Madam Mim

I have been especially not into exercising or eating healthy this year. I don’t know what the deal is, but my motivation has been at an all-time low which is really saying something. My issue with my toe gave me further reason to avoid exercising, then I felt blah from not exercising, so then I just lived in happy snack land. As usual.

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I met with my podiatrist again about said toe and we agreed that running long distance is not in the cards for me in the near future, so I officially gave up on my half marathon in May. Ugh. I really want to run through the redwoods! And I know I could walk it, but doing that for 13 miles on a flat road just doesn’t seem like a lot of fun to me right now. I am also sincerely sad to think that running might be out of the picture for me on a more permanent basis. I’m avoiding dealing with that emotionally. That news happened early last week, and I realized that I really needed to get my shit together [again] and stop leaning into cookies to manage stress because it’s making me moody [moodier] and my skin is breaking out.

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Last week I managed to go to Orange Theory three times, then again on both Saturday and Sunday which felt like a small miracle. I have also gone twice this week, and I already feel mentally and physically better. It is ridiculous how little effort it takes to actually feel an improvement, yet I opt not to make that effort over and over again. I’ve been exercising once or twice per week for basically the past six months (maybe two years?), and that is not going to help me make progress anywhere.

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I have half a closet full of clothes that I love that are a size smaller than I am now, and I really just want to fit into them again. IT IS NOT THAT HARD, CELY. It’s not even like I’m trying to lose a significant amount of weight or anything. I’ve been carrying around an extra 10-15 pounds since I moved out here, and I just can’t be bothered to eat healthier and exercise consistently to deal with it. And I’m not trying to get down to some ridiculous size that is difficult to maintain, just down to the space I can sustain by having a mostly healthy lifestyle. I keep reminding myself that I am trying to live a more sustainable life, so I should not be buying more clothes. Therefore, MAKE MORE OF AN EFFORT TO FIT INTO THE CLOTHES YOU ALREADY OWN. Now, I just have to focus on responsibly consuming the the five boxes of Girl Scout cookies I just received this week.

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Shout out to everyone who is feeling very Madam Mim these days. I feel like my life is an endless loop of wanting to be healthier, doing it, then stopping for insignificant reasons, feeling like garbage for a few months, then wanting to be healthy again. Why must cheese be so tasty and laying on the couch be so relaxing? I truly feel like the only time I’m able to calm down is when I’m flopped on the couch completely absorbed in a book or a TV show.

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58 thoughts on “Madam Mim

  1. I just started going to OTF a little over a month ago and I’m obsessed. I got the 8x/month plan. I went from not working out AT ALL to doing this and I already feel fitter. But I haven’t changed my diet at all and wonder if you’ve lost any weight from OTF. I’ve always thought diet is 90% of it but I kinda thought I’d lose a little something from it. Just wanted to get the two cents of someone who has been doing it longer.

    • I’m going to jump in and hijack this comment to mention I LOVE Orange Theory. I’ve been going consistently since September 2016 – I also started with the 8x/month package, and recently switched to unlimited (because I was adding so many sessions in above my allowed sessions.) It is such a fantastic workout. I honestly look forward to going, which is something I’ve never been able to say about any form of exercise before, ever.

      I think diet is still a huge part of the game though — while I have definitely gotten FITTER since going to OTF, I don’t see much weight loss until I clean up my diet (which, like Cely’s post said, tends to come and go in waves).

      OTF has challenges sometimes – I’d recommend participating in one for some extra motivation if it interests you! They aren’t all weight loss focused. I did one last summer that was called “Fit for the Fourth” and you had to row 40,000 meters and run 40 miles in 40 days. You were assigned to a coach and had a little mini “team” and it was really awesome.

      Sorry to ramble on and on. I just love OTF and wanted to say keep going! 🙂

    • I have not lost weight with OTF because I have no committed to eating healthy for a sustained period. I can easily eat enough crap in one day to negate an entire week of exercise. When I do OTF consistently, I do feel more muscles and I can see myself progressing with weights and running times. I also feel better mentally. I am trying to eat better now, so I am hoping it helps with some actual fat burning, but I am not overly worried about it. I think I will get there eventually if I just chill out with the cookies. I also find that it takes my body a loooooooooooong time now to make any progress. So patience grasshopper!

