Just One.

Moderation is, and always has been, one of the hardest things for me. I have trouble just getting my head around it, much less putting it into practice. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I am very much an all or nothing kind of person in many areas of my life. I’ve read several stories about other people’s journeys where they say they learned to listen to their bodies, stop when they are full, and enjoy treats in moderation.

That is just not me and to be honest, I’m getting to the point where I think it may never be me.

I struggle with having just one of anything.

Just one piece of chocolate.

Just one french fry.

Just one piece of pizza.

Just one drink.

If I have just one piece of candy from the jar at the front of the office, I find myself compulsively back at the candy jar, making unnecessary trips to walk by it until the candy is all gone. It’s easier for me to just say “No candy today,” rather than torturing myself by allowing “just one” and then having to spend the remainder of the day anxiously (and usually unsuccessfully) keeping myself away from the jar. I can’t just have a few until I feel satisfied because the problem is, I’m never satisfied until it’s gone.

no candy

Another example – if I’m out to dinner with someone and they leave just two or three fries, it actually makes me feel antsy seeing those few fries on the plate. How could they leave those there? There’s just three left! Just eat them. They become the focal part of my thoughts until the fries are consumed or the waitress has come to remove the plate.

Back at the beginning of my journey to get healthy, I kept thinking that I would get to a point where everything would just “click” and I wouldn’t have to try so hard. And here I am today, almost two years later, 80 pounds lighter, and while I can say that it’s a bit easier now than it was, it’s still definitely not easy.


A lot of people tell me that I don’t have to lose anymore weight by looking at me, but as anyone who has ever struggled with their weight knows, weight is a very personal thing. I know that I eat relatively well and live an active lifestyle, working out anywhere from 3 – 6 times a week quite consistently. That said, I am still technically overweight, and while I feel strong and athletic, I’d also still like to lose a few pounds to get to a healthy weight range. And trust me, I still have more weight to lose, even if I hide it well. The number of the scale is certainly not the most important thing, but it IS important to me to be at a healthy weight for my own well being after being on this journey to a healthier me for over two years.

I think its hard sometimes when you blog to show all sides of your life. Beth’s Journey is an edited version of me because I choose what to post on here. Don’t get me wrong – I try to be as honest as possible, show you both the highs and the lows, but at the same time I don’t take my camera out to videotape myself by the candy jar at the front of the office (luckily for both of us).

The point of this post is to say that making permanent changes is never easy, no matter how much weight you’ve lost or how many good habits you’ve established over the years. You have to keep making healthy decisions each and every day, and there will be days where it is a lot harder than others, no matter how far you’ve come.

What is your biggest struggle in your healthiness journey, no matter where you are on it?

48 Comments on Just One.

  1. Stacy @ Every Little Thing
    February 25, 2011 at 8:41 am (10 years ago)

    This is a really good post 🙂 I think a lot of people struggle with moderation. I think weight is much more mental for women than it is for (most, not all) men and that is a huge part of our journey. I honestly don’t think it will ever be easy, at least not for me. Unfortunately, it’s just a part of life for me, the constant struggle between what I should be eating and what I want to be eating. I would say, it does get easIER, but you’re right, it’s never easy!

  2. Heather
    February 25, 2011 at 8:41 am (10 years ago)

    Wow…this is me exactly!! Except I haven’t lost alot of weight yet 🙂 I did WW in 2007 and lost 50 lbs, but have gained it all back becasue of what you’re describing. There is no way I could have one bite of cake or just one little mini candy bar and stop. (Most of the time anyway). That’s the reason I was able to lose so much last time I was on WW, I never had those things. I think I had one fun size Snickers in 5 months!

    I wish I could change this about myself but, maybe in time 🙂

    Love your blog!!!

  3. Katie Photiadis
    February 25, 2011 at 8:56 am (10 years ago)

    Beth, this is a fantastic post! I can really relate to what you’re saying. It’s often just easier for me to completely refuse the food (whether it’s candy or pizza) because if I have one piece/ slice, I illogically feel that I’ve ruined my day and want to keep eating.

    Thank you for writing this post! I think it’s great to know that even though you’ve accomplished so much, you aren’t perfect and still work on these things!

