Category Archives: Healthy Eating Habits

Could You Lose 2 kg by Christmas Day? or How To Give Your Health and Weight Loss Program A Boost,This Festive Season


 

Editor’s note: This post is written to encourage and support anyone who has begun a weight loss journey and is concerned that Christmas and the holiday season might be their downfall! If this is not you, then Happy Holidays anyhow and I hope you enjoy your Christmas cheer! If you yourself have any tips or advice to help those who might still be struggling with weight loss issues then please share them with us all in the comment box. Thanks….

P.S. I have written this post according to the traditons here in Australia where I live. I realise that many of you have just celebrated Thanksgiving too. I hope you enjoyed yourself and perhaps you should read this post after you have recovered!!  Happy Thanksgiving to you anyhow – it sounds like a wonderful tradition!

The Big Question

Could you lose 2 kg by Christmas Day? Of course you could! With exactly one month to go till the big day, a weight loss of 2 kg is definitely achievable, given that the expected and healthy loss for anyone on a weight loss plan or program is about 0.5 kg a week.

Trouble is around this time a lot of people on weight loss journeys start to worry because they know that pretty soon, food is going to be a very big player in every social event and get together. But relax…..really…with a little bit of forward planning and decision-making the ‘food thing’ or our ‘impulse control thing’ does not have to get out of hand.

It does however, take some conscious thought.

Planning Ahead For Parties

First up here’s an idea that a friend shared with me some time ago. I’ve tried it and it works. It’s also extremely simple.

It involves ‘visualising’ (which is basically just creating a mental picture) of the food you know or think will be offered at a particular event and then ‘seeing’ yourself either saying ‘no thanks’ or just shaking your head. By doing this you are creating a conditioned response to the food instead of just reacting to. You are being a ‘mindful eater’ instead of the opposite. All good, so far.

But what about liquid calories? These also need to be taken into account, so choose your drinks carefully and dilute them with soda or mineral water where you can. Or don’t drink at all. There’s a thought!  I know, it is CHRISTMAS ….so go ahead and celebrate, just be mindful of all you consume though and trust me you can still have a great time!

The Real Focus

Christmas really is about sharing and getting together with family and friends. The food is part of the tradition, but it’s not the essence of the day. Good conversation, catching up with the lives of those whom you don’t see often enough and simply sharing some love and laughter can all take place with or without the food. So if you are serious about avoiding a ‘weight loss blowout’ this Christmas try to reflect on the real and important part of the Christmas message and the ‘food thing’ will have far less emphasis for you.

More Tips..

So, we’ve taken care ( at least a little) of those good choices you are going to make at your office party or get together.  Another tip would be to take your own plate. Everyone always appreciates a beautiful healthy fruit platter on the table which is fine to nimble from any time! Similarly, you can bring fish to a barbecue, some low fat snack items from the health food store or anything else that you know is going to prevent a blow out of your daily calorie count.

Forward planning all your snacks and meals is always a great idea when you are on a weight loss plan, but it is even more important now when you may be feeling that temptation is all around you. Stick to what has worked for you already and you’ll be fine!

New Shoes, New Routine, New Energy

This month leading up to Christmas is also a great time to give your exercise routine a bit of a kick in the butt!! Rather than start scaling back your workouts (because you’re going on holidays) why not rev it up a bit!!

 Find some new hills to climb, choose a new machine to use at the gym or just spent an extra 20 minutes a day being active. I’m going to!

While you’re at it, why not visit the shops and treat yourself to some new workout gear? Perhaps a new pair of runners or gym pants. Anything that will give your ‘fitness psyche’ a little pick me up, is helpful.

One More Thought….

Another great idea is to start sourcing some beautiful low fat and low calorie dishes and recipes. There are loads of alternatives to ‘traditional’ dishes out there to try!

Christmas and the holiday season can be a time when you really boost your weight loss efforts if you are willing to. And if you need any further support or just would like someone to tell you what a great job you’re doing (and you probably are!) then don’t hesitate to drop me an email or a comment!

 Love to help, if I can. 🙂

Do you find it hard to stick to your weight loss plan over the holidays? Maybe you’ve already lost weight yourself and understand how others might be feeling?

