Confessions: My Path to a Healthy Weight and Lifestyle

After I wrote my post about My Unhealthy Relationship With Healthy Living, quite a few people reached out with questions about my current workout routine, my macros, and the body composition test I had done.  I figured a follow-up post was in order, although I hesitated a bit because reading other people’s blogs about what they did to get to their “happy weight” is part of what led to some of my unhealthy habits to begin with.

So, let me stop right here and say that I am not a certified health coach, personal trainer or nutritionist. What follows in this post is MY personal regimen. MY macros are not YOUR macros. MY workout schedule is not YOUR workout schedule.  What works for ME might not work for YOU. We’re all so different so it’s really important that you consult with a professional before making any drastic changes to your routine.

What I will tell you is that I’ve slowly lost around 20 pounds over the last six months. My starting weight was somewhere around 174 pounds, I’m currently 149 pounds, and my goal is to reach 140 pounds (although there is a lot that goes into this goal and I will explain more in the last section of this post).

My Path To A Healthy Weight and
At my second InBody scan appointment with Get 2 Know Your Body in September 2018

To achieve this weight loss, there were no fad diets or trendy exercise routines–just real, hard work. I had a lot of support from my wonderful coaches at Strength Ratio, particularly Becca Lee, who met with me on multiple occasions to help determine and adjust my macros.  Another tool that was extremely beneficial in helping me map out a healthy weight-loss plan was body composition testing and analysis with Reena of Get 2 Know Your Body (later in this post I’ll let you in on how to get $10 off your own body scan with Reena if you’re local).

I’m going to break this post up into three sections: my workout routine, my diet and a comparison of my body composition test results from May 2018 and September 2018. I hope this post is helpful to you and motivates you to seek professional assistance with your own path to a healthy weight and lifestyle.

My Workout Routine

It’s taken a few months but I finally have a workout routine that I’m completely happy with. One that doesn’t feel like I’m doing too much and that I actually enjoy. I think that’s the most important thing about finding a healthy, sustainable routine, you need to have fun. If you’re dreading every second of it, it’s not going to be sustainable on a long-term basis.

Here are the workouts I do in a typical week:


Classic Strength & Conditioning at Strength Ratio (4x/week)

I go to Strength Ratio for my main workouts and I’ve seen the biggest changes in my body as a result. Each session is a combination of strength-training and cardio. I’ve been a member for more than a year and the gradual increases I’ve seen in my strength and endurance are incredible.  Keep in mind that I had hip surgery in January 2015 and even still, working with the coaches at Strength Ratio has made it possible for me to back squat and deadlift close to my body weight with no pain.

A lot of people look at the pictures and videos I post on Instagram and Facebook and assume that I do CrossFit. While the workouts at Strength Ratio might seem similar to CrossFit in that they share some of the same basic movements, the philosophy between the two is much different. I always tell people that workouts I do at Strength Ratio are much less intense than a Crossfit workout.  As my coach Becca puts it, Strength Ratio focuses on providing a “sustainable model that people can follow on the long-term without feeling beat up or beat down.”

While CrossFit focuses on a constantly varied approach to exercise, Strength Ratio uses a progressive overload approach, meaning that we gradually build strength and technique performing the same movements over a several-week-long cycle instead of doing something different at every session like you would do at CrossFit.  To that end, the intensity of each workout at Strength Ratio differs depending on where we are in the programming cycle, whereas each and every CrossFit session might focus on multiple high-intensity movements that are done as quickly as possible. I think both workouts are great but for me personally with my varied history of physical injuries, I prefer the programming at Strength Ratio because they also specialize in helping people who have been injured in the past.

This is the most empowering workout I do and I recommend it to anyone. In fact, if you follow me on Instagram, look out for a giveaway in the coming weeks for up to four personal training sessions with my coach, Becca (no former strength-training experience necessary)!

Yoga is my therapy

Spin Class and Yoga (2-4x/week)

Because I love having variety in my workouts and truly enjoy spinning and yoga, I try to throw them in a few times a week in addition to my training at Strength Ratio. While spinning and yoga are definitely great physical workouts, I do them mostly for my mind. Spin class is a great way to release all of my pent-up anxiety and energy and yoga centers and grounds me, plus helps to stretch out my sore muscles! I try to take 1-2 classes of each a week. Sometimes this means doubling up on a Strength Ratio workout and a yoga class in one day, but I always listen to my body and scale back if it feels like too much.