  2. Oh my, I could have written that myself, except for the toe part – here it is back problems, and knee problems. I honestly don’t understand why i behave the way I do – I know what I need to do, but still I am not able to follow through in the long term.
    Growing up, I always led a very active lifestyle, exercising five times a week (competitive swimming). During university, I managed to keep up a mostly healthy lifestyle exercising 2 -3 times a week and eating healthy, up until the final exams. I stopped exercising, started to eat less healthy, and gained weight. I then went on a long distance hike through Europe, got fit and healthy again, and afterwards started to scuba dive. I became a scuba instructor and that was when the problems started. From all the heavy lifting, my back went out several times. I decided to take a break and got by a year working several jobs, until a disc in the cervical spine slipped and I had to get surgery and an artificial disc. On top, I got diagnosed with spondylolisthesis in my lower back (hence the frequent problems). So for a few years, I really had to take it easy on the recommendation of my doctor. Since that frustrated me to no end, I started comfort eating and again gained weight and my right knee started to act up. And for the last five years, it has been on and off between living healthy and being as active as I can, and eating crap and just lying on the couch. I use my health problems as a kind of excuse, I guess – I can’t run, swim, bike etc. as I used to, so why bother doing anything at all (I know that that has something to do with it still hurting to accept that some things are probably out of the picture for me permanently, but still: so stupid!). I know that I feel better when I eat healthy, so why do I keep buying sweets and chips etc. every few weeks or months and falling back into that? I really don’t get it, since I consider myself a fairly intelligent person and know other ways to deal with stress and frustration. I always try to tell myself to just do what I know is the right choice, and yet … I just want to fit back in my clothes from three years ago (probably 15 pounds to lose) and do as much as I can to stay healthy. PLEASE let me know when you find a way how to convince yourself to stick to the healthy lifestyle!

    • It’s because chips are easier than exercise. Hang in there. You will figure it out. I feel the same frustration. I’m a smart person, so why is this so hard?

  3. I. Feel. You.

    My therapist was all “you should REALLY get back into running, because you said you used to love it, and it will help you feel better.” And still, I am so half-assed about everything. I did a little streak of like 9 workouts and then took a week off (which, hi, was WONDERFUL). I know it’s good for me. I know I am a totally different person when I’ve worked out. I too have half a closet of “meh…those can technically fit over my thighs but not sure I could breathe…” It’s hard. And television with snacks IS relaxing. I love my life, honestly, but the time in the evening after my kids are in bed, and I’m flat out on the couch watching The Crown? Easily one of the best parts of the day.

    • I feel that same thing about being a better person when I exercise, yet it still isn’t motivating. TV is such a TREAT.

  4. Hi this could be my life after I had to stop running due to a permanently torn tendon. I literally just want to comfortably fit into my expensive madewell jeans again and feel pretty bad about myself and yet when i’m faced with cookies and the couch I choose them.

    I need to find a second exercise. I love my spin classes but they’re so pricey I limit myself to twice a week and the idea of slogging it out on the treadmill makes me sad.

    • I have a pair of expensive Madewell jeans waiting for me too! I can’t bear to shell out for another pair. I loved running because it’s so inexpensive (once you have the basic necessities), and exercise classes are so expensive. I HATE that a class is over $20. I have no answer, just shared frustration.

  5. The struggle is real. I took an old treadmill from my in-laws with the fantasy that I could walk on the treadmill in the evenings and watch TV. It turns out that the treadmill was so loud that I couldn’t hear the TV (obviously the most important part of this endeavor), the sound scared my dogs, and now I have a gigantic treadmill taking up valuable real estate in my living room. It seems there’s no room for compromise!

  6. Same. Same. Same. Same. Same! Arkansas (and maybe other states?) has a free walking/jogging clinic for women called Women Run Arkansas. I’ve made myself sign up for it again since the habit didn’t stick last year. We can do this.

    Can you bike with your toe issue?

    • I can bike, but I haven’t been since it’s dark when I go to work and dark when I come home. I could do it on the weekend, but I try to get two OTF classes in then since I am more prone to weekday flaking. But, yes, I need to bike. Good luck with your running group; that sounds really fun!

