Dieting newbie--my story

Buglady_DEJuly 31, 2004

Hello all! I'm not new to THS. I spend loads of time on the Kitchen forum because I am in the midst of a remodel. It is a slow process. I was in the planning stage for 18 months! But demo has begun now and things are moving along.

I turned 42 this week. Of course, DH and I went out to dinner for my birthday. And then we went shopping in a local dept store. At my age, I don't need more "stuff", but it has been awhile since I bought new underwear. So I went off to the Lingerie section, and we agreed to meet up later. After I got home with my favorite brand of undies, I was looking at the package, and I wondered if I really didn't need the next size up from the ones I bought. See, I was just at the Dr.'s recently and I weighed in at 170. Hmmm. Got the tape measure out and sure enough I need the next size up. As a matter of fact, I am only one inch shy of the top of the range for these panties. After that, I gotta go find another brand! And that was my "OK, this has got to change" moment!

I've spent the last couple of days gathering info. I am 5'7" and small boned. On my own scale, I weighed 166 that night. According to the weight charts I found online, I am ta-da officially overweight! I quit weighing myself years ago. I know my weight has been creeping up. My waistbands feel tight. In the spring, I bought jeans in a larger size. And I've been doing that over the years, but I thought that it would level off somewhere--no big deal. Now, I'm afraid it will just keeping going and going.

Almost all of the women in my family are overweight. And there is a lot of diabetes in my family. I was skinny all through my 20s. I used to wish I could gain weight. I always knew that it would catch up with me someday.

I have no experience with trying to lose weight by dieting. Several years ago tried to lose weight by exercising more. I like step aerobics and walking and hiking. Well, I never lost any weight. And I thought that I was eating sensibly then.

Over the last couple of years, I know my eating habits have deteriorated. So I need to figure something out. The Weight Watchers point system looks interesting. I read some previous posts here on it, and I went to the WW website. So I know I could join online.

I guess the first thing I need to do is to set a goal. The charts say that I need to get down to 150 to be a healthy weight (and out of the overweight category). So I could just aim for that. Ten years ago, I weighed 140. I thought that was a good weight, but maybe that is unreasonable now.

The main obstacles that I see for myself is that I have no concept of what it's like to lose weight. I've only seen the scale go up. Never down.

Also, the prospect of recording everything that I eat sounds tough. I wrote it down yesterday and today. And looked up the WW points on another poster's website linked in another thread. It was interesting to see the points. But it will get old real fast!

This morning I took a 40 min. walk. I'm going to have to clear out some space to do my step aerobics. There are boxes everywhere due to the remodel!

Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself. All advice is welcome!

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Sorry to be answering my own post. But I just *have* to tell somebody that I am sitting here eating a measured one half cup of Cheerios with no milk, which I believe is only one point, while I wait for DH to prepare my dinner. This is the time of day that I get the worst food cravings. Normally, I would be looking for some high calorie snack like cupcakes, corn chips or something.

BTW, my DH is the cook around here so this should be interesting. He is making eggplant parm and mashed potatoes and some vegetable. Wonder how much of it I can eat without going over my points, which from what I can tell should be 22. And that is for all day? Oh boy!

Also, a great big thank you to whomever has that website with all the points values. It has been very enlightening. I've been sitting here calling out the various items to DH. Ten points for an egg salad sandwich?! No wonder my butt got big! :)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2004 at 5:49PM
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Hi Buglady,
Good for you to realize and start wanting to lose weight.