Rest Days (1-2x/week)

I always, ALWAYS try to fit in 1 to 2 rest days. I generally take the weekends off but I listen to my body as much as possible and take them during the week when I feel like I need to. This is really important for me because, as I explain in the other blog post, I used to feel a sense of guilt when I took a day off from working out.

My Diet

When I first met with Becca back in March to discuss what to do about my diet, I was extremely reluctant to count calories. I really thought I had a good handle on what and how much I should be eating. This was the first time I’d ever consulted with a professional about my diet, however, and Becca made sure I did it the right way.

My Path To A Healthy Weight and
Becca Lee, my Strength Ratio coach, looking at the results of my InBody scan to determine if we need to adjust my macros

First, she used my weight and height to figure out my Basil Metabolic Rate: the number of calories needed to keep my body functioning at rest (i.e. sitting completely still, not even lifting a finger). From there, she took my physical activity level and determined how many calories my body would need to maintain my weight. We subtracted the recommended 500 calories from that and then the fun began: we figured out my Macros (Macronutrients)- the percentage of calories from Fat, Carbohydrates, and Protein I should aim to get on a daily basis. These percentages add up to my daily calorie allotment.

The idea of counting Macros seemed pretty confusing to me at first and it took a little while to get the hang of it but once I did, it all made sense and felt a lot less restrictive than only looking at calories. If you search the term “counting macros” on Google, you’ll find a lot of articles about “Flexible Dieting,” which is a great name for it, but also a little misleading because it’s not a diet in the most though-about sense- it’s more of a lifestyle. When you think about “going on a diet,” you probably think about restricting certain foods for a period of time until you reach your goal weight. Flexible dieting is different because no foods are off limits. You can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits within your macros.

That’s not to say I’m going around eating chips and donuts for every meal, because frankly that would make me feel pretty crappy and my workouts would suffer because of it (it’s all related). At the same time, if I want a donut, I’m going to eat one and not feel bad about it because I know that I am eating healthy, whole foods 90 percent of the time, which is really what Flexible Dieting is about: balance and moderation. Counting macros has completely removed my guilt around eating ‘too much’ or eating ‘the wrong food.’ I feel like it’s a much healthier and sustainable approach to “dieting.”

I am going to share my current numbers but again I want to reiterate that they are just that: MY numbers. Please don’t think of them as a model of what YOU should be doing for your weight-loss plan. It won’t work. I can’t stress enough the importance of meeting with a professional to customize your own specific dietary needs.

My Path To A Healthy Weight and
My Daily Macros & Calories – I use My Fitness Pal to track my food.

As a vegetarian, I often get annoyed when people ask, “BUT HOW DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?” The truth is, most people don’t have a problem meeting protein requirements on a daily basis whether they eat meat or not.  Because of my activity level, however, I am required to get a little bit more protein than most people to ensure that as I lose body fat, I don’t lose muscle mass as well and that I gain it instead. This is where being a vegetarian makes meeting my protein macro a little bit challenging but not impossible by any means.

I rely a lot on vegetarian proteins like eggs, nut butter, tempeh, tofu, and wheat gluten (AKA seitan). I really love Field Roast and Tofurky products for meat substitutes.  I also use a whey protein powder after most of my strength workouts. I like SFH’s Chocolate Whey Protein powder because it’s grass-fed and not loaded with tons of fillers like some other brands. I personally think it tastes a lot better than others ones I’ve tried too.

Hitting my fat macro is fairly easy for me because I love avocados and full-fat yogurt and milk.  Believe it or not, I have the most trouble hitting my carbohydrate macro because I don’t naturally crave carbs.  This has led Becca and me to adjust my macros a few times to better suit my dietary preferences. We’ve also adjusted my macros based on the body composition testing that I had done, which is the perfect transition to the third and final section of this post.