Perhaps we all should stay mindful of our food choices these holidays whether we are on a weight loss plan or not? What do you think?

Lastly, do you have any great low-calorie recipes for ‘alternative’ dishes for Christmas? Love to have you share them or any other tips or advice you may have….as always love to hear from you. 🙂

 

P.S.If you liked this post please share it !!

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Healthy Weight Loss and Healthy Living Blogs:Extending Your Knowledge


 

Positive Approaches

Hi. It’s Monica here. How’s it all going out there?

Hope you have gotten over yesterday’s discussion about the wrong way to approach weight loss!!  It was a bit graphic, I know.  And…er, a bit…yuk!

I guess I just wanted to contrast the unhealthy effects of some weight loss methods with other more self respecting and self loving ones, which I know can work. Basically, I am an advocate of approaching personal change (specifically weight loss) from a standpoint of positivity and life affirming attitudes.

Some fad diets and quick fixes simply don’t do that.

Healthy Living Blogs

Anyhowzie…today I just have a bit of news about a new community which I have recently become a member of.

I posted my first post for them a few weeks ago and it has been a real pleasure meeting other like minded people who share my approach to living a healthy life. They are a called Healthy Living Blogs and in case you happen to be someone who might also be interested in joining such a community, here is a short blurb about them, for your interest.  

Healthy Living Blogs is a new resource for the health blogging community. Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support. If you’re interested in having your site listed on HLB, simply send the following information to healthylivingblogs@gmail.com and check the site out for yourself!

  • Email subject line: MEMBERS
  • Your name (please share if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet)
  • Blog Name
  • Blog URL (please start with http://, not www.)
  • Your twitter handle, if applicable
  • Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy’s sake, that is completely understandable. We’ll simply include your blog listing in the A-Z listing, not by location, too)
  • Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.)

I post this information in the hope that some of the resources you might find at Healthy Living Blogs will help extend your knowledge or perhaps to clarify a solution to some specific issue you may be having on your weight loss journey.

I am eager to help you in anyway I can….

Hope you have a happy weekend,

Mon 🙂

Eating, Weight Loss, Cravings and Addictions – A Self Determined Way Out


 

The Yo Yo Lifestyle Syndrome

Do you struggle with cravings, emotional eating, or dieting ups and downs?

Many of us have or will in our lifetimes. Which is okay, ‘cos it means that we have been presented with a challenge and  (apparently) learning to overcome difficulties is what leads to positive growth in our lives. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

And, these days, it is what I have come to believe. Some spiritual followers even ask for such challenges to be thrown their way – so that they may learn and reach a higher level of functioning and living.

Self Limits

To us mere mortals, talk like this, can sometimes sound like complete claptrap.  Airy, fairy – pie in the sky kind of stuff.

But for me, I think there is some wisdom in there. I mean, basically if we leave the spiritual aspect out of it, why wouldn’t we want to learn new skills, achieve better habits and behaviours that can transport us out of the continual cycle of overeating  and the pain and regret the follows that behaviour. Who really wants to live in self-imposed misery? Of course, the answer is none of us do.  And each of us must search for our own ‘way out’.

The BIG GOAL Effect

I know there are many ‘paths’ we can take to overcome these challenges and each can be effective and motivational in their own way. But today I just wanted to share with you the one main reason that I follow a ‘good health plan’ (for want of a better description and I’m sure there is one).

Basically (and I can’t believe that I am actually going to write this thought down, but anyway, here it is)…. I want to live forever.

Huh? Okay, so I do know that the ‘forever’ bit is probably stretching it a bit, but I figure why not go for the BIG GOAL to keep me motivated and adhering to a life of good habits.

Old Age or New Awareness

The reason I have chosen this as my BIG GOAL is that I have observed so many people in older age that seem to live unhappy and restricted lives, that I know beyond a doubt, that I don’t want that. Whilst I have the deepest compassion for these friends who do suffer frailty and disease (I worked for several years in a rehabilitation ward), I know that some (maybe more than we realise) of the fragility we  habitually associate with aging, is actually avoidable. 

The Plan

So this is what I’ve decided:

1) When I am 80 I still want to be active – maybe not in the ‘let’s go for a 5km run’ active, but who knows?