You won't believe the wonderful feeling you get when you start losing weight and your clothes get loose.
Also, you will notice that bending over to pick something up off the floor is easier among other things which make losing weight worth the HARD work of.
I am to the point that when I look at a no-no such as a piece of pie or cake and icecream etc. etc. I think, which is better, that, or the feeling I have of losing weight?
Because I have struggled with losing weight, I chose to stick with the way I have been eating and staying away from the things that lead me astray at least 'til I get down to "thin" and where I can handle a tiny piece without it taking over.
My problem is I am a big eater and of the no-no foods that are fattening.
I have tried eating less which did not work for me so I went kinda with Atkins meaning low carb dieting which works for me so I intend on staying on low carbs which makes me feel more energetic and better. I am not one to measure everything so I just watch how much carbs I take in.
I have yet to find out how high a person can have of carbs a day to keep losing as I don't weigh myself cause that always caused me to give up if I didn't lose more than it showed on the scale for all the hard word I did.
Good luck and believe me it is healthier for you to lose weight but not too fast as you did not gain it all in one day. Right?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 7:10AM
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Hi Urlee!

**it is healthier for you to lose weight but not too fast as you did not gain it all in one day. Right?**

Boy, is that ever right. The last time I tried to lose weight was two years ago. Luckily, I wrote down what I weighed and what my measurements were then. I weighed 155. So over the last two years I've gained around 10 lbs. Doesn't seem too bad. Except when I think, well am I going to gain 5 lbs every year from here on? Actually back then I was still in denial that my weight was too high. I just thought that if I exercised more that I would be healthier, and if the weight came off, that would be a bonus. But like I said before, my weight never changed. I did step aerobics or walked for at least 30 min 5 to 6 times a week. But I would not admit that I needed to change my diet.

After looking at the WW points values, I can see that I clearly do not have a realistic notion of correct portions. When I eat half a large bag of Doritos at one time, I know that I am being bad. But when I eat huge amounts of mashed potatoes, fajitas, pasta, etc., it does not register that I am hurting myself. So I am really going to have to pay attention to portion sizes.

I will say that even after just a couple of days of paying attention to what I'm eating, I already feel less bloated. I've been getting really unhappy about the feeling around my waist. I don't even like sitting for long, especially in the car. It is uncomfortable to feel that roll of fat there. I don't know if I can expect that to get better or not. I am trying to be realistic. I mean some of this has to be attributed to just getting older. I can't expect my body to stay the same. Right?

I do not know much about Atkins. I will have to look into it more. I suspect it will not work well for me because I do not eat any meat. That is something that I have stuck with since I was 18. It is the best experience I have to draw on for knowing how to stick with something. Knowing myself, I am really going to need that kind of discipline because eventually those Doritos are going to be calling out to me.

I do like that technique you have of thinking which do you want more the no-no food or that good feeling of losing weight. I will have to remember to try that.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 12:26PM
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Well, this is the fourth day that I've been writing down what I eat and adding up the points. I try to look at what the points will be before I eat. I must say this is really hard. I can't seem to figure out how not to eat so much, LOL. Of course that is just ridiculous. I need to plan out my meals better. I think that I will count this week as a warm-up. Just getting familiar with the program and all. I have not had one single day yet where I ate at my points--always over. But I do know about the 35 flex/bonus points per week. And if I count those in, I am not doing too badly.

Also, I will already consider it a success that I am at least trying. And I am definitely eating better and eating less than I would otherwise.

Today I had the most points since I started keeping track--38. And you know what? It feels like it too. Tomorrow I will do better!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 8:15PM
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Buglady - I was searching for some other info and came across these tips for Weight Watchers. I hope you find them useful.

Alan's Weight Watchers Tip

Dont cheat

You donÂt need to cheat. Track your points carefully, and if you find something that you really must eat; then eat it and fully count its points.

DonÂt eat anything until you find out the point count

That "fat free muffin" that you see at the bakery probably has twice the points that you think it does. Do your research before eating it. I have available some details on the formula for Weight Watchers Points.

DonÂt waste points on non-filling items

Things like orange juice; non-diet soda, etc. use up a lot of points, but donÂt really fill you up or satisfy your hunger very much. I also recommend that you not use points strictly for "flavor" (i.e. sauces, full-fat dressings, etc.) Save your points for items that will be filling and satisfying.

