Your week ahead (30 September – 6 October)

Were any Aries out there affected by the full moon on 29th September? I’d heard so much about it, but don’t think it affected me at all… although this week’s card doesn’t look too good either! Try and have a good one, anyway…

Aries

Swords_10

10 of Swords – bottoming out – having nowhere to go but up, knowing it’s darkest before dawn, being at the lowest point; feeling like a victim – bemoaning your fate, seeing life as hostile, suffering from an attack; being a martyr – putting your own interests last, being self-deprecating, feeling like a doormat

Taurus

Swords_queen

Queen of Swords – being honest – facing the truth, even if it’s unpleasant, playing by the rules, avoiding lies and deception; being astute – sizing up a situation quickly, being quick on the uptake; being forthright – getting to the heart of the matter, being candid when necessary; being witty – never taking anything too seriously; being experienced – having seen and done it all, having realistic expectations

Gemini

Wands_7

7 of Wands – being aggressive – going after what you want, taking the offensive, making your point forcefully; being defiant – holding out against pressure, combating criticism, resisting authority; showing conviction – demonstrating strong character, knowing you are right, being firm

Cancer

Pentacles_7

7 of Pentacles – assessing – evaluating the status, making sure you’re on course, finding out where you stand; reaping a reward – receiving payoffs, reaching a milestone, finally seeing some results; considering a direction change – pondering alternatives, thinking about change, standing at a crossroads

Leo

Cups_king

King of Cups – being wise – giving good advice, understanding many levels of experience; being calm – keeping your head in a crisis, never seeming nervous or tense; being diplomatic – balancing the needs of many people, being able to diffuse a tense situation; being caring – feeling compassion for the less fortunate, doing volunteer and charity work; being tolerant – allowing others their freedom, being patient in trying circumstances

Virgo

Wands_page

Page of Wands – being creative – taking a novel approach, finding a new area of self-expression; being enthusiastic – getting excited, being passionate; being confident – stretching your envelope, moving beyond doubts; being courageous – taking assertive action, overcoming a fear

Libra

Pentacles_9

9 of Pentacles – being disciplined – exercising self-control, sticking to a programme, reining in impulses; relying on yourself – handling the situation alone, doing it all by yourself, wanting to be alone; pursuing refinement – achieving a comfortable lifestyle, being tactful and diplomatic, remembering to be gracious

Scorpio

Wands_ace

Ace of Wands – using creative force – inventing a better way, expressing yourself, allowing a talent to unfold; showing enthusiasm – feeling fired up and eager, creating an aura of excitement, giving 110%; having confidence – believing in yourself, having high self-esteem, knowing things will work out; proceeding with courage – being true to your beliefs, daring to take a stand, facing your fears

Sagittarius

Cups_4

4 of Cups – being self-absorbed – concentrating on your own feelings, seeing only your point of view, ignoring gifts and blessings; feeling apathetic – losing interest, finding life stale and flat, lacking motivation; going within – meditating, dreaming, withdrawing from involvement

Capricorn

13_death

Death – ending – closing one door to open another, putting the past behind you; going through transition – changing status, being in the middle; eliminating excess – concentrating on essentials, shedding old attitudes; experiencing inexorable forces – going through what cannot be avoided, riding your fate

Aquarius

Pentacles_king

King of Pentacles – being enterprising – making any venture successful, attracting wealth, having the Midas touch; being adept – having quick reflexes, handling any situation competently, having a wide range of abilities; being reliable – being counted on in a crisis, assuming responsibility, meeting all commitments and promises; being supporting – encouraging the accomplishments of others, sponsoring worthwhile projects, readily jumping in to help; being steady – having a stabilising influence, maintaining a calm approach, avoiding mood and behaviour swings

Pisces

Wands_knight

Knight of Wands – finding a balance between being charming/superficial – being physically attractive/focusing on style and appearance; being self-confident/cocky – totally lacking self-doubt/overestimating abilities; being daring/foolhardy – risking anything without fear/being reckless and rash; being adventurous/restless – loving travel and new experiences/never being content to sit still; being passionate/hot-tempered – taking a vocal
stand/acting without thinking

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Dubai: Week 30

What a busy week!