Body Composition Testing and Analysis

When I began my weight loss efforts at the end of March, Becca suggested I get a body composition test done with her friend Dr. Reena Newton of Get 2 Know Your Body. I put it off for a while because at the time I was still in the denial phase of my weight gain and the test seemed like an unnecessary expense. That said, it’s turned out to be one of the most helpful investments I’ve made in my journey to a healthy weight and lifestyle.

My Path To A Healthy Weight And
With Dr. Reena Newton of Get 2 Know Your Body at her office inside the Inspired Change Yoga Studio in Biltmore Park

There is so much that goes on in our bodies that a simple scale measurement can’t tell us. That’s where an InBody scan comes in handy. According to Reena’s website, the InBody technology uses “safe low level currents [that] are sent through the body through hand and foot electrodes. The current travels throughout your body water and encounters the different cells of your body (muscle cells, fat cells, skin cells, etc.) along the way.”

When we step onto a plain old scale, the number we see isn’t the whole picture at all.  The InBody technology is “able to tell us about not only the amount but also the distribution of fat mass including visceral/belly fat.”  It also determines the amount of water and skeletal muscle mass in our bodies. The results of this test have been instrumental in helping me determine a healthy weight for my body instead of some arbitrary number I decide on based on my BMI (Body Mass Index) or a health magazine.

What I’ve learned by having this test done twice now is that the number on the scale doesn’t matter as much as my overall body composition.  So while at my last appointment Reena and I talked about my desire to lose another 10 pounds of body fat, that might not necessarily mean the number on the scale will change much as I build muscle to replace that fat.

My first test with Reena in May 2018

The results of my second test, which I had done last Wednesday, are truly incredible. Judging by the way my clothing fits and the changes I’ve physically seen in my body when I look in the mirror, I knew that I had lost a significant percentage of body fat and the test results just confirmed that.  Over almost a four-month span I’ve lost 5.5 percent body fat and my visceral fat level (the dangerous, disease-inducing fat that accumulates around the organs in your stomach) has dropped from 17 to 13.

Another reason why an InBody scan is incredible is that it measures each segment of your body separately. The results were able to tell me how much fat I’ve lost in each arm, leg and my trunk as a whole. While the test also makes suggestions for fitting into a certain weight percentile based on BMI, Reena points out that that number can be skewed by several other factors and as I said above, the number on the scale doesn’t actually matter as much as your body composition as a whole.

My second test with Reena in September 2018

I really love going to Reena for testing because she spends a whole hour explaining the results and answering any questions I have about how I should customize my weight-loss plan. Although she’s a doctor and the results can be a little confusing to someone without a medical degree, Reena is very straightforward and makes the science behind InBody really accessible to someone like me who didn’t know a thing about it until I stepped into her office in May.

Because Reena is also a great person, she’s agreed to give my local readers $10 off their own InBody scan from now until the end of the year. Simply visit her website to schedule your appointment and mention that you read about her in this blog post! Her office is located inside the Inspired Change Yoga Studio in Biltmore Park. *Note: Blogger disclosure laws require that I tell you that Reena provided me with my second test at a discounted rate. As always, the views and opinions expressed on Rosey Rebecca are my own and I will never promote a business or product I don’t stand behind completely. 

Overall, I feel a lot healthier in my day-to-day life.  It took a while but I finally found the right tools to help me succeed on my “weight-loss journey” (quotes because I hate that term). That’s not to say that my approach to health and fitness won’t change over the coming days, months, and years, but for right now, my body seems pretty happy and that’s really the most important thing! If all I’ve succeeded in by implementing this diet, exercise routine, and overall view of healthy living is a healthier and more loving relationship with my body, then that’s pretty all right with me.

I hope this post has been informative and motivating to you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you might have!

As always, thanks for reading!

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The Frantic Fantastic
Flea Fiasco of 2018™

Then the vet tech came back into the room to administer the treatment and sitting right there on Aslan’s sneaky little fur-covered neck was a flea. “Oh, there’s one!” the vet tech exclaimed gleefully. Though I’m pretty sure the glee was just in my head.

“FUCK,” I texted Jeff. “She has fleas.”

“FUCK,” he replied.

