by 15-20 minutes.
Seems to make sense, burn more calories, lose more weight, right? Basically I think #2 and #3 are saying 'do something different" or "shake it up a little".
4. Call this your goal weight and move into maintenance.
Well that depends where you run into a plateau doesn't it? I'm not going call 215 my goal weight....but I might call 142 my goal weight (my goal is 140).
It seems to me that Beck's plateau advice is based on the sense that you have been doing all the right things and have been consistently losing and now you're not, so based on that, her suggestions mostly make sense.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I hit my own plateau; physically, emotionally and mentally back in October and basically have lost no new weight since then. I started around the middle of December in what I call "weight loss mode" again, tracking my points/calories - eating a balanced, healthy diet, cutting out almost all processed foods and exercising regularly.
Yet..here I am 3 months later still "stuck". Has my body forgotten the plan? I eat right, exercise and it loses weight...it's a simple deal - and although I am holding up my part - my body isn't playing nice.
Along the way, I've become iron deficient and D3 deficient which led to a whole host of other problems that certainly hindered my efforts in the last few weeks.
I finally decided that I must be missing "something". I must be doing something wrong or not enough of something right. I finally decided to see an Obesity doctor.
I showed him my weight loss graph, my food journals, my blood work history, I talked to him about my emotional/mental struggles I've faced, my physical health challenges and my fears. I told him about my trigger foods and what my philosophy is.
What did he tell me?
"You're not eating enough. 1200-1300 calories a day is not enough. Your body is holding on to every calorie. The more you exercise and the less you eat, the worse you are making it, you are creating too big of a claorie deficit."
Now I know, somedays I could eat a lumberjack under the table - and some days I don't make the best choices - but most of the time, I eat 1200-1300 calories of real food (24-26 points), including grains, protein, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats.
This is how he explained the WW program to me. As you lose weight, they knock off points - so you eat less calories because you weigh less, the theory being that the less you weigh, the less calories your body needs to sustain itself. He said the theory is sound and true, but it doesn't take into account that at 30-40 and more pounds lighter, your body is healthier. It is now using insulin better, your cholesterol is down, your muscles work better and more efficiently and if you are more active, your metabolism has actually sped up. A faster metabolism needs more calories - not less. I think WW tries to address this with the Activity Points, i.e. you work out, you have more points to eat - but I don't think they explain well enough WHY you need to eat them.
I always get stuck at this point. I am at the 5th or 6th time trying to lose the same 100+ pounds. Every time I get to 35-40 lbs, I get stuck and eventually give up. All along through this time around, I've said, I am not giving up this time. I will break through it and I will succeed. I've tried the more exercise, less calories, Wendy plan, more fats, less carbs - oh sure, it would work for one week, I'd lose 2-3 lbs but then be back up the same 2-3 lbs in the coming weeks.
The clinic I went to does a resting metabolism test; it tells me how many calories I burn in a day, just living. I've always been told I have a slow metabolism; diabetes and thyroid disorder do that to you, so I had to eat less to compensate. I'm a bit of an anomoly - I don't have a slow metabolism, I have a fast metabolism - I've been feeding a slow metabolism yet starving my own fast metabolism.
So..what am I doing now? Up to 30 points a day on WW or 1500 calories a day - I can't decide which I want to stick with but it works out to be about the same either way. As I drop weight and get healthier, I may need to eat more...I will redo the test every 4 weeks and see where I'm at. I don't know if this is the solution. I was told to expect to gain weight the first few weeks as my body will want to hoard calories until it realises this is a regular thing and I'm going to feed it properly. I have to admit that the thought of gaining is scary, every pound up brings me closer to my highest weight of 250 that I never want to see again.
But what this doctor said made sense to me. He could show me my own test results and he could explain the patterns that have happened in all my attempts before.....what have I got to lose? Oh..about 75 more pounds. Trying this for one month isn't going to hurt, right? What I'm doing isn't working. Maybe eating more will help.
I'll keep you posted.
Feb 15, 2010
It seems a pretty simple concept that if you are stressed in your life, weight loss and fitness will help relieve some of the stress but it's not as easy as that is it?
Beck's suggestions for learning to reduce stress are:
- Solve the problem - if you have problems in your life that are preventing you from focusing on your weight loss, then work on fixing them so they are no longer barriers to your goals. She has written alot about solving problems over the last few weeks so I'm not going to rehash it.