Sunday began with my usual session with Rama. It was tough – and it’s only going to get tougher if I’m going to finish that vertical marathon in 6 months!

Dad was out for lunch so Mum and I decided to try the Cheesecake Factory at the Dubai Mall. It opened while we were in Bali and I’d been wanting to try it for the last couple of weeks. It’s right opposite the Aquarium and is always crowded. I thought if we went on a Sunday it wouldn’t be so bad. We got there at about 1.45pm and still had to wait 10 minutes for a table. We eventually sat down and looked through the menu. There is so much to choose from – and the portions looked huge. So Mum and I shared the spinach and cheese dip to start with.

2012

Then Mum had the pepperoni pizza and I had the herb-crusted salmon with asparagus and mash. It was really good – and I left most of the mash.

2012

And then we shared an Oreo cheesecake for dessert. We were both full, but we couldn’t not have cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. We couldn’t eat half the slice between us.

After that we wandered around for a bit, Dad joined us and we had coffee at Tim Horton’s.

That evening I’d booked a massage at the Emirates Grand Hotel. It was an online deal for a full body massage and pedicure – I’d bought it before my holiday and it was expiring in a few days. The spa at the hotel is on the 45th floor. My therapist, Preeya, was running late so I waited in the lounge for a while, flicking through magazines. She eventually took me through to the therapy room (we walked past dozens of rooms!) and told me to get changed. Each room has its own ensuite bathroom and I was given a gown and slippers.

Preeya hadn’t asked me what kind of massage I’d like so I just left her to do whatever she wanted. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. At one point, her knees were on the backs of my thighs and her hands were on my shoulder blades. She spent a lot of time on the knots in my shoulders. It was excellent. I asked her afterwards what kind of massage it was and she said it was a Hawaiian lomi lomi massage. I would go back for that. She then took me to another area for my pedicure (the pedicure was just average, but I didn’t care). I went home, had some dinner and went to bed happy.

On Monday morning I had a yoga class at home and then decided to go for a swim. I was at the pool for just half an hour as it was so hot! I worked all afternoon (I had the place to myself) and then went to Sukh Sagar for dinner with my parents (I had my usual palak dosa).

On Tuesday I went to the gym and worked all afternoon. That night I met a friend for drinks and dinner. We met at Aquara at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club. I’d never been there before and it was a fun place. The music was very 80s and 90s, reminding me of Lagos. We had a couple of drinks there and then went to Chinese Village (also in Marina) for dinner. The food was good (spring rolls, stir-fried chicken and lamb with black pepper sauce). After dinner we ended up at Embassy at Grosvenor House. Three new places in one night! We had a couple more drinks, bumped into some friends (I was told I resembled the Argentinian tennis player Gabriela Sabatini – that’s a first!) and eventually called it a night. I was home at about 1.30am.

My session with Rama on Wednesday morning was quite painful after my night out. I got home and was ready to spend the rest of the day working, but at about 12.30pm my dad started complaining about chest pains. He said he’d had them since about 10am – my mum gave him some Gaviscon but the pain persisted. My uncle came over a while later and we eventually decided to call an ambulance. I was so impressed – the paramedics were at our door in under 5 minutes. I didn’t think Dad was having a heart attack – he had no other symptoms (sweating, nausea, vomiting, upper body pain). I also think a part of me has been mentally prepared for this for a while now: all those years of unhealthy living are bound to catch up with you eventually. Anyway, the paramedics did an ECG and decided that as it was the first time Dad was experiencing this to take him to hospital to be checked out properly. My uncle went in the ambulance with Dad, and Mum and I followed in the car.

We went to Rashid Hospital – Kaleem took us to the A&E section (which also has valet parking, by the way) and we met Dad and my uncle there. They did another ECG and we waited for the doctor to show up. Dad stayed in his cubicle while the three of us went to have a coffee and a bite to eat. I had the chicken pasta salad – it didn’t look very appealing in the plastic container but after it was heated up and put on a plate it was surprisingly good.

We went back to see Dad – he’d been told that he would need a chest X-ray and a blood test and they would determine a course of action once they had the results. Dad was in less pain at this point and his blood pressure was normal. My uncle and I went home intending to go back later in the evening.