And so it began, The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™


The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-

I hesitated to write this post because frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed, but I find myself on the constant verge of either laughing or crying (or doing both at the same time) due to our current predicament, so I figured I’d do what I always do when I feel like my head is about to explode:


So Hi. Hello. I’m here. I’m here and currently dealing with fleas. FLEAS! Fleas on our indoor cat, Aslan, who I naively assumed couldn’t get fleas because she’s an indoor cat. WRONG.

Remember those outdoor stray cats I was so in love with a few weeks ago?  Well, the fleas likely came from them. Likely. But there’s really no way to know. They could have come from anywhere.

The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-

Still, I find myself blaming the outdoor cats. I mean, we just had them trapped and neutered and re-released in our yard and this is how they thank us. We did a good thing! We even argued with people on the Internet about doing this good thing! And this is what happens. This is not how karma is supposed to work.

In my head, I can’t separate the two situations: on one hand, we did something good by taking care of the strays, on the other, we’re stuck with fleas now because of it. I know they are two completely different things. We are still good people for taking care of the cats, but where I used to gaze at my backyard cat crew lovingly, I now scowl in their general direction.  I mean, I know it’s not really their fault and I’m definitely not being mean to them but they’ve definitely encountered the occasional stink eye from me over the past several days.

On the bright side, we are the proud new owners of a super expensive Dyson vacuum, which I guess makes us real adults now. That’s how it works, right? Go to college, get married, buy-and actually get excited about- an expensive vacuum cleaner.

The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-

Welcome to Adulthood!

Our house is also the cleanest it’s ever been, which is, honestly, a frickin miracle because I hate cleaning. Let me say it again:




I avoid it at all costs. But I can’t now. Facing my demons and all that, I guess.


It’s fine.

I mean, FLEAS, though. Fleas. What the heck, man?

*Deep breath*

OK. Hi. Hello. I am here.

The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-

Let me back up for a minute and explain how this whole fiasco came to be.  If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories, you may have seen that Aslan had a seizure a couple weeks ago. She’s OK (well, aside from the fleas) and the vet gave her the all clear, so when she started to change up her sleeping spots a week or so ago, we just assumed it was some weird side effect from that.

Meanwhile, one of our outdoor friends got super spoiled and started jumping up into our window and staring at me through the screen, as if to ask, “hey, where’s my freaking food?” Aslan didn’t like this one bit and subsequently jumped into the same window  to mark her territory.  Turns out, that territory just so happened to also be inhabited by fleas. That’s what we think, at least.

When I first noticed Aslan scratching I didn’t think much of it. A few times Jeff and I jokingly yelled at her, “you better not have fleas!” and then we laughed and laughed. She was an indoor cat, after all. No way she had fleas.  We noticed some scabs on her neck on Sunday night and decided a trip to the vet would be in order for the morning. I was still in so much denial that she could have fleas. Just last week I was cuddling her and thanking her for not being dirty and gross like the outside cats. Then the universe was just like, “Mwahaha! That’s what you think, Rebecca!”

The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-
Aslan cuddling with me before we realized she had fleas. Ahhhhh!

The next morning I brought her to the vet and at first, they were pretty positive it was just a skin infection and definitely not fleas. The vet decided to treat her just in case, with both a steroid shot to ease her itching and a flea treatment on the back of her neck.

I texted Jeff immediately and was all, “HA HA! NO FLEAS!”

Then the vet tech came back into the room to administer the treatment and sitting right there on Aslan’s sneaky little fur-covered neck was a flea. “Oh, there’s one!” the vet tech exclaimed gleefully. Though I’m pretty sure the glee was just in my head.

“FUCK,” I texted Jeff. “She has fleas.”

“FUCK,” he replied.

And so it began, The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™

I left the vet with a flea-infested cat and a can of Knockout flea spray. The vet told me that she still didn’t think I had to worry about a house infestation and just to vacuum daily, wash my sheets in hot soapy water, and spray whatever I couldn’t clean with the other two methods.

At this point, I wasn’t too freaked out. I dropped Aslan off at home, locked her in a spare bedroom and sprayed all the area rugs, curtains, and furniture.  THERE, I thought! That should do the trick. Then I escaped to a coffee shop for the day.