  4. Amy
    February 25, 2011 at 8:58 am (10 years ago)

    WOW- you have completely, spot- on, described my relationship with the office candy bowl. It is far easier for me to keep my hands out.

  5. Amanda
    February 25, 2011 at 9:08 am (10 years ago)

    I can also relate to this post. It is hard to have just one of anything. Fries and pizza are just easier to stay away from then to try to have one and walk away.
    Portion control is also a big problem of mine. Losing weight is not easy and I know it’ll be something I struggle with daily for the rest of my life.

  6. Liz
    February 25, 2011 at 9:14 am (10 years ago)

    My biggest struggle is also portion control. Especially with snacks in the house when I’m bored. If I start eating some pretzels, I end up overeating.
    Its funny because when I’ve seen you I never thought you needed to lose more weight – I would have never in a million years guessed you were not in a healthy weight range because you look amazing. I remember back in Chicago when you told me that you still needed to lose weight to make lifetime at WW, I thought they needed to update their numbers or something!

  7. Lori (Finding Radiance)
    February 25, 2011 at 9:17 am (10 years ago)

    There are things that I realized that I just can’t moderate. I am okay with pizza or other things, but homemade cookies, reeses PB cups, pralines, chicken wings. Those things I just accept that I will have a lot of and not beat myself up.

  8. Nina
    February 25, 2011 at 9:22 am (10 years ago)

    Chips Ahoy………….If there in my house, I can’t stop the temptation. I will eat six or seven and not just one or two.

  9. Carolyn @ Lovin' Losing
    February 25, 2011 at 9:30 am (10 years ago)

    I’m pretty much with you on everything you said. I have to learn my trigger foods and keep them out of the house. Regular chips, soda, pre-popped popcorn, baked goods, fancy bread…

    I have 12 pounds to lose to get back to lifetime and people think I’m crazy. But, I know where I am comfortable and where I feel healthy.

  10. Monica
    February 25, 2011 at 9:33 am (10 years ago)

    Such an incredible post! This is a topic I was talking about with some other bloggers recently and I think the area of ‘what to blog’ and ‘what not to blog’ is so interesting. Especially since some view blogs as guiding points for how they should handle their journey. I think blogs are a great source of inspiration and motivation, but weight-loss, health journeys, best number to see on the scale – those are all personal, internal decisions that requires a path of personal discovery.

    Moderation on EVERYTHING is my biggest challenge. I think that is why I love WW so much, it requires me to think about portion sizes.

  11. DefineDiana
    February 25, 2011 at 9:37 am (10 years ago)

    Thanks for this post Beth. It really helps me to put things into perspective when others who are further along in this journey stuggle too. My hardest thing to deal with is when I am tired. That is when I make the biggest mistakes.

    Also, if you put a camera beside the candy jar. I think you would be less shocked on how much you ate out of there, and how shocked it is to see how many others probably visit it, with out even thinking, multiple times a day. (this observation comes purely on how I observe how others eat in my office).

  12. Caroline
    February 25, 2011 at 9:39 am (10 years ago)

    I so relate to this! I have the working out down…I workout 5-6 days a week but I eat way too much! I have no portion control. It is hard for me to just eat a little of something….I want it all! I actually eat decent food just way too much of it. I so wish I was one of those people who only ate when hungry but I am a stress eater too. I guess we are always a work in progress. But with the alcohol…I used to be if I had one glass of wine…might as well have 4! I have learned that I do not have much control of the wine…so I have been drinking a Blue Moon beer instead…I can just have one beer and that is it…so it has been helping. I really hope one day to get a handle on the food part of my life. It is so hard!

  13. mindy
    February 25, 2011 at 9:42 am (10 years ago)

    Awesome post. Love it.

    I can really relate to what you said about people saying I don’t need to lose more weight – usually I smile and say thank you. But, we’re in the same boat – I’m also still considered overweight but hide it well.

    It’s a hard journey, but you’re doing so great!! Keep up the good work, friend.

  14. Emily
    February 25, 2011 at 9:47 am (10 years ago)

    This is a GREAT post, Beth. Love it.

    I totally agree that your weight is a very personal issue and while people may not think that you need to lose more, they aren’t in your body! You know how you feel and what you need to do, and you’re the only one who can know that.