The blood test results showed that his cardiac enzyme levels were elevated so they wanted to re-do the blood test a couple of hours later. My uncle and I went back to the hospital at about 8.30pm and the doctor told us the second blood test results were normal. The problem wasn’t heart-related and he could be discharged. He told my dad that he should avoid spicy food and take it easy for a day or two. We were home a little after 9pm.

Will this episode have scared my dad into taking better care of himself? Unlikely.

On Thursday afternoon I went to get my hair coloured – it really needed to be done. After I was finished I decided that I needed to find a better hairdresser. Each time I’ve been to the same guy at the Fairmont I’ve been disappointed. I’m ready to try somewhere else!

That night I went to wine club at the Radisson Blu in Media City. I went with a friend and we met some other friends there. We had a good table – I ended up sitting next to a couple from London and we had a good laugh together. There was one white wine (Sauvignon Blanc), two roses, two reds and a sparkling wine (I don’t have the tasting notes yet!). There wasn’t as much mingling afterwards as at previous events but we were still there till 1am.

Friday was a write-off. I was in my pajamas all day, did some work and watched ‘Suits’. I was supposed to meet a friend and one of her friends for a drink that night but wasn’t feeling up to it.

Saturday was busy – I was at the gym in the morning, and my parents had organised a lunch for some of their banker friends and their husbands/wives so I went with them. We had lunch at Dynasty, the Chinese restaurant at the Ramada in Bur Dubai. There were 10 of us at the table – and there was far too much food: spring rolls, steamed dim sum, and a fried mushroom appetiser to start with; crispy aromatic d
uck followed; then we had chicken in black bean sauce, fish in ginger and spring onion, and sizzling lamb for our main course. There were also some veggies and noodles. Dessert was red bean pancakes and a fruit platter.

Straight after lunch I rushed to book club – but I didn’t rush enough and was 10 minutes late. I’d forgotten how long it took to get to there. We were six women, each talking about the books they’d read over the summer. I headed home after that.

One of my parents’ friends came over for a while that evening and once she’d left I got into my pajamas and watched more of ‘Suits’.

I love my life.

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The final few

I mentioned last week that TM (short for Trouble Maker) had challenged me to do the Dubai Vertical Marathon in April 2013 – and that I’d accepted the challenge (crazy, I know). I told Rama that we had work to do if I was going to finish the race – even though it’s 6 months away.

So on Sunday morning my session began with a 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer. Rama told me I was going to do some running mixed with weights for the first half of the session. The circuit went like this:

  • Treadmill – alternating 30 seconds of walking/running (at an incline of 3.0) for 3 minutes
  • Squats holding a 3-kg weight in one hand extended over my head x 10-12 on each side
  • Jumping from side to side with my feet together x 20
  • Dead lift combined with an upright row and calf raises using a 10-lb weight x 10-12 on each side

I did that circuit three times. Funnily enough, the running was the easiest part. In the first set Rama varied the running speed from 7.5 to 9 km/h. By the third set, Rama had me running at 9, 9.5 and 10 km/h. Yes, just for 30 seconds at a time, but it didn’t seem impossible if I had to go on for longer. A few months ago I’d have laughed (and then cried) if he’d told me to run for 30 seconds.

After that circuit was done, I did three sets of tricep extensions and two sets of abs exercises. And then there were stairs to end the session. Rama sent me down in the lift and I climbed up to the sixth floor – twice. The first time wasn’t so bad – before my holiday I would pause at the fourth floor to catch my breath, but this time I made it to the fifth floor before pausing (briefly). The second time I climbed up I had to stop at the third floor for a bit longer – I just couldn’t breathe. But I made it to the top. So that was 12 floors – imagine having to do 40 more?? Oh God, what had I done??

I had my usual yoga class on Monday – we tried a couple of harder asanas (which I failed at spectacularly), but at least it was something new.

On Tuesday I went back to the gym for a walk/run on the treadmill. I did 3k in 25:13.

I was out on Tuesday night and just before 11pm I realised I hadn’t heard from Rama about our session the following morning. I texted him hoping he wouldn’t suggest before 10am as I knew I’d be out late that night. ‘How’s 10.30?’ he asked. ‘Perfect,’ I replied. ‘I’m trying to figure out how late I can stay out tonight.’ ‘Let’s make it 10.45 then,’ he replied. Even better!

