Sunday, November 22, 2015


I know it's been a while since I have written. I have been waiting to be able to report good news.

The truth is, I have been stuck for several weeks now; not moving forward, not moving backward. And, although I'm very happy to not be moving backward, it is unbelievably frustrating to not be moving forward.

I have had several moments when I just want to throw in the towel. Moments when I tell myself maybe I'm just meant to stay this way. These are the moments I have to remind myself of how far I have come.

I also have to remind myself that it's not just about losing the weight. It's about my health and getting my blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

My next challenge will be the holidays.  Thanksgiving is this week and all I can think about is how will I get through the next few weeks without completely blowing it.

And the answer is, I will get through the next few weeks the same way I get through every single day - one day, one moment at a time.

Yes, I will mess up, yes, I will indulge (it's the holidays!).  Hopefully I will have more good days than bad and life will go on.

This journey is not easy.  It's not going to way I want it to or how I expected it to.  That's life though, isn't it?  Plans don't always go the way we had in mind.  There have been more downs than ups.  I want to kick and scream and shout, "It's not fair!"

When all is said and done I will get up and dust myself off and keep moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other.  I will get there in my time.  I will not give up, that's not an option.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hanging Out On a Plateau

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. I have just been hanging out here on a plateau.

In my last post I shared that I had gained a few pounds and unfortunately, I'm still holding on to them. Thankfully, I haven't gained more.

It's very frustrating to be hanging out here in this place, stuck! I keep reminding myself of how far I've come to keep from giving up. I don't want to go back to where I was before.

So, I thought I would share some research I've done on how to break through a plateau with you all. I plan to incorporate these steps into my routine to hopefully perk things up.

  1. Adjust your calorie intake: You need to revise you calorie goal about every 10 pounds. You metabolism may drop as you lose weight as your body will require fewer calories. MyFitnessPal is a good tool to use to help you with your weight loss goals.  
  2. Quality: It's not just about calories in and calories out. Processed foods just won’t do anymore. Stick to quality whole foods like vegetables, beans, high-fiber fruits and lean proteins.
  3. Change up your routine: If you've been doing to same exercise routine for the past several months, it’s time to change it up. Muscles will get familiar with the same workout, making the same old routine less effective. To see a change, try getting outside of your comfort zone.  Do something different with a little more intensity. 
  4. Watch the extras:  An extra bite here, a little nibble there. Those calories count and will add up. 
  5. Sleep:  A full night’s sleep is important to losing weight because it resets your hormones. Even just a small amount of sleep deprivation can lead to increased cortisol, a stress hormone. Elevation in cortisol levels can lead to fat accumulation around your midsection.
  6. Stay hydrated:  Even if you are mildly dehydrated your body will often crave food. Aim to drink 80-100 fluid ounces (2.35 liters) of water per day plus additional fluids lost during activity.
  7. Add protein:  Protein burns more calories during digestion because it has the highest thermic effect of food. Protein contains amino acid and leucine, which studies have identified as a effective agent for burning body fat.
Hopefully adding these things to my routine will spice things up and get the scales moving again. I will let you know how it goes.

As always, feel free to share your tips, struggles or success in the comments!

Till next time, God bless! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What I've Learned So Far

When I began sharing my journey, I said I would be honest. So far the journey has been slow but steady; but in the past two weeks I have experienced a set-back. I have gained a few pounds and I feel I must share not only my success, but also my miss-steps.

I have no one to blame but myself. I have indulged, I haven't exercised as often; in general, I've been lazy!

What I've learned through this whole process though, is how strong I really am and how far I have come since the beginning.

When I weighed last week and saw a gain, I was truly angry with myself. The rest of my day was a disaster, as far as self control goes; let's just say, I didn't have any. I literally threw in the towel, but only for the day.

By the end of the day I was still angry at myself, angrier because of my loss of control, but more determined than ever to get where I'm headed.

I can't explain it, but I just know, that I know, that I know that I will only fail if I don't get back up, dust myself off and get my head straight again.

I know that with God's help I can do anything I put my mind to.

So, with all that said, I'm scrapping a couple of bad weeks and starting fresh.