Do use your points on filling items

Rice cakes are a good example of this. They are pretty filling and are only 1 point each.

Rethink what you like

Many people say "I donÂt like salad" or "I canÂt eat vegetables." You are trying to improve you health and fitness, now is the time to re-access your likes and dislikes. I donÂt like vegetables very much, but I try and have them with every lunch and dinner, because I know they will fill me up without points.

DonÂt use "special event dinners" as an excuse for going off the program

That fancy steak house probably can broil you a nice piece of fish and serve you a salad without cheese.

Control portions

You do need to weigh and measure most of what you eat. If you are too lazy to do this very often at home, then buy pre-packaged entries which have the points pre-calculated (i.e. Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones).

Drink those fluids

You will need to have at least 8 glasses of non-caffeine (preferably non-calorie as well) liquid per day. Get in the habit of bringing a large bottle of water, seltzer or whatever you prefer to work each day, and drink it!

Read those labels

Just because a product is marketed as a "healthy" or "lite" or "sports" product, does not mean itÂs low in fat/calories/points. Check out those "fitness" bars that are very popular, they are loaded with calories.

Eat "real" food

Energy bars and protein shakes have lots of calories and you will still be hungry. If you need more protein, eat some grilled chicken.

Know your yogurt

Yogurt comes in a mind-numbing number of varieties. Ranging from full-fat, fully sweetened to non-fat, non-sugared and everything in between. The point counts can vary tremendously, so read the labels carefully. IÂve seen two different brands of plain, non-fat yogurt have 100 and 130 calories (both for a 1 cup serving).

Save the gimmick yogurts with the sprinkles or crunchy add-ins for your kids.

Augment your yogurt

I container of yogurt is tasty, but it's gone in 60 seconds and does not leave you very full. Mix in some high-fiber, low fat cerial, and it's a different story. I like "Kashi Good Friends" cerial, but there are plenty of others which fit the bill.

Ditto for granola bars

IÂve seen granola bars with point ranges from 2-6. DonÂt assume they are "all about the same."

Use skim milk only

There is no reason for using whole milk, 2% or even 1% milk. Coffee and cereals taste practically the same with skim as with 2%, plus you are saving lots of fat.

Beware the fruit

Fruit is healthy and you should be eating some every day, but they have points and some of them (bananas, pineapple) have quite a few points. You cannot eat an infinite amount of fruit and lose weight. The same goes for carrots, if you are going to be munching handfuls of carrot sticks, make sure you count the points.

De-Cheese your pizza

Your friendly neighborhood pizza purveyor will be happy to make you a pizza with no cheese. Load it up with peppers, mushrooms, spinach, fresh tomatoes, etc. You will hardly miss the cheese and there will be a drastic reduction in points.

Just Do It

Diet alone will only get you limited results. If you are overweight, chances are you are not getting much exercise. Do it. Do it every day. Joining a gym is fine, but are you really going to get there every day? Try and find something that you can do at home, whenever your schedule permits.

Track those points

I use a Palm Pilot program called WWCalc[*], but you can use a notebook, the Weight Watchers diary pages, or whatever you prefer. Tracking your points and being able to review what you ate for the prior week can give you insight into why you lost more weight some weeks than others.

DonÂt settle for holding even

You want to lose weight every week. Stick to the program and you will.

When in doubt, overstate

When you are not exactly sure how many points a given item contains, round against yourself.

Make sure you consume your minimum point count each day

This is a diet, not a fast. There is a 5 point range for each day. You can only bank 5 points per day, so make sure that you consume at least the low end point number for each day.

Set both short-term and long term goals for yourself

You should first shoot for a reasonable short-term goal (perhaps a 10% weight loss), then a longer-term goal (perhaps your target weight, or something close to it).

English muffin vs. Bagel

Instead of that bagel, have an English muffin. Bagels are 6 points and an English muffin is 2. Any questions?

