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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Resolution Recap.

This year, for the first time in a long time, I made some New Year’s Resolutions.  Nothing huge or unattainable – just a list of hopes and small changes to achieve in the coming year, many of which were already being set into motion at the year’s end.  Now that the luster of the new year has faded, I thought I’d recap how things are going so far.  I’m not going to talk about all my goals – just a few for today.

1.  More time for me, more development of personal interests.

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This is sort of an over-arching theme for this year.  As a new parent, it’s very easy to let your identity slip away in the hustle and bustle of newborn-hood, and I learned that the hard way.  It took about a year for me to fight my way out of the hole that I had allowed myself to dig. 

But for the past few months, things have been really different here.  I’m taking a lot more time for myself, whether that means reading a book during nap time, taking a fitness class on the weekend, or even taking a whole weekend to go home and visit family. 

One of my resolutions was to read at least one book each month, and so far I’m off to a good start!  In January I read two and a half books, and I already have a pile waiting for me in February.  I know it’s very predictable, but I ended up reading books one and two in the Hunger Games series.  I just wanted something easy and engaging to read, and these were perfect for that. 

Right now I’m halfway through the third book, and I’ve also recently started Simplicity Parenting.  I don’t know why I’m reading three books at one time (seems inefficient), but I’m also reading Bringing Up Bebe on my Nook.  It’s been nice to enjoy some reading time on the couch in the evenings instead of always mindlessly zoning out in front of the TV.  Although Survivor starts tonight, which will definitely set my reading back a bit…

2.  Make fitness a priority.

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Other than some running and a lot of walking, I essentially took last year off from formal exercise.  I think it was necessary at the time, but I’m so glad I jumped back in when I did.  I feel like I’m in a really good place with my fitness right now, and I feel really strong and incredibly motivated.

I’m doing Barre3 classes once or twice a week (hoping to squeeze one in this evening!), and I’m absolutely loving them.  I hope I’m not annoying you guys by talking about it so much.  I’m just really excited to have found a new activity that has me energized and excited again, and that works with my current schedule and lifestyle.

I’m also still getting up and working out in the mornings.  My alarm is set for 5:30am every day, and two to three of those mornings each week I do an at-home workout with Casey.  We have gotten really into the New York City Ballet workout DVD’s – those ballerinas are seriously ripped!

It has been really fun to workout with Casey again.  That was one of the things I missed most about our pre-baby life, and it’s a fun, healthy way for us to connect and spend time together.  Plus it’s an extra hour we can spend together in the morning, which is a nice way to kick off the day ahead.  I feel like I’m in a really good spot with exercise right now, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. 

3.  Sugar free January: the challenge to go one month without sugar.

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I never intended to cut sugar out of my life completely.  That is unrealistic, and also not very fun.  But I knew my sugar consumption was WAY out of control, and it was going to take a big change to have a lasting effect.  I gorged myself on chocolate cookies at our New Year’s Eve party, and woke up January 1st ready to face the challenge head on. 

The verdict?  It was hard – much harder than I thought it would be.  I tend to be an all-or-nothing type of person.  I have never been good at moderation or self-restraint.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with moderate sugar consumption – I just wasn’t capable of that.  So I quit cold turkey, thinking a 30-day detox (of sorts) would help my problem.  And I think it did, but it was definitely a challenge.

The worst part was every night after dinner.  I longed for something sweet, and no amount of oranges or peppermint tea was going to trick me into thinking I’d just eaten a bar of chocolate.  The biggest takeaway from my sugar free month was just how often I was indulging in sweet stuff.  We’d be out and about in Seattle, and I’d think about suggesting a trip to a bakery, just because.  It made me realize how many 3 o’clock cookies I was eating before, just out of habit or boredom. 

When we went home to Indiana for a week in January, there were sweets and chocolates all over the house.  If I hadn’t been doing my monthly challenge, I knew I would have seriously overdone it while we were there.  I felt grateful for the opportunity to recognize just how often I was thinking about (and subsequently eating!) sugar.