2) I also know that when I am old, I don’t want to be under constant medical supervision, because of a ‘lifestyle disease’ that was totally preventable had I taken the appropriate lifestyle interventions decades before (bear in mind, I am talking about ‘lifestyle diseases’ here, not something that is totally out of an individuals control).

3) Lastly, I also want to be intellectually stimulated and still contributing to the world in a positive and meaningful way, when I am old, rather than sentenced to an existence of ill-health and struggle.

In short, I want a full life. An abundant life. An interesting life. And I want it to go on for a very long time.

Call me crazy, but I kinda like it here on the Big Blue Ball.

Longevity and Well Being

So that in brief, is my main motivation for wanting to learn, explore, develop and live a life that is centred around healthy eating, an active lifestyle and a conscious awareness of all that I can be and do.

Some people call it ‘living out your potential’, others call it ‘discipline’, others may even call it ‘obsession’. Whatever….labes aren’t important. Loving and living life to the full is all that really matters to me.

***********

Do you have ONE BIG GOAL that keeps you motivated and achieving your goals? Do you think ‘a healthy lifestyle’ is all it is cracked up to be? Maybe the adage ‘we’re here for a good time, not a long time’ is more apt to the way you think and live? I would love to hear your thoughts.

You certainly don’t have to agree with my musings to share a comment or thought. We’re all different (and what a boring world it would be if we weren’t) so please feel free to share whatever thoughts you have on this topic. Love to hear them 🙂

Communication, Weight Loss and The Food Marketing World (And How To Beat Them At Their Game)


 

 

Words and Communication – What Are We Really Saying?

The other night as I was cooking dinner, the familiar ‘you’ve just received a text’ sound echoed from the phone in my handbag. I ignored it (didn’t want to burn the chicken!) and later discovered that this particular message required some unexpected deciphering. Try as I might, I just didn’t (fully) understand what the person had said.

It wasn’t so much the symbols they had used. It was just that the overall message was not clear enough for me to know how to exactly how to respond. Unlike in a real conversation, where one person might say ‘So what do you think  or  feel about x, y or z ?’ and the other can respond appropriately, a text message often fails to include true emotion.

Many experts say that in this modern communication age, where we fail to include true emotion in much of what we communicate, we are damaging rather than the building foundations for good relationships. In the multitude of short ‘sound bites’ we send out, which do not include the face to face co-communicators of facial expression, body language or voice tone (as with txt, twitter, email, etc…) meaningful discourse, they say, is lost.

Of course we’re all getting good at fixing that problem with the inclusion of emoticons and other such symbols to convey our feelings. 🙂 Nothing wrong with that. 🙂 🙂

The Psychology of Words And Your Food Choices

Anyhow all this new awareness about words and communication has led me to notice the types of words used by marketers and manufacturers of certain food products. Recently, on one box of ice creams (single serves) I noticed all of the following words – heart, golden, heavenly, indulgent and perfect. All of these words described the moments you would feel or experience if you ate one of the above said ice creams.

 At one time in my life, I would have been fully swayed by such words. Many times after a busy day’s work, I was a hapless victim at the corner shop. Back then, I would always buy the snack, ice cream or confectionary item fully believing (at least at a subconscious level) that the food item called ‘Lift’ or ‘Heavenly Moment’ would actually produce the exact same effect in my life. Naive, I know.

These days however, being the food detective that I now am, I instead choose to look at the nutritional labels on items and understand the real facts. I know now that advertisers are playing a game with me.

How many of us would still be drawn to, for example, a plain box of ice-creams (no pictures, no attractive illustrations) with the words – regret, 400 calories, high sugar, high fat, little nutritional value?

No positive emotion conveyed there and quite possibly, no ice creams would be sold 😦

Debunking The Hype

Of course marketers know this and have become extremely adept at capturing our attention and manipulating our choices.  Whilst I admire their clever creativity, I know it’s all hype and rather than fall prey to their cause, I prefer, these days, to debunk their marketing hype, even as I read it. It’s kind of a habit now, but a good one and kind of fun.
I know in reality that the sugar marketeers can not improve my day or make me feel good, in any way shape or form. 

Only I can do that.