    You’re beautiful inside and out… as always, best of luck to you in your struggles! 🙂

  15. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    February 25, 2011 at 9:49 am (10 years ago)

    I can totally relate to the candy dish thing…I’m the same way…sweets are my weakness and I can never seem to get enough of them :/

    By far my biggest struggle with my weight has been because I can’t just stop at one of anything.

    Reading your blog is definitely a source of inspiration to me by the way, keep writing!

  16. Jennifer
    February 25, 2011 at 9:53 am (10 years ago)

    I am exactly the same way. For me, I can’t quite pinpoint when it happened though. For most of my life, I was very thin, with little to no effort to be that way. And what I mean by effort is that I just didn’t think about it. I ate when I was hungry and enough that I was satisfied.

    I think it was actually when I first tried a “diet” because I wanted to lose like 5 lbs. that things got worse for me. Because ever since I tried that diet, I’ve been on a roller coaster. Lose weight, gain even more back. Lose some weight, gain even more back again. To where it’s gotten completely out of control. How did I lose my old self?

    Back to the original point, I’m way better off just telling myself “no” to a food item, rather than say “oh just have a few” because I won’t do it. And that makes me sad. How do I fix that? How do I go back to how I was up until about 5 years ago when I started this roller coaster?

    Thanks for sharing your story (and the other commenters). It helps hearing that I’m not alone.

  17. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
    February 25, 2011 at 9:53 am (10 years ago)

    I couldn’t agree more with the above commenters – this is a fantastic post.

    As someone who is still in the losing-weight portion of her healthy journey, I struggle with these same things every day. I like to think that since I’ve already come so far (45 pounds far, to be precise) that I’ve already ingrained good habits and eliminated my old inclinations, but unfortunately I’ve learned that it doesn’t work like that. Eating unhealthily and eating too much will always be a struggle for me, and I’m learning that now too. I think that in this instance, though, learning really is half the battle and it helps arm you against making bad decisions in the future. If you know you can’t “just have one” then you try all the harder not to have any. I’m trying to start living this way myself, and weird though it sounds to say, I’m glad that despite having reached such an impressive weight loss already, you still struggle with these things. Because you may slip, goodness knows I do, but you keep at it. You don’t quit, you keep going, and that is so, so inspiring for me.

    You’re awesome, Beth! And as evidenced here, you are SO not alone. 🙂

  18. Holly
    February 25, 2011 at 9:56 am (10 years ago)

    Beth I’m the same way — I keep waiting for things to just “click” but they haven’t. I have to be careful with the “treats” I have at home and the M&M bowl at work is never safe from me! I do think that with time it has gotten easier, and I only hope that it continues to get easier.

    Some people have those feelings naturally and some of us have to work on them. Good to know I’m not alone!

  19. Amanda
    February 25, 2011 at 9:57 am (10 years ago)

    Hi Beth,

    I don’t comment very often. I’m a silent reader:) But I can relate to this post so well. It is a struggle everyday. I wish one day I would wake up not planning my whole day out of what I get to eat next.

    I have the most trouble on the weekends. That is when “moderation” goes out the window. I tell myself that I will stay just eat well today and not count points. It turns in to a free for all and by the end of the weekend I feel like a slob!

    Hope some day it will click, but honestly I think I”m just one of those people who will have to decide each and every day how I’m going to eat:(

  20. Theresa @ActiveEggplant
    February 25, 2011 at 10:15 am (10 years ago)

    Great post Beth! I struggle with “moderation” all the time. I will 100% admit that portion control is my biggest problem. I eat well, but I eat A LOT. I don’t know what a normal portion size is (well, I “know” what it is but I don’t have the ability to serve myself one.)

    I rarely, if ever, talk about food on my blog – but it’s the driving factor behind my fitness routine. It’s taken me over a year to lose 25lbs and I sadly know that I would have an easier time getting to my goal weight if I had better control over my food intake. Yes, I’m doing much much better than I was a year ago. But I’ve still got work to do.

