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April 19, 2021

The art of prioritizing yourself

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One of the hardest things to get past on our health and fitness journey is realizing that we have to prioritize ourselves so we can be who we need to be for the people we care about. On this episode, we discuss ways to know when your priorities are out of whack and what you can do about it.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:01:31.880] – Allan
Raz, how are things?

[00:01:34.070] – Rachel
Good. Allan, how are you today?

[00:01:37.140] – Allan
I'm doing all right. I had had a really, really good weekend with just a little bit of not such good thing. I lost my phone again.

[00:01:44.850] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh.

[00:01:45.710] – Allan
We'll talk about that in more detail later. But yeah, same scenario shorts out to Bluff coming back in the golf cart lost but not the same outcome, though. The phone survived with no damage. And a nice taxi driver that we actually know here on the island found it. And so we were able to retrieve my phone, but not without a little bit of frustration. And we'll get into that in more detail in a minute.

[00:02:13.040] – Rachel
Sure. Well, I'm glad it has a good outcome. That's a good ending, then.

[00:02:16.910] – Allan
Yeah. How are things up there? Way up there in Michigan?

[00:02:20.900] – Rachel
Good. Things are good up here. On Friday, I got my vaccine. I got the Johnson and Johnson one and done covid vaccine. So I took the weekend just to relax, make sure I didn't have any adverse reactions to it, which I didn't. Just a little fatigue and I'm feeling pretty good. So I'm pretty excited. Some of my family has been vaccinated. The other family members are getting the other vaccines where you need two of them, but we're just that much closer to having a little bit more normalcy. So looking forward to that.

[00:02:55.250] – Allan
Yeah, they're not they have vaccinations here. They don't have as many as they planned to have. And they didn't order enough to vaccinate the whole country. So I'm not going to take a vaccination from Panama. One, there's there's citizens there are a lot older and a lot worse health than me that need it. And then, it's Panama. And so, you know, I'm not going to I'm not going to get it here, even though I could sign up and eventually being 55 would come up on the list.

[00:03:27.380] – Allan
I'm going to wait. My my wife and I are planning to come back to the States in September. And so we'll get tested before we get on an airplane. Don't worry. That's a requirement. Now for us to go to the States, we're going to have to have a test before we leave. So we'll get tested here and then we'll head back to the states and I think September time frame and then go ahead and get it there. We'll be in the States for at least three weeks. So if we have to get to the two stage one, we'll get one when we first get there. And then we'll get a second shot right before we leave.

[00:03:57.620] – Rachel
That would be great. That would be fantastic.

[00:04:00.860] – Allan
All right. So let's go ahead and get into this show, which is about mindset, which is yours and my favorite topic when we're talking about health and fitness. So here we go.

Are you prioritizing yourself?

Today, I want to get into a mindset. Topic that is actually probably one of the most important obstacles that many people face when they're looking to get healthy and fit, and it's not something that goes away without a little bit of work.

And so the question comes up is, are you prioritizing yourself?

Are you probably prioritizing your health and fitness? And it's it sounds like a simple thing, but it's actually a very deep, deep emotional mental adjustment to to have that kind of mindset where you are prioritizing yourself. So I want to dive into it a little bit. But before we go too far, we can start with something as simple as a little quiz. And so there's only three questions to this quiz.

So don't think we're going to be on here for a long time. It's not but three questions. And I want you to rate yourself from a one, which is this is completely untrue to a six – this describes me perfectly. OK, so again, one is the low end of the scale is completely untrue. Up to six, this is a good description of you. How how you actually feel, how you think.

OK, the first one is: I put others wishes before my own or else I feel guilty.

The second one is: I give more to other people than I get back in return.

And then the final one is: I'm so busy doing for the people whom I care about, that I have little time for myself.

All right, now add up those scores and think to yourself about what that number means, and I'll tell you what it means if that number. Is higher than, say, five or six, you might have a problem. You're not prioritizing yourself and what you're basically doing is self-sacrificing. You're taking others and saying they're so much more important than me that I can't do the things for myself that are necessary for me to be healthy and fit.

And I'm not going to jump into the whole airplane put your mask on thing. But this is a concept that unless you break through this effort of prioritizing yourself, if you are a self-sacrificer or you're really going to struggle to get healthy and fit and stay healthy and fit because it's never going to be the priority you need it to be.