 I also know that there is no particular food which is better ‘for my busy lifestyle’ or ‘fun to eat’ or any of the other common food messages I frequently hear and read.

So how do you handle those ubiquitous ads for food? Do you find yourself persuaded by the words advertisers use and thus enticed to buy certain foods?  Or, do you ignore them and base your food choices on nutritional information rather than anything else on the box?

Also, what do you think about children being targeted with such advertising? What are our kids really learning about how to choose their foods?

I’d love to know what others think about this issue. What are your thoughts?

How To Overcome The Frustration Of Poor Time Management and Not Overeat


Super You

Imagine being a super organised, always tidy, on time, decluttered and highly productive YOU.  Pardon? You already are ? Okay, see you later. You can stop reading now. If however you’re like the rest of us (okay, me) perhaps you could do with a bit of Me Management.

I Like To Be Organised (at least in theory)

Maybe my clothes closet doesn’t reflect it, perhaps neither does the pile of papers and books that adorn my coffee table, however I will say it anyway. I like to be organised. In particularly I like to organise my time and how I spend it.  Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by unfinished tasks and jobs just interferes with my whole happiness and peace of mind thing, which can then often be a trigger to another useless and unproductive pastime – overeating!  

The Plan

Contrary to the popular ‘time management’ idea however (which is something of a myth in my opinion), I prefer to use the ‘managing yourself’ approach. The way I see it, you may not be able to change the number of hours in a day, but changing yourself is something you can do. So here dear friends, is a few simple suggestions for you today to help you avoid rushing and stressing through your day. 

1)  Write things down. Keep a small notebook close handy to write down any appointments, ideas, things to do that come to mind. This way you won’t have to remember them later.

2)  Don’t waste your ‘waiting time’.  Use time waiting in doctor’s rooms, at kids music lessons or even while your dinner is cooking, to tidy up, catch up on reading or planning.

3)  Don’t procrastinate! Putting things off till later is never a good idea. It’ll only lead to greater frustration when more time passes and you still haven’t got the job done.

4)  Delegate often. You don’t have to do it all yourself! If family members or colleagues complain about ‘being bored’ (and they do) let them know how they can contribute and help you out. And don’t forget to thank them, so they are willing and happy to continue being part of the team. Teamwork makes the dream work.

5)  Outsource! Another time saver for the super busy person is outsourcing things that are not ‘essentially you’ tasks. By this I mean, if you are a highly creative person, but you can’t stand the technical or mechanical side of presenting your creative projects, then find someone who loves it! They’ll probably be a lot better at it than you and get the job done quicker, leaving you more time for furthering your creativity. This can also apply to domestic tasks like gardening, mowing or even the ironing!

6)  Schedule some time for fun and relaxation. Relaxed, happy people are highly productive people, as opposed to the burnt out, over taxed work-a-holic who will one day be forced to stop.  Your health, wellbeing and longevity really are the most important goals to strive for. The rest can stay in your in tray, till you’re ready to get them. If you’re making a ‘to be left undone’ list, please don’t put your happiness and health on that list.

More Lists

Just for a bit of fun, I thought I’d also share with you my own to do list for the week.

Okay so I’ve left a few very important and secret items off (don’t want to give away too much about myself, do I?) but otherwise here is my partially incomplete list of things to do this week. I might share the very important and secret items, next time. Maybe 🙂

1)      Learn more about blogging (stop laughing, there’s a lot to know!)

2)      Jog/brisk walk 3 -5 kms every second day

3)      Weight Train (no, that is not a mode of rail transport – it’s called the gym)

4)      Volunteer my time at my children’s school

5)      Remember to ring/email/post/ comment/reply/ tweet a dozen or so people about things we’ve talked about.  The conversation is always flowing…..

6)      Blog

7)      Send love to all my readers.

8)      Blog

9)      That’s enough love now…don’t be greedy.

10)   Oh, okay then…here’s some hugs ((((((    ))))))

11)   Lunch with friends ( just one day)

12)   Buy sunflower seeds at health food store, before it closes down.

13)   Start eating sunflower seeds as snacks instead of crackers.

