Saturday, October 31, 2015

Weight loss blog credibility

I read healthy eating and weight loss blogs every day. While some of the posts are based on personal experience or on new research, I see many that appear to be designed to generate buzz, sell products, and keep consumers “tuned in.”

Bloggers who accept ads participate in marketing. Many of those who successfully lost weight and initially started blogging to share what worked for them, choose to monetize their blogs by advertising weight loss products and services.

Most likely the ads are for the products that pay best publishing rates, not necessarily the ones that had been used by the blog owners.

How important is it for you that the person who renders weight-loss advice to you is struggling with or used to struggle with weigh issue himself?

Do you consider this factor when you assess his credibility and value of the advice received?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Food labels are confusing for a lot of people

Food manufactures and the food marketing industry are in business of enticing you into buying their products. 

They will use jargon to make you think their products are good for you. For example, a food might be fat-free, but the rest of the product might consist of ingredients that are bad for you. 

Look at the back of the product. The front contains the marketing; the back (the label) contains the facts. Food labels are confusing for a lot of people. I know that labels can be tricky, but the label is where you will learn which products are good for you and which contain ingredients you should avoid. You should be concerned with saturated and trans fats, syrups and added sugar.

Reading the labels arms you with information to make smart choices about what you eat. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Announcing your weight loss goals

Research confirms that most people who decide to make a lifestyle change will tell at least a few others about their intentions. Others, will have more success with keeping their intentions to lose weight to themselves.

The first group believes that telling others about their weight loss efforts will keep them accountable. The second group might be concerned that co-workers, friends, and even family member may sabotage their efforts at times, even unintentionally.

Studies confirmed that if you announce your goals to others, you are less likely to make them happen because you lose motivation. Really? Yes, really. This is thought to happen because announcing goals satisfies a person’s self-identity just enough to prevent them performing the hard work to achieve those goals.

I think it is a personal preference and everyone must do what works best for them.

What do you think? Is sharing your weight loss goals with a loved one more likely to keep you accountable, or are you afraid they might sabotage your efforts?

Do you tell anyone at all, or just let them figure it out for themselves?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Weigh yourself on a digital scale daily

Your scale can be a top tool in losing weight. Use the number on the scale as a guide to decide whether you should keep doing what you are doing or make some changes.

Weighing yourself more often could mean losing more pounds. According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics people who step on the scale daily lose about three times as much weight as those who do so less often.

When I saw the numbers on the scale going down every single day, I got excited and wanted to stick with my method. Fast results kept me motivated. The more weight I lost, the more I realized how doable and relatively easy it was, and the more I wanted to share it with others.

Invest in a digital scale, weigh yourself on a scale daily and track the results.  It’s usually best to weigh yourself the first thing in the morning, after getting out of bed. Weighing yourself every day keeps the focus on how quickly you are losing weight.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Elements of well-being

The 5 elements of well-being are:

  • Positive Emotion - the pleasant life.
  • Engagement - flow.
  • Meaning - found in serving something bigger than self.
  • Positive Relationships - other people are the best antidote of the downs of life and the single most reliable up.
  • Accomplishment - subjective achievement.

Personal well-being is not the same for everyone. What are your 5 elements of well-being? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Power of planning

Planning is what makes eating real, healthy food possible. Take 15 minutes to plan for a successful healthy week ahead. Use this time to plan what and where you will eat next week.

Also, plan your grocery trip by making your grocery list. Make a list every time you go to the grocery store. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If you do you will be more likely to make impulse purchases.

Always keep a stash of healthy food at home and healthy snacks at work. It will make it easier to make healthy choices, and it will prevent you from going too long without eating.

Thinking ahead, planning what and where you will eat as meals, and grocery shopping based on the Eat like Me approach are the keys to healthy eating and losing weight. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Gained weight on vacation

I just spent two glorious weeks on vacation in Florida. I relaxed, I read, I ran, and I cherished and enjoyed every moment spent with my wife. I also violated my eating right  life style rules by buying and consuming food that is not healthy.