When I got home later that night I released Aslan from her flea prison and let her roam the house. She immediately ran straight upstairs and jumped onto a white blanket in a laundry basket. Two seconds later, she hopped out, and right there, on top of the blanket were three or four tiny, disgusting bugs crawling around. I. Freaked. Out.

The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-
The Aslan Flea Basket of Death

Jeff had been out all day at meetings and I immediately called him and told him to get home right away.

“THERE ARE FLEAS EVERYWHERE!”, I screamed, effectively scaring Aslan back down the stairs. I ran after her and watched her jump right up onto one of our cushioned dining room table chairs. “AHHHHHHHHH!!! NOOOOOO!!!” I screamed!

I locked Aslan in her flea prison again ran around in circles freaking out and screaming until Jeff got home. Used to my anxiety after 13 years together, Jeff calmly suggested we go get dinner and buy a new vacuum since our current one sucked (but really didn’t suck at all, which is why we needed a new, fancy adult one). We went to Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, where I sobbed into my vegetarian chicken wrap and convinced myself that the world was ending and that we’d need to get rid of Aslan forever.

I cried all the way to Bed, Bath & Beyond where we officially became adults and handed over all of our money at the same time. We then proceeded to clean every inch of our house until 1:00 in the morning.


The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-

The next morning I called the vet and asked if we could let Aslan walk around the house.  They said yes and assured me that any fleas that landed on her would die because of the treatment she’d received.  They also reassured me that as long as we continued vacuuming and cleaning our house daily that we wouldn’t have to worry about an infestation.

I feel it’s necessary to stop here and tell you that at this point, I hadn’t actually seen any active fleas in our house, just the dying and/or dead ones that were falling off of Aslan.  Still, my anxiety soared into overdrive.  I became obsessed with the thought that there were fleas everywhere. Anything that brushed up against my skin was a flea. My clothes were covered in them. I, myself, was in fact probably turning into a flea.

We went through the motions of excessively cleaning our house again on Tuesday night and by Wednesday morning I was overflowing with pent-up stress and anxiety. I called a pest control company and scheduled them to come out to treat our yard.

“Wait, you’re feeding the outside cats?” the man on the other side of the phone asked in a thick, southern drawl. “They’re gonna think you’re Mama. How are you going to remedy that?”

“I guess I’m going to have to stop feeding them,” I whined, feeling both embarrassed and sad at the same time.

On top of all that, the blog post I published on Wednesday about My Unhealthy Relationship With Healthy Living was unexpectedly BLOWING UP.  I became overwhelmed with both excitement at all the amazing comments and messages I received (thank you, by the way!) and consumed by the flea storm raging in my head.  Thankfully I had a therapy appointment later that morning and broke down as soon as I stepped through her office door.

“What’s wrong?” she asked as soon as I burst into tears.

“My cat has fleas,” I sobbed, feeling absolutely ridiculous for crying over such an insignificant thing.

During our appointment, my therapist calmed me down and confirmed something I had secretly suspected for years: I have OCD. Suddenly my anxious overreactions over the years made so much sense (but that’s a story for a whole other blog post). She said that anyone going through something like this would feel overwhelmed but it was especially triggering for me given my history with anxiety.  I told her my father used to obsessively check doors at work until he broke the locks, and that pretty much solidified her diagnosis. She suggested I read a book called Brain Lock and when I got home I obsessively googled the book, articles about OCD, and articles about fleas until I became completely overwhelmed and resorted to cleaning our house from top to bottom again. Then I went to bed and dreamed about fleas crawling all over me.

The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-

On Thursday morning, Jeff texted me on my way home from the gym with my worst fear, a flea had landed on his arm in our bathroom. This was the first time either of us had seen a real, live active one that hadn’t fallen off Aslan. I was surprisingly calm about it.  I told him that it was probably one that we tracked in because the yard hadn’t been treated yet or it was a baby that had just hatched and that was to be expected. (I was suddenly a flea expert from all the obsessive research I’d done.) I went on with my day and didn’t think much about it, aside from my regular frantic thoughts that every bug that landed on me was a flea or that any bite I noticed on my skin was a flea bite. (Later, I found a mosquito in my car that explained the random itchy bites on my ankles.)