  7. Like everyone above me, I could have written this myself! I’m the total cliche girl who worked her ass off before her wedding but hasn’t been back since (5 months) and I’m unhappy with the 10 pounds I’ve gained, yet I just want to empty my DVR while eating GS cookies. I used to go to HIIT classes 2x a week, but now they moved across town (the horror) and I just can’t make myself go that far out of my way (please dont ask me how large my town is).. so I joined a gym near work and home but they only have small group “classes” on Saturdays and that just doesn’t work for me. Because Saturdays.

    • I grouse about driving 15 minutes to OTF and if it was three minutes farther I probably wouldn’t bother. Time is money! Enjoy your cookies and your new spouse!

  8. I could have written this myself. My issue is with my hip. I have a torn labrum and FAI and my doctor recommends surgery. The insurance company says they won’t pay for it. I can’t really run anymore and I get a shooting pain through my hip if I “step on it wrong.” I’ve been able to spin, but the classes are $20 a class where I live so pretty cost prohibitive when I’ve got three kids. I can do PiYo and other workouts without too much trouble, but when I get home and I’m faced with the choice of knitting and having a glass of wine or working out, I choose the knitting and wine. I live in the frozen north so when this snow melts, I plan on doing my 5:15 AM power walks 5 days a week and hopefully that will jumpstart something. I need to lose about 15 pounds. It’s not even that much, but it just seems……..hard.

    • Shanna – I feel your pain, literally!! I have had that surgery. I’m sorry to hear your insurance won’t pay. Will they pay for physical therapy, and/or an intra-articular cortisone shot? The shot really helps for a while. It’s possible they won’t pay for surgery until those options have been explored.

      My problem now is that I have a small tear on the other hip, but it is too small for surgery, apparently. And I’m getting too old for it. (over 40). So now they say I get to wait 5 – 15 years until it is bad enough for a hip replacement. Yay me.

      So, what I am saying is I’m totally joining the chorus here to say “SAME” with the on/off exercise thing for various reasons, hard to stay on track with food, etc. Blah. I blame Trump.

    • Shanna, will insurance pay for it after you exhaust all other options? I had to go through a few months of failed PT to get my insurance on board. Labral tears rarely heal on their own and if you have impingement (bone spurs on the head of the femur, hip socket or both) then it is very likely to heal unless you get rid of the excess bone. I had this surgery back in Nov. and it’s a loooooong road, but I was in so much pain prior to surgery that I have no regrets. Now, to get rid of those 5 lbs I gained over the past 4 months of doing more or less nothing but a lot of planks and bridges….

    • I don’t know anything about insurance, so I really don’t have anything helpful to add other than I am really sorry you’re dealing with that and insurance is refusing to pay. I find that the longer I go without working out the harder and more impossible exercising (much less actually making progress) starts to seem. I hope you can get your hip figured out, that sounds really painful.

  9. Last year found out I have bunions that we’re getting worse by running in addition to having some pelvic floor issues from having my twins 3 years ago. Not running SUCKS because it is such a no brainier form of cardio but I finally started doing spin classes and that helps me feel like I’m doing cardio again without harming myself. I guess what I’m trying to say is I know a little bit of how you feel. You can do it!! I’ve never been to OTF but my friends all rave about it. You can do it!!

  10. This may not be a good option for you, but have you ever considered working with a personal trainer? I know it’s pricey but hear me out: in my personal experience, the price has been so worth it! Before I started working with a trainer I was in a total fitness rut- I didn’t know what to do at the gym when I would go and making excuses not to go was so easy. Now, I at minimum have a once a week appointment where I have to go to the gym for our session and working with a trainer has totally changed my accountability! I never cancel on her unless I’m deathly ill because I’ve a) already paid for her time and b) I really like her and look forward to our time together even though I’m sweating my ass off. It may also help with your toe issues to have someone who can help tailor workouts around your injury- I have a bad knee so she shows me how to do modifications on workouts if something feels too much for me.

    • I’ve worked with a personal trainer a few different times and it has never been something I stuck with. I won’t pay for more than once a week, but I find myself unwilling to go and push myself on my own. I like the OTF classes because there is a time and commitment (much like with a trainer) and the motivation is there in the class because I can tell from my heart rate when I am not trying. It sounds like you found a good fit for you though, so that is great!