Everyone has that one food that sends them off track, that they just can’t eat in moderation. For me, there are a few. Ice cream is one of them. I knew I couldn’t eat ice cream in moderation, yet I still bough and eat it. Lots of ice cream. I think it was because I knew it would be temporary. In NYC I don’t buy ice cream.

I also learned that one meal doesn’t have to ruin your whole day. If you stray away from your plan at one meal, you can still get back on track with the next one.

Now I am back home and I am transitioning back to reality. When I stepped on the scale at home my honest accountability partner showed that I gained eight pounds.

I am resuming healthy eating most of the time. The Eat Like Me eating approach that helped me lose weight in the past. Posted picture represents my healthy choice in a mall-like environment this afternoon. Will keep my efforts to stay in healthy habit mode (until next vacation, he he).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vacation is a time to relax and enjoy life

Vacation offers free-time to spend with family and loved ones, and gives us an opportunity to engage in enjoyable activities. Vacation provides an unparalleled bonding experience.   

Sharing new and exciting experiences with my family connects me in a way that few other events allow.  The activities and the meals are moments that I will always cherish. 

I realized that since day one of my vacation, I do not comply with some of the healthy lifestyle rules I encourage others to follow.  While in some situations I have limited choices or no healthy alternatives at all, there are also situations that I do have a choice but I choose poorly.

For the last several days I don’t use all tools and routines that had led me to weight loss, and later to effective maintenance of healthy weight. I don’t do much of the planning of where (what) I will eat. I also skip some of the healthy routines that work so well for me when I am home or at work.
My justification is that a few days of less than full compliance with healthy eating is not going to be a big deal. Plus, I am on vacation and vacation is a time to relax and enjoy life. Pretty hypocritical, isn’t it?

It will all end and go back to norm after the second week is over, but it struck me how easy it is for me just to ignore my unhealthy imperfections.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Breakfast challenge while on vacation

I am posting this from vacations in Florida. Life is beautiful here. People are great. Weather is as expected, either very hot or rain with lightings.
The hotel I am in offers me a big challenge in the morning. Breakfast that is served downstairs has no healthy options. It is a bit starnge, because now even fast food restaurants have healthy options on their menu.

On the positive note, I met a person who lost 120 pounds. One hundred and twenty!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Better sleep means better health

Eating right and getting enough sleep are well-known behaviors for good health.

Sleep is essential to good health, and a lack of it can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, weight gain, and diabetes. There is no known substitute for sleep.

Quality sleep promotes physical, mental and emotional health. It also boosts alertness, performance and memory. Most adults need at least seven hours of nightly sleep for optimal health and productivity. Some people need more sleep to feel well-rested.

Sleep experts say there is ample evidence that shows that when people get the sleep they need, they will not only feel better, but will also increase their odds of living healthier, more productive lives.

Sleep deprivation can be dangerous. People who do not get adequate sleep experience impairment of concentration, judgment, and learning ability. If you cut sleep back to five or six hours a night for several days in a row, the accumulated sleep deficit will magnify these negative effects.

Do you get enough sleep?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

What is processed food

While some type of food treatment is important for food safety and food storage, important nutrients and vitamins are lost in each processing step.

When nutritionists refer to processed foods, they're typically referring to products that are heavily modified and contain a long list of ingredients, including many snack foods, sweets, frozen prepared foods, sugary drinks, and packaged meats.

These foods have minimal nutritional value. On average, processing usually removes 50 – 80% of nutrients from a food. Avoiding processed foods will improve how you look and feel and lead to lasting weight loss. Even better - you may reduce or completely eliminate symptoms associated with common health disorders.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Guest Post: The Dos and Don’ts of Clean Eating

Clean eating is a catchy, popular phrase that can basically mean eating healthy. Although the exact meaning of clean eating can vary, in general it refers to eating whole, unprocessed foods. It limits consumption of fast food or packaged, processed foods that many Americans have grown to rely on.

The idea of eating clean is not new, but the term clean eating is. Whether you call it clean eating or not, eating more unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and lean proteins is beneficial for overall health. Here are some practical dos and don’ts tips for clean eating that can be a guideline for you to follow.