On February 1st, I felt slightly liberated.  I had completed my challenge with only one cheat – a friend’s birthday cake that she had worked hard to bake and decorate herself.  I didn’t want my silly food challenge to take away from her celebration, and I gladly indulged in a few (delicious) bites.  I didn’t eat any sugar that first day, and it wasn’t a big deal.

On February 2nd, I felt old habits creeping in.  I had known there was a chocolate bar buried in our junk drawer that had been taunting me through all of January.  I ripped it open, took one glorious bite, and then proceeded to eat the entire (large!) bar.  It was delicious, but I felt gross afterward, and a little sad that the effects of the sugar-free month hadn’t lasted a little longer?

Ultimately, I’d just like to have a healthier relationship with sugar, and I do think taking a break from it helped me recognize that.  I want Cullen to grow up with a balanced appreciation for treats, and to enjoy them for special days and celebrations – like the ice cream come we shared for a friend’s birthday earlier this week.  My biggest motivation to curb my own sugar problem is to be a healthy role model for Cullen as he continues to watch and learn from us.

So that’s how things are shaping up so far this year!  Off to a good start, and I feel good about what’s up ahead.  Anyone else still thinking about their resolutions?  Even if you’ve had a setback, it’s never too late to jump back on the wagon!

PS – For those looking for a laugh today, check out this funny photo series between Cullen and Huey over on Babble!  Poor little guy just wanted to share his snack!  :) 

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46 Comments so far
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Sana     at 3:08 pm

I want to work on eating out less. However, I enjoy it soo soooo much so I am going to try and be very strict with what I order.

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Tricia Reply:

This is one of my goals too. I always do lent with someone and so fast food was mine. It would be eating out in general but I knew I would be going out of town and that was unrealistic. 47 days without.

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Nancy Reply:

Ditto on the eating out less. I tend to grab lunch some place at work, rather than bringing it with me in the mornings. It’s a bad habit and tough to break :(

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Grace     at 3:24 pm

I can totally relate to that sick feeling after consuming a bar of chocolate. And it was for that reason exactly that I cut back on the sweets. I noticed i just felt blah afterwards, and since cutting back I have noticed my sugar threshold is much lower than it was. The good thing is the darker the chocolate the less sugar (88% all the way!). My major resolutions for this year was to shop weelky at the co op and farmers market, and to only consume meat from local farms. It has gone fantasic so far; I give so much more thanks for my food now :)

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Leah Reply:

I suggest chocolate by TAZA. It’s dairy and soy free and made locally and fair trade (local for me). A little goes a long way with this brand (even a tiny nibble is enough). I always feel gross after eating regular chocolate (Hershey’s etc.)

http://www.tazachocolate.com/

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Elyse Reply:

Totally agree with the Taza comment! They are ride in my neighborhood and the chocolate is amazing.

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Leah Reply:

And as you know by being local they have FREE parking! Woo!

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Laine     at 3:24 pm

I just gave up flour (really to cut my cheese and cracker and bread and butter habit) and sugar (so I can’t compensate with cupcakes) for Lent. Not catholic, but I really need to get a handle on it. Seeing how much I really turn to crackers to snack on throughout the evening.

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padma     at 3:37 pm

I’m really excited about your resolutions, cause mine are somewhat similar :) I’m starting med school in the fall, and I know that my fitness and healthy eating might end up taking a dive, so I’m trying really hard to focus on making it into a habit now. I did the Bikram yoga challenge last month, and now I started doing crossfit. It requires a lot of dedication and commitment, but I’ve noticed some great changes! Thanks for the update!

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries     at 4:01 pm

Great job on your resolutions! I especially admire your fitness one and making more time for you one. The sugar one would be incredibly difficult for me too. I know whenever I label something as “off limits”, I want it even more! Now that you’ve been able to see some of your old habits through your detox but sugar is no longer off limits, you’ll be able to moderate it better? Just a thought!

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Army Amy*     at 4:01 pm

I read once that the key to changing your eating habits is to realize they are habits. I almost always crave something sweet after dinner, so I often eat dessert. When I decided to cut that out, I had more success when I replaced it with something healthy. My evening sweet had become a routine, and I replaced it with a new routine.