A lot of people love those simple rules of the 80-20, and I try to tell people 80-20 is perfect when you're in maintenance mode. 80 at 20 is great. You can stay healthy and be healthy. The problem is for most of us, we're not already healthy. We're not at the weight we want to be at. We're not as strong as we need to be. And as a result, we need to put in more than 80%. If you don't prioritize yourself, that's just not going to happen.

So the first thing we have to look at when we are having this conversation is to actually think about the inner voice that we have, that voice that that tells you how you feel about something that's happening. So an event happens, maybe your alarm doesn't go off and you're late for work. You're going to be late for work. What does your inner voice tell you about that event? And that inner voice is the story, it's the story of our lives from an internal perspective. It often doesn't actually reflect reality.

And I want to take you through and this week, or at least for the next few days, I want you to think about some of the words that that inner voice is using, some of the things that you probably think. And the best way to kind of break that down for me is this phraseology called “absolute words.” And so I want you to pay attention to that inner voice over the course of the next day or two and maybe a little longer and see how often you use words like have to, need, must, ought to, should.

If you find yourself using those words a lot, those are absolute words. That means that your inner voice is feeding you something and saying this is an absolute necessity. You have to do it this way. And if that's the case, then you're not going to change. You're not. Whatever you think you have to do, you will do whatever you think you should do, you will probably do. Whatever you need to do, whatever someone else needs or you think is needed. And then obviously the word must if you must do something, it's something you've got to do and therefore you do it.

If you're not using those absolute words for your own health and fitness, then you're likely using them for other things. And if you are, that's a clear indication that you're not prioritizing your wellbeing. It's just not happening because these other haves, musts, ought tos, and shoulds are getting in your way.

So what's an easy solution for us with regards to these absolute words?

Well, one, when you catch yourself doing this, using those words and it's not toward you, it's not something that you are doing for you. Like I can say, I have to work out today. Obviously, that's not a bad phrase. It is an absolute. The absolute is about me taking care of myself. But if I say I've got to get the food for the kids, I must take them to the ball practice. I must do this and then I must make sure I get this report done at work. If I have all these other musts in my life, it'll be very hard for me to make sure that I go through it. So if I catch myself using one of these absolute words.

Again, there have to, need, must, ought, and should.

If you find yourself using those words with relation to someone else or something else besides your health and fitness, you need to stop and take a step back. And reevaluate if that is an absolute. In many cases, it's not. The world is not going to end if you don't do something that you had to do, that you should have done, that you ought to do, the world might not end. And so taking a moment to take that half step back and evaluate that statement that you just your inner voice just told you that is getting in the way of you being healthy and fit.

It's time to rephrase that and going through the practice of where your is telling you, you know, you must be home by 6:30pm so you don't have time to work out. Well, do you have to be home by 6:30pm. Just ask yourself that question. What happens if I'm not there? Then dinner's not ready at 7:00pm. Dinner's ready at what, maybe 7:30pm? Maybe your spouse can assist you by making dinner tonight. Maybe you go ahead and you order from a food company that delivers healthy choices and you order food in for the family.

So in many cases, when you catch yourself using an absolute word that is not geared towards you being healthy and fit when you really, truly need and want to prioritize yourself in your health and fitness, you've got to change the script. You've got to stop evaluate whether it's true. And I'll tell you, in most cases it's not true.

You're not going to get fired for being five minutes late for work. You're just not. Now, you might if you're constantly late. But for most people out there, a lot of the absolute words we have in our head are actually not true. They're stories that we're telling ourselves. They're stories that we're living to. And as a result, we're not getting the health and fitness that we deserve.

So I just used the word there, and I'm actually getting to a point in my life where I really kind of love words and those kind of things that they mean and what they bring up and how we relate to them. And so I'm using the word deserve.

And I can say with absolute clarity, you deserve self-care. You deserve to be able to take care of yourself. You deserve to be healthy and fit. So what does self-care actually look like?

Well, first and foremost, it includes self-love. I've asked many of my clients if they love themselves enough to do this for themselves. And it was funny because one of the first clients I ever had, her name was Sandy. She said she wasn't sure. Now, the problem came up and Sandy didn't follow through with everything we were doing, despite seeing good results at first. And I break it down to that point, she did not have the self-love necessary to make a change, to do the hard thing.