I can’t say whether the extra 15 minutes made any difference in the morning – I was still tired and a little hungover. And it was one of the toughest sessions I’ve had. After my warm-up on the cross-trainer, I started on the following circuit:

  • Squats holding a 3-kg weight in one hand extended over my head x 10-12 on each side
  • Hopping from side to side x 8 on each foot
  • Lunges with weights x 10 on each side
  • Alternating jumping lunges x 20

I did that circuit three times with a rest between each set.

The next circuit consisted of:

  • Treadmill – alternating 30 seconds of walking/running (at an incline of 3.0) for 3 minutes
  • Upright row with a 10-lb weight x 5 on each side
  • Lateral raises with 3-kg weights x 10
  • Push-ups with 3-kg weights x 10

Again, I had a rest between the three sets.

The third circuit consisted of:

  • Dead lift combined with an upright row and calf raises using a 10-lb weight x 5 on each side
  • Overhead press with 3-lb weights x 20, alternating sides
  • Squat jumps x 10
  • Burpees x 10

The third circuit finished me off – I was hoping I’d only have to do two sets of it as we were running out of time, but we went on a bit longer until it was done. I don’t know how I managed to get through it. And I was drenched in sweat by the end of it.

I was aching on Thursday but went back to the gym. I did 3k on the treadmill in 24:59 (running and walking) and then did some lower body work.

I took Friday off but went to the gym on Saturday determined to beat Thursday’s time. I didn’t. I did 3k in 25:17 – it was disappointing. Perhaps I need to build up my stamina before improving my speed?

Low point of the week? I’ve put on weight.

High point of the week? Someone I’d just met telling me I looked like a ‘skinny 27-year-old’ at wine club on Thursday (and this was before they’d served the wine – and it was a woman). I’m far from skinny but it was nice to hear!

Weight loss? I’ve put on 1 kg – very annoying.

Beauty_beast

Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (23-29 September)

Aries

Cups_6

6 of Cups – experiencing good will – doing a good turn for another, receiving a gift, feeling blessed; enjoying innocence – being acquitted, having a clear conscience, feeling simple contentment; focusing on childhood – feeling carefree, being taken care of, indulging in play

Taurus

Pentacles_8

8 of Pentacles – showing diligence – making an effort, plugging away, producing steady results; increasing knowledge – taking a course, researching, increasing expertise; paying attention to detail – being painstaking, checking and re-checking, noticing the fine points

Gemini

Swords_7

7 of Swords – running away – shirking responsibility, sneaking off, leaving; being a lone wolf – wanting independence, staying aloof, preferring solitude; choosing hidden dishonour – covering your tracks, lying or stealing, avoiding a shameful secret

Cancer

19_sun

The Sun – becoming enlightened – finding the sense behind the chaos, getting to the heart of the matter; experiencing greatness – being singled out for notice, becoming the centre of attention; feeling vitality – experiencing joy, feeling invigorated; having assurance – knowing you can succeed, trusting your abilities

Leo

Cups_4

4 of Cups – being self-absorbed – concentrating on your own feelings, seeing only your point of view, ignoring gifts and blessings; feeling apathetic – losing interest, finding life stale and flat, lacking motivation; going within – meditating, dreaming, withdrawing from involvement

Virgo

Cups_9

9 of Cups – having your wish fulfilled – obtaining your goal, having your dream come true; feeling satisfied – feeling pleased as punch, indulging in a little smugness; enjoying sensual pleasure – relaxing, making love, appreciating the arts

Libra

4_emperor

The Emperor – fathering – protecting and defending, bringing security and comfort; emphasising structure – creating order out of chaos, being organised; exercising authority – taking a leadership role, representing the establishment; regulating – establishing law and order, setting standards of behaviour

Scorpio

3_the_empress

The Empress – mothering – giving birth, nourishing life, expressing tenderness; welcoming abundance – luxuriating in plenty, having more than enough, feeling rich; experiencing the senses – giving and receiving pleasure, focusing on the body, doing physical activity; responding to Nature – embracing the natural, feeling connected to the Earth, going outdoors