    I’ve given my husband the “go ahead” to watch my portions – he plates up our food and will question me if I’m going back for more. He gently reminds me why I’m living my life the way I am now & asks if eating more chips or having ice cream or having 2nds of dinner is what I “need” or what I “want”. It’s been a blessing to have him help me like that & I’m slowly learning how to control things. I learn more about myself every day & even though I am doing better, I think I’ll be someone that struggles with this for the rest of my life. It’ll be a set of decisions I need to make every day, rather than being second nature.

  21. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    February 25, 2011 at 10:28 am (10 years ago)

    I heart you! This is a great post, Beth.

    My biggest struggle is emotional eating. But through years of mindlessly doing it, I’ve been able to at least pinpoint triggers- which has helped immensely…

  22. Ashleigh
    February 25, 2011 at 10:44 am (10 years ago)

    Just like everyone else… I LOVE THIS POST. I actually even read it twice. I read a ton of blogs that talk about moderation (need to clean out my reader) and make it sound so EASY, but it’s not to everyone… A lot of times I feel like why on earth can’t I practice moderation when everyone else can, but then I read something like this and don’t feel alone anymore 🙂

    Right now my biggest struggle is self sabatoging myself. I am so close to my weight goal, I eat so healthy, I workout 5 days a week and I strength train, I am doing EVERYTHING right except every week I self sabatoge myself into thinking it’s ok to eat crappy food that I don’t enjoy. I need to stop. Oh, and I need to be more honest. I track WW pts too and a lot of time whole bags of popchips will go untracked and then I wonder why I didn’t lose any weight that week… Thanks again for this post!

  23. kerilyn
    February 25, 2011 at 10:51 am (10 years ago)

    Great post… you are not alone. I am the same way. It’s good that you know that about yourself and are PROACTIVE in your decisions when you know temptation is nearby. How does that feel to know that about yourself? How can you take that knowing a step further? (just wondering…)

  24. amanda june
    February 25, 2011 at 10:56 am (10 years ago)

    Thanks a lot for posting this, Beth. I would honestly not have thought from reading your blog that this was a struggle for you, but I am the exact same way.

    “I’ve read several stories about other people’s journeys where they say they learned to listen to their bodies, stop when they are full, and enjoy treats in moderation.

    That is just not me and to be honest, I’m getting to the point where I think it may never be me.”

    Amen! And yet — how awesome that we are still getting healthy and finding ways to make this a sustainable lifestyle…even when the magical hunger-signal-reading-and-obeying, one-brownie skills aren’t coming.

    Thanks for being real.

  25. Gwen
    February 25, 2011 at 11:01 am (10 years ago)

    I agree with this all. I know I will have to track and moderate for the rest of my life. I can’t do just one of anything. I know I have more work to do on this area though. At first I just cut things out completely. After losing 135 pounds on WW, when I started to add things back in, without much moderation, I’ve gained 70 pounds back. NO BUENO! Working on that balance to get back to my happy place!

  26. Katy
    February 25, 2011 at 11:17 am (10 years ago)

    Your posts hit home quite often, but this one hit the bullseye!!!!!!!!! I feel the exact same way and am glad to know I’m not the only one sitting across from a plate of 2-3 fries thinking the EXACT same thing you do. It’s crazy to think that something so meaningless, like a couple fries/piece of candy/bag of chips/etc, can have SO much control over you. I lost 65 lbs with WW 7 yrs ago, and though I’ve only put back on 10 lbs, I’ve struggled daily to maintain this weight. No matter what amount of effort I put in with my workouts & eating healthy, my mind finds some way to self sabatoge my lifestyle change to loose the 10 lbs and an extra 20. Wish there was some magic potion for all of us to not think/feel this way!

  27. lucky girl
    February 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm (10 years ago)

    My biggest struggle is getting the exercise I need. I just started my journey on Feb 1st and I just can’t seem to find the motivation to exercise. I want to lose weight and be healthy but i always find excuses not to exercise.