- Relax - Accept that you can't do everything 100% perfectly 100% of the time. Decide what's important and set your priorities.
- Change your mindset - If you can't fix the problem, change how you look at it, this reminds me of the Serenity Prayer.
Totally unrelated to Beck, this is my 300th post!!!! I almost can't believe I've stuck to blogging this long and I have 69 followers...that is very cool :)
Feb 14, 2010
The exercise for Day 36 is to create a response card to list all the new things you 've learned or changed about yourself and your habits, that are making you successful.
So my response card says:
- I know that eating sitting down and mindfully eating help me to keep track of what I'm putting into my body.
- I know that when I plan for meals away from home, I am more successful and less likely to overeat.
- I know that reading my reasons for wanting to lose weight every morning, keeps them top of mind and helps me stay focused on my goals.
- I know I won't always be perfect, but I know how to pick myself up and start again at the very next meal.
- I have strategies for dealing with people who push food on me and have learned to say "No thank you" to food I don't need or want.
- I have learned that unplanned eating doesn't have to derail me for days or weeks and I've learned how to put it into perspective.
- I've learned how the scale is not the only true measure of success; and I actually believe it now.
- I am still learning how to manage emotional eating, but I have been practising the new strategies I learned.
- I am still getting into the habit of giving myself credit every day, but I am doing it more days than not and I keep working towards doing it EVERY day.
- I've learned that I control my reactions to food around me and I can control my environment to some extent, but at the end of the day, controlling me is the better solution.
Feb 13, 2010
Day 36 is the beginning of Week 6 - our final week - and focuses on fine tuning all the skills we've learned so far.
Feb 12, 2010
After mulling it over for a bit, I realised she means to help us solve problems in ways other than eating. I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the box - but I think she could have spelled this out a little more clearly.
Her strategy is for us to employ the tools used on Day 26 and Day 27.
Really, there's not much else to say about this chapter.
I am still reading my cards daily (they are actually on my iPod and not physical cards anymore) and keeping track of my feelings in regards to food. I use alot of her techniques on a daily basis now without even thinking about it and I think this can only help me in the long term. I know alot of people have given up on Beck without finishing it. I can easily see why this would be the case. It is work and you have to do the work, if you don't - it won't work, if the idea of cognitive therapy doesn't appeal to you, you won't do it, if you're not ready to make changes in how you think, it won't work and finally, her style is very dry and in some instances, extremely preachy. I have to admit, she makes it sound easy to put her techniques into practice. Some are easier than others, to be sure, but in general it is still requires work and effort and time.
As I re-read that post, I realise it may come off sounding self-righteous or haughty and that is not my intent. I don't mean to imply that those who didn't stick with it are lazy or not interested in improving their situation, I just meant to acknowledge that it is hard work and that cognitive therapy isn't the right solution for everyone. For some people, their energy may be better spent doing other things to aid their weight loss efforts.
Feb 11, 2010
I have spent the last two days being poked, prodded, examined and questioned - for various reasons. Today I feel like I want to hide from the world and not talk to anyone.
Work makes that not possible, but I am going to go home, have a long hot bath and pick up a favourite novel and zone out for the night.
I just get like this sometimes, where I feel like the world is pulling me in so many directions and I don't want to go in any of them - I just want to hop off and let it keep spinning without me for a bit, you know? Not so much hiding, more like not participating.
I have been reading your blogs and am so excited by the general mood of accomplishment and success. I am working on figuring out my next steps in terms of my weight loss efforts - I need to make some changes to what I'm doing; to get back on the road to losing again and to make sure I stay healthy. This may take me a few days to sort out. In the meantime, I keep doing what I've been doing, counting calories, exercising a little each day and trying to stay focused.
Feb 9, 2010
Quick post of a few pics. I have lots and lots to tell you, and will try to get to it later or tomorrow.
This is me in my “new” jacket courtesy of Kate that I wore to my interview today. It’s hard to see in these pictures but my silk blouse is actually light blue and it picked up the grey really nicely in the jacket.
Feb 7, 2010
Andrea, Kat, Kate, Ally, Tiffany, Erin & Kerry
The personalities are very different, yet they all seem to complement each other. We're at different stages in our weight loss journey, different ages, different careers, different points in our lives - yet we have so much in common. We laughed alot - that's the true test of a good time to me.
I can't remember who it was, at our last get together, who suggested a pot luck and clothing exchange this time around. What a brilliant idea!
