My Personal Journey to Wellness – Part 1

Y’all, I am going to get a little personal here.  We are going to talk about my desire to live a more healthy lifestyle.  I thought maybe some of you could relate to what I am going through and that many of you may be able to encourage me and maybe even offer advice as I start my journey to wellness.

Just to give you a reference to what I am talking about, I want to show you some pictures of me from the past six years. 

Here I am in 2010 when I was at my healthiest.  I was running a lot that year and felt great!

Here I am in 2012…(Cy had actually lost some weight during this time.)




This picture from 2014 was a few months before Jonathan auditioned for The Voice….



Beginning in 2015, things began to change.

I am a stress/emotional eater.  

And the past year and a half has been extremely emotional and stressful for me.  If you have followed my blog during that time, you know that we hosted an 8 year old orphan girl for five weeks the summer of 2015.  We began our adoption of her, and in the middle of that process, my son was on Season 10 of The Voice.  In the middle of him being on The Voice and our flying back and forth to LA, we also flew to Latvia to adopt our daughter, and the adoption fell through.  After the adoption fell through, we were back in LA for Jonathan to be in the battle-rounds of The Voice, and in the process we desperately fought for a second chance to continue the adoption of our daughter.  Jonathan’s time on The Voice was amazing, and finally, after a lot of tears and struggles, we were able to continue the adoption of our daughter and spent one month in Latvia this summer before we could bring her home.  She has now been home with us for four months, and although it has been very challenging at times, I am finally feeling like I can breath. 

So as you can see, the last year and a half have been an absolute emotional roller coaster.  From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.  And you guys have been with me through it all, and I will forever be grateful for your prayers. 

Now, I can’t believe I am showing this picture to y’all, but I need to show you the difference.   Like, I really, really, REALLY can’t believe I am getting ready to post this.  Lord help me.


That is me with Sania Louise while we were in Latvia just a few months ago.  I weighed more at that time than I did in any of my four pregnancies.  And boy do I feel it.  I am lethargic.  My body aches all the time.  I’m not motivated to exercise, and truthfully, I want to drown my sorrows in some chocolate and a large Coke from McDonalds. 

Here is another photo from Latvia…


I have tried so many diets from Medifast to the 21 Day Fix to Whole 30 (although that isn’t really  diet) and I have failed every single time.  

Next week, I turn 46 years old, and although that isn’t young, it isn’t old either.  I should NOT feel as unhealthy as I do right now in my life. 

So I am on a personal journey to wellness.  No diets, just trying to change unhealthy habits in my life…(like two or more large cokes from McDonalds every day.)  #notkidding

I want to be healthy and feel WELL.

The past year and a half have been hard on me, and I have not been able to focus on my personal wellness.  But as things are somewhat starting to settle down for me and my family, I feel like I am now able to focus a little more on me.  

I am starting to read online ways to eat more healthy and break bad eating habits. 

I went to a Young Living event in Lexington last night with a  friend and learned about the importance of gut health and hormones.  Boy, was it eye opening!  One of the main takeaways from the evening was the important of being hydrated by drinking tons of water. 

I’ll be honest.  I hate water.  Not gonna lie.  Don’t like it one bit.  As I type this post, I have a Yeti full of water and Slique Essence oil from Young Living, and I don’t want to drink it!  I want to drink a big old glass of ice cold coke, y’all!  I have to force myself to drink water, but I know that it one of the most important things I can do for my health. 

Well, and stop drinking so many cokes, but baby steps, y’all, baby steps.  :)

Seriously, I am going to try and drink a ton more water each day.  I really need to drink it with all my meals.  Instead of going on a diet and changing all of my eating habits, I am going to focus on one thing at a time, and right now, that is drinking more water. 

If you don’t mind, to help hold myself accountable, I am going to start journaling on my blog about my “journey to wellness” and what I am trying to do in my own life.  And many of these posts will probably included something about how I use essential oils. 

I started using essential oils in 2013, and I LOVED them!  If you look back in the above pictures, you can see that I was much healthier during that time.  Using the essential oils helped me focus on my health.  When things got crazy in my life last year, I stopped using the oils as much.  I have my favorite like Theives and Peppermint that I use all the time, but I stopped learning and researching about how the oils could help me.  I also stopped sharing the oils on my blog because every blogger in bogland was sharing them, and it was oversaturated, and it felt hokey when I shared them.  So I stepped back. 

One of the things that I am most excited about in my journey to wellness right now is that I have started using my essential oils again to help my body function the way it should.  And I LOVE it!  So I am going to be sharing with you oils and supplements that I use and I will tell you which ones are helping me and which ones are not.  It’s going to  be a learning process for me, but I am so excited about it!

For example, last night I also learned the importance of taking fish oil daily.  I have always heard that fish oil is good for you, but I didn’t realize the importance of taking it daily and how much it helps my gut to function properly.  I’ve ordered these fish oil supplements to take daily, and I am also ordering Life 9.  I had no idea how important probiotics are to my system.  Dr. Haggerton last night shared how EVERYONE should be including some type of probiotic in their diet every day.  #newtome



For me, going to that meeting last night is like going to bible study.  When I attend bible studies and church with other believers, it encourages me in my own walk with Christ and keeps me focused.  Going to that meeting last night is helping me in my journey to wellness and keeps me focused on my health. 

There was a ton of more information shared last night, but I’ll save that for another post, since this one was pretty long.  :)

But I want to add that one more reason I want to be on this journey to wellness is for my children.  Unfortunately, I have passed many of my bad eating habits on to my children, and it breaks my heart.  I desperately want to break the cycle of bad eating in my family. 

So I guess that is it for today.  Now that I have plastered my big bootie on the internet, there really isn’t much else to say, right?  HA!

I’m just trying to be transparent, y’all.  Life is short.  We don’t have time to be fake.  Being real is so much better.   

We as bloggers like to share the pretty stuff because we know our readers like it, but sometimes, I think we need to share the not-so-pretty stuff because that is real life, ya know?

I would love your prayers as I start my journey to wellness.  And if you want to join me, then let’s do it!  Drink that water, baby!  We can do this! :)

Love y’all! and I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!



If you want to learn more about essential oils, you can click here, or email me at



  1. Thank you for being authentic! This is a journey and life changing habits take more effort. I share in your dislike of water. I found out that I was allergic to the minerals in it. Since then I use lemon oil in my water and that helps. Can you share in the future a few healthy meal ideas that you like? All I can say to you is, “You go girl”! Have a great day!

  2. Traci:

    I too have struggled with weight gain in the past several years and can relate; however, I am turning 54 this month and have finally realized that what’s on the inside is what’s most important. I truly believe everything is all about balance. You live a fast paced life and know that putting things in perspective and tackling your work one thing at a time, one day at a time will aid you in your journey…

  3. Hi…I totally know where you are coming from! I have gained a ton of weight in the last couple of years and was just talking to my husband last night about how IT IS TIME to do something about it. Thanks for posting about your journey and wish me luck as I begin my own. I might even get my blog going again and document my journey as well. Hopefully this time next year we will both be total hotties!! LOL


  4. I can soooo relate! I will travel right along beside you! I am a stress eater and have gained so much in the past 10 years. It just keeps creeping up. Now I am tired, achy and not wanting to do much of anything. Thanks for this post! I am drinking water as I type! What a blessing you have been to me today!

  5. Perfect timing friend. I am exactly at the very same place in your journey. While i do care about my looks (I certainly am not hung up like I used to be though), at this stage in my life, it really is all about feeling better and enjoying wellness! I could skip meals if you just give me a Coke :) After years of teaching and never sitting, these last 4 years at a computer have driven me nuts. The final straw was knee surgery this summer. It has been so awful to lose mobility. I am 50 and need a total replacement! What??? I had to cancel Haven this summer because of it!
    The funny.not.funny thing is, one of my DILs is a former PE coach / fitness trainer :)) I decided against juicing, because I am intent on better habits that we keep for life. Two books I just purchased are the Whole 30 and Against All Grain. Our kids are all meeting us halfway for Thanksgiving, and it will be challenging to cook (one son and DIL are Vegan, the other son 7 wife are gluten intolerant – wish me luck!

  6. Hi Traci, Congratulations on starting your wellness journey. I would like to suggest to you that you are also at the age when hormones start affecting women. These are often the years when women put on weight . You are on the right track ! Keep going!

  7. I feel your pain!! I am 52, and the mother of a 13 year old daughter. I too, have let myself go, and boy do I feel it!! My entire body hurts, my clothes don’t fit the same, and the scale tells all! I desperately want to lose some weight and get back into shape, but I just can’t motivate myself……..I’m lazy!! Maybe reading your blog will give me the inspiration I need!!
    If it’s any help, I gave up drinking 2 large Diet Pepsi a day, and when I drink one now, I feel sick!
    By the way……I think you’re gorgeous!!
    Hang in there……you can do it!😊

  8. First…..thank you for being so transparent. It’s easy for us all to look on the internet and see everyone’s perfect lives, perfect families, perfect homes and personal perfect. We know it isn’t real but we are pounded with it and it becomes reality. (Says me who writes this sitting in pajamas at noon drinking a Coke! I do have water alongside it but that’s not helping!) I am looking forward to your journey to wellness for yourself and hopefully pick up some inspiration for my own journey. God has a plan and it’s up to us to just follow it!