I've learned that giving into a craving and having it in the house leads to a binge for me. I just can't handle it. If I'm going to have a treat, it needs to be a serving size and that's it, no left overs, no seconds. If it's here, I will eat it.

I've learned that I need to exercise. Even if it's just for 15 minutes, I need some form of exercise everyday.  It not only helps me with weight loss, it helps with my mood. I'm a much happier, relaxed person when I exercise.

So, I've stumbled, I've taken a step back, and now I'm dusting myself off and I'm back on track. I hope that by sharing my journey, the good, bad and the ugly, that I will encourage someone else who is fighting the same battle.

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment and share your struggles, successes or tips!

Till next time, God bless!! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dark Chocolate

I haven't always been a fan of dark chocolate.  In the past I preferred milk chocolate. I still love milk chocolate, but I have developed a love for dark chocolate since beginning my journey for a healthier lifestyle.

I had to try several different varieties before I found one I liked, but now I have a few that are my favorites.  

It's a nice indulgence and research proves it has some healthy perks as well.

Some of the benefits of dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa is best):

  • Polyphenols, cocoa antioxidants, help to increase blood flow to your brain, improving memory. Countries with a higher per-capita chocolate consumption produce lots of Nobel Peace Prize winners.
  • One of the compounds that gives cocoa its bitter taste is epicatechin and can lower blood pressure.  Treating yourself to two weekly ounces of dark chocolate could cut your stroke risk by up to 20 percent.
  • Epicatechin can also expand your cells' mitochondrial function. In plain speak, that means it may help lend you surges of extra energy. And while chocolate does contain caffeine, that's not its only energizing factor. The darker the chocolate, the more of the theobromine it has. Theobromine is a stimulating chemical.
  • The fats found in cocoa butter can trigger natural endorphins and tiny amounts of anandamide, a marijuana-like brain chemical. Don't worry it's a happy lift, not a high.
  • Weight loss may be the best perk ever. Research has found that regular chocolate eaters were slimmer than those who abstained altogether. However, that doesn't mean you should eat through your whole stash at once.
Some of my favorites:

  • Lindt Dark Excellence Chili is my absolute favorite at the moment. It has a hint of spice to it. I love the combination of spicy and sweet!
  • Hershey's Bliss Dark Chocolate would have to be my next favorite. It has great flavor and is really smooth.

60% Extra Dark Chocolate LINDOR Truffles 75-pc Bag
  • Lindt Extra Dark Chocolate Truffles are an extreme pleasure to eat. I love that they come in a nice, compact size. Perfect for a quick little bite. Anything Lindt is a pleasure to eat. :) 

These are just a  few of my favorites. If you're not a fan of dark chocolate, give one of these a try. You might change your mind.

Till next time, God bless! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I have been having some major cravings lately, and they have not been for healthy foods. I can usually stave off a craving for sweets with some fresh pineapple or red grapes. But sometimes that just doesn't do it.

Whenever I have a craving for something that's less than healthy, I will try to find a lighter version of that food.  Let's say I'm craving pizza, then I'll have a thin and crispy crust veggie pizza.  If that doesn't settle the craving within a couple of days, I'll go ahead and have the full fat version.

It's okay to indulge in your cravings just a little bit.  A little indulgence will hopefully keep you from a full out binge.  You don't have to deprive yourself all the time.

These are just a few things I'm enjoying at the moment. I try not to get stuck in a rut with what I eat. If I get bored it can be detrimental to my success.

Some of My Favorites at the Moment:

DiGiorno Thin & Crispy Garden Vegetable Pizza is one of my favorites for when my pizza cravings hit. It is so yummy and the serving size is half of the pizza!

Lately, when I've wanted something sweet, I've been throwing together a simple fruit salad. It's best with fresh fruit, but you can use canned. Just make sure to get it with no sugar added.

Simple Fruit Salad

  • 1 can of no sugar added canned peaches
  • 1 can of no sugar added mandarin oranges
  • about 1 cup of red grapes
  • 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, cubed

Toss all the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, I will add a cut of banana.

If you are craving ice cream, I recommend Dreyer's Slow Churned.  It is rich and smooth and only has about 100 calories per serving depending on the variety you pick.