  28. Amanda @ A Little Less Lazy
    February 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm (10 years ago)

    I definitely think that there’s nothing wrong with accepting that you may not ever “get” moderation or intuitive eating or whatever it is. I know I won’t. Every once in awhile, I’ll eat whatever I think is reasonable for a day, and it’s almost always about 3 times more than I would eat if I were keeping an eye on it. And I can’t eat that way without gaining weight! (Empirical evidence agrees.) So what if some of us have to say “no candy today” or whatever. Better to know one’s limitations and work within them…

  29. Jamie
    February 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm (10 years ago)

    I feel the same way about my weight. I am pretty active and eat mostly healthy food. Technically, I am within the healthy weight range (only 3 lbs under the highest weight according to WW though). People often tell me that I don’t need to be any thinner, but ultimately it is a personal decision and it is more important to be comfortable with yourself. I think that being in the middle of my healthy weight range is both acheivable and a place that I will feel better.

  30. Lisa
    February 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm (10 years ago)

    I can totally relate to this. I feel the same way and it drives me nuts when Michael leaves food…like at least take it home in a doggy bag (or let me eat it). Don’t waste it! I hate that that bothers me so much and that I end up eating more than I should as a result. 🙁

  31. Heidi
    February 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm (10 years ago)

    i have a massive problem with consistency and moderation. Consistency with which i work out – i so often fall into a slump, or give excuses as to why i don’t feel like working out.

    As far as moderation? I like food. I like good food. I’ve gotten better at stopping myself when i’m satisfied but otherwise i’ll just keep eating. :/ Also when the option between something good or something good for me? I’m trying to lean towards the option that’s good for me 🙂

  32. One Is The Magic Number
    February 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm (10 years ago)

    I honestly can’t tell you how relevant this is to my own personal struggles. JUST YESTERDAY I was talking to a friend about how portion control is my personal demon. Honestly, it’s good to know what to expect when I get further down the line- I know it won’t all of a sudden become easier, but it’s nice to hear about how someone who has won the “battle” is still fighting to win the “war”.

  33. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    February 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm (10 years ago)

    I have been the same way in the past, but I seem to do better now. Not perfect, but better. I’m not really sure why. In a lot of ways, I still take your approach, by having very little junk in the house. No candy (expensive dark chocolate isn’t candy. fact), no chips, etc. And when ordering at a restaurant, I don’t get the fries, etc. I only order something if I actually could eat everything on the plate, and I’m not shy about asking for substitutions.

    I tip well. I promise.

    I think you may get to a point where it is easier for you, but not easy, if that makes sense. The way our society is structured these days, I think it’s not truly easy for anybody to stay healthy.

  34. Ang
    February 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm (10 years ago)

    I don’t really have a problem with wanting to eat more than one of something like candy or chips, I just take one or two and I’m fine. I do have issues with wanting to finish my whole plate in restaurants even if there is enough for two meals. I just can’t stand to see food sitting uneaten. Also at home I have to have seconds or I feel I didn’t eat enough. So I just give myself two half portions. Silly because I know they are half portions but I’ve got to do it.

    February 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm (10 years ago)

    I am the SAME way as you. I’ve always been a fast eater and I have no control around certain foods, “Hello Oreo’s!”. In cases where I KNOW I won’t be able to have just one serving, I just don’t go there. I also ask myself this question before diving in (for ex: a co-worker brings in store bought chocolate cookies), ” is this the ONLY time I can have these cookies? can I get them anywhere?” Usually when I think about it, I don’t even care to have them anymore because I *know* I could have them tomorrow if I wanted to. But let’s say I’m visiting my family and my mom makes my favorite holiday dessert that I only have 1X per year, then I totally think it’s worth it.

    Hope that helps a bit 🙂

    Oh, and SO PUMPED you’re also doing the MCM! What a great first marathon to run!!!

  36. Groff's Girl
    February 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm (10 years ago)

    I also have always struggled with the “just one” mentality. I obsess over the things in front of me. I have gotten better (I have a container of kisses in my desk as treats for my students and I rarely take any-these are my favorite). I don’t know if I do it to test myself OR to prove that I can use will power. I struggle with the “food guilt” if I eat anything I feel is naughty, that will always be my vice- learning to enjoy and not stress over occasional indulgences! What is always more important is how you feel and how you get to your confident place 🙂

  37. healthyteacher
    February 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm (10 years ago)

    I have trouble starting at one…and I really struggle with beating myself up and almost getting panicked when I “mess up.”