Working for the Weekend

DonÂt use the weekends as an excuse to overeat. Instead, view the weekend as an opportunity to exercise more.

The Cheese of Death

Cheese has lots of points and in my opinion, is basically just a flavoring. So go ahead and have that turkey or roast beef sandwich, but hold the cheese.

Get a Support System

Find supportive family members, friends and colleagues. This is a tough program to stick with if you are completely alone. Bounce ideas off of your associates (or better yet, find someone to do the program along with you).

Salsa: The Magic Sauce

Stuff that I donÂt like tends to taste a lot better when I pour salsa all over it. Plain baked potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, etc. all become much more palatable when covered with salsa (and without adding points!).

Proud to be Hungry

This tip is kind of philosophical. There will be times (perhaps many times) that you will be hungry. Instead of exceeding your points and eating something, wear your hunger as a badge of honor. The hunger you feel lets you know that the program is working. IÂd be surprised if you can go around feeling full all the time and still lose weight. However, this should be the exception rather than the rule. If you find you are hungry all or most of the time, speak with your Weight Watchers leader.

Some products that I recommend:

Quaker flavored rice cakes

These are pretty tasty and satisfying and only 1 point each. IÂm partial to the banana nut variety, but they come in many flavors.

The Skinny Cow

They make several low-fat, low-calorie desserts which are all pretty large and very tasty, most are only two points each.

Boca Burgers

These meat-free hamburger clones are only 2 points each. They come in a variety of flavors (salsa, cajun, vegetable, etc.) and can be either cooked on a grill or microwaved. They even have the "grill lines" stamped on them.

Smart Ones

This is an entire product line of entrees and desserts from Weight Watchers. The desserts are very good and range from 1-4 points each. The entrees range from 4-6 points each and are tasty, but should be accompanied by a salad to make a complete meal. If you have enough points saved up for dinner, you can even have two!


Salsa has no points and makes a great topping to Boca Burgers, baked potatoes, etc. A green or red pepper cut into strips and dipped in salsa makes a great zero-point snack.

The Boston Market Turkey Carver

This sandwich, when ordered without cheese or dressing is very hearty and tasty and only 7 points. Along with a salad it makes a pretty good low-point dinner.

Weight Watchers Breakfast Bars

These are sold at WW meetings. They are pretty filling and are only 2 points. They make for a nice "light" breakfast.

Dr. McDougallÂs Right Foods

These are instant "meals-in-a-cup" that taste quite good and are very satisfying. They are all vegetarian and come in many varieties. Be careful, some have quite a few points, while others (ramen noodle soup, etc) are pretty reasonable (e.g. 3 points). Ordering and nutritional information can be found at

Wal-Mart "Extreme" fruit sodas
No-calorie, no caffeine and really tasty, they are available in apple cider, ruby red grapefruit and watermelon flavors.

Some Meal Suggestions
I tend to favor filling meals; I hate using points and still feeling hungry.

Yogurt Breakfast (5 points)
1 Cup non-fat plain yogurt (2 points)
Mashed banana (2 points)
Sprinkle with Kashi cereal (1 point)
Grilled Chicken Salad Lunch (6 points)
Salad Greens, Tomatoes, etc. with a sliced grilled chicken breast, splash of balsamic vinegar.
Big-Point Dinner (11 points)
Smart Ones entrée (5 points)
Roll (3 points)
Salad with low-fat dressing (1 point)
Smart One or Skinny Cow Dessert (2 points)
Brunch Special (8 points)
Bagel (6 points)
Egg white omelet with your choice of veggie filling (1 point)
1-point piece of fruit (1 point)
Ultra-lite Brunch Special (4 points)
English muffin (2 points)
Egg white omelet with your choice of veggie filling (1 point)
1-point piece of fruit (1 point)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 9:58PM
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Marci, this is a big help for me!!!