  9. I have struggled with overeating all my life. I am now 57 years old and going to Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time. This time (I am two pounds from goal) I realize I must attend meetings every week.
    Good luck in your journey

  10. Hey! I would love for you to email me with the hormones and gut health oils you are going to take. I love drinking water and starting to walk but i need help with the other. I do 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinager and half teas of tumeric along with yogart and flaxseed. Hope we can help each other. 😊

  11. I LOVE your transparency and I think a lot of women, including myself, can relate to your struggle. In the last 5 to 6 years my weight has been up and down a LOT and I feel so much better when I am eating right and exercising. I am looking forward to following your journey.

  12. Thank you for sharing. I have decided to do the same thing. My body is the temple of the Lord so it’s important what we put inside of it. The outside will show the difference. I want my life to show Christ. I see Christ in you and I thank you for your boldness. We both will make it happen will God ahead of our journey. ❤️🙏

  13. Dear Traci – it is hard, I have also struggled with my weight since my late 30’s. I would lose weight only to put it back on. I am now 58 yrs old and lost 22 lbs in just a few months actually. On a semi-annual visit to the docs my blood sugar / A1C was high – diabetic! I decided I was not going to take a pill for it and asked my doc to give me a couple months to get it down on my own thru changing my eating habits (from unhealthy to healthy) and excercise. The thing that has worked for me is my faith, without God I would have continued on the path I was on. I prayed and asked God to help me change my mindset, because I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. And that is truly what set me on a path of losing weight and getting my blood sugar in check and getting healthier! Also, when I told my husband he told me he would eat what I ate, that he was on board and wanted to help me anyway he could and as a result he has lost 12 lbs.

  14. Good for you, Traci! I’ve been a single mom for 14 years and in the last 7 my focus has been on staying well so I can “be there” for my kiddos!! Its a tough road to stay consistent, but I remind myself to just make one good decision at a time and then forgive myself when I make a bad one. You can do this! I’ll be praying for you on your journey!!

  15. Love to you and strength. You are a beautiful and strong woman and will do what you put your energies toward, #seeyourblog. I so admire your courage and fight to do what is right for you and your family. It will be tough but so rewarding, as most challenging things tend to be. You can do this and I support you all the way. Sending you love and healing. Love, from a fellow emotional eater on her journey with you, Shay

  16. Traci, I have battled weight all my life. I was a fat child and teen. Was called a Hereford in high school. Like you “diets” never worked. A few years ago in Bible study I was amazed by a woman that had lost weight. I was lethargic, hormonal, IBS, migraines, have fibromyalgia etc. long story I learned about clean eating. I read and studied Hayley Pomroy Fast Metabolism. Weight fell off. My pantry had to change and over 50 years of cooking. I am now challenged to convert feel good recipes to healthy. I fell back into old habits last year and felt Yukky again. Back on healthy eating, drinking and cooking back down 25 pounds. Read her story and you will be convinced on changing lifestyles. Yes, I gave up cokes (diet) coffee, wine and drink water all day. Add a little lemon or lime, it helps. Oh BTW, I am 63. My challenge is to start an exercise program which is where I am headed today. I so understand where you are and the challenges ahead. My prayers are with you. I love Hayley because there is Facebook support, phone calls and an app to help. My family had to eat as I ate. So as you start this journey baby steps, reach out and focus on feeling better.

  17. oh my….thank you so much for sharing. I struggle with bad eating habits too. I take a multi vitamin each day and I try to eat healthy for lunch with greek yogurt and pineapple mixed in but my sweet tooth is my nemesis. I will say I DO NOT like soda so that part I can’t relate but I also HATE PLAIN WATER – YUCK. Prefer unsweetened tea so I justify its just colored water. I do use advocare and enjoy putting some spark in my water which really helps me drink it…fast too… I find that even though I am only 126 lb there is a difference between being skinny (which I’m not) and being healthy. I can “look” skinny in clothes but I know what I look like out of them and just because the scale says something doesn’t mean the “insides” are healthy – I hear internal “fat” is worse than external cause it surrounds your organs. So….I’m not trying to lose weight I’m trying to be a healthier eater and that is also VERY VERY hard esp for someone who is a meat & potato chick. We are gluten free but there are gf breads and snacks that I love so again….baby steps right?

  18. Traci,
    I appreciate your openness to the weight you have gained. I have also gained weight over the last few years. I will be 54 in March. I can’t help but think that as women around perimenopause and menopause, that we change in so many ways….our weight being one of those ways. When I was in my late 20’s to late 30’s raising my two boys, I was at a healthy weight, but always tired from the work that goes along with motherhood. I didn’t work at it. It just happened naturally. Then my 40’s arrived…. as we are getting older, so are our parents and our kids. Again, an emotional change happens. As daughters we shoulder responsibilities of our kids and then we also take on new roles with our aging parents. Then let’s throw on top of that, hormones being up and down…night sweats, hot flashes…I truly am amazed at how strong we are as women. Both my parents have passed away and adapting to that change is overwhelming at times… then there are huge changes as our kiddos leave the nest as we are needed in a different role now when they are in college miles away… Please be patient with yourself. You have had tons of life situations you have shared with all of us over the last couple years. I’m sure with time, patience, healthy eating and getting past the hormonal rollercoaster will find you ( and me, and all the other women our age) feeling good again at where we are in life and health. Hugs…to all of us strong women.

  19. You can do this!!! I know it’s not easy. 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Pre-diabetes. I’ve been in denial of it all these years and just kept adding more meds to try to get healthy. Finally a year ago I changed docs and she convinced me to see a dietician. It changed my life. I lost 52 lbs. Now I know what’s a good thing, what’s a bad thing and what I have to do if I want to eat the bad thing :-) It’s all a balancing act. At 60 I now feel better than I have since my mid 30’s. If I feel the stress coming on I put on the tennis shoes and start walking. If I can do it so can you. You’ve got this!

  20. thank you for sharing and being real. I too am at my heaviest and am trying to get back on track. It is so hard, but I’m so tired of being tired, having no energy, etc

  21. I completely understand your dilemma. At age 55 my body decided to slow down and has resulted in a significant weight gain. Since I am in a wheelchair indoors and on crutches when I go outdoors it has been very, very hard to shed any of this “baggage”.
    The only success I’ve had is going no carb and then low carb. When I want bread I eat a low carb whole wheat flour tortilla. Just check the packaging on item. Subtract fiber from carb count to get the total of the carbs you will be eating. Don’t go over 5 carbs at a eating.
    I hope this helps.

  22. Drinking more water is probably a good aim for all of us. Here are two things I’ve discovered that help me. 1. I decided to try filtered water so I bought a PUR water pitcher which sits on my kitchen counter and discovered there really is a great improvement in the taste. That helps. And then I learned that cranberry and pomegranate juice is good for your “system” so I decided to try a combination of the two. I tried several brands and now buy Northland’s Cranberry and Pomegranate juice in the big bottles. 1/4 – 1/3 juice in a glass with 3/4 water (I guesstimate at the amount of juice) with a few mini ice cubes is great. I bet this combo would also taste good heated in the microwave. Something to try as the weather gets cooler. Best wishes.

  23. OH MY GOODNESS, I LOVE YOU! And I’ve never loved you more than in that picture with Sania Louise. Sweetie, you are so real. We’re all fighting a hard battle. Looking forward to following your journey to wellness.

  24. Hey Traci,
    You are so brave. As Moms we always put everything before ourselves. Baby steps will get you there! Praying for you dear sister.

  25. Traci, congratulations for starting with water. I lost almost 40 pounds 3 years ago, and I believe drinking a gallon of water a day was key. Every morning I juiced a lemon, put it in a gallon of water and tried to finish it by the end of the day. I too did the 21 day fix but found it hard to stay with it. I gave up creamy, cheesy casseroles, sugar loaded desserts and started eating nonprocessed whole foods. When I’m at church or other social events, I get small bites of the good (now bad) stuff. I eat mostly simple meals seasoned with spices that don’t add salt. I have become very interested in brain health. Our activity level and what we consume is crucial to a healthy brain as we age. I try to follow a simple Mediterranean diet. Good foods are green leafy vegetables and other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish/poultry, olive oil and wine in moderation. I don’t drink wine but do eat blueberries and red grapes regularly. Foods to seriously limit are red meat, butter/stick margarine, cheese, pastries, sweets, fried foods, and fast foods. I now think of food as brain food or “butt” food :) Don’t be too hard on yourself. Raising a family and significant life changes are stressful. Even small changes make s difference. I too loved Cokes. The only soda I can tolerate now is ginger ale but it tastes very sweet and I rarely have it. My husband still loves Coke but when I try it, it tastes like pure chemicals and I can’t drink it. You will get there and there is still time to impact your family. I seriously regret I didn’t take nutrition more seriously when my children were young. The impact of diet on my life is undeniable. My labs are finally normal, I don’t have gut issues I tolerated for years, and I have more energy and fell better than I have in a long time. Thank you for your insightful post. You are impacting so many in a positive way and I am proud of you.

  26. Praying for you Traci. Also recommending that you follow Dr. Greger at He doesn’t take a salary and has devoted his life to wading through the every medical journal published in English and translating them for us to understand and apply.

    Following many of his suggestions has been life changing for me. I feel better at 65 than I did at 25.

  27. Hi Traci, in sure you’ve probably heard of it, but Trim Healthy Mama’s book and recipe book has brought a lot of success to many people. I was raised eating really healthy and raised our own fruits vegetable and grass fed meat. So today I really enjoy living a healthy lifestyle but really love indulging in sweets and drinks. So whenever I neee to lose 5-10 pounds I love to find some yummy recipes and dessert options to keep me on track. Trim Heathy Mama’s recipe book has some really tasty meals, sides and desserts in it for anyone that is just trying to be healthy:-) even my picky husband has loved some if the recipes we have tried.