  11. Preach!! At the beginning of 2016, I had surgery on my left hand, and I wasn’t able to do much for months. Just as I was cleared to start jogging again (yay?) and had just enough strength and flexibility in my hand and wrist to do planks/yoga/weights again, I was diagnosed with frickin’ breast cancer! So then more surgery and radiation and going off and on certain drugs and fatigue and just a little working out. I’ve had a year of clean scans since then, but I’m having such a hard time getting the 8-10 pounds I gained off. I’ve been trying to cut myself some slack, and all my clothes technically still fit (I can get them on and button/zip them), but they’re all super tight and not flattering at ALL. I only need to lose maybe 5 for things to be relatively normal, and yet I haven’t been able to make all the changes I need to do it. I work out, but the food part is hard. And in the back of my mind, I keep thinking that if the C comes back and I have to deal with all that crap again (only worse), do I want to have just spent the previous however-many months eating leaves and avoiding cheese and cookies and not drinking beer or wine with my friends? (Answer: No) It’s a struggle! You are definitely an inspiration to me with your OT workouts and desire to get the miles in when you can stomach it. It helps to know that others have these kinds of issues, too. I’m confident we’ll all figure it out in the end. It’s just this meantime that stinks.

    • Good grief that is a lot for one person to deal with! And you are right, what life is worth living if you can’t have the things you enjoy? And that is why I will never be especially fit. I won’t sacrifice wine time with my friends and the occasional cheese tray. I just probably don’t need wine and a block of cheese every day, ya know? Hang in there and keep staying healthy!

  12. Jumping in to say ditto. But for me it is eating. I work out 6 days a week (OTF and running) but the scale doesn’t budge because of my eating habits. Seriously. Why do I eat like crap? It makes me feel like crap, I can’t fit into my cuter clothes, and I hate to see myself in pictures. I have a great career, family, just earned my doctorate, ran a marathon…but dang it, I cannot get myself together enough to eat properly. It is so frustrating.

    • Same same same. I struggle so much to make basic healthy choices. And I am not even trying to restrict anything, but I just seem to think a box of cookies for dinner is an okay thing. I feel ya. It’s frustrating and infuriating.

  13. Um 1) I love this movie and forgot it existed.
    2) I went to an OTF class about a month ago and loved it and then promptly walked outside, slipped in the snowy parking lot and twisted my knee. Just now getting back to feeling like I can safely start a subscription and work out for real. It hit me last night that I was feeling like crap and really needed to get back into it. It’s so hard to feel motivated in the Chicago winters to work out unless I put things on auto-pilot.

    When I am waffling between the couch and a workout, I try to remind myself of how absolutely satisfying it feels to eat dinner when you’ve just finished a workout and have that full-body hunger that comes from it. I have a specific memory during marathon training a few years ago of sitting on the couch eating my burrito bowl and feeling about as happy as one could get because that food felt like it was filling in crevices I didn’t know I had. So I guess what I’m admitting to the internet is that I use food fantasies.

    • Oh my GOD! That knee story is awful! And you’re totally right. It really does feel better to exercise than to lay in bed with indigestion because I laid around eating pizza all night.

  14. The couch + binge-watching TV for 3 hours every night is truly my happy place. Now if only I could stop myself from eating all of the things whilst I do that…

  15. Gurl, thank you for this. Once again, you have a knack for expressing what so many of us (apparently) are experiencing. Good luck, and I’m going to try to get motivated, too. 😊💪🏽

  16. Look into the Keto way of eating. With your love for cheese this way of eating will speak to you. There is a ton of information out there and I can tell you the science of it works. I’ve lost lbs and inches with eating all the cheese and sour cream and cream cheese, pretty much all the fat and minimal exercise. Dr. Eric Berg is a great resource as well. Good luck!

    • My arthritis doctor has actually been talking to me about keto because more and more studies are showing that it can significantly reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to eat much dairy on it because it makes my joints hurt and gives me stomach troubles. Obviously, I just deal with that regularly now, but if I was doing something to try to see improvement, I wouldn’t want dairy in there doing the opposite.