What's your favorite indulgence?  Do you have a healthier version to share?  I would love to hear your comments.

Till next time, God bless! :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

On a Roll

I am so excited and proud to say that I have lost 42 pounds since the beginning of this journey.  

Yesterday morning at my weekly weigh-in, not only did I lose 3.2 pounds, but I also reached a personal milestone.  I did an embarrassing little happy dance when I got off the scale and I haven't been able to stop smiling since.

This has been one of the hardest battles I have fought.  I can truly say there have been times when I wanted to throw in the towel and just quit because the progress seemed slow and it was just so hard.

The determination that I have to get healthy is stronger than it ever has been.  I still have a ways to go, but I'm closer than I've been in a long time to reaching my goals.

At a very low point, when I felt like all my hard work was in vain, I seriously thought, 'Okay, I'm done, I'm giving up!' But, then I took a look back at how far I had come and it became impossible for me to quit.  I had to keep going!  I remember thinking at that moment, 'I've got this.  This time is really going to stick.'

Like I said, I have a ways to go before I reach my final goal, but I feel more certain than ever that I will get there.

I hope that my story might encourage anyone who may be on the same journey.  If I can do it, so can you!  I have an extremely slow metabolism, having hypothyroidism.  For most of this journey my condition has been out of control.  I have had my medications changed about four times since the start of this ride.  It hasn't been easy, but it is so worth it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Just a Quick Update

Since beginning this journey in October of last year, I have lost a total of 35 pounds.  I admit, I get frustrated with how slow the progress seems at times. But when I break it down, it comes out to 3.888888... pounds a month; that's pretty good for someone with an extremely sluggish thyroid.
I'm still walking.  I found a peppier version of the one mile "Walk Away the Pounds" on YouTube.  It is much faster paced and incorporates a lot more side steps, kicks, kick backs, knee lifts and arm movements.  I do believe it is a better workout than the original DVD I was using which would allow you to walk one, two or three miles.  The first mile was kinda slow, working you up to the two and three mile walk.  The version I'm doing now seems to give me a better, more aggressive workout and I intend to use it until I am comfortable with moving on to a longer walk.  I have also started incorporating some upper body toning; trying to get rid of my bat wings! Overall, I feel like I'm making steady progress.

Up until this past week I have been doing Weight Watchers Online.  I decided this week to switch to Fitness Pal, just because I don't want to pay the monthly fee for Weight Watchers.  I feel both of these tools work well.

Tracking is the most crucial step for my success.  I do not feel in control if I'm not tracking what I eat.

Current Snacking Favorites:
  • Sargentos Sharp Cheddar Jack Cheese Stick - 80 Calories
  • Yoplait Greek Whips Key Lime Pie Yogurt - 100 Calories
  • Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus - 70 Calories per 2 Tablespoons
  • Frozen Red Grapes

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Walking, Weigh-Ins, etc...


I have finally started walking.  Not only have I started, I'm being consistent.  I have had the "Walk Away The Pounds Express - Advanced Walk - 3 Miles" DVD for a very long time.  Last week I finally put it in the player and walked.  It's set up as a kind of power walk and you can walk one, two or three miles.  It incorporates kick backs, knee lifts, side steps and some arm movements for upper body.

At present, I am walking one mile.  Last week I walked three days.  This week my goal is to walk at least four days.  This week I also added some upper body toning, in hopes of getting rid of my flabby arms.

Up until now, I have been exercising, but not as aggressively.  I was doing leg lifts, crunches and wall push ups.  I was being consistent, but I knew I needed something better that would get my heart pumping.  So, I'm proud of myself for finally getting started.


My last weigh-in was a bit frustrating and uncertain.

Our scales are digital and we have had them for longer than I can remember.  For several weeks now they have been out of whack; not wanting to come on and very slow to read.  Even after replacing the batteries, they didn't seem to be working properly.  So, after some research, we bought a new set.

The problem is, the new scales weighed me heavier than my old scales (1.7 pounds).  Now, I'm certain they are more accurate and that's great, but what I'm not certain of is whether I actually gained weight or not. Regardless, I recorded my new heavier weight into my weight journal.