14)   Cook and prepare 10 packed lunches (for 2 kids), 12 breakfasts (2 adults/ 2 kids) and 12 dinners

15)   Renew driver’s licence

16)   Write daily (about 500 words)

17)   Stretch daily, to counter the DOM’s (Delayed Onset Muscle Fatigue) (I know, why don’t they just be honest and call it MBHLH: My Body Hurts Like Heck

18)   Hugs the kids often

19)   Stop making lists

20)   Get back to real blogging

I think I may just have committed one of the seven deadly sins of blogging, by boring the pants off you…..sorry about that, but as ‘The List’ says, I’ll get back to real blogging soon.

Hope you all have a happy and organised day and don’t forget that happiness and peace of mind  are reliable allies against overeating!!

Ciao,

Mon

PS Part 2 of the weekend’s post called Weight Loss and Society: Who Has A Vested Interest In Your Progress? is coming soon. I PROMISE. It is partially written already…..

Avoiding The Weight Loss Blowout: How To Control Your Diet Choices and Stay Sane!


The Weight Loss Blowout

Okay so we’ve sworn off pizza for life, we don’t eat this and we don’t eat that….because we are trying to lose weight. Everybody knows that – our friends, our spouse, our workmates and so everybody should be doing their best to support us with our new resolution to eat healthy. Only they don’t.

Contrary to our own expectations, other people don’t always make things easy for us. In addition, certain events also come along to conspire against us.  The get together, the dinner party, the going away for someone at work party…..the list goes on. And for the person that is trying to follow a new and sensible eating plan, these events can sometimes be quite challenging. Often the very foods we have been succesfully avoiding for weeks or months suddenly make a BIG comeback  poking their sticky, gooey, sweet and calorific face in ours, tempting and begging us to eat them.

Impulsive Eating

Once upon a time, I would have had a lot of trouble at such food laden events. I would have eaten way too much and then gone home feeling pretty annoyed and regretful. These days though I like to employ a few strategies to help me through these unavoidable occasions. 

A Few Strategies

There is no doubt that when you’re in your own home or your own enviroment, self control is well, easier to control.   At home, once you’ve made up your mind to, you can clean out the pantry and get rid of the danger foods (you know the ones) that tempt you the most. This idea works because basically you can’t eat what isn’t there. 

Not so however, when you venture out.  This is when a little forward planning and mental preparation can make all the difference. 

First, take time to visualise the event you will be attending. Picture the people, the meal and see yourself standing or sitting there amidst it all.  See the tempting food.   Then, take time to decide there and then what (and how much) you will eat. Picture it on your plate. Smaller portions, healthy choices. Nothing more.

If a picture of a huge dessert or extra serves of a favourite food come into play while your doing this little mental exercise, try the following. Whilst still visualising the food, make a mental image of yourself shaking your head and saying no thanks. Yes, it’s simple. But it’s powerful and it works.

Repeat the visulisation as many times as you feel the need and then, when the event happens, your subconscious will already be programmed for better choices.

What Else?

Another trick is to pack your own healthy snacks and take them with you to the party or get together. If it is not a sit down meal with a set menu, but rather a table full of random food items, then having a healthy and prepared snack as a substitute, can be a life saver.

Lastly, never leave the house ravevously hungry!!  Always ensure you have had a filling (but calorie controlled) snack before going out.  Oh and don’t forget your water habit which I talked about a few posts ago. If you missed it and would like to have a read then, check it out here https://monsbiz.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/can-you-burn-fat-with-food/ 

The Last Bit

So dear friends….we all need to think ahead with our food choices when we are on a weight loss journey, especially when the amount and type of food presented is (seemingly) out of our control.  Don’t let the circumstance dictate your behaviour, but rather decide on your behaviour before the circumstance arrives.  It is possible to achieve. Why not try it next time such a time arrives for you? You may actually surprise yourself with just how well you can control your choices.

Hope these ideas are of help to you.  They certainly have worked for me! 

I would love to hear about any issues you may have encountered in trying to control your food choices. Do you find other people supportive or do you sometimes feel that others may be trying to sabotage your efforts? You’re not alone on your journey, you know.  Many of us have been through the same things, so feel free to talk or if you’re not comfortable with that, why not just say hi! 

Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of the Reframe Weightloss team.

Ciao everyone…..