Cut out processed food

Cutting out processed food is the main focus of the clean eating movement. Processed food is a catch all term for any food that comes in a bag, box, can or other packaging that can sit on a shelf for a good amount of time without spoiling. Processed food is notorious for being high in sugar, unhealthy fats, sodium, preservatives and low in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

By cutting out processed food, your food should be “cleaner” because it doesn’t have added artificial ingredients and is true to its purest form from nature. A word of caution: cutting out processed food can be hard! This is especially hard if you are used to eating packaged food and not used to cooking. However, the health benefits are well worth it.

Bump up fruits and vegetables

Besides cutting out processed food, which is a great first step, make sure to eat a high amount of fruits and vegetables for clean eating. Some people suggest clean eating also entails eating organic fruits and vegetables when possible to lower pesticide residue.
Focus on eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables when they are in season. This can be done easily by shopping at farmer’s markets or purchasing a community supported agriculture (CSA) share from a local farm.

Fruits and vegetables have many important nutrients, plus they are high in fiber which can increase satiety. Don’t cut out processed food without bumping up your fruit and vegetable intake; these two steps should go hand in hand.

Stay away from hard to pronounce ingredients

Staying away from hard to pronounce food ingredients can be much easier when you cut down on processed foods. Most hard to pronounce words in ingredient labels are preservatives meant to prolong the shelf life of food products. Clean eating focuses on eliminating these preservatives and other chemicals in the food system.

Know where your food comes from

Eating local is sometimes associated with clean eating because eating local also focuses on minimizing processed food. Knowing where your food comes from means trying to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables or locally raised proteins when possible. If you have the choice of buying locally grown blueberries or blueberries from South America, choose local if you can.

Eating foods from a local food system can increase nutrient density of food, as local foods are usually not harvested before they are ripe which can increase vitamin and mineral content.

Be balanced

Something to avoid with clean eating is to get over obsessed about eating perfect food. Food is meant to be enjoyed and nourishing for the body and mind, but it should not be exhausting or obsessive. Also, keep in mind whatever diet you follow, balance and moderation are important concepts. Keep meals balanced with healthy carbohydrate, protein and fat sources.

The term orthorexia is defined as having an unhealthy obsession with eating pure (or clean). Clean eating should be a healthy lifestyle, not a rigid eating pattern. If you need to eat something out of a package while trying to eat clean it is not the end of the world. As with anything, keep healthy choices the majority and easiest choice but learn to deal with situations where you may not be able to eat exactly how you want to or are used to.

Learn what you can adapt from clean eating principles and know where you may need to adjust these guidelines, depending on your circumstances. Eat balanced meals that include the major food categories unless you have food illnesses or intolerances.


Clean eating is a popular term for healthy eating with a focus on fresh, natural food. Clean eating limits intake of processed food and fast food, which can be difficult with the usual busy American lifestyle. Clean eating focuses on eating a high number of fresh fruits and vegetables, and some would say this also includes eating organic foods when possible. 
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is also recommended.

Other additions to clean eating can be trying to eat as local as possible and knowing where your food comes from. An important consideration for ay diet or health trend is to remember food should be enjoyed and is meant to nourish the body, not be an obsession with strict eating rules.

Guest post provided by Holly Klamer. Holly is a registered dietitian with a MS degree in nutrition and exercise science. She teaches nutrition at 2 colleges in Denver and has her own nutrition consulting business, Step Ahead Nutrition. You can connect with Holly on her Google+ page. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Healthy food option at the mall food court

Eating away from home is challenging when you try to eat clean.

While food courts are loaded  with places serving fast food, there also places for healthier
options. Not all the food in the food court is as bad as we often think it is.

o survive the mall food court I check out all the food offerings and choose the healthiest options.

I am happy to share that I avoided high-calorie, unhealthy food court temptations and found two healthy options for eating at the mall I go to frequently. This food is consistent with the Eat Like Me approach and expands the variety of food I eat. On the left are delicious veggie fries. Spinach salad with grilled chicken on the right. Will take a picture of the second option soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

We don't eat enough fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and some cancers. 