I won't lie to you, I wasn't happy to have to record a gain.  In fact, at first I was really upset; just ask my husband.  He suffers from my poor moods, but he's also one of my biggest supporters and is always quick to encourage and remind me of how far I've come.

I finally decided that it just doesn't matter.  This is my journey.  There will be ups and downs.  What matters is that when I have those downs, I don't stay down.

I wallowed for about three or four hours; I'm human.  But then I told myself to shake it off and suck it up.  I'm not the same girl I was a year ago, or even six months ago.  That girl could have easily thrown in the towel and binged on a bag of Oreos.

This new me is determined to keep moving forward.  No matter how many times I fall down, I will get back up.  As I've said before, this is no quick fix.  This is a life long journey and I've got miles to go, but I'm getting closer everyday.

Till next time, God bless!
#mandigirllosingit #amandaglass

Monday, April 27, 2015


Down 31 pounds and feeling great.  I can't tell you how much better I feel.  I'm so excited about the progress I've made so far.  I have a ways to go, but I know I will get there. 

There have been so many times I wanted to throw in the towel.  And, I'm sure there are probably going to be days ahead of me that I will feel the same way, but I'm determined to keep going.  
I know I have said this before, but it's not about looking better, that's definitely a bonus, it's about getting healthy. 

The hardest part of this whole journey has been changing my mind.  Learning to eat right/less is only part of the battle.  The majority of the battle has taken place in my mind and it's still going on.  I'm pretty sure it will be a life long process.

Some of the things I'm eating right now:
  • Mixed Vegetables, steamed with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray and Season Salt - 0 points (Broccoli, Carrots & Cauliflower are my favorite at the moment.)
  • 100 Calorie Whipped Greek Yoplait Yogurt - 2 points (The Tropical is my favorite flavor.)
  • Skinny Cow Dark Chocolate Blissful Truffle Bars - 3 points 
  • Skinny Cow Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream Bar - 4 points

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's Not a Race

It seems like any time I have embarked on a weight loss journey I feel like I'm starting a race.  It's like I'm standing at the starting line and someone yells, "On your mark, set, go!"  I imagine a gun shot and then I'm propelling myself forward, racing toward the finish line as fast as I can.

I have this sense of urgency that keeps me worried about how quickly I'm progressing and what people are thinking about said progress.  After a while, I start to feel overwhelmed.

If you read my blog, then you know that I hit a plateau not long ago.   It was very frustrating and I couldn't stop thinking about how far I "should have" come in that length of time, which felt like an eternity to me.

Thankfully, I broke past the plateau and am moving forward once again.  But, it was toward the end of this plateau that I learned a valuable lesson and it has changed the way I'm viewing this journey; it is a journey, not a race.

The lesson came when I had to see my doctor.  I was worried, expecting him to be disappointed in my lack of progress with my weight loss.  I've been seeing the doctor quite regularly since the beginning of the year and it had been a month since my last visit.

I went through the drill, you know what I'm talking about, weigh-in, temp and blood pressure check. Then it's off to a room to wait...and worry.  Isn't that the worst part of the doctor's visit, the waiting? I was contemplating how I was going to explain myself.

The doctor came in and was going over all my numbers and his notes from my last visit.  He was very pleased with my blood pressure, which was perfect for the first time in forever, praise you Jesus! I was waiting for him to say something about my weight, but guess what, he didn't!

Well, I couldn't let it go, I had to ask.  I was so frustrated about it and I thought maybe he could give me some advice.  What he said made me so happy, I wanted to hug him.  It also changed my perspective.

He looked at my chart and noted that I had lost four pounds since my previous visit and he thought that was great. He told me that was a lot of weight for someone to lose in a month and that I shouldn't be so worried about the number on the scale. He told me that the scale wasn't the most important number to worry about. My blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.. those numbers were what I needed to be concerned with, and they are improving.  He told me that the slower the weight loss, the better and more sustainable it would be.  I knew that, but we women can be so impatient.  He told me to stop worrying so much and just keep doing what I'm doing and that progress would come.

Like I said, I wanted to hug him.  I left his office with a completely different outlook on my progress and my future.  I felt calm for the first time in a long time.