  28. I can truly identify with your struggle after fighting weight loss for YEARS! I got to the point of having to take medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. One of my lab reports indicated I was borderline Type 2 Diabetic and to add to that I have to sleep with a CPAP because of Sleep Apnea. My heart doctor finally had a heart to heart with me about my weight and then wrote a prescription for some weight loss pills. I finally had to stop those because I couldn’t afford the monthly cost since my health insurance and Medicare did NOT cover that drug. I really didn’t see a big impact it was doing anyway. I later found the drug was considered a controlled substance by one pharmacy. I was like WHAT??? I saw a friend of mine on FB that had lost SO MUCH weight so I inboxed her. I am not recommending this for you but after talking with my doctor and having to write down EVERY type of weight loss attempt I had tried over my life. Would you believe I reached “14” … yes 14 different attempts and 14 failures. Everyone had the secret and I tried them all but didn’t work. I had to go to another level and join the gastric sleeve family. I had surgery April 20th of this year and have lost 61 pounds. I look and feel so much better. I noticed for the last two months my weight lost began to slow. My beverage of choice is “SWEET” tea and I was drinking it all day and wasn’t keeping up with my daily protein requirement and did NO exercise. This month, November, I have challenged myself to walk every day and have very very very little sweet tea. I went to the store last night and got my proteins and will consume more water. Thank you for your post it has helped me slap myself to keep it up. Weight lost surgery is just a tool not an easy fix (as some may think). You still have to manage and portion control has helped be a lot because of the surgery. I am with you and when you let go of some of the stress or manage it you will see a difference because I to understand what it is like to be a stress/emotional eater. I put my weight on over several years which began after the death of my husband, then there was layoff losing my income, then I had to file bankruptcy and finally lost my home. The pounds added and added, l am now working again and life has turned around. I am praying for US as we go on this journey. Lets get back to those before pictures — WE CAN DO THIS – with HIS help and grace. We are praying for you and thanks for being real.

  29. Traci, you are wonderful to share your journey and surely inspire others to seek better health too. I think you will find as you cut down on Coke that the water becomes more manageable. A nutritionist friend of mine told me to try drinking water at room temperature or cool but not ice cold – it’s easier to drink en masse. I fill up a big glass without ice, and drink it all morning while I work on the computer, and take a water bottle with me wherever I go…eventually it just becomes habit to reach for it. I’m 45 too and taking good care of ourselves at this point in our lives is a must! Best wishes on your weight loss journey!

  30. Back in 2010 you had already had four pregnancies & looked like that? You got this girl, you know what to do! I’d suggest adding some of the grapefruit & lemon oils to your water. Makes it easier to get down & helps to burn fat. Another suggestion…I If you haven’t tried it yet get the Stress Away oil. I swear just sniffing it calms me so much that I carry it with me wherever I go. I have found stress increases belly fat so I’m working on that at the moment.

  31. I will definitely be following along! I lost nearly 40 lbs two years ago and I have gained almost all of it back! So sad! I too decided that I should start drinking more water so you have motivated me to start today! I am also interested in the oils but just want to know a little more about it.

  32. I weigh more now than I have in my entire life. I am 53 years old, 5’3″ tall and weigh around 200 lbs. I tell you this openly because we are strangers…ha ha ha! I am still able to get around just fine. But if I stand on my feet for long, my feet hurt. I do tire more easily, too. I know I need to lose the weight. I took myself off all carbonated sodas because of heartburn issues but cannot give up my sweet tea (decaf). I, like you, hate water with a passion. If I try to drink it (cold, room temp, doesn’t matter) it makes me nauseated. I loathe diet drinks and won’t touch them. I am not big on exercising but instead try to exercise by osmosis…meaning getting it doing laundry, cleaning house like a banchee to get my heartrate up. I know as I have gotten older my metabolism has changed a lot. I won’t even let anyone take my picture from the neck down at family gatherings. LOL I struggle with my appearance because of the weight I’ve put on and my own self image of what I SHOULD look like. I don’t look like I weigh 200 lbs – people tell me this all the time when I have told a rare few what I weigh. I don’t own a bathroom scale but the dr. office confirms my suspicions. ha! I don’t have to take a lot of medications so I’m lucky there. Anyway…I feel your struggle. I can totally relate. I keep hoping they will come out with a fat pill. I’d be on that like white on rice (ooops.. that’s a starch isn’t it? LOL)!

  33. Oh Traci,
    I totally relate to EVERYthing you wrote. My journey began 16 months ago. I was over weight, undernourished, had brain fog, leaky gut, and so much more. I started by getting my gut health under control. I take live probiotic cultures (100billion) every night and eat natural prebiotic foods as well every day.
    Next, I started to change my eating to ketogenic. (High fat, medium protein, low carb) Once I became “fat adapted” the pounds just started falling off. Then, after about 10 months I started working out with weights and started noticing I was loosing inches, not pounds. I went from a size 14 to a size 8 in 16months.
    One more thing. I had my thyroid and adrenal glands checked. It wasn’t until the doctor did the reverse T-3 test, that we found my thyroid was extremely slow! Another test revealed my adrenals were not working at all!
    Friend, I am here to say that you are worth it. You have value and you are worth the effort and the time to invest in yourself.
    Proverbs 31:30-31

  34. You are absolutely gorgeous no matter what size you are! I have always enjoyed reading your blog because of your Christian heart. I too have struggled with my weight this past year because of allergies. It seems the allergy medication increases my appetite. I am looking forward to following your journey, as I definitely need inspiration! Blessings sweet lady!

  35. well, I have to be the mother in this and caution that I hope you will be having a nice physical exam WITH lab works done that will include complete panels and definitely thyroid panel as the beginning of your journey to better health. It can be so discouraging to go on this important journey and have an underlying complication that sabotages your efforts. Yes, been there done that and discovered anemia and thyroid disease. what a relief to know I was not being lazy or cheating on the food plan and there was a genuine reason for lack of progress…Prayers for your and all of readers success !!!!!

  36. Many of us have been in your same shoes! In the last couple of years I have lost weight – I am about 10 years older than you and was a Diet Coke junkie! Getting rid of that was step #1. I’ve replaced it with water and still do a cup or 2 of coffee in the morning and in the afternoon I do an Advocare Spark! It has saved me more than once.

    I am sure you will make some healthy lifestyle changes and will get there. Just don’t be too disappointed that it doesn’t come off as quickly as it comes on!

    You can juggle kids and a crazy, busy life, you can do this too! We’ll be your biggest cheerleaders! :)

  37. YOU GO GIRL!!! Beth told me about last night, I wish I was with you guys!! I’m at a heavier weight, not my heaviest, but so close to it. I don’t have energy and my hormones are nutso now that I’m in my mid-30’s. I just did 21 day fix, and now that I finished I could eat a whole jar of Nutella. I had to stop myself at lunch. I can’t wait to follow along on your journey!! Thank you for the encouragement!

  38. Thank you for being honest!!! We do want to show only the best pictures and the “pretty” things in life …..but we all know that is not real!! IG and Pinterest are good for some things but I am afraid they have gotten us all a little confused and ungrateful for the things we have. I struggle with my weight also and know the battles that come with it!!! At 56 it’s all about health now more than looks :-) blessings dear one, one bite at a time!!!!!

  39. I appreciate you being real with us. Sometimes I look at bloggers and wonder how in the world they can do all of this and everything is perfect, but I can’t do it. I’m sorry you’re struggling, but now that I (and several others) am too. We will make the changes we need to maintain our “temples”. Take care. God Bless!!!

  40. I could have sworn that was me in your picture. I have the exact same story, I just crave Pepsi. This week I will focus on drinking more water! Exercise is also on the list to begin this week. I want my energy back too! Thank you for sharing your story, it helps to feel I’m not alone.

  41. Traci, so many of us are praying for you!!
    Thank you for sharing your struggle. I, too, have fought with my weight for my whole adult life. Finally, after years of yo-yo-ing on the scale, I have found balance. I am 45 and eating clean has changed my life! I also do CrossFit 5 mornings a week and I run 4-5 miles every weekend. I have lost 23 pounds and 43 inches (!!) since I started eating clean in mid-June of this year. Just being active did not help me lose weight- frustrating when you’re sweating it out for over 6 hours a week!
    There are many, many paths to weight loss, but finding something that wasn’t a short-term “diet”, but an actual for-the-rest-of-my-life way of eating was the key for me. (Plus I take one day off a week and eat anything I want- WIN!) The bonus is feeling great every day- no more sugar headaches or carb “comas” for this girl! I just passed on my size 12 jeans and replaced them with 8’s. That was a good feeling! (And I still have more to lose.)
    Whatever healthy steps you plan, YOU CAN DO IT!!! I’m doing it for me, my hubby, my kids, and my future grandkids! Again, thanks for sharing! We are FOR you, Girl!! You (and God together, of course!!) are strong enough to conquer this!! <3

  42. I would be VERY careful with that fish oil! My husband, has been anemic since January of this year. So, his primary doctor sent him to a cancer doctor. The FIRST question she asked was “do you take fish oil”? He said yes and she told him to stop immediately and to come back in three months to retest. She said 90% of her patients who had the same test results that he did were on fish oil and when stopped, they returned to normal. She said that almost all fish oil is contaminated with mercury. I have known this for a very long time. When they started saying that pregnant women and children should stay away from tuna because of mercury, I stopped eating it. If it is dangerous for pregnant women and children, it is too dangerous for me too. Any way, just wanted to tell you this for you to investigate and make your decision as to if you want to take it.