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Megan     at 4:06 pm

I feel out of control with my sugar cravings. I’m breastfeeding my 2 month old and I can’t help but think maybe that has something to do with it? I normally do not have much of a sweet tooth. (However, we both have thrush now so I am forced to cut out as much sugar as possible in my diet to get rid of it, along with meds and many other changes.)

Now that I am cleared to workout, I need to get back on the wagon… it is certainly hard to choose the gym or a video over my sweet little boy. So I guess that is kinda my resolution- it helps me to feel healthy and energized.

On another note, glad that you had a great time in Cincinnati! We head back to Cincy in March for all my friends to meet my little one and to hang out with my family. I am so freaking excited!!!

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Christi @ ByeByeYoYo     at 4:18 pm

Sweets are always the hardest thing for me to have in moderation. I love so so many treats. I am always shocked when someone tells me they just aren’t a “sweets person”. How is that possible? I once went 6 months without sugar (Atkins diet) and it did get easier after a while, but I have no desire to go back to that. I’m just trying not to go crazy with sugar too often, which kinda goes hand in hand with my sort-of resolution of just making/keeping healthier habits for good.

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MA*     at 4:24 pm

I made a resolution to be a better friend and stay in touch with those who are very far away. I’m doing a terrible job. :(

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Melissa @ HerGreenLife     at 4:26 pm

Very impressed with your solo weekend away trip! We’ve done some couples overnights/weekends, but I could really use a girls’ weekend. I’ve decided that I would enjoy it more if the time away doesn’t involve pumping, and complete weaning is at least a couple more months away.

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Susan     at 4:50 pm

Just wanted to pass along a great book in case you haven’t read it yet– Racing in the Rain http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Racing-Rain-Novel/dp/0061537969 It takes place in Seattle and is from the point of view of a dog– it was surprisingly wonderful read.

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Leah Reply:

One of my favorites (*sniffle*).

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Debbie Reply:

LOVED that book , and am sure Emily you would too since you love dogs, really is a touching book!

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Elise @ Expeditions of Elise     at 5:28 pm

Thanks for the update on your resolutions! It’s nice to see that you’re still working on them. I also am having a bit of a sugar problem: I tend to eat sugar at night just because that’s what I’m used to, or I have dessert in the dining hall because it’s there and it’s edible. I’m trying to be more selective with my treats, and only eating them when they’re really good!

Are you planning to get back into running? Your running page is so inspiring, and I would love to see more posts about it!

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Anna @ On Anna's Plate     at 5:45 pm

This is so timely for me– I JUST started a sugar challenge today. I know exactly what you mean about thinking about it, craving it, indulging in it way too much. I’ve gotten to where I crave chocolate EVERY night after dinner– which isn’t good! I hope my challenge goes as well as yours did– very impressive that you never gave in!

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Kristen @ Change of Pace     at 6:07 pm

Sugar is so hard because it’s everywhere! I totally understand your relationship with it though. It’s hard to break it :(

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Heather (Heather's Dish)     at 6:30 pm

I’m thinking of doing some sort of sugar-free month soon. I never really enjoyed sweets all that much until I was preggo and then suddenly all I wanted was cake, cookies, and bars! Fingers crossed that the change will put me back in my pre-preggo sugar-free phase ;)

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Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)     at 6:48 pm

I’ve been very intrigued by your sugar-free month, so I’m glad you did an overview of how it went. I’ve been thinking about doing a very similar thing. I think ever since I started culinary school (and unfortunately had desserts at my fingertips EVERY day, my tolerance for sugar has gone way up!! I’m much better if I just don’t have any candy/chocolate around, because I tend to be an all or nothing person too.

Definitely motivated to start!

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Stephanie @ LoveLaughterLight     at 7:28 pm

what the frack is in that doughnut? Looks like vanilla bean and I’m drooling all over my keyboard!

Yep, that’s my only comment on this post! Hahaha!!!