Sagittarius

1_the_magician

The Magician – taking action – doing what needs to be done, producing magical results; acting consciously – acknowledging your motivations, examining the known situation; concentrating – feeling centred, being totally committed; experiencing power – having vitality, feeling vigorous, being creative

Capricorn

Swords_king

King of Swords – being intellectual – ably carrying out research, using thought creatively; being analytical – applying reason and logic, understanding a problem quickly; being articulate – being a lucid writer and speaker, being a stimulating conversationalist; being just – being impartial and objective, being concerned with truth and fairness; being ethical – encouraging high standards, living by your highest principles

Aquarius

Wands_knight

Knight of Wands – finding a balance between being charming/superficial – being physically attractive/focusing on style and appearance; being self-confident/cocky – totally lacking self-doubt/overestimating abilities; being daring/foolhardy – risking anything without fear/being reckless and rash; being adventurous/restless – loving travel and new experiences/never being content to sit still; being passionate/hot-tempered – taking a vocal stand/acting without thinking

Pisces

Cups_5

5 of Cups – suffering a loss – letting go of a hope, being defeated, saying goodbye; feeling bereft – breaking up a relationship, longing to be reunited, feeling sorrow; feeling regret – being disappointed by events, wanting to turn back the clock, believing you made the wrong choice, wishing for what might have been

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Dubai: Week 29

After a tough session with Rama on Sunday morning, my parents and I went out for lunch. We went to a place called Gypsy Chinese at the Dhow Palace Hotel in Bur Dubai. Dad had been to another restaurant in the hotel the day before and wanted to try this Bombay Chinese place.

It’s a small restaurant, and there was only one other table occupied that afternoon. We looked through the menu and I started ordering – soup, spring rolls and dynamite chicken for starters. And then I started ordering the main course. ‘Could we have the sizzling lamb in black bean sauce?’ I began. ‘And some crispy noodles…’ The Indian waiter interrupted and asked what we were going to eat the lamb with? Well, rice obviously, I thought to myself. ‘Why don’t you try the other lamb?’ Because I want the one I’ve bloody ordered. He was starting to irritate me. We eventually ordered the lamb he suggested and rice. We had wanted noodles but decided to see if we were still hungry after the lamb (we weren’t – and even if we were I’m not sure we’d have been allowed to order anything!). The food was good but I don’t think I’d go back in a rush.

After lunch we wandered around Burjuman for a while and had a coffee at Gloria Jean’s. We decided we’d go to a movie that evening and settled on ‘The Bourne Legacy’ at Mercato. I had no idea what was going on in the first 20 minutes but it eventually all came together. I actually only went for the popcorn, and although my mum and I both ordered the small size, mine was much smaller than hers!

I had yoga on Monday morning and then went to Dreamworks Spa for a massage. I’d bought a voucher before my holiday and it was expiring soon. I worked for the rest of the afternoon and evening – I still had a lot to catch up on from the last couple of weeks in Bali, but I was getting there slowly. On Tuesday I went to the gym and worked all day.

On Wednesday I had another session with Rama and then went to Baker & Spice at Souk Al Bahar with some friends. I hadn’t been there yet – and was pleasantly surprised. We shared some salads to start with, and then shared some roast chicken, red snapper, gnocchi and pasta with prawns (which I didn’t have). For dessert we had the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. It was out of this world.

I worked all afternoon – my parents went out to a movie – and then I joined them for dinner at PF Chang at the Dubai Mall. All I wanted was soup and the steamed salmon, but as usual ended up over-eating.

I ended up staying home all of Thursday too (apart from the gym). I’d been in work mode most of the week and just wanted to get things done.

On Friday I went to a friend’s birthday brunch at the Grand Grill at the Habtoor Grand. It was a fun afternoon – the food was good and the booze was flowing. That night I met up with a friend at Vintage in Wafi – they still had their two-for-one offer on bottles of wine and we were there for quite a while.

I felt awful on Saturday. I hadn’t slept well the night before and had a headache. I lazed around at home for most of the day and in the evening went to the mall with my parents. My phone needed sorting out at Du, we went for coffee, and then had dinner at Lafayette Gourmet. We like going there because it means we don’t have to agree on what cuisine we want – Dad had  Thai curry, Mum had a Caesar’s salad, and I had hot and sour soup and sushi. Perfect. On our way out we noticed there was a new churros place that had opened.