  43. You are not in the struggle alone. I have let my health take a back burner due to taking care of an elderly father with dementia. I am turning 51 this year and its time to take care of me. I say all of this as I sit here drinking a Chic fil A peppermint milkshake…gotta be real right. Be my inspiration…we are all in this together!

  44. Good for you! And thanks for sharing. Baby steps are the only way to make lasting change. Just a couple hints…don’t tell yourself you hate water, your body desperately needs water, a lot, every day. Try it with a lemon slice, try it ice cold, try it lukewarm, but drink it every day without thinking about it.
    There are no magic formulas, oils or supplements, healthy food (and water) in, healthy activity for your body, that simple.
    We will be thinking about you and your journey, and baby stepping all the way with you. Speak to yourself kindly with love. You got this!

  45. God bless your heart Traci! thx for being real with us. You are beautiful regardless of how much you weigh. I too have been trying to shed some extra weight. I’m turning 49 on Saturday and my doctor just reminded me that trying to lose weight during menopause is the hardest time!!! yikes!! i do like water but I always forget to drink it .. So I’m gonna try it too and take that step with you. I would love to hear how you incorporate oils into your life as well. I have some at home but I personally have’t felt they have done anything for me. ( But I also don’t have any guidance on how to use them…. that could be the real issue ;-) ) With God’s help, we can all do this!! ;-)

  46. Hey Gorgeous Friend! I’m so proud of you for putting this out there – accountability is KEY and we all need it! You are going to feel SO MUCH BETTER and you’ll look back amazed at how God continues to guide you through! His faithfulness has no end!

    I’m so thankful we’re in this together and doing this for our families! xxoo

  47. Traci, I love reading your bog and following you and your family through your journey with Jonathan and Sania.It always warms my heart. I really enjoy reading your post about your home improvements. I love your house! I think you are a beautiful person inside and out! I’ve seen your fath in God through the difficult times and that has given me strength through some difficult times that I’ve gone through the last few years. I’m an emotional eater also. Last year it all caught up with me and I got sick .My liver enzymes were very high .It really made me stop and think about my health. I’m 52 years old and have always struggled with my wright but I’ve been very fortunate with my health until then. I also use young living essential oils but had stopped using them as much. I started eating healthy stopped drinking caffeine and exercised. My liver enzymes went back down and I felt so much better. I lost 20 pds. I was determined that this time was different and that I would never go back to my unhealthy ways. Well, I started slacking and here I am 6 months later I’ve gained back my weight, drinking cokes and coffee again and I’m feeling awful. Im scared to go back in for my yearly lab test because I’m afraid my levels are up again. I’m having some pain right under my sternum and middle back. I think it’s acid reflux. It did that before when my liver enzymes were up. I really needed your blog today! I feel like I can do this! Thanks for sharing! I’m looking forward to following and I’m right here on the same journey with you!! God bless you and your family!

    1. Sherry Says – Elevated liver enzymes are nothing to sneeze at. The pain you are feeling under your sternum and middle back ARE NOT likely acid reflux. I’ve been down the same road and ignoring the pain won’t make it go away – in fact things can get progressively worse. I was diagnosed with a an autoimmune liver disease where my own body was attacking & trying to destroy my own liver. And it is a lifetime disease that cannot be cured – only by controlling the symptoms with meds. Please think about going back to your doctor – this is nothing to mess around with. I hope you are not offended – I’m just trying to save you from the things I have endured. Blessings!

  48. Traci Thank you thank you for sharing with us. Im struggle too w bad habits to many pepsis. Like u i weigh more than i did when i was pregnant w my daughter. 13 years ago this ain’t baby fat honey i am excited to join you on this Journey Nicki

  49. I’m glad you are so honest with all of us. Its why you’re one of my favorite bloggers. I too am at my heaviest. I do have a thyroid condition and high blood pressure. As with the research I’ve done these can be connected as well with high cholesterol. The thyroid controls so many functions in the body. Please have your tested. My next step is to have my adrenals tested too. And your hormones are probably out of wack. I’m so proud you started with water. It was one of the first things I learned while attending Curves 11 years ago. I lost 45 pounds on their plan. I LOVED exercising with other women. We had FUN. Then my Mom got sick, my work schedule changed and I stopped going. My Mom made me promise to go back. it was her dying wish for me. i did go back but the original owners had sold the chain and things had changed. It was not the same and I stoppped. Now I’m retired and NEED to do something. I just read a real interesting article in the latest issue of the AARP magazine. We need to MOVE everyday. Water is crucial. So just know you are on the right track. I look forward to future posts on essential oils because I want to learn more.

  50. You have so much courage to share this with all of us, so I’m sure you can do this. Please keep us posted.

  51. Traci,
    You go girl !!! I will definitely be there with you. Thanks for being real, true and authentic. I too am a comfort eater and am trying to get healthy. Stress is a horrible thing that we have to deal with in our lives and we deal with it the only way we know how to at the time. It’s not always a good way, believe me, I know, but what is important is that we realize that what comforted us at one time in our lives can turn against us at some point in time without us even knowing it. That is when we have to step up as you’re doing and get real and do our best to find another way to cope. I’ve cut my daily sugar intake down 3/4 (with set backs because we’re all human), am eating more greens and less fat (I grew up in a German household with butter, heavy cream, potatoes, you get the point), keeping a journal of my feelings to put my feelings and my eating together to see where my stressors are to stop eating when I’m feeling that way, and drinking that dreaded water. So important, but I hate it too !!! Hang in there and keep moving towards your goal Traci. 👍🏼✌🏼️👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  52. Traci,
    Wow! I feel like I am ready about myself! Thank you so much for being so transparent! I too am 40 something, lover of McDonalds diet cokes, have been on numerous diets, an emotional eater and have some experienced aches and pains lately. I have been using young living oils for 2 years. However, I have never attended a conference. I am so excited about this post and look forward to your future post. I know God has a great plan to use you on this new health journey. THANK YOU!!!!!

  53. you are so cute. really.
    i gave up drinking soda years ago and you can do it. no real reason, just thought it was time.
    now i love water, so give yourself time.
    small steps to whatever goal you choose, but no matter.
    you are lovely.

  54. Thank you for your transparency!! It helps to realize we all have struggles! I am looking forward to reading about your wellness journey. The last few years, I have been on a roller coaster with my weight as well. This will motivate me to become serious about a healthy lifestyle and learn more about oils in the process.

  55. Traci, I am so proud of you! You are a beautiful woman inside and out. You are doing a great thing for yourself, your family and your blog friends who struggle with health and weight issues. I too, have issues staying hydrated because I am also, not a fan of water. It is probably the single most important thing we can do for our health. Because of your courage and honesty, I have decided that I am going to walk this walk with you.

  56. I’m sure it was hard for you to post your picture, but I applaud you. So many blogs only post the perfect pictures of their home, family, trips, you name it, their perfect lives. I wish you great success with your new journey and I HATE water too. I swear everything you read says walking and water are the cure all for everything. I wear my Fitbit and get in five – seven miles a day, but struggle with the water.

  57. I just want to tell you that posting pictures that are less than flattering is courageous. I must ask this- was this how you saw yourself in your mind’s eye or were you surprised? When I was at my most weighty I didn’t envision myself that way- so it’s a curious question and not intended to be insulting. I have lost weight and it never fails to find me again. However, life is a journey with twists and turns that spring up with little warning. The Fight Against Fat is an ongoing battle on my journey and I intend to win! You can accomplish the goals you set for yourself. My only advice- be sure to have your Physician aware of everything you are taking and doing. God Bless and Best Wishes for a healthy lifestyle.

  58. Thank you for digging deep to find the courage to share. Been where you are; as we get older the harder it gets (hormones) plus family/ work responsibilities have us taking a back seat. I will be on walk with you on your journey. You are not alone.

  59. Traci,
    You are brave, beautiful and full of God’s loving presence in your life! I have so loved to recently start following you, and you are a true soldier! I know God has you on a perfect path, and that you are listening carefully – you are a lovely motivator! I struggle with anxiety from a husband leaving me, after a very long marriage, know I don’t eat right, and love my coffee. It’s difficult for me to exercise (even though I know I’ll feel so much better!). I also know He has a great plan for me, and am trying to listen carefully. You are a loving and dedicated Mom, & honestly don’t need to worry about “the little things”-your family adores you, as you, them. Don’t be too hard on yourself! What a blessing you are to all of us who visit you each day (I also follow your precious sister, that’s how I was led to you!) I’m praying for you, and know you’ll be dedicated to your journey! I hope to be as good a soldier as you! Remember! “One day at a time”! Blessings!

  60. Traci,
    Thank you for your honesty and your humbleness. I am 52 years old and currently weigh more than I did during my pregnancies. I am in my third year of menopause and In the last year I feel like my body has exploded lol! I am with you on the water thing, I don”t drink water. Actually my addiction is Diet Coke. That is the only thing I drink! I am currently researching a plan that will help me. I know I need accountability so I was considering weight watchers. I also use Young Living Oils but I am not using them to their full potential. I will be following you on your blog and encouraging you along the way. Congratulations on facing your unhealthy habits.