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JessicaR     at 4:28 am

I’ve been sugar-free for about three years now. I stopped when I realized it was giving me cysts. I still eat fruit, and now I find it hard to not overindulge in fruit. I think I (and many of us) am hard wired as a sugar addict!

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 5:39 am

Sugar is so addictive. I gave it up for 21 days and filled the void with dried fruit (I know, still sugary). Now I’m having a hard time not binging on sugary treats, but I’m definitely more aware of how it makes me feel and I’m trying to find a balance.

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Kristen     at 5:47 am

I’m giving up added sugar for Lent – day 2 and it’s already rough. I’m letting myself finish up the open items in my fridge that will go bad (sweetened almond milk, one salad’s worth of spiced pecans), but have already eliminated everything else. I’m pretty all or nothing, too, and have not decreased the sweets post holiday. It’s been out of control.

I’d love to hear more about your sugar free month – any tips or tricks, links to recipes you used or created, what parameters you put on yourself, etc. Also, have you ever made/tried date syrup or used dates to make fake-me-out “sweet” items?

Sorry for 5,000 questions!

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Krissy @ Make it Naked     at 5:56 am

OMG i SO feel you. I haven’t had sugar for 19 days. (I went over board testing marshmallows for the blog and felt so sick) so after that I quit cold turkey just to see if I could and how I’d feel. Well I can. And I feel AMAZING! It won’t be a life long thing as you note, that’s unrealistic but it has made me so much more aware of my dependency and just how much better i feel with zero to little sugar in my diet. how about this novel i just wrote you? miss you! :)

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Leah     at 6:13 am

You inspired me not to skip barre class tonight!! :)

Also, go you with the reading.

I always say that my life is in balance IF I take the time to read. :)

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Mary     at 7:00 am

I really appreciate your story about sugar. I am a self diagnosed sugar addict and it is a constant battle. I can totally relate to you being taunted by the candy bar then letting one bite turn into the entire bar. I am trying to change the way I THINK about sugar….instead of it being a treat that “i deserve,” I’m trying to think about it as the addictive drug that it is. I wouldn’t touch any other drug…why would I let myself be hooked on this? It’s working…a little…but there are continuous setbacks. I am sending you virtual High-Fives for going 1 month without. You proved to yourself that YOU are in control…not the chocolate :)

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Krystie     at 7:28 am

I LOVED Bring up bebe. I wish I had read it when Calla was smaller. I realized that I was creating some bad habits for her. I will reread it in the future!

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SusanM     at 9:17 am

As for reducing or cutting out sugar, keep it up to the extent you can. I’ve reduced my sugar consumption over the past two years and find that my tastes changed and I don’t need it as much. Having said that, like you, around 3:00 or so I want something sweet with my tea; usually it’s a piece of dark chocolate or graham cracker (or both). I love to bake but have reduced baking too and try to limit it to whole grain and low sugar baked goods. My 16-year-old daughter is on board and doesn’t want cookies in her lunch. She now eats more fruits, lots of baby carrots, and is really into vegetable soups. All good replacements for sweets. We can really influence our children this way.

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Ali @ Peaches and Football     at 9:43 am

Sugar is my demon. I honestly just cannot get enough. I’ve switched a lot of baking and cooking to using Stevia though – I even use Stevia in my morning coffee. So much healthier for me and without the blood sugar spikes. Plus, it’s naturally alkalizing. When it’s mixed in cakes, pies, or cookies you can’t even taste the difference – my co-workers have never known! :)

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Alexis     at 10:39 am

While that series of pictures of Huey and Cullen is absolutely adorable (I have a serious love for Huey, he’s such a goof!)… I do just want to forewarn you that apple seeds are poisonous and especially toxic to dogs. While Huey is large, so he’d have to eat a couple apples to feel the effects, still best to avoid altogether:)