I've also discovered fat-free half-and-half. I use a bit each morning in my coffee. Zero points, and I feel like I have a really creamy treat (use Splenda, of course to sweeten). Sometimes I add a touch of Almond or Vanilla extract....still zero points!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 8:42AM
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Buglady, you may want to try to eat something every couple of hours....I take all kinds of food to the office. Here is a typical day for me:

Breakfast (8-9am)
Dannon Fit & Trim Yogurt (2)
2/3 cups fiber one (1)

Snack (10-11am)
piece of fruit (1)

Lunch (12:30 - 1:45 pm)
2 Slices Whole Wheat Low Calorie Bread (1)
2 oz protein --turkey, ham, cheese (2-3)
1 cup celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cuc slices, etc (0)
or piece of fruit (1)

Snack (3pm - 4 pm)
1 piece of fruit (1)
or 1 cup raw veggies

Dinner .....

So it goes. I pack all of the above and bring them with me to work.

Also, I have a large Fruit 2O with me to mix with water. I try to drink at least 40-50 ounces of water during my office hours!!

Fill yourself up with Zero point foods. There is a fabulous veggie soup recipe that comes with Weight Watchers membership (dont have it with me). You can have 1 cup of it for zero points....use it with lunch or before dinner, or at night if you are famished. Sometimes I nuke myself a cup of it while I'm preparing dinner so that I'm not munching!!!

Take advantage of all the veggies and zero point foods. That is what is keeping me in the game. I love to eat, and I find if I have smaller meals throughout the day, I'm not hungry all the time.

I save the bulk of my points for dinner; as evening is my most difficult time. I can have a larger piece of fish AND a baked sweet potato (I use Molly McButter sprinkles instead of fat on my potato). I eat a salad with olive oil and vinegar, and feel fuller in the evening.

You can do this because it's real food.

I eat chips when I want them (and have the points). I just count them out of the bag and then put the bag away! It's worth it when you save the points for such a treat. Also, Pringles makes fat-free chips which are very good. 15 of them is only 1 point. You can get baked tortilla chips and eat 14 of them with salsa -- 1 point.

It works! -- Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 9:36AM
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Wow, Marci! There is so much good information there that it's going to take me some time to digest it all (pun intended). I love salsa. Never thought about putting on my baked potato. I could have used that info last night, lol! Can't wait to try it.

I do love Boca burgers. Never would have guessed that there would be such a difference between bagels and English muffins. That is something I can do right away, too. We have both in the house right now. And I do tend to go for the bagels. Of course. Also, I will have to look for Dr. McDougalls and Skinny Cows.

DeeMarie--How right you are about eating at work. I am only now realizing that this is part of my problem. I would have thought that it was mainly dinner where I overeat. But the points are telling the tale. Way too many of my daily points are consumed at my desk. I need to trade out that granola bar and all those pretzels for vegetables.

What is Fruit 2O?

Also, does anyone know how many points a hardboiled egg is?


    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 5:40PM
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OK, I did it!! I ate only 22 points worth of food! I'm so proud. If I get any cravings the rest of the night, I'll just eat more broccoli and salsa. But I feel pretty good, so I probably won't need to. Yay, yay, yay!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 7:52PM
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DeeMarie - I'm sneaking in on this thread to say Hi!! LOL

Buglady - Your enthusiasm is contagious!! WTG!! Glad you found the hints to be helpful.

Fruit2O is fruit flavored water sweetened with Splenda that can be found at Walmart. It has Zero calories and comes in various flavors. I like raspberry and strawberry.

I can't answer the hardboiled egg question, but I did read that 3 egg whites is 1 point.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 8:12PM
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An egg is 2 points! If you take out the yolk, it is 0 points. I make an egg salad out of three hard boiled egg whites and low fat mayo, crunchy celery and a bit of minced onions. About 3-4 points if you spread it on low calorie bread!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 12:54PM
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I woke up this morning craving cheese. I'll take that as a sign that something is working. Maybe my body is wondering what happened to all that fat and the calories I was used to eating.