  61. I don’t usually comment, but I just want you to know how strong and inspiring you are! Most women would not have the courage do such a post. You are a young, beautiful woman with a Godly heart. You CAN and you WILL feel healthy and strong again. Rely on God to help you with this battle.

    You’re a terrific mama and a wonderful role model for women of all ages!

    God Bless!

  62. You can do it! I’m hoping to follow along and try the same. Please post recipes and suggestions along the way. I’ve done without McDonald’s diet cokes for at least 2 years. I went to 1/2 cut sweet tea instead. Gradually going to unsweet. Good luck and love your blog!

  63. I too have made the decision to do something about my unhealthy eating habits and use Young Living Oils. I look forward to your blog. Congrats!

  64. I am with you! I had both knees replaced 6 months ago and I’ve gained weight! I turned 60 this summer. I am going to follow your journey to hopefully get inspired.
    Teresa Cordon
    4th Grade teacher @Wilmore Elementary

  65. I made the decision to change my lifestyle and lose the weight. I found an app that works like weight watchers and I have lost 22 lbs since the end of January. I also don’t like to drink water and enjoy my diet sofa, I drink flavored water from Walmart and I bought a diffuser bottle and make my own, I still drink some sofa but limit it. My biggest problem has been working out and getting to the gym is a struggle. Prayers to you as you begin your new healthy life

  66. Traci! It’s like you’re in my head. I just had a “is that really what I look like?” moment last week when someone posted a picture of me on facebook. I’ve been at my heaviest ever and feeling just like you described for quite a while but have managed to put it out of my head until I saw that picture. I have also tried every diet/eating plan under the sun before and am not going back to a temporary fix. So after some time in prayer and accountability with a friend, I decided to start to increase my water intake and focus on that first and then go from there. So, you’all be on my mind and in my prayer each time I fill my water bottle!

  67. Thank you so much for sharing this, I really needed to see this today. I have been feeling so under the weather, blah, horrible off and on for a while now and I know it’s related to my being overweight and out of shape. I just turned 54, I’m 5’5″ and weigh about 190 lbs. which is the most I’ve ever weighed in my life. I used the be the skinny girl who could eat anything, but I lead a too sedentary life and enjoy my Coke and cookies far too much. I need to take better care of myself. As for water, it’s not my favorite but when I do resolve to drink it, it really helps me to infuse it with cucumber slices, mint and fresh basil leaves. It really helps me drink more. Best wishes!

  68. Not all water tastes good. Find one that has the flavor that you ‘dislike’ the least and make that your new choice. Never order a ‘large’ size anything food wise. We have lost our way with food portions and extra whatever on everything we eat. If you need to change eating habits then the whole family needs to do so….it just doesn’t show on them…yet. You can do this for yourself and your family. Good Luck.

  69. Thank you for sharing! I am getting ready to turn 59, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 3 years ago. Still in denial about that, but I have stopped the Cokes and only have Mickey D’s tea, half- cut. 😊
    My hind end makes yours look tiny, and I have to get this weight off. I feel like poo, have no desire to move, ache all over, turn down invitations because I just don’t feel like going out. Look awful in my fat clothes.
    Anyhow, I can totally identify and am giving you a witness in a hearty ‘Amen!’
    I already drink lots of water and enjoy it, my thing for this month is eating more protein and veggies. (Don’t know how that dressing, pumpkin pie, and mashed taters will fit in 😂)
    Your post is timely in my life and I appreciate it so much! I will be praying for you!! ❤️

  70. Traci…thank you for your honesty, which is one of your many good qualities, in your struggle with your weight and eating healthy. I too have struggled with this my whole life. I am now 62, have gone through menopause and have come out the other side with what I call my “menopause middle”. I was always prone to gaining weight in my stomach but now I feel like my metabolism is at zero, hence the weight around my middle. I fluctuate from eating healthy to not so healthy but feel the struggle is more difficult because of my age and the fact that I have had 2 hip replacements in the past 1 1/2 years…..with all that said, I’m going to try right along with you in starting by drinking more water every day and getting in the habit of grilling up chicken and veggies for dinner. I love salads so that is never a problem for me to eat. I must also start exercising which I have never enjoyed.
    I could use a good cheerleader in my corner, Traci!
    Good luck to you and the rest of us jumping on your healthy train!

  71. Thank you so much for posting this and the pictures, this is my current situation as well. I also found out that my cholesterol is really high. I have to make a change. I can’t wait to follow your journey, thanks for being an inspiration!

  72. I love this. About two years ago, I started the same journey. Probiotics are a must. I had suffered for years with IBS. Talk about needing a gut healed. I started Plexus. OMG! Changed my life. All natural. Not a diet. Yes. You need to change your lifestyle, but it’s healthy. We have an amazing Omega supplement, our Probiotic is amazing as well. Would love to get you more information on Plexus. WaNt that diet coke habit kicked to the curb? I can help you 😉

  73. Hi Tracy…I knew there would be a ton of comments. Like you I struggle with eating and exercise etc. I’m older than you by 8 yrs. I can tell you like any one else, as we age, it all gets a little more frustrating with metabolism etc. AND there is so much info out there…do this , eat this , don’t eat that ..YIKES ! The one thing I do know for sure is get rid of that pop ! Just do it ! I don’t think there is any better thing you can do. Yup I hear ya, water is boring, but just do it ! I like jasmine tea too . My weight is up, like I need to lose about 35 lbs. Maybe it’s good to just think of 5 lb. increments. Looking forward to this journey you will share, but please get off that pop. That stuff should be outlawed ! I know you can do it !

  74. Please know I am with you. I’ll do my best to take baby steps and drink more water too. Ugghhh! My go to is Diet Coke. Thank you for being real and sharing your journey with everyone. You are an encouragement!!!

  75. YEA!!!! I am so glad you will be sharing your journey with us and sharing more about YL Oils. I know everybody may have a different experience with the oils, but I am excited to see what works for you and for other people.
    I would like to share that I am almost 52 and in January I weighed 240 pounds. I now weigh 175 (I went from a size 20 to a size 12). Part of this is because my neurologist sent me to a pain mgmt doctor to help me with my neuropathy and the pain pill they put me on for the neuropathy is also FDA approved for weight loss. It has given me the boost I needed to eat healthier and that started with dropping all soda (I’m a Dr. Pepper girl). I haven’t had a soda since January and now they taste just plain yuckey. I still crave them, but when my husband has one I ask for a sip and there is something about the taste that doesn’t agree with me. I still give myself a cheat meal once a week, but I eat small healthy meals every dinner and a protein shake at lunch. I would like to lose a few more pounds so I can fit into a size 8. Because of my neuropathy, I am unable to do much exercise as the neuropathy is very severe and it is in my feet. I am hoping this will give you a little boost of “If I can do this, you can too!” You are such an inspiration to me and I always look forward to your posts. Kim in Texas.

  76. I understand your pain. At 62, I weigh 40 pounds more than when I got married, 43 years ago. 5 years ago I said I’m going to eat what I want, period. And I have! But now I wish I was thinner. It is so hard. But I will follow your journey and maybe I’ll loose some weight too! Good luck to all who want to be thinner and Healthier!!

  77. I admire you so much for your willingness to share this personal part of your life. While everyone is different, different struggles and trials, and has a different journey, I too have and continue to experience similar weight struggles. The past year has been a very high stress time for me, for different reasons, so in May I had a “heart to heart” with my physician. He decided to order a panel of blood work. I have never had this done before so everything was going to be new information for me. I’m 44 and 3 things came back extremely low, like “below” the low level! Yikes! Vitamin D, B12, and testosterone. Holy smokes I didn’t quite know what to think about all of that. But it certainly explained my lack of energy, foggy memory (because I have 300 things going on at once). I started taking supplements orally but after a month he suggested I take a B12 shot. I seriously felt 10 years younger about 24 hours later. I know everyone is different, but for me this was a game changer. Over the last five months I have lost 35 pounds. I mad a conscious effort to eat better…and drink water! :) ha! But the boost of energy is just what I needed mentally to do this for myself. I’ll be reading your journey and praying for your success! :)

  78. Traci- I could have written this, as I too am struggling with weight. I was in great shape in 2010 and even …yes, even wore a bikini in May 2010 when I took my daughter on vacation to Miami for her high school graduation. I was easily in a 2 or 4 size in pants, had loads of energy, slept well, and felt good. I will be 53 in December, don’t sleep well, feel groggy in the morning and was diagnosed with arthritis in my spine this past spring. I have gained at least 45 lbs since 2010 and I am miserable. I did stop drinking Diet Coke 19 months ago- the fact that I know how long should tell you something. I wanted the aspartame craving out of my body. That was hard and I swear I even had withdrawals. This past spring I started a low sugar quest and made it 11 weeks. I severely hurt my back in July and just gave up on the low/no sugar. I had started to have more energy once
    the sugar was out of my system but it was hard when I was depending on other people to take care of me and prepare my food. I tried to not be so picky and so the sugar was back.
    I struggle with the water too, but I have found that if I keep it in my car and not allow myself o stop for that coke or Sprite etc I feel better. I also have a rule when I eat out that I am. It allows to have anything but water. It’s better for me and soft drinks are crazy expensive in restaurants. I will have tea- unsweetened- if I need something else. My mama would probably roll over in her grave if she heard me order order unsweetened tea 😂.
    I am so excited to follow you on this journey! Thank you for being so real and relatable!!!
    I’m praying for you and the motivation we will need.