Mon ( )

You Are What You Don’t Eat or Why Varying Your Diet Is Good For Your Health and Wellbeing


Do You Have Food Neophobia or Is It Just The Flu?

Hi there friends,

First up, apologies for my lack of time here at ChangeSational lately. I have had the flu and although my mind and heart have been saying ‘blog, blog, blog”, the rest of me has been screaming ‘please tell that enthusiastic writer woman to lay down and get some rest, for goodness sake!’ Blogger Me kept protesting, but I gotta say the extra rest has worked wonders and I am feeling a lot better. Sometimes you have just got to pay attention to the signals your body is sending! 🙂

Okay, so it’s on with today’s post, which is about Food Neophobia. Neo what? Read on dear friend….

A Fear of Trying New Foods

The other evening I decided to try something new at the Changesational dinner table and serve up falafels. I think most of you would be familiar with Falafels, but in case you are not, they are essentially a dish from the Middle East made mainly from chick peas, which are very healthy, high in protein and low in fat.

Falafels and Me go a long way back. Way back to a backpacking holiday in Israel during a time when myself and my travelling companion had only had enough shekels left to feed ourselves with Falafel Kebabs. Yep, that’s all we had – one Falafel Kebab a day, everyday, for about four days.  Granted we had a cup of tea every morning, provided for free  at the hostel we were staying at.  However after that our one Falafel Kebab was our main and only meal.

The Falafel Party

Lucky for me, I loved them and in no way felt deprived or lacking. Of course I knew it was for a limited time, which no doubt helped me psychological, however I now also know the power of high protein food to satisfy the appetite and do not think my experience of food deprivation would have been quite as happy had the only food available been, let’s say, a high sugar food.  Anyhoozie……I am digressing as the real point of this post is to discuss our individual aversions to trying new foods.

Which brings me back to the dinner table and my Falafel meal.  I was happy about the menu selection, however my enthusiasm did not extend to all family members at the table.  I couldn’t understand it.

Food Pickiness

 ‘What’s wrong with Falafels ?’ I asked innocently, to the wary diners at my table, all of whom were staring at their plates wearing their best ‘I’m not gonna eat this’ expression. Personally I love trying new foods. I may bawk at a few, like snails or crocodile, but otherwise I would say that I am a healthy but adventurous eater.

Apparently I am in a minority and as it turns out ‘food pickiness’ is actually quite widespread. Who knew? Not me. However, after a little research and reading on the matter I have managed to uncover the following facts about food pickiness or as it is known in the world of psychology, Food Neophobia.

1) Although most will grown out of it, children typically develop a form of Food Neophobia around the age of two.  Their innate fear of eating unfamiliar foods apparently protects them from eating something poisonous.

2) This primal fear also apparently dates back to our prehistoric ancestors who had to be wary of things they hadn’t eaten before or hadn’t watched someone else eat, as it may have contained toxins.

3) Sometimes however these early eating phobias turn into adult fears, even though we know it is irrational. If we have a fairly rigid menu when we are children, this makes it more difficult for us to eat out of our ‘comfort zone’ as adults.

Healthy Eating/Healthy Choice

Not surprisingly, this type of rigidity is not beneficial to our overall health.  As a professor of human nutrition from the University of Sydney recently stated, “Eating a wide variety of food increases your chances of receiving the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.”  ” There is also personal growth to be found in trying new foods,” she continues, “as it assists us in learning that it is not uncomfortable to try something new.”  Besides all that, you might actually like it!

A Challenge

So what new food might you try this week?  I ask that question because if you’re up to it I’d like to start a ‘New Food Challenge’. It basically goes like this: – Could you try one new food this week and then let me know about your experience? Did you enjoy the food? Was it as bad as you perhaps had thought? What did your taste buds have to say about the new food?

Please let us know if you choose to join this challenge. We would love to hear from you! Just click on the comment thingy below to share your ‘New Food’ experience, now or anytime over the next week. We may even publish the best ‘New Food Experience’ (with your permission) to share with other readers.  So Happy New Eating Friends – hope to hear from you soon.

Oh and what of my non-falafel eating diners ? Well, I’ll be honest.  There was a mixed reaction, but overall but they did enjoy them and that was even without my ‘big stick’ approach. 🙂

Ciao,

Mon