2012

Oh good. Just what the mall needs… more deep-fried crap. Of course we bought some. We were home by 10pm and I finished watching Season 5 of ‘Mad Men’.

I love my life.

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The final few

I’m back into my routine this week – which is great!

I had a tough session with Rama on Sunday. He told me it would be ‘challenging’. After a 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer, he told me he wanted to check my fitness levels by doing the 1-minute tests. Crap. He checked his notes from July to see what my results were and we got started.

  • Push-ups – 36 (40 last time)
  • Squats – 28 (same as last time)
  • Sit-ups – 21 (22.5 last time)

We didn’t do burpees or shuttle runs – he said we could do those next week (dammit!).

Instead we did the HIIT exercises – 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. The first exercise was burpees. Five rounds of 20 seconds of burpees followed by 10 seconds of rest. It was horrible.

After that I did the push-up/squat jump combination I’ve done before – 10 push-ups, 10 squat jumps, 10 seconds rest; 9 push-ups, 9 squat jumps, 10 seconds rest… until you get to 5, and you do 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 without any rest in between.

After another rest, I did two sets of the stair-climber/burpee/squat jump combination:

  • Stair-climbers x 30 seconds
  • Burpees x 30 seconds
  • Rest x 30 seconds
  • Stair-climbers x 30 seconds
  • Squat jumps x 30 seconds
  • Rest

And it wasn’t over yet. There were still bicep/tricep exercises to do with the weighted bar and abs exercises, including the plank and side planks. I was done and I was going to be in pain the next day.

I woke up on Monday with sore arms, abs, thighs, hamstrings (but my legs didn’t hurt anywhere near as much as they did after the Komodo trek). I had yoga that morning – also after a 2-month break. ‘You look like you’ve lost weight,’ said my yoga teacher. I decided to just accept the compliment! The class wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but my hips and back are much stiffer than they were before. I suppose it didn’t help that while I was in Bali I would work stretched out on my bed rather than at a desk. I thought a massage on Monday afternoon might help with my sore muscles (not really).

I woke up late on Tuesday and contemplated skipping the gym. I eventually made it there (but not until 1pm) as I knew it would help with the muscle soreness. I did 3k on the treadmill (walking) and went back home.

I had my second session of the week with Rama on Wednesday. He asked how my body felt after Sunday’s work-out? I told him I was sore all over. He said that was to be expected as it was a tough session. After my 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer I did some stretches and we got started.

I did 500m on the treadmill, alternating walking and running every 30 seconds. I then did two sets of bench presses followed by three sets of squats with a body bar on my shoulders. Then there were two sets of squat rows and dead lifts with the body bar. Two sets of seated rows followed, and two sets of military presses followed that. There were also two sets of tricep extensions. It was all about the upper body today (mostly). I then did two sets of calf raises off the stationary treadmill. I could feel the burn all the way up my legs and knew I’d be in trouble the next day.

I did another 500m on the treadmill, again alternating walking and running every 30 seconds, and then collapsed on my mat for some abs exercises and stretches. It was painful.

Surprisingly, I felt fine the next day. I wasn’t in any pain at all! I decided to go to the gym and ended up doing 3k on the treadmill. I started off alternating between walking and running every 30 seconds but then decided to run for 100m and walk for 100m. It wasn’t too bad. After that I did three sets of tricep extensions and I was done.

I didn’t work out on Friday or Saturday – I was out for brunch on Friday and didn’t wake up in time to go to the gym beforehand and I was too hungover on Saturday!

High points of the week? Being back in a routine and back to not eating bread. I also have a new goal – a friend (let’s call him TM – short for Trouble Maker) has challenged me to do the Dubai Vertical Marathon with him in April. Clearly I’m a bit crazy because I accepted the challenge and am now wondering how on earth I’m going to do it!

Low point of the week? Drinking far too much wine on Friday – day and night. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Weight loss? I’m actually a little bit lighter than my pre-holiday weight, making my total weight loss 17.9 kg (39.38 lbs). Let’s hope this continues!

2012

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