They are also a key part of weight management, and hold many key nutrients that keep the human body running efficiently. 

Only 13 percent of Americans are eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. What's your excuse?

I eat lots of fruits and veggies every day. Together with lean protein (chicken breast, fish or turkey white meat) they are part of all of my meals. I select fresh low-sugar fruits and fresh non-starchy vegetables. 

Eating large amount of the right food is my key to success. Vegetables and fruits provide me with fiber, which in combination with lean proteins practically assures that I don’t feel any hunger. 

Certain fruits like pineapple, watermelon and bananas are high in sugar, and they don't promote weight loss. I don’ t eat starchy vegetables - potatoes and corn, either.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Misconceptions about weight loss

Widely popular assumption that in order to lose weight you must eat less and exercise more has been the foundation of many weight-loss programs. Unfortunately, it also reinforces the incorrect opinion that that weight loss has to be a struggle and a painful experience. 

The first part, portion control, is not the most effective way to lose weight. Reducing your portions to the point that you feel hungry at the end of a meal will not work. It is hard to force yourself to eat less. It is hard to stop eating when you are still hungry. It goes against human nature. In my opinion hunger is the most significant problem with weight loss and a diet that results in hunger will never be successful. Unless you are super-human, and hunger does not bother you. For the rest of us, when we are hungry, the feeling of an empty stomach is very difficult, if not impossible, to tolerate.

The second part, exercise more to lose weight, is simply not realistic. Some find it hard to accept but exercise isn't necessarily helping us lose weight. Even if you exercised every day, in order to achieve any noticeable weight reduction, you would have to do it for hours each day. Exercise is great for our physical health and state of mind, and for preventing weight gain in the first place, but it has a disappointingly small effect on weight loss. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Developing routines

Battling excess weight is one of the most frustrating, challenging and emotionally draining experience. Many people struggle with a never ending battle to lose weight and get healthy. If you make appropriate changes for a period of time you will lose weight, but when you go back to your previous eating you will gain all the weight back.

You have to realize that losing weight involves a major lifestyle change. If no changes are made to your lifestyle, the moment you stop eating healthy (your diet), you are likely to return to your previous eating, which leads to the Yo-Yo phenomenon. When you go back to your previous eating you will gain all the weight back.

Since you will be making some huge changes to your diet, you need to condition your brain so that eventually, making better food choices will be automatic. To change your lifestyle you must take psychological and behavioral actions. Your attitude and perspective are essential. Your thoughts will guide you to success or to failure. If you are in the wrong state of mind, you will not follow the eating approach.

Do whatever it takes to make eating healthy a positive experience. An early win helps enormously for anyone trying to achieve a difficult task.  The new behavior starts to feel normal. It will take less discipline to repeat the action.  Developing routines and making it your lifestyle is the key. Once you have created new routines and stick with them, those routines will eventually turn into habits and become your new lifestyle. When your decisions, food choices, and lifestyle become an energizing routine you will be setting yourself up for weight loss success.

Losing weight and sustaining that healthy lifestyle is a process and journey. It is never over.

Monday, May 25, 2015

It is not that easy

Well, weight loss is not easy. 

First it took me a while to start doing something about my surprising weight gain. I kept delaying action time, because I “knew” that I would be easy. I lost 91 pounds before, so I thought I would lose the recently gained 20 pounds as soon as I start my efforts. 

And, as expected, when I stopped allowing myself to relax healthy eating on week-ends and was strong while watching TV in the evenings (no unhealthy snacks), the weight started to come down. I got to 180 pounds relatively quickly. Losing 10 pounds felt good. It confirmed that when I made efforts I lost weight. 

Something else also happened. Since I was successful again, I did not keep going to get to my healthy weight of 170 pounds.  I relaxed my eating and I stayed at the 180-182 level. My arrogant thinking that “I can lose weight easily any time I want” prevailed and I am remaining at the 180 pounds point. 

I am weak.

Monday, April 6, 2015

I gained weight while training for marathon

I avoided writing about running on my blog, because I did not want anybody to think that you must exercise to lose weight. I am mentioning it now, because I want to share something strange I experienced. Something that is related to weight loss and running.