And so self-love is that expression where you care about yourself as much as you care about anyone else. It doesn't mean that you don't love other people as much because love is not this finite thing that we have that if I give this to this person, I don't have any left for me. That's not how love works. Love is infinite. And so you should be exploring yourself and understanding that if you don't start from my point of self-love, the commitment's never going to be there and you're not going to see the results. So if you find yourself having these kind of conversations where you're not liking yourself and that inner voice is actually a butthole. You need to work on your self-love. You need to actually sit down and start talking yourself through why you're worthy, why you deserve this, why you would love yourself. And I'm 100 percent sure you're going to come up with a ton of great reasons why you should love yourself and then you should love yourself.

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The next thing that comes in is you need to be frank and honest and you need to be frank and honest with not just other people. You need to be frank and honest with yourself. If the inner voice is, like I said, being a butthole, be honest about it. Understand, I have kind of a crappy self-image right now. What are the things I can do to improve that self-image? What are the things I can do to make that inner voice nicer?

Eliminating some of those absolute words is a good first step for that, but you've got to have this inner honesty. You've got to be honest with yourself and understand what's going on. And then, yes, you have to be frank and honest with the people around you. If you're going to do something for yourself, it often means that there's things that you would have been doing for someone else that you're now not able to do. They're going to live. They're going to be fine. But change in your life often means change in others.

I talked in my book, The Wellness Roadmap, about understanding the baggage that you have when you're traveling and how that can affect your path. Now, what I didn't say in there, but it should have been implied is you still need to have a vehicle. You still need to be moving forward. Your pace might be a little different, but you still have to be frank and honest with the people around you that the changes you're making are important to you and should be important to them, because in 99.9% of the cases out there, your why is them? You want to be healthy and you want to be fit for your kids, you and you and your grandkids. And you want to be there for your spouse and you don't want to be an obligation later in life to them because you want to be able to take care of yourself and you want that opportunity to be the person you're supposed to be.

And they should want that for you, too. So being honest and frank with them as far as what you need to be successful, is going to go a long way towards not having them resenting you for going to the gym every day or resenting you because you're not baking as often as you used to bake. Those types of things. So being frank and honest with yourself and others is a very important step towards self-care.

The next is consistency and frequency. You can't do something once and say, OK, that's my self-care for the month. It just doesn't quite work like that. Yes, going and getting a mani-pedi for some people are getting a massage is a great luxury for many and doing it once a month might be plenty. It would be for me. But to actually do what's necessary for you to be healthy and fit, it needs to become a part of a lifestyle that is frequent enough that it will elicit change. So if you're going to say lift weights, you can't lift weights once and say, well, gee, I don't understand why I'm not muscular. I don't understand why I didn't put on much muscle or because you didn't do it enough. Okay? So there has to be a frequency to it that is enough to stimulate a change in your body, to stimulate change in you.

And then the consistency part just means that doing something over and over and over is where you're going to get your real results. I had that conversation with Dr. Pontzer not long ago, and we talked about how you're not going to be able to lose a ton of weight really, really quickly without your body reacting to it at some level. And, so that reaction, which your body is going to do to change up your metabolism, that's going to happen. It's going to happen for all of us. Our bodies were made to do that so we can survive. But the consistency of doing the little things over and over and over, over time is where you kind of make this.

I was having a conversation with my clients the other day. And one of the things I said to them was the Grand Canyon was not built by something major coming through there and digging it out. It was that slow trickle of a small river over many, many years, millions of years, that made the Grand Canyon what it is today. And so you need that little trickle. You need that consistency to see monumental changes in your health and fitness.

So if you have a long journey to take before you're healthy and fit, you need the patience. But you also need that consistency. You have to keep showing up and you have to do it enough where your body recognizes the stimulus and reacts.

And then the final bit on the self-care, what it looks like. It's about an investment. If you're not willing to invest some time, effort, and money into yourself, you're not likely to see the results that you really want to have. Now, the biggest investment is going to be time and effort. You're going to have to make change and you're going to have to spend some time doing this. It's not just going to happen. As I mentioned before, we have a frequency and we have a consistency that has to happen. For that to happen, you have to invest time and effort towards making these things happen.