    1. That should have said I don’t allow myself to order anything except water. My iPad sometimes changes my words – ugh!

  79. Thanks for posting this, friend. I’m excited for you and commiserating with you at the same time–ha! I haven’t told many people but I’ve recently Joined Weight Watchers because I know this journey to better health is not something I can do on my own. Water is a struggle for me too. I’d given up lots of my diet Cokes in favor of sweet tea, but man alive! Sweet tea is not a stop on the road to weight loss! So I’m making friends with water. Try infusing it with different fruits or combinations. I’ve found that a big slice of an orange makes my water taste great to me, so I can at least drink it when I’m at work. Someone recently suggested mint leaves with lemon, so I will probably try that soon. You can do it Traci! Hang in there and don’t give up! ❤️

  80. Thank you for sharing. Your ‘before’ photo may be embarrassing for you but it is inspiring to me! I am on a weight loss journey right now and reading about success stories helps me so much when I feel hopeless.

  81. Love your honesty and putting everything out there, lot of us are in the same situation. I don’t like water either so I drink carbonated water such as LaCroix, no calories and I get water. Keep us updated.

  82. Thank you for being real. I’m interested in hearing more about essential oils. I’ll be following your journey and seeing if and how they help you.

  83. Hi Traci, since we have the same birthday, ten years apart, I want to wish you a very wonderful and healthy one! The best thing I ever did was go to a nutritionist. The second best thing was getting food sensitivities tested. You have to pay for it out of pocket. If your insurance pays for it, then it’s worthless. Get the correct testing and eliminate the foods that make you feel bad and put on weight. I’ve been very sick lately and off the wagon, but I’m getting back on. Fish oil is important, but menopausal women don’t convert it well or even at all. I don’t like burping up fish oil anyway and I certainly don’t want to take nine caplets per day. I take the converted form which is the gold standard >> ubiquinol. One tablet per day. Probiotics are imperative, minimum of 50,000 billion. Magnesium is imperative, but do not buy the crappy oxide at the drug store. Oxide has no bioavailability and shouldn’t even be on the market. Get a quality supplement. Magnesium malate is what I take because I get migraines. D3 is a must for every living being on earth, minimum of 5,000 units per day. D3 is technically not a vitamin, it is a hormone. Get your thyroid checked (FT3, FT4 and RT3; TSH is useless for thyroid function). Get a four point iron panel too. Lastly, get your cortisol and sex hormones checked. After these tests, you should have a good picture of where you’re at. I have relearned everything I thought I ever knew about food and am still learning. Fat is good for you! I have learned as most people do, that once you start eating a healthy Paleo lifestyle and get rid of the grains in your diet, all of your energy comes back and aches and pains just seem to vanish very quickly.

  84. Traci, you are brave , beautiful and a great encouragement to me as I am trying to increase good health. May God bless you with great success.

  85. Thanks for sharing! I am right there with you. 48 and overweight, too tired to do anything about it, coke addiction, 10 hours a day at a desk job but I just got a stand up desk and I try to walk around the building several times a day. I hate water too and it is so so hard to make my self drink enough of it. Looking forward to your motivation :)

  86. Hi Traci, I’ve been down this road as well. In 2008 I started the same journey to get healthy. I’ve lost around 100 lbs gained 30 back, lost 30 again and gained 20 back. That’s where I’m at right now. Still down but not quite where I want to be either. I started taking a really good probiotic in Jan of this year and now drink organic Braggs apple cider vinegar as part of my morning routine also. They have both helped me to feel much better and boost my immune system. I’ll be praying for you and ask that you pray for me too. I’ve found that it’s going to be a lifelong battle for me, but know that with God on my side I can make better choices in what I eat. Blessings.

  87. Traci – if I can do it you can! I have way more to lose (gained after car accident in which I was badly injured, resulting in a huge lifestyle change). I really hated water – unless it was bottled ice cold spring water. But I didn’t want to be drinking bottled water when we have perfectly good filtered water here at home. I stopped drinking sodas over a year ago, but was still drinking iced tea and what we call cordial here in Australia (a fruit flavoured syrup added to water) 2 months ago I went cold turkey – no sweetened drinks at all. No tea, coffee or flavored milks. I drink at least 2 liters (67 fl oz) a day and even though it’s really hard at times, I persevere. So far I’ve lost 25 lbs but have a really long way to go. Gut health was at the root of my problems and I’m feeling so much better now I’m eating to heal my body.

  88. I have been on a weight loss journey for the past two and half months. I am 5 pounds from my goal weight. I feel so much better. The water will help you tremendously. I also read Made to Crave by Lysa Turkhuerst and I’m telling you this book is amazing. She gives you verses and every chapter just motivates you to stay on track.
    As far as water, I was never a big water drinker. I infuse mine with fruit and that does help to give it a little bit of a taste. Good luck and I know you can do this.

  89. Too many comments to read – I’ll have to go back later and pick up where I left off. This blogger uses dill oil to deal with her sugar addiction – and I have found it very helpful. It might help with the coke addiction, too. I find if I use ice cubes in my glass of water it helps, but it’s still a struggle. Thanks for taking us on this journey – strength in numbers, right?

  90. Traci, We all have those “fat / ugly pictures”, so don’t feel bad about that. I have used mine as a wake up call. My mid 40’s was when I hit peri menopause, followed by menopause. My weight began to go up and has stayed up. Once I started taking estrogen and progesterone, things began to get better. I am now 53 and trying to make better food choices and really take smaller portions. I am determined to drink more water and bought a water bottle with the ounces marked on the side so I can set a goal for the day and drink on until it’s gone. I am trying to walk 1-2 miles a day as well. I take my phone and listen to Beth Moore on you tube or past church sermons when I walk, which I enjoy , because I would never just sit and listen to those during my day. It is a struggle for sure. Almost all of us have family concerns, children and even parents to care for, but if I can squeeze in an hour for me, we all feel happier. I will be following you and doing my part here on this end in Louisville! Be encouraged…you are not alone in this! Take baby steps that will lead to bigger ones as you go. You can do it!

  91. Thank you for your honesty, it’s incredibly refreshing. I too struggled with weight issues… Many times. I’m 47 and I’ll be honest the last year has been rough. Our kids are roughly the same ages and I used to think it was tough when my 3 boys were 2, 4, and 6!! Now they are 15,13,and 11 and things are busy and stressful as we work to raise Godly children and try to help get them to heaven some day!! I had honestly just let myself go while tending to my family. Being a wife and mom is my greatest honor and my vocation but at the same time if I don’t care for myself I’m not modeling good behavior and I was not a happy person. I also had some close friends let me down and I spiraled into a bit of depression. I totally ate my emotions for over a year. I felt horrible and I was not reflecting a joyful presence to my family. While it took some time to straighten out my thoughts I also rejoined weight watchers. I have lost 43 pounds since mid April. I cannot recommend the Beyond the Scale program and Smart Points system enough. It is the most well rounded weight watchers has ever been. Focusing on your own personal journey and how you think of yourself and food. It is truly transformative mentally. They have also reworked the points to point you more to vegetables, fruit, and protein and less towards carbs, sugars, and processed foods. Although nothing is ever off limits as I’m sure you will agree that depriving ourselves often leads to bad choices later. It’s all about your own tastes and decisions on what you want to “spend” your points on. WW now also has its own “social” media called Connect. WW members post all sorts of things in a very encouraging community when they need help or want to share about their progress or struggles. And there are so many shared food and meal ideas which is incredibly helpful. I’m happy to correspond with you if you have any questions. By far the best thing I have done for myself in years is changing my eating habits.

  92. It does take a lot to share and “Thank You” for being so open with us. Check out Emily Holliday Fitness, this is my daughter and she is very passionate about fitness & wellness. She may have some tips that you could try. I have been exercising now since Aug 2013, Health & Wellness Center. I need to focus on the nutrition part on my journey. You can do this, I know you can. :)

  93. I appreciate this post and your honesty. I, too, have struggled for years with yo-yo weight issues. I was addicted to Coke and then thought I was doing the right thing by changing to Diet Coke. Ugh!! Could not have been further from the truth. I lost my mom nine years ago at the young age of 59 and decided in January 2016 that enough was enough. I had to start taking care of my body. I read about gut health and how it is linked to so many issues and decided to try a product recommended by a friend. Plexus. It has changed my life. Their ProBiotic is like no other, they have a little pink drink to help balance your blood sugars (goodbye carb/sugar cravings and Diet Coke addiction), an Omega that is life changing – I could go on and on!! I have not had a soda since January 23!!! The only thing I drink is water and I actually crave it. I am healthier than I have ever been and am off one prescription medication. The weight is slowly coming off and STAYING OFF. It didn’t happen overnight and there aren’t any quick fixes. I can give you information if you want on the products. The only time I go to McDonalds now is to get a large UNSWEETENED ice tea with extra ice! I will be cheering you on as we all take this journey!

    1. Wow, Amy! You are an inspiration! It is amazing how much our gut plays in our health, right? And I am focusing on changes for the long haul too, not quick fix diets. I know it will take a while, but I know I can do it. Thank you for cheering me on!

  94. I’ve been following for years. Thank you for being so honest. Nothing is better than a McDs Coke. I’m gonna do it with you. More water. Less Coke.