I tried to start running when I was obese. I weighed 261 pounds then and it was very hard. It felt terrible. I pushed myself to run for 20 to 30 seconds and got tired quickly. Few weeks later I injured my knee and had to have a surgery. After the knee surgery I had to wait several month to try to start running again. I was already eating healthy and managed to lose significant amount of weight. After I lost weight and started running again, it was so different. Running was much easier. It felt like if I were another person. I fell in love with running, and according to many, who successfully lost weight, it helped with maintenance.

Last year learned something that enhanced my knowledge and understanding of weight loss and running. I learned that nutrition for marathon running and nutrition for health do not go together. The energy gels that I started to eat on the long run days during the two last months of marathon training are among the least beneficial for overall health. They contain simple sugars like sucrose and glucose. I now know why I gained 10 pounds while training for marathon.

I then allowed myself not to comply with healthy eating during times before and after Thanksgiving and Christmas and in January 2015 I ended up to be 20 pounds away from my healthy weight.  Yep. S… happens.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Real food diet

The secret of successful weight loss is not about forcing yourself to eat less and exercise more. It is about finding what works best for you, what you can follow, and continuing to follow it until you lose weight, improve your health, and stay that way. Changing what I eat to real food was what worked for me.

If you switch from a processed food diet to a real-food diet, you will lose weight. Once you rid your diet of addictive fake foods, and eat the right combination of real food your weight loss will be much easier. When you make the switch to a real-food diet, you avoid the pitfalls that make fake factory foods addictive, fattening, and unhealthy.

When you stop eating processed foods, you remove from your diet added sugar, refined curbs, and harmful additives and preservatives that contribute to weight gain and stand in the way of weight loss. And for an added bonus, removing the above ingredients from your diet will result in better overall health.

I used this strategy for my weight loss and I firmly believe that this is the easiest and healthiest way to shed pounds and keep them off for life. The first step is to become informed what is, and what is not, real food.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Year's’ resolutions rarely bring the lasting change

It is the last week of January. How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming?

New Years’ resolutions rarely bring the lasting change that you hope for. The number one resolution - losing weight - makes sense considering the epidemic of obesity and related diseases, and our genuine desire to look and feel better.

But since only 8% of people who make resolutions actually stick to them, the question remains why do we keep making resolutions, especially if we know we are probably not going to keep them?

Anyone who has ever made and broken a New Year’s Resolution can appreciate the difficulty of behavior change. When we think of behavior change, we usually are at one the following three stages.

Not Ready - You are not intending to take action in the near future, and can be unaware that your behavior is a problem.

Getting Ready - You are beginning to recognize that your behavior is problematic, and you start to reflect on the pros and cons of your continued habits.

Ready - You are intending to take action in the immediate future, and may begin taking small steps toward behavior change.

Action - You have made specific actions in modifying your problem behavior or you have begun acquiring new healthy behaviors.

What stage do you relate to?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Easy strategy for keeping junk food out of your life

Knowing that junk food is bad - or even knowing how it’s bad - doesn't make it any less tempting.

Since we know the negative outcomes of eating sugary foods, one could wonder what makes us come back for more. Is it that we have selective memory when sugary foods are placed right in front of us? No. I think we experience different levels of pleasure depending on what we eat.

Dopamine is one of the feel good chemicals produced in our brain and when it’s released, it makes us feel damn good. It’s our own brain crafted happy drug. When we eat, our brain releases dopamine as a little reward for doing something that is helping us stay alive. The higher in calories the food, the more dopamine is released in the brain. This is why most people would grab fries over a carrot stick in a hot second.

Eating processed foods and foods that are full of salt, sugar and fat give us a super high amount of pleasure because more dopamine is released. And it’s not that healthy food doesn't release dopamine, it does. It just doesn't release nearly as much as processed and caloric dense foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt.