At my last weigh-in I was half a pound away from hitting a total of 30 pounds lost.  I'm so happy with the progress I've made and I'm so proud that I didn't give up when the going went sideways! There were a few times I wasn't sure I could go on, but I did and I'm not giving up any time soon.

There are no quick fixes, not for me.  I've tried the quick fix, it doesn't last.  It has to become a lifestyle.  I don't have to be perfect.  I'm going to mess up and I'm going to have bad days, but that's alright.  I'm learning as I go and I'm slowing down to enjoy the ride.

Till next time, God bless!  :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Current Favorites

I lost another pound this week and it feels so good to be back in the groove and past the plateau.

I thought I would share some of my current favorites with you.  I'm constantly looking for new foods to try because I really can not stand monotony.  I love variety, and not having it will kill my willpower quickly.

Mrs. Weaver's Pimento Cheese Spread - 2 points for 2 tablespoons
I have always loved pimento cheese spread, but was afraid that the points value
would be too high.  I was pleasantly surprised that this
was something I could fit into my diet.

Sara Lee 45 Calorie Wheat Bread with Honey - 2 points for 2 slices
For "diet" bread this one is pretty good.  I have grilled this using I Can't
Believe It's Not Butter spray and it does well.

Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips - 3 points for 38 chips
These are perfect to go along with a sandwich or just for a snack.  I love
that you get such a large portion for so few points.

Yoplait Greek 100 Whips - 2 point
I have tried Greek yogurt in the past and I did not like it.
I'm not sure why I decided to try this one, but I'm glad I did.
It is so light and fluffy and tastes great!  It also has 9 grams of protein.
My favorite flavors are the Blueberry and Tropical.

Zero Point Ice Cream - You can find the recipe on my cooking
blog at:
This can be made in a variety of flavors and it's just so good!  I've tried it with a mix of
fruits, blueberries and peaches.  So far my favorite has been the peach.

Nature Valley Salted Caramel Nut Protein Bar - 5 points
This is the perfect balance of sweet and salty, which I love.  I love that it has a
lot of protein.  The best part is that it tastes like I'm eating a candy bar.

What is your favorite healthy, go-to snack?  I would love for you to share in the comments!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Sorry I've been MIA for a couple of weeks.  I have really been struggling with the plateau that I had been on for four weeks straight.

It went a little something like this:
Week One: no loss
Week Two: 1 1/2 pound gain
Week Three: 1 pound gain
Week Four: no loss

I was so frustrated because I really was doing everything right.  I was following the plan.  I was counting all my points.  I wasn't using all my flex points and I had even started exercising a little bit. I was completely frustrated and mystified by the whole situation.  Prior to those four weeks, I had been losing at a steady pace.

It was during the fourth week of my plateau that I broke down and cried for about 30 minutes after my weigh-in.  I was seriously at the point of throwing in the towel.  I mean, what was the point of being so good and eating all the vegetables and fruit and denying myself the things I really wanted if it wasn't going to change anything?

I really don't know how I found the gumption to keep going, but I did.  I have amazing support from my husband, my mother and my best friend.  They were all encouraging me to hang in there.

During a Skype session with my best friend, Karen, something she said clicked for me. She reminded me that I have been through a lot of medical/physical changes since the beginning of the year.  My medications have been changed several times and I have had new ones added.  She reminded me that my thyroid was all out of whack and that I needed to allow all these things to settle down and fall into place.

My next weigh-in was approaching and I was dreading it.  I was so afraid to step on those scales and see no progress.  I wasn't sure I could handle the disappointment.

Friday morning came and I said a little prayer before I stepped on the scale (which I always do).  I closed my eyes and stepped up.  I waited just a couple of seconds before I opened my eyes, and looked down.

I'm happy to report, I had a 1 1/2 pound loss.  I was so shocked, I had to get off and get back on just to be sure.

I wasn't seeing my progress until I put these pics side by side.
I'm so glad I didn't throw in the towel.  I'm so glad that I had my support team in place and that they kept me going even when I'm sure they were probably tired of hearing me whine; especially my husband.