  17. YES: “I have half a closet full of clothes that I love that are a size smaller than I am now, and I really just want to fit into them again.”
    YES: “I feel like my life is an endless loop of wanting to be healthier, doing it, then stopping for insignificant reasons, feeling like garbage for a few months, then wanting to be healthy again.”

    UGH why is it so hard! I had all these deadlines that I was DEFINITELY going to lose the weight for: my brother’s wedding, my annual PCP visit (seeing an ‘overweight’ BMI was a kick in the teeth), my beach vacation. They all passed. I’m still carrying around 15 extra pounds and squeezing into too-small clothes. It really helps to see that so many other people struggle with the same thing, I feel like such a loser sometimes!

    • You aren’t a loser! We all have our thing that is hard for us. For some of us, that’s eating healthy and taking care of our bodies. All we can do is keep trying.

  18. Eating healthy & exercising is always Struggle City…I find that following the 80/20 rule helps me feel relatively OK about myself while still enjoying life (a.k.a. eating all the things that are delicious). During the week, I bring a salad for lunch, eat breakfast at home, and make good choices at dinner. I don’t keep cookies or snacks or anything I can destroy in one TV session in my apartment…on the weekends though, I eat whatever I want! Bagel for breakfast? Sure. Pizza for lunch? Sign me up. I don’t beat myself up because I know come Monday, I’ll be right back to those healthy meals.

    Exercise is harder, because it’s so much easier to gravitate toward the siren call of the couch…for me, it’s really a mental health thing. I’ve never regretted a workout, no matter how short. It’s a selfish thing I do for myself. I just have to preempt my laziness with the thoughts of that post-workout feeling…It works more often than not!

    • I know exactly what you mean about the mental health aspect. When I am not exercising and also eating a lot of junk food, I get into a very down spiral very quickly. What is crazy is that sometimes just exercising ONE time will jerk me right back up. It’s just so easy to be lazy!

  19. Just to throw my two cents in as a consistent reader: You’re being really hard on yourself! It sounds like you are mentally exhausted. You use your brain a fuck ton <- clinical term. Between your job and this blog, the dumpster fire that is Trump's America, your inclination toward recreation that involves brainpower (reading, but also watching shows that require attention and thought), going out and doing fun stuff on your time off, your generally high baseline levels of worry/anxiety, and illness (including the toe!), what do you possibly have left over for exercise and food decision-making? I'm exhausted just thinking of all that <– cliche saying, but I literally sighed as my list grew longer and longer! Anyway, that's just my observation…

    • I don’t really feel like I have any more going on than anyone else, and I don’t have kids to deal with! Most nights I have several hours in the evening when I have nothing to do, so there is really no excuse for me not to try and use some of that time to exercise. It also helps me manage that anxiety and I sleep better at night.

      • You aren’t everyone else, though. Anxiety takes a lot of energy. But you know you, and I’m probably projecting lol

    • I have to agree with Jennifer here. I’m constantly amazed that you have time to work as much as you do, work out as often as you do, maintain such good friendships, communicate with/visit your family as much as you do, watch TV and movies as much as you do, cook and clean regularly, read as much as you do, and STILL have time to research and write these (often hilarious) blog posts and find links and gifs for all of them several times a week. It’s actually quite impressive! I’m exhausted just writing about it.

  20. Madam Mim has been my inspiration since childhood (as I hate sunshine too 😉 )
    I lost 15kg over the last year and added 5 again over the last 3 month. So mad at me about it. But with working full time again and finalizing my thesis I started to struggle again. Just need to eat healthy again because it makes me moody and more anxious if I eat crab. So I feel your struggle!

    • Hang in there! You’re going to be done with school soon and you will have more time then. I remember how that feels and you really have no time. Be kind to yourself! And sunshine haters forever!

  21. I am sorry and that sucks, I totally understand how you are feeling. You have to do you and what is going to make you feel better. The possibility of not being able to do something that you enjoy is a hard reality that no one should have to face. I can’t offer any words of wisdom or advice, but I do feel you. I am currently recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery and because of the pain in my knee the past year, I haven’t been able to work out like I normally would and not in physical therapy, I feel like I am dying with all the work I am doing. I have gained weight because of the knee and know that I will get to a point where I can exercise and lose the pounds, but for now, I just have to do me and what I can handle and you will find what works for you and go from there.