I didn't take any food photos, but these lovely ladies did so here's a link to their posts with food
The food was amazing, all the WW points all calculated for us so we could easily track. Kat started our appetites out with tapenade and crispy pita chips, the main meal was meatballs, veggies, fruit, carrot salad, squash, sweet potato, vegetable lasagna, chicken/pasta salad and quinoa. I had never had quinoa before and discovered I really like it. And there was dessert: cherry tarts, fudgey cakey brownies, bread pudding, fruit and vanilla frozen yogurt. I had one full plate of food and then my second plate was veggies and fruit. I had one piece of brownie, one piece of bread pudding and a scoop of the frozen yogurt. Best part, I didn't leave feeling stuffed or sick but I wasn't hungry again all night either.
Before we got to the eating part of the night, Kate acted as MC and displayed all the clothes that were brought for the swap. I was very fortunate as most of these women are further along in their weight loss journey than I am so there were alot of clothes in my size range.
I didn't think there would be to be honest, but I can wear size 16!!!
Size 16 from mainstream, regular sized people, stores like The Gap and Old Navy and Rickis.
I didn't think some of these clothes would fit, but I was urged to "Just try it on and see" and they were right. I can't tell you how overjoyed I was. I can honestly say I never would have walked into The Gap or Old Navy and pulled 16s off the rack on my own - not even to "just try them on". But they fit. Not snugly, not "only just", they fit properly! The other major coup for me was a black/grey jacket that I can wear to a job interview I have this coming week. It is a second interview and with only one suit that fits (that I wore to the first interview) I was panicking over what to wear this time. These ladies came to my rescue with not one, but four jackets!!! Two are perfect for interviews but only one fits really well, the second is just a bit tight so I'll hang on to it and hopefully it will fit in a few months.
The thing that was so amazing to me is that I've pretty much plateaued since October, no real "new" weight loss although I play around with the same 3-5 lbs pretty much on a weekly basis so I didn't think I'd be into a new size yet. My clothes are currently size 18 and few 16Ws and I have one magic pair of size 14 jeans that fit like a dream but in general, I was thinking I was an 18 and in some things even a 20 still. But everything I took home last night was a 16 or a 1X, I tend to need bigger tops to fit my shoulders/arms and there was one size 18 blouse that made it into my pile but when I tried it on last night at home it was too big, so I'll put it away to take back to the next clothes swap. This was a huge confidence booster and motivation to me that I am doing "something" right even if I am not sure what it is or how to get the scale to go down. I know the scale is not the only measure of success but at 5' tall, 210 lbs is morbidly obese, we're not talking about losing the last ten pounds here, we're talking about the last 75!
I have a plan to break this pesky plateau and crush those 75lbs but I don't want to talk about it just yet, I will tell you all about it on Tuesday, I promise.
Feb 4, 2010
In this chapter, Beck talks about emotional eating. I found this chapter to very similar to Day 13 - Conquering Cravings in that she suggests both Mindset Techniques and Behavioural Techniques to fight back against emotional eating.
To all my Weight Watcher bloggers, does this sound familiar?
Beck doesn't use those exact WW words, but the premise is the same. She starts by asking us to accept that negative feelings are a part of life and we can't eliminate them. She reminds us that using food to deal with negative feelings will create more negative feelings.
Beck's first piece of advice is to label how you're feeling.
"I'm angry because of.......I'm not hungry."
"I'm hurt because.....I'm not hungry."
"I'm disappointed because....I'm not hungry."
Once we've recognized what the feeling is and what the problem is and that it is not hunger, it seems a logical conclusion that eating won't solve the problem. On the one hand it seems a bit simplistic, on the other hand - simplicity works! I think the biggest step is the first one, learning and training ourselves to STOP and THINK and LABEL before starting to eat. If we can master that one step, then I think emotional eating can be beaten. It won't be easy and we won't always succeed, but the more we practice - like anything else - the easier it will be and the better we will be at succeeding until it becomes the first thing we do rather than the last.
Once the feeling is labelled, make a concious and firm decision that you will not eat. Eating is not an option to solve this problem.
If you're still struggling, imagine how you will feel if you do give in to emotional eating. What will you feel like afterwards? Are those feelings worth giving in right now for a temporary solution?
Lastly, deal with the real problem to the extent that it is possible. We all have situations in our life that are not going to be fixed in one day and can't be dealt with, which is why we probably turn to food in the first place - a sense of no control and frustration.