I'm learning so much through this journey.  It's not easy, but then, I never thought it would be.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


The past couple of weeks have been frustrating.  After losing weight very steadily every week for a month; all of a sudden I've hit a plateau.  I really didn't expect to hit one so soon!

Last week's weigh-in showed no loss, no gain.  I wasn't happy, but I didn't get worried.  But when this week's weigh-in showed a slight gain, I just wanted to cry.  

I have been counting my points religiously, I haven't been using all my flex points, and I have even been more active.  I'm mystified as to why I would gain.  

Normally, a disappointment like this would set off a binge, but I am so determined to get healthy this time.  There's so much more on the line now than just losing weight to look better.  I have decided that I'm worth it.  I deserve to be healthy, to feel better, to have more energy; so I'm not giving up!

So, I will keep on keeping on, putting one foot in front of the other.  I will keep researching new, healthy foods/recipes to try.  I will share the good stuff (I promise to do better).  Keep an eye out for a couple of new recipes coming soon to

Until next week...God bless!!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Four Weeks & Counting

I have been doing Weight Watchers Online for four weeks now.  I have lost a total of 12 pounds. Added together with the weight I lost before joining Weight Watchers, I have lost a total of 23 pounds.  I'm elated beyond words.

I'm continuing to find new low-point treats to try.  These are a few of my current favorites:

I found these at Target.  They are 2 points per a 9 crisp serving.

These are 3 points per serving.  You get two nice size crisps in a serving.  They remind me of a pop tart.

I'm so excited that I'm finally making some real progress on this journey.  I'm feeling so much better physically, but the change in my attitude is making the biggest difference.  My resolve is set.  I feel stronger than ever about making the right choices.  For the first time in a long time I feel confident that I can do this!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week Two Weigh-In Success

My second weigh-in since beginning my Weight Watchers Online journey went just as well as my first.  I lost another three pounds and I cannot express the joy I feel with each little success.

Here's one of the things I find amazing; I haven't been able to exercise since I started.  I have been sick for going on three weeks now.  I have had head/chest congestion, headache, no sleep and a terrible cough and I have been completely exhausted.  I look forward to seeing what kind of progress I can achieve once I can get to moving.

This week I plan to make the Weight Watchers 0 point Cabbage Soup.  Once I have made it and taste tested it, I will post the recipe on my cooking blog: along with a review.  I have tried this soup before, but it has been a long time and I will be using a new recipe.

I look forward to seeing how this week's weigh-in goes.  Hopefully, it will show continued success.  I will also try to start posting some of my favorite snack and recipes as I go along.

I welcome your feedback.  If you have any tips, recipes or snack ideas, please share them in the comments.

Until next time, God bless!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

First Week on Weight Watchers

My first week on Weight Watchers Online went really well.  I lost 4 1/2 pounds.

I don't know why it works so well, but I'm so happy that it does.  I haven't found it difficult to stay within my points and I have not felt hungry all the time either.  I even ate out a few times and was able to stay on track.  I am making healthy choices and that feels good.  Each time I make the healthier choice I feel stronger.

One of my favorite snacks at the moment is a package of Honey Butter Pringles Stix along with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese.  This combination is so yummy and only has 3 points.

This week I had to go to the doctor for a check up and as usual I was told I need to lose weight.  It was really nice to be able to tell the doctor that I had joined Weight Watchers a week ago and that was working on it.  The best part of that is that I wasn't fibbing when I said :).

My blood pressure was a little high and I'm very aware that I can't play at this weight lose thing anymore.  I need to do this for my health.

I'm looking forward to my next weigh-in.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Weight Watchers

Well the holidays are over and I am happy to report I only gained three pounds.  I hate that I gained, but it could have been so much worse.

Today I signed up for Weight Watchers online.  I'm eager to get back on track and I've had success with Weight Watchers in the past.  I don't know why, but it always seemed easier to count points instead of calories.  I also love the tools Weight Watchers provides.

I'm optimistic about the new year.  I look forward to continuing this journey to a healthier life.  I hope I can be an encouragement to others who are traveling this same road.  I'm not perfect and I have continual ups and downs, but I keep getting back up.

Happy New Year everyone!  Here's to a healthy year!!