  22. Cely I’ve been reading your blog forrrrevveerrr and it makes me sad to read posts like this (and the comments from everyone else in similar boats). Ladies, you are NOT obligated to care about your diet and weight. You are amazing and strong and have so much better and more important things to do than try to fit in certain clothes. Life is short; there will be times it feels great to eat a salad and times it will feel great to go out for a run, but there are other times you wanna eat cheese and watch Netflix. Stop buying into diet culture! Do what makes you feel good when it feels good and stop beating yourself up when it’s not sustainable for the long-term (because strict exercise and diets are never going to be sustainable). Sorry, end of rant. Happy international women’s day- women need to realize we are more than a clothing size and focusing on our health is a privilege and never, ever an obligation.

    • Happy International Women’s Day to you! I totally get what you are saying here. And I know that a lot of my wanting to fit into clothes that I “like” the way I look in is a programed cultural issue with my self-image. But, I also know that exercise helps me manage my anxiety and mental health, and that eating a bunch of candy or cookies for dinner several nights a week is absolutely not good for my body. So, yes, I would like my clothes to fit again, but mostly I need to get out of this rut that is damaging my mental and physical health.

  23. Get out of my head (and life)! I’m completely in the same situation. I can still run, technically. But now that I’m nearly 38 everything hurts when I exercise. Even easy running. And I have a bad hip that I don’t want to have checked out because I just know they’ll have expensive recommendations and I don’t want *someone else* tell me I can’t go running or exercise. I only want to blame myself for that decision. I too prefer to eat cheese (washed down with wine) and sit on the couch. Which has led to the same 10-15 pound weight gain that is keeping me out of my favorite clothing. Even the weeks I do good with working out I eventually fail with the healthy eating. Why does healthy food taste so BORING?! Now I want homemade mac&cheese…..

    By the way…..I have a half marathon in 9 days and my longest run was a 10k….

    • And why is cheese so good and the couch so comfortable??? Good luck with that half marathon and take care of that hip!

  24. Longtime reader, maybe first time commenter? Thanks for your consistently smart, entertaining and funny content. I totally share the same pattern of waves of healthy choices and laziness, and am currently in a rut 🙁 I heard an intriguing tip on a podcast from Gretchen Rubin, who wrote Better Than Before (a book about changing habits.) She said it’s better to do a little something (I.e. workout) every day than a big something every other day or every few days. The reasoning is that it kind of tricks your brain into expecting this every day and removes the mental strain of making the choice. So, instead of asking yourself if today is one of the days you feel like working out (when you will of course be tempted to say, no, thanks, couch please!) you just start in on some type of exercise, no matter how motivated you are. I’m going to try it!

  25. I’m doing HealthyWage and it’s actually freaking working. I managed to sign up half drunk one night and then emailed them the next day to see if I could get out of it. I couldn’t. If there’s anything that can keep me accountable, it’s the thought of losing money. I pay 40 bucks a month for six months – if I lose 30 pounds, I get $430. If I don’t, I don’t get anything (but shame) and am out $240. I’m about halfway there. I want my fat cash!

  26. Oh Cely, I really get it. It’s more than one year that I try to wear my old clothes. I’m trying to control my appetite and to do some exercises, like 3-4 times per week but it seems to be impossible to lose some weight. A friend of my told me that in many cases we can have something as the block of hip flexors, that could causes digestive problems, lack of explosiveness in the gym or sports and nagging joint pains in our legs. You can read something here
    What do you think about it? Thank you for your time.

  27. I hear you! I had a baby 1.5 years ago and bought a few pairs of pants that fit while I was mid way through my pregnancy to avoid maternity pants haha. Well, I’m still hanging out in those 3 pairs of pants 1.5 years later and it’s only because I choose to be lazy and eat poorly. I get really motivated and see results and then I’m like cool, I’m good, let’s bring back the cookies and Netflix. Here we are still in the same spot. I refuse to buy more pants this size because I have a whole wardrobe of pants that I should be able to fit into at this point. But nope, I’m still hanging out with that 10-15 lbs, feeling like crap, eating my cookies. The worst of it is knowing I could feel so much better and not feel so sluggish. Good luck to ya! If you find magic motivation ever, feel free to pass it on!

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