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Katie     at 11:01 am

I totally hear you on the sugar battle! It helps that I save ALL of my chocolate consumption for after dinner. Even if a coworker brings in treats, I’ll take one home with me and eat it afterwards, and share with my hubby! I eat a square of dark chocolate every night, the darker the better – milk chocolate is never satisfying to me, and I just want to keep eating more and more of it. I try and have one night a week for a “big dessert” – piece of cake, brownie, etc. It acutally working really well! Excpet now I eat too much nut butter in the afternoons, so my “lose 5 lbs” plan is constantly derailed. My problem was mostly baking treats and having them around the house. I’d make vegan cookies, eat half the batter, and then 3-4 cookies out of the oven, and fell hooooorrrrible. But I just couldn’t stop myself, even while thinking “you’re going to make yourself sick” scarfing down the second cookie! So I try not to bake at home as much. The last time I baked was about 3 weeks ago (cookies again) and I ate a cookie’s worth of batter and two from the oven…..progress, but still not great, so still avoiding baking!

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Michelle@Peachy Palate     at 11:03 am

Well done on the workouts! Love that Casey is doing them with you, so cute! Something more couples should do. Also congrats on the sugar challenge – if you’re finding the cravings really bad chromium supplements are a great help and will do you know harm or if you want a food supplement you should try kelp tablets they work wonders for some people. Also you probably know but lots of cinnamon :)

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Heather     at 11:50 am

You are doing great with your goals! Love me some hunger games. I don’t think I could make it a week without sugar sadly.

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Bethany @ Accidental Intentions     at 12:35 pm

I can really relate to you on the sugar thing. I cut out dessert for Lent last year (and am doing the same thing right now), and I found that by the end of Lent, I really was doing fine without eating dessert. I honestly didn’t even crave it anymore. Granted, I would substitute things that I didn’t consider to be dessert–graham crackers with peanut butter, or a handful of homemade granola–and I think that helped me out a lot from the whole ending my meal on a sweeter note standpoint. However, as soon as Lent was over I went right back to my dessert-binging ways. I try so hard to do moderation, but it just seems impossible. Although, by the same token, I also would’ve thought that cutting everything out was impossible as well, but I was still able to do that. I guess it’s one of those things that you have to really work hard on until it’s a habit.

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Brittany @ Kitchen::Candid     at 1:01 pm

The best way for me to avoid sugar is to completely eliminate it from our house. Moderation is good but before you can be moderate you have to get control over the cravings. If I know there is something sweet in the house I WILL eat it.

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Dr. Carrie Nelson     at 1:10 pm

Sounds like you’re striving for progress, not perfection, Emily – that is the way to go girl! As my special Valentine to all you ladies doing the same, see my blog post on Resources for a Better Life at:

http://doctorcarriesbetterliving.com/resources-for-a-better-life/

My Love,
Dr. Carrie

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Leanne     at 3:33 pm

Is there a Teavana in your area? If not, check them out online. They have some AMAZING chocolate teas that make you feel like you’re eating a huge dessert. My current obsession is the CocoCaramel Sea Salt. The Sinful Chocolate is also amazing.

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Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » My Funny Valentine.     at 3:37 pm

[...] did end up going to that Barre class last night (that I had mentioned yesterday).  It was my first time going to that class, and it was brutal.  I felt it even more when [...]

Amanda     at 11:32 am

Hi Emily,

Do you have any tips for going sugar free? I have been wanting to do this for so long but it seriously seems so daunting. What did you replace sugary snacks with? Also, if it’s not too personal, did you lose weight/body mass this way? I am curious as to what the results are. How strict did you go — did you avoid any and all products that have sugar (like cranberry juice) or just the big guns? Thank you!!

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Angie     at 1:51 pm

Great job on meeting your goals!

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Atsuko     at 8:19 am

Reading one book every month was(yes, I stated in the past tense…) my new year’s resolution. But I did not reach it as you can guess. I love what you said in the end of this entry. I can go back even though I failed. I am not a perfect, which can be boring. Thank you! I will pick a book that is easy to read like you did and that is interesting, instead of picking up current best sellers. I will try again.

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Charlie (the runner beans)     at 5:12 am

I am trying a Barrecore class on wednesday night. I am nervous but excited to try it!

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