  95. Hi Tracy. My prayers are with you as you begin this journey toward a healthier lifestyle. It’s hard to make good choices sometimes, especially as a busy parent. But I agree……one step at a time will probably help you not feel so overwhelmed. As a reformed “pop-o-holic”, I will tell you that it gets better. Up until several years ago, I very seldom drank water. It was several cups of coffee in the morning and then Dt. Dew or Dt. Coke the rest of the day. I would buy a 24 pack of 12 ounce cans every week…….and drink them all……or the majority. I made the decision to start drinking more water to help with my joints and digestive system. I had to make myself do it…… first, I exchanged a soft drink for water at meal time at home, then I quit buying them when I ate out. Now, several years down the road, I actually crave an ice cold glass of water on occasion! I still drink my coffee and I do have a soft drink on occasion. Gotta live a little, right?!? Lol. Good luck and I look forward to reading/learning more about the role of essential oils on your journey. 😊

  96. Traci, I Just want to remind you of one thing. You are beautiful RIGHT NOW and you will be beautiful when you have reached your goal weight. But taking control of your health is so important and I applaud you for realizing the importance of that and being determined to change things for the better for you AND your family. Good for you. I love your approach to start making changes that you can live with for a lifetime. I don’t like water either and I am tempted by Diet Coke, which isn’t good for me or my bones since I have osteoporosis. Lately I have been sneaking in at least once a day AGAIN when I thought I had conquered this battle. So you have challenged me to get back to water which God gave us because he designed our bodies and He knows what we need. The sharing of your struggle and desire to overcome will encourage so many others and it has already encouraged me. Thank you!

  97. Thank you for sharing. I am in a similar place. Just couldn’t handle the way I felt anymore or how I looked. I have avoided being in pictures for the past 5-7 years. This included pictures with my children. It has left a hole that I cannot go back and fix. I am determined to be healthy for me. For them. To be in as many pictures as I can be when they graduate, go to prom, etc. I am ALWAYS taking pictures and I am sad I have let myself escape them over these years because of how I look. I have tried the diets too. It’s hard and usually just a temporary fix. Your journey sounds like mine. Baby steps. I started with just walking 10,000 steps a day. Trying to drink more water. Cutting out sodas. I’ve been at it since April. I have lost around 20 pounds (it has fluctuated when I’ve gotten “stuck”). I’m fighting now to get back to the 20 (3 more pounds to go). And then getting back to my plan of more. I will say between the things I mentioned above – the key has been writing down everything I put in my mouth. The calories will make you stop and think. Look up a large Coke and write down the calories. Put it in your car or someplace where you can see it. It may stop you once or twice or more. Just a thought. It’s hard to stop soda but i have been able to do it. You can too. Good luck with your journey. I will be there right beside you as I continue ur mine. My friends and others inspire me. Let’s inspire each other. Our kids deserve us!!! ❤️

  98. Prayers for your strength through your challenges—you can do this! I am a recovering anorexic so eating healthy is top priority in my life. My advice is baby steps, add lemon slices to your water (trust me it becomes an addiction), and know that you can do this. I also want to say that I am very excited about the oil posts you are planning. It is an element that I have wanted to use in my life but it seems so overwhelming. So thank you for introducing, and teaching us, about them. I look forward to the posts.

  99. Water, who likes it? NO ONE!!! Here is how I make water palatable: I keep a Brita pitcher in the fridge at all times along with one lemon sliced in a covered bowl ready to squeeze into every glass. When I crave a carbonated drink I grab a cold sparkling water, flavored or no, from the fridge. This habit has helped me keep up my water intake. I have to take the time to create my own fast food kitchen because I always choose convenience, least amount of effort :(! What can I say – child of modern times in the USA.
    Best wishes to a healthier you!

  100. Traci, wow…I think you’ve touched on something that many of us 40’s something ladies are dealing with. At this stage in our lives, we begin focusing more on our health as we realize the importance of taking care of our bodies for longevity. We want to be there for our kids and grand kids, right?! We want to be present and able to enjoy this season! We’ve worked hard for it! Thank you for such an inspirational post! I’ll be following along and doing this with you! Now, off to get a tall glass of water to get me started!

  101. It’s amazing how God puts what you need to hear right out there. Your post is just what I needed to hear.
    I love to eat! And what’s worse is I’m a retired teacher of 35 years and I could so easily become a couch potato. I am 62 years old, 5’11” and weigh 235.4 pounds. I feel horrible, I don’t sleep well and have no energy. And let me just add that the older you get the harder it is to lose. It shifts around. For instance, not only do I have a big gut, but now I have a big stomach. (That area below your chest but above your gut). I know exactly what I should do and how I should eat…I just don’t do it. I don’t seem to have the discipline and will power. This is my health we’re talking about here. So I’m going to do it with you. Please keep the encouraging posts coming. I with you girl. Let’s do this. I’m getting a bottled water now!

  102. Prayers to you as you begin this journey! I am 56 years old and began the same journey 3.5 years ago when I had 2 granddaughters come to live with me. I lost 70 pounds in a year and a half and have maintained it for 2 years. My small bit of advice is to write down EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth(even when it is too much). I drinks tons of water and still keep a food journal. I am going to enjoy following you on this journey and will continue to be inspired by you!

  103. I have noticed I feel a lot better when I start off with water right away in the morning. I don’t sip it–I drink it down! 16-20 oz and then i am done. Success for the day already :) and then more water throughout the day doesn’t seem as hard :)

  104. Hello Traci, just wanted to say I don’t really reply to blogs, but yours touched a nerve. Thank you for adopting that precious child, for not giving up. Please please look into parasite cleanse. After 1st round I couldn’t think about sweets let alone look at or eat them. Make sure you go through a plan that works. (email me and I’ll share with you my plan) I’ve got one that is easy to use and rotates products for the best oomph!!! Also make sure to rotate your probiotics to include more strains. Btw, can’t live without my ice water now :)

  105. Wow, these comments are so positive and you have so many people supporting you! So many of us have struggled or are struggling with this same issue. I recently discovered the book ROAR by Stacy Sims, PhD. and it’s helped me tremendously in my own journey. Stacy does a fantastic job of explaining the science behind the foods we eat, hormones, supplements and integrating it with exercise and recovery for the female physiology. Looking forward to the updates; you’ve got this!

  106. Traci-
    I have read your blog from the beginning! I was in college when I stumbled on this happy little DIY place, and then read through the loss of your beautiful mother (Wednesdays with Wanda are still some of my all time favorite posts…I have many of her thoughts written in my own Bible now!) I’m now a mother to two boys, with a third baby on the way. I was first drawn to you and your love of Jesus, and was so uplifted during many lonely seasons in my life by your words. I remember thinking you were one of the most beautiful women, both inside and out. My young 19 year-old self wanted to be just like you! Ha! I’m sad to hear your struggle over the last few years…my own family is wrought with obesity and my father is struggling right now to lose weight. It is such a real and emotional struggle! And it is HARD! But I will be praying for you…I know you can do this! You have such a beautiful spirit, and I’m thankful you are sharing your journey with us! You are going to do great, and you will be HEALTHY so you can love your kids and their kids someday! God bless you, beautiful soul! Can’t wait to hear about updates!

  107. Girl, you know I, praying for you in this. And I love your openness and “younness” (I know it’s not a word but I’m okay with that). Love ya and your encouragement! 😘

  108. Traci,
    Thank you for keeping it real and sharing your struggles with being healthy. From the looks of it you are not alone.
    I too struggle, I have all of my life. I can’t think of a day when I haven’t thought of my weight. I have suffered from food and eating disorders for years. It wasn’t until three years ago when I was faced with possibly having breast cancer that I stopped hurting my body and starting nourishing it. It truly was an ah huh moment for me. I realized I only have one body and that I better taking care of it. I started like you by accomplishing one healthy change at a time. Water was my first and like you I really really disliked water. I started by squeezing a half of lemon in it and lots of ice. I still do not like water but I drink it because I feel so much better when I do. I made a goal to exercise 150 minutes a week and I now only eat whole food. That is what has worked for me but the beauty of it is we are all different and you have to find what will work for you. The important thing is that you acknowledge you need to make some changes and your starting. You are not alone in this and I’ll be praying for you.

  109. I am so glad you are doing this. I am also on a journey to health. While I recently finished my first Whole30, I realize I cannot keep that going for ever. I too am an emotional eater and at 230lbs and 5’2, well I feel like I have a ticking timbebomb inside of me. So I am subscribing so I can read your updates and encourage you and you can do the same for me. Blessings!

  110. Traci, in your description of yourself, you described me at the VERY same age….even the part about weighing more than either time I was pregnant. My husband and I joined Weight Watchers and I learned so many good eating strategies there. The big thing is portion control…your eyes truly are bigger than your stomach….most of us would be perfectly satisfied eating half the amount we serve ourselves. For some folks it helps to eat on a smaller plate…tricks the eye b/c the plate is full (but the portions are smaller). btw…I lost 45 lbs. in 8 months and kept it off for 8 years. Then I gained about 20 of it back and it stayed around for about 5 years. I lost that weight on my own (using what I had learned in WW). Now I’m at a healthy weight at the age of 68 and have maintained that for 4-5 years. Regarding water and your diet cokes….once you get accustomed to drinking water you will want it as much as you want the diet cokes now….and you will lose the taste for those sodas. Best of luck to you as you endeavor to get (and stay) healthy.

  111. I’m going through the same struggles. I recently started taking probiotics every morning with hot water and lemon. I have a carb addition and eating just a bit makes me want more and more. I’m at my heaviest too and need to get healthy. I know it’s all about being consistent but that is easier said than done as we all know. You are not alone and I know you’ve got this!