So I decided to do step aerobics. It's been awhile. I could only do it for 15 minutes. So disappointing. I used to be able to get all the way through that tape.

Today is my seventh day counting points. I actually didn't do too badly for the week. I am over by 1.5 points. That includes the extra 35 per week.

Now, should I really weigh myself tomorrow? I wonder which is worse: finding out I didn't lose anything or finding out that I did. If I did lose weight, I could easily see myself wanting a tasty reward to celebrate the first success. Might be best not to know.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 6:35PM
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Buglady - That is 15 minutes more than you did yesterday! You have to start somewhere and the important part is that you started.
Pat yourself on the back and keep at it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 6:41PM
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Curiosity got the best of me this morning so I climbed up onto the scale. 159.5 lbs! Yippee! It does work. That is a 4 lb loss from what I weighed on Friday or Saturday last week. Unfortunately, I did not write it down. I remember 163.5, but I can't remember which day it was. I am just happy to be under 160.

I sure did learn a lot this past week. Especially about eating the right portions. I don't have that stuffed feeling after I eat dinner that I use to have either.

Tonight we went to TGI Friday's. I planned out what I would have before we left the house and I stuck to it. I especially used to overeat at restaurants because they give you such large portions. Well, I really noticed that when I finished eating what I wanted, that I didn't feel so full. It is a good thing.

Interestingly, I feel somewhat lighter, but not skinnier.

Well, while it is amazing that I lost those 4 lbs, I'm not overly impressed by it. I mean, I am glad that I lost it and it was a really great start. I certainly don't expect to lose this weight too fast. I just mean that I can see my weight fluctuating 4 or 5 lbs for no reason at all. What I am really looking forward to seeing is 10 lbs come off. Not at once, but a total of 10 lbs. Then it will seem real to me. I just think that if I could lose 4 lbs in one week, I could just as easily gain 4 lbs in one week. I'm skeptical of my ability to stick with it, I guess. Or maybe I just have a teensy bit of doubt that it is really due to the changes I made.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 10:32PM
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Today I had another Dr's appointment. Different doctor. Different scale. I weighed 162. Sounds much better than the 170 I weighed some weeks back. I still weighed 159.5 at home. When you count that I was wearing shoes and holding my purse and wearing work clothes at the Dr's, I think it is close enough.

Hey, BTW, I never meant to continue to make all these step by step posts here. I hope no one minds. For right now, I feel that I want to share. It's a new-ness thing, I guess.

If anyone else out there is just getting started, please feel free to post. OK? Or even if you've been at it for awhile. I would love to hear stories of how you got started on your weight loss program. Like what got you started and what have you learned so far.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 6:19PM
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Buglady, "they" say for an accurate accounting of your weight and weight loss, you should always weigh on the same scales and always at the same time of day. So I always weigh on my home scales, first thing in the morning before I put on any clothes, and even before my coffee! When I'm watching my weight I weigh once a week. I haven't been counting points since last spring, but your enthusiasm is contagious and I'm getting in the mood to start counting again!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 12:13AM
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Hi again, MaryAnn! You are the second person to say that I sound so enthusiastic. Amazing! Who would think that *I* could be so enthusiastic about trying to lose weight? Well, I guess I do feel kinda excited about this. But that is just because I am learning something new. I do tend to get that way. Trouble is one day it won't be new to me anymore. That is what I need to guard against.

I do remember reading once that the thing to do if you get off track, is to just get back on as soon as you realize you fell off. Sounds so simple, doesn't it?

I bought a notebook to write down what I eat everyday, and to keep track of my points. And I made a chart for tracking my weight.

I figured the Dr's office scales are more accurate, but I will use my own scale for my official weigh-ins. I just wanted to see how far off my scale at home might be. I think my day to weigh-in will be Friday mornings because then if I eat too much on the weekend, I will have time to recover. It's probably easier for me to stay on track during the week.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 6:51AM
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