Here is my easy strategy for keeping junk food out of your life - for good. Don't buy junk food. If you don't have junk food in the house or office, you can't reach for it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Guest Post: The Addictive Properties of Junk Food

We can all relate to this feeling: you’re sitting casually watching TV and all of a sudden you have an urge for a late-night junk food snack. It starts small and you tell yourself that you’re not really hungry, that you really don’t need anything else to eat tonight. Then it gets stronger, almost as if the potato chips are screaming at you from the pantry. Ultimately you give in, finish the bag of chips and promise yourself that this won’t happen tomorrow. You may attribute this behavior to a lack of self-control… but did you know that these cravings have an evolutionary component and, in some cases, junk food manufacturers have actually exploited these properties to make them more addictive?
Before we go into the science of junk food addiction, let’s define what I’m talking about when I say “junk food.” Basically, junk food is a food that is high in fat or sugar and low in other nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber. Examples could be potato chips, ice cream, pastries, etc.
Now let’s go back to a time where there wasn’t a fast food restaurant on every corner and humans spent most of their days hunting and gathering food. In this era, there was a type of reward system that developed in our brains when we did things to encourage survival. For instance, a neurotransmitter called dopamine was released when we ate, creating a feeling of pleasure throughout our bodies. This let us know that what we were doing was good and encouraged us to keep doing it. Food that was high in fat provided more calories and long-term energy storage and food high in sugar was dense in short-term energy. These types of food were some of the most important for our survival so they released even more dopamine and made us feel even more pleasure.
Today, even though the average American is not at a loss for calories we still have this reward system, causing us to choose higher fat and higher sugar options. Unfortunately, we are no longer choosing foods in their natural state that also have vitamins and minerals and fiber. Instead we are choosing processed food that is actually manufactured to be higher in fat and sugar so that it releases extreme amounts of dopamine in our brain and creates an almost addictive state.
These junk foods cause a hormonal response in our bodies, which causes us to gain fat and ultimately leads to diseases like Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, although high in calories, most junk food is void of other essential nutrients. So even though we may be eating more food than our bodies need, we are starving our bodies of the important vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy.
Remember, your love of junk food didn’t happen overnight so don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes time to break. Focus on choosing foods that make you feel good long-term rather than foods that just give you the initial dopamine rush. You’re going to do great at making healthier choices and quitting your junk food habit!

Guest post provided by Tara Coleman. Tara is a nationally recognized nutrition expert, educator and spokesperson. Visit her website

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Confronting the reality

Recently I posted about overweight and obesity. I wrote what the extra weight was doing to our overall health. I also pointed out that health effects of obesity were real and they were dangerous, because the health subject is often avoided by overweight people.

We prefer to avoid subject of what the extra weight is doing to our overall health. Many of us are reluctant to discuss our weight face to face with doctors. We are ashamed of our weight and how we have let body get out of control.

I understand that confronting obesity can be an embarrassing topic. We need to be kind, supportive and non-judgmental.

I know that when we are overweight or obese, the last thing we want to do is confront the reality of our size but it’s important that we do. It has to be done so we could break through denial and confront the reality of the present situation – the reality of our size and weight.

The issue will not go away and the longer we postpone, the greater damage our unhealthy food choices and unhealthy eating will cause.

Being overweight or obese is a major health emergency that requires your immediate action. Not surgery, not administration of weight loss drugs, but an immediate change in your diet. 

No matter how bad your diet is, no matter how much excess weight you’re carrying around, no matter how many food related mistakes you've made in the past, you can start fresh now.

You can embark on a new way of living today.

How? By following healthy eating. Changes that you can start to make right this minute can turn your unhealthy diet to a health-boosting, life-saving gift that you give yourself.

Yes, you can do that, you can turn your life around.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New life resolution

I am not setting goals for a New Year. I am (and have been) setting goals for a new life. A healthier, happier, more fulfilling life. It's about recognizing what I value, what a quality life means to me, and how to align my daily activities to achieve these.

It is not about the New Year. It is about a whole new life, a continuous journey.

Set new goals if you are motivated to do so, but know that those goals will not be stopping points, but just resting spots where you can enjoy your new place in life, reassess your plan and set off in a new direction.

Happy 2015, and here's hoping it is the start (or continuation) for a whole new (or even better) you!