  38. Kathi
    February 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm (10 years ago)

    Hi Beth;
    I completely get the “all or none” personality type and have always had this challenge myself. I also understand the psychology of weight loss (losing just five more pounds).
    I just wanted to note that although you mention you want to lose it for your health, there is more research to show that if you are eating well and exercising (as you are) you can be healthy at any weight. Unfortunately, this research has yet to be noted by the media so we continue to strive to lose 10 more pounds in the name of health.
    I am not discounting your need or desire to continue your weight loss, but the motivator may not be to obtain health as much as it is to look fabulous in skinny jeans (and there aint nothin’ wrong with that).
    All the best,

  39. healthyteacher
    February 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm (10 years ago)

    By starting at one, I obviously mean keeping it at one. It’s awesome not being able to type.

  40. nicole
    February 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm (10 years ago)

    OMG You’re my long-lost twin!! Seriously though, AWESOME post. I have have the exact same struggles. I loved the part about the french fries and not being able to focus on anything else, because I do that too!!

  41. Erica
    February 25, 2011 at 8:51 pm (10 years ago)

    Every ounce of this post radiates so many emotions….but most of all it resonates truth in me. When I read your words I thought to myself “oh my god, I feel exactly the same way” . I wish I could say that making healthy fitness decisions, choosing carrots over cookies and daily finding balance beween what I want and what im learning to feel good about in termed of food is super easy…but its not. Even though some days are easier than others and im learning how to get healthy for life and learning to embrace it….it is still a constant decision making process. I understand everything your saying and just want u to know…others can relate!

  42. Stacy
    February 25, 2011 at 10:43 pm (10 years ago)

    I can so relate to this post. I too was hoping that my body would just “get it” with all this hard training I do but it never gets easier. It’ll always be a struggle for the rest of my life and I have finally come to terms with it or so I think. It only took me 36 years. 🙂

  43. Jackie SMaSH
    February 26, 2011 at 12:15 am (10 years ago)

    I am pretty sure you are a mind reader! I was spending some time today thinking about my biggest struggles and why they are so difficult for me. Recently, I realized that I panic when I don’t know what I am going to eat. This mostly happens when I am out or traveling (I travel frequently for work). If I am not sure what or where I will eat I will settle for whatever is immediately available and usually that is not a healthy choice and I end up eating when I’m not even hungry. Then it’s a snowball effect of unhealthy out of controlness!

  44. Mary (A Merry Life)
    February 26, 2011 at 12:29 am (10 years ago)

    Oh Beth. This is a great post and I totally relate. Having just one of something is such a struggle. It’s usually easier for me to just skip it all together. Otherwise the struggle is worse.

  45. snackgirlgoeshealthy
    February 26, 2011 at 2:14 am (10 years ago)

    This is such a great post. Honestly, do what you feel is best for your body but know that one piece of chocolate may not be realistic and we only live once! I think you know that! Cheers to a healthy you and a healthier one yet to come! 🙂

  46. Caitlin
    February 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm (10 years ago)

    As I’m writing this I just ate one too many pieces of candy at work! I love this post. Sugar and candy are addictive! For me too it seems like if I’ve eaten sugar in the past few days, I tend to keep eating it or it’s harder to say no even if I wake up saying “I will not eat sugar today!” so I’m really going to try to start limiting my sugar intake this week.

  47. Stef
    February 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm (10 years ago)

    I have that candy jar problem too. i usually solve it with denying (how do you spell that?) myself until right before I leave and then I take one and leave work. That way I cannot go back all the time. Because how weird would it look to go back to work for a piece of candy 😉

  48. Jennifer
    March 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks for writing this post because I feel the same way you do! This sentence totally stuck out to me: “They become the focal part of my thoughts until the fries are consumed or the waitress has come to remove the plate.” The reason is: I do that too! Food is something I think about all day and I’m ashamed to admit that. I think about what I’ll have at the next meal, if I have the right ingredients to cook dinner, what will be my “treat” for the next weekend. I think about food constantly! I’m not sure I’ll ever kick that and just go through my days eating and not calculating calories or fretting over something I ate that I should’ve have. I guess this really is a “Journey” as your blog title states. It’s something we each strive for: a healthy relationship with food and our bodies.


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