That night, as I walked down our basement stairs to do laundry during what had become our new nightly cleaning routine, I tripped and fell down a few steps onto the dirty cement floor. I immediately burst into tears and called for Jeff. My foot was throbbing, my knee was bleeding and overall I just felt so much angst over the whole situation. Problem was, Jeff couldn’t hear me call for him because he was upstairs vacuuming.  As I sat on the floor yelling Jeff’s name louder and louder, I began sobbing harder and harder. By the time he heard me, I was so far past the point of being able to calm down that I told him to just let me cry for a while so I could get it all out.

I proceeded to walk around the house sobbing and mopping the floors, alternating between feeling completely horrified by the whole situation and amused by my current state. Thoughts about my father and his OCD suddenly popped into my health and I found myself blaming his death for the fleas. If he hadn’t left me here alone I wouldn’t be in this situation, I irrationally thought and cried even more. I eventually calmed down as we concluded our Thursday night cleaning ritual.

I removed my clothes, placed everything in a large plastic garbage bag and hopped into the shower–a routine Jeff and I had followed since we first learned of the flea debacle. After, I crawled into bed and waited for Jeff to join me.

“I saw another one,” he said as he came into the bedroom after his shower. “We’re just going to have to clean more.”

Feeling exhausted and defeated, I went to bed wondering if this was just our life now. Would we ever be rid of fleas?  Would I ever be able to snuggle and pet Aslan again without feeling completely disgusted by her?  Would Aslan ever forgive me for avoiding her for days on end and scaring the crap out of her with the vacuum every night? Would I ever feel comfortable and safe in our house again?

The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-

I woke up the next morning terrified to go downstairs, convinced that fleas had definitely taken over our whole house despite our best efforts.  I made my way down the stairs with a flashlight in hand, carefully inspecting the floor and released a sigh of relief every time I didn’t see anything move around.  Jeff and I both had 9 a.m. appointments so I sprayed the house like mad and we hightailed it out the door, but not before I accidentally misted some of the toxic spray onto my bare foot and freaked out about that on top of everything else.

Thankfully the appointment I was rushing to was with my therapist. On the way there, I called the company that makes the spray and they suggested that I rinse my skin for 15 minutes.  My therapist found me in the bathroom before our appointment frantically rubbing my foot with a wet paper towel, and because therapists are generally awesome human beings she didn’t judge me at all. In fact, she got a bowl from her office, filled it with water and let me soak my foot in it for half of the appointment. I felt completely insane.

In between soaking my foot and crying about fleas, my therapist suggested I come up with a concrete schedule for when to clean our house. She made me think about the situation logically and we formulated a plan based on that. She asked me to observe my thoughts during the time when I wasn’t cleaning and to write them down. So, here I am, writing all of this to you, completely embarrassed but also completely relieved to get it all out.  It’s true that writing is cathartic and if all I’ve succeeded in doing by writing this blog post is calming myself down, then I’m proud that I had the courage to go through with it.

The Frantic Fantastic Flea Fiasco of 2018™-

And this is where this blog post ends, with no true conclusion. We are still battling the fleas. I am still battling my mind. I will hopefully write a follow up a few weeks or months from now with a much happier ending. Until then, I am trying to constantly remind myself that this is not the end of the world.  I will not die if a flea just happens to land on me despite our obsessive efforts to prevent just that.*

We will clean our house nightly for the next several weeks and have the cleanest house on the block.  I mean, we should probably win some sort of award, right? Maybe be featured in Good Housekeeping magazine? Because, suddenly, for the first time in my life, I WANT to clean my house constantly, even if it is an obsessive compulsion.

As for Aslan, she will continue to receive flea treatment over the next few months and I’m quite positive she’ll resume her rightful position as Queen of our household soon.

Finally, I hope that, if anything, this post has given you a few laughs rather than make you feel sorry for me because, really, our situation is completely insane and ridiculous and we WILL get through it. Life will go on, with or without fleas!

Have your pets ever had fleas? How did you deal with it? Tell me in the comments!

*Update: since writing this post on Friday afternoon, two fleas have jumped on my foot and I’m still alive to tell the tale.

Thanks for reading!

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