Of course, she recommends creating response cards to help you remember these steps and using them whenever the need arises.
Her behavioural technique suggestions are similiar to those for cravings; distraction or relaxation.
I think this chapter was a good reminder of the basic principal that food does not solve emotional issues and how to remind ourselves of it when the need arises.
I have the WW mantra written in my Daytimer for days that I know are going to be emotionally difficult, i.e. sad anniversaries, deadlines at work and it really does help to see the written reminder before I actually need it.
Feb 3, 2010
Have you been missing Beck?
Admittedly, these last few chapters have not been as interesting to me as some of the earlier ones and I'm finding it a bit of a slog to get through the book, but I am going to finish it so I can be a successful "Beck Graduate". I have learned a lot and put so much into practice so far.
Chapter 32 deals with sticking to your diet while travelling. She rehashes some of the techniques from Chapter 30- Eating Out. I think the most important take away (for me) from this chapter was that we should make a conscious decision about our diet before we go on our trip. We have three choices:
1. Accept a small gain.
2. Maintain our weight.
3. Continue our diet as we do at home and continue to lose weight.
Once we have made this decision, create a response card and use it every day during your time away, whether it is for business or pleasure; then align your choices and actions with that decision.
This is a concept that Weight Watchers usually teaches around the holiday time or summer time, when people typically go off their diets or gain weight because of all the food related activities. I think it's sound and I think it gives us a feeling of control.
Some other techniques include, getting a room with a fridge/microwave and keep healthy snacks on hand, have the hotel staff remove the goodies from the bar fridge, eat as many fresh foods as possible, keep fruit on hand for in between meals, make use of any fitness facilities that may be available, drink lots of water, get lots of rest and make a decision about alcohol.
We can't always control the food that is in our environment, even more so when we are travelling away from home, but we can control how we react to it and put a plan in place to do our best.
Feb 2, 2010
It was one year ago today I started this blog. I had no idea how much support I would find here and how many friends I would make. For sure, this journey would be so much harder without all of you. You keep me going and coming back each day. You help me to never give up.
It hasn't been an easy year, but I am (as of today) 37lbs down.
Life threw me some curveballs over the last year - my husband suffered a near fatal brain aneursysm, my parents both had health scares, my youngest son had some health problems, I thought I would NEVER find a new job (but I did), lots of financial struggles, lots of day to day struggles...but I'm still here and still taking one day at a time. Lots of happy stuff too; my brother and niece came from England to visit for two weeks, my boys are growing up and turning into great young men, Dennis is getting better day by day, I'm getting into the habit of exercising 3-4 times a week, I'm learning to overcome my emotional eating (Thanks Dr. Beck!) and I'm generally happier and healthier.
Feb 1, 2010
My weekend was wonderfully relaxing. I napped several times and woke up feeling refreshed and energized. I cooked two main meals and left the boys to fend for themselves for the others. I love cooking so that was fun. I watched alot of TV and read alot in between naps.
Back to work today, I didn't sleep too well last night, I think partially from all the sleep I got over the weekend and partially I was afraid I'd oversleep as I didn't set an alarm all weekend, but I am feeling pretty good today.
Still really tired, but my body does not hurt as much as it did and it's not painful to move around or get up and down all day. I walked over to Loblaws at lunch time and just caught the tail end of the Walk Signal so I ran across the street and didn't feel like I was going to collapse - last week the walk to and from was too much for me and I was exhausted when I got back. Today I am more back to normal. Don't misunderstand - this is a 4-5 minute walk each way - so to be exhausted after that was a huge indicator to me that something was seriously wrong with me.
I am still reading Beck, although I am not finding her as engaging as I did in the first chapters. I will finish the book though and continue to post the chapters. Chapter 32 is up next (probably tonight).
I am going to try and do a 15 minute walk on the treadmill tonight at a low speed (2.0-2.5 mph) and see how it goes since I was ok with my short walk to Loblaws. I don't want to completely stop moving...it's so hard to get back in the habit, I just have to be careful I don't overdo it for the next week or two. I'll see how I do with 15 minutes, it will probably feel good just to stretch my legs.
I'm trying to do some research into which foods give the biggest iron bang so I can stop taking supplements once I get my iron levels back up. It's so confusing, iron isn't absorbed from some foods or in combination with other foods or vitamins...it's so complex!! Do any of you know a good source for this type of information or know anything about this? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks for all your kind words over the weekend. I've been following your blogs and enjoy your triumphs :)