  112. When you posted about your health a couple of years or so ago, I looked up myotherapy in your area. If you are not familiar with this, it is pain relief through working on trigger points in the body. I was thinking that it might help with the pain you experience because of your scoliosis. The following link will show you a therapist in Lexington. Of course, I know nothing about her, but you might want to do some research. Lessening pain certainly helps in any journey, and I trust the Lord will help you step by step.

  113. Hi Traci – Have you ever downloaded the free app myfitnesspal? Counting calories is all it does and it really helps you stay on track. I must warn you – it is addictive! It also has an “add water” feature that allows you to click +1 every time you consume 8 ounces of water!

  114. Hi Traci…I can totally relate to the weight gain…stress and emotional eating. It’s an awful thing. I’ve gained 50 lbs. in a little over a year. It’s the biggest I’ve ever been in my life. It’s embarrasing to me and really zaps my joy. But, I continue to eat. No sense in trying to get started on a weight loss program right now. I would truly fail. I’m shooting , of course, for the new year. I know how to be healthy, eat healthy….I just have to make my mind up. Good luck to you! I’m rooting for you. Thanks for being so honest. It makes you real. We all have our struggles.

  115. Greetings, Tracey! Back in May I started my wellness journey. I have lost 34 pounds and feel sooooo much better. First thing in the morning before I get out of bed I drink 16 oz of water, do a few stretches then get up. These two things have really helped my gut and joint pain. Standing in prayer with you during our “journey”! Blessings~

  116. We must be living a parallel life where our eating habits are concerned ;(….3 large McD’s cokes a day, it’s like crack I swear. I also HATE water!! I also currently weigh more now than I did with my pregnancies and just overall feel like poo. You’ve inspired me to try drinking more water and scaling down the coke addiction. I will be looking for updates on your journey and privately notating mine ;)

  117. Traci, this is why people love your blog. You tell it like it is and we can all relate. I came upon your blog around the time you started Wednesdays With Wanda. When my mom passed away after a battle with Alzheimers I gained a lot of weight. I started walking at a local track. Couldn’t even do 1/4 mile without huffing and puffing but I kept at it and dropped the pounds. I even started running at the age of 46. I didn’t diet, but just tried to eat better and less. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, struggles, creativity, and even your sweet family with others.

  118. I AM following you in this endeavor….. I love that your blog posts have always.. always been REAL !! You are REAL…. I too do not enjoy drinking water at all !!! I love a McDonalds coke.. and I love my coffee with creamer !! lolol…. However, I am a grandmother of six and I am 64 years old…. I like to think that I am a young 64 and I do still work outside the home .. so I am busy … but It is so hard to keep the weight off… I want to be healthy for myself and for my kiddo’s and grands !!! I love the Essential Oils .. ( especially Theives) and now I am really excited to follow along on this journey and see how I can change some things… I am really excited about the info you shared from the conference !!! Thank you … praying for you on this journey !!! WE CAN DO THIS !!!! ( ps…. You are still one beautiful young lady !!!)

  119. Drinking water is a great place to start! I use True Lime in my water, mix up a pitcher everyday and try to finish it by bedtime. Drink one glass before each meal and you’ve already added 24 ounces. Find a pretty glass to drink it from and it will feel like a treat. You can do this!

  120. Twenty years ago I was drinking coke everyday, when I started working with a young slender teacher. I noticed that she drank water (instead of all that coke/soda/pop) and I told myself if she can do it, I can do it. I have never looked back. I live in the PNW (aka cold) so I drink a lot of hot or warm water. I still work at the same school and bring a big thermos of hot water with me everyday. First thing every morning at home, I drink 2 cups of hot water. (well, cool enough to gulp it down) I filter my water with a Brita pitcher. I do have trouble when I visit other parts of the country. The water doesn’t taste the same and I don’t want to gulp it down. I just buy bottled water to get me by. I’ll pray for you as you’re on your wellness endeavor.

  121. You need to read The Prime book. It’s life changing. It talks about breaking up with food and how typical American diets are literally addictive and until you break the addiction you can’t try hard enough to suceed in losing weight and keeping it off. I’ve been doing the recommendations and it has been amazing. I’ve lost weight without trying. I feel so much better. More energy. Less brain fog. And I have had almost zero seasonal allergies. It’s been amazing. Please check into the book!! Amazon has it.

  122. (((Hugs))) to you, Traci. Your post was very courageous.
    I totally understand. I’m 45 with a chronically ill teenager and a mother with Alzheimer’s. I KNOW emotional eating.
    I was a lifelong Coke drinker, until 4 years ago and I quit cold turkey. I still miss them, but have never allowed myself to take another sip. I’m truly afraid to “fall off the wagon”. I had to fall in love with water, because I certainly didn’t like it. For me, drinking it cold helps. You hang in there!
    Warmest Blessings

  123. Just found your blog and I love it! Thanks for sharing your journey of weight loss. I just turned 50 and have lost about 15 pounds but still have about 15 more to go. Trying to just make healthier choices!

    And by the way, I’m interested in the essential oils! Been doing some research on them.

  124. Thank you for sharing and I think there will be many women who will be encouraged by your journey to better health.
    Praying for your success.

  125. Hi Traci:

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now (I love it) and I also follow your sister, Cyndi. You both are wonderful women of God and I appreciate that. While reading your Journey to Wellness I thought “wow, I’m reading about myself”. I too struggle with my weight. 15 years ago I lost 50 lbs on on the “Prism” plan, but these last few years I have gained 35 of it back. My niece introduced me to a plan called “Trim Healthy Mama Plan” or “THM Plan” and I have been so encouraged and have learned a lot about how our bodies function and process fats, carbs and proteins. Last month I lost 10 lbs on the plan:-) The THM Plan was designed by two (2) Christian Music artists, Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett. They are from down in your neck-of-the-south-woods. I too am not a water drinker. I am a diet Pepsi addict. Also, I have become an essential oil user too and strongly believe in them. WE CAN DO THIS!!!!!!! Have a blessed day:-)

  126. I can so relate. I have struggled with my weight for years. Like you, I decided about a month ago that it was time to make changes in my health. I have lost 14 pounds so far but have so far to go. I’m so thankful for your transparency and look forward to reading about your journey to health!

  127. A nutritionist told my sister that people like water at different temperatures. Find what you like! I grew up drinking spring water and have found the reason I had totally given up drinking water was due to the taste of our town’s tap water. I encourage you to find one that is right for you. Once I realized these two things I craved water. So temp and taste could be the answer for you too. It’s been over 6 months now that I gave up regular coke cold turkey. I truly believe it was a God thing…I’ve not had any cravings for it. AND SINCE YOU AND SO MANY OTHER BLOGGERS STARTED BY DOING THINGS ON A DIME…how many dimes have you wasted on soda. This alone was a reality check for my husband and I both. The thought alone makes us sick. He preferred diet…I never touched the stuff. The sweetener in it turns to formaldehyde and a lower temp than your body temp. The manufacturers know it. The doctors know it. And our bodies know it too. We just don’t seem to listen to our bodies. Aches and pains are the voice our bodies use to tell the brain something is amiss. So whether it’s your body image or your empty pockets that lead you to stop the soda…DO IT!

  128. Traci, thank you for your willingness to be honest and vulnerable. You are going in the right direction, seeking better health. I was skinny in my teens and twenties but have been overweight since my late 30’s (I’m 63 now). I’ve tried some weight loss programs like Weight Watchers but always gained the weight back. In the last year or so, I’ve tried to follow the Whole 30 way of eating so I’ve been eating pretty clean but I couldn’t give up sweets. Recently I discovered a program called Bright Line Eating which is working really well for me. The reason people often have such a hard time keeping the weight off is because the foods they are eating are addicting. Bright Line Eating has a very structured program (which I need!) and eliminates the addictive foods – basically all sugars and all flours. Now that I’ve stopped eating those foods, I don’t crave them anymore. I’ve only been doing this for about a month but I feel so freed up from my obsession with food – I was a stress eater too and used to eat almost constantly throughout my day at work. I didn’t think I could make it till dinner without my late afternoon snack, but now I can go for hours without eating and when I do eat, I enjoy it and am satisfied. Here’s a link to the website if you’re interested: Whatever plan or program you decide to follow, I want to encourage you that you can do all things through Christ – He has a solution for you, so don’t lose hope! God bless you!!

  129. Hey Traci! I found you through your sister Cyndi. I think you are both amazing women! All I have to say is WOO HOO! You can do this!!!!! Sounds like you know what you need to do and it will be well worth it. You are the greatest. :)

  130. I was a 2 a day BIG Gulp Diet Coke drinker for 20+ years and I haven’t had a Diet Coke in 4 1/2 years and never ever miss the taste. You’ve got this and I love reading your blogs and appreciate your openness.

  131. I love young living essential oils and thieves is my go to cleaner. So glad to know they are addressing gut health now too. I am doing plexus slim drink, their biocleanse, probio plus their vitamin and fish oil pill too (no fishy taste at all). Trying to drink 1/2 my body weight in water and much easier to drink room temp. If you run an errand just put 16 ozs in your car and challenge yourself to complete before getting home. I am amazed that now I can down 32 ozs before getting home and only 15 minutes from town. I have no desire for diet coke (credit to plexus slim), none at all. Haven’t had one in months and sweets don’t have the appeal they did and I love chocolate anything. Wishing you the best with your young living plan and keep drinking that water. Soon your body will crave it I promise. I am 65.

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