And then the money part can be a little bit of money. It can be as little as you're investing in some good quality shoes, or it can be as big as saying I'm going to build a home gym and I'm going to spend thousands of dollars to do that. For most people, the investment is somewhere in the middle of that. A small gym membership isn't all that expensive and it's hiring a trainer. When you look at the results that you get often isn't that expensive. If it's going to get you down the road faster.

My wife is working on building up a bed and breakfast, and the guy that was working it was him and his son. And he said, I've got these two other guys to come in and help. And she's like, sure. And the whole thing was by investing a little bit more each week, she's going to get the job done faster. So now she's got four people working instead of two. So the work's getting done faster. And that's what you have to think about with regards to where money can play a role in helping you with this whole thing.

So to kind of wrap this all up, if you did that quiz, that self-sacrificing quiz and you scored, twelve, if you scored thirteen or if you scored eighteen, then you have a self-sacrificing problem. And if you find that your inner voice is not your best friend, you've got a priority problem. Those are two internal things that you really have to get a grasp on.

And a couple of the ways that you can easily see this happening beyond just doing the quiz I talked about is to look for how often you're using those absolute words. They are using absolute words to define what you're supposed to do for someone else and not for yourself, something that would pull you away from doing something for yourself. Those are those trigger words. Those are the things that will tell you where you need to address your time and effort and you need to go and take that step back and analyze what that actually means. Is it actually true in most cases you're going to find it's not.

And then finally, self-care takes an investment. You have to love yourself. You've got to be open and honest with yourself. You've got to be consistent. You've got to put in a frequency of things happening so you can see change. And that typically takes an investment of time, effort and/or money.

So I hope you took something valuable from this lesson. If you did, I'd love to talk to you about it in more detail on the Facebook group. You can go to https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, and we can have a great conversation there about your inner voice, about whether you are prioritizing yourself so you can get the health and fitness you deserve.


Post Show/Recap

[00:24:26.720] – Allan
Rachel, welcome back.

[00:24:28.460] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Yep, mindset is one of my favorite topics of discussion. That was a really good episode you laid out for us.

[00:24:37.700] – Allan
Thank you. The interesting thing was that I recorded this episode last week and then this week and I lost my phone. And I have to say, there are no perfect people. And I think a lot of things you'll see on social media and Facebook will have you believing that there's something wrong with you and there's something right with everybody else. And particularly as we get into the health and fitness field, I'll just tell you, we're not perfect either. None of us are. And, I'm sitting there really, really angry with myself and the language that was in my head, was not kind. It was not kind at all.

[00:25:22.550] – Allan
Losing my phone the same way twice in really less than three months time. And this is not a cheap phone. This is a 1300 – $1300 phone. Really had me upset. So I'm walking the through the jungle right back to where the howler monkeys were, where I took the video and then that's why it fell out of my pocket was I didn't seal it in my pocket properly, went right back to those howler monkeys and they were just looking at me like I was the monkey.

[00:25:54.500] – Allan
So I just realized, OK, you know, as I walk, I've got to forgive myself. I slipped up. I made a mistake. I got to forgive myself. I've got to think about, Okay, you're letting this happen. This is a theme: going to Bluff, riding in a golf cart, wearing swimming trunks. Losing your phone is now a theme.

[00:26:16.370] – Allan
I have to think about that. I have to make sure I have a plan to make that not happen again. But that has to start with self-love. That has to start with the forgiveness of it. So just be aware that you're never completely on the other side of this, prioritizing yourself and finding self-love and doing those things. It's always a work in progess. You always have to manage that relationship and be aware when it's slipping up, when you're arguing with yourself.

[00:26:44.380] – Rachel
That's so true. Absolutely. And that was a very frustrating time for you, I'm sure. But it's good that you take a minute to assess the situation, kind of troubleshoot problem solve. And hopefully the next time you go find some howler monkeys to take pictures of, you won't you'll be better secure with your phone.

[00:27:03.860] – Allan
Yeah, well there was a lot of things I got on the front end and, and even then once it happened because I wasn't of sound mind, I guess the best way for me to say I was, I was very frustrated, very angry.

[00:27:14.930] – Rachel
Sure.

[00:27:15.380] – Allan
Myself. And it was, I was all that went inside. I wasn't thinking. So there were things that I could have done that would have made my search maybe easier. I found my phone on the Find My iPhone kind of thing. So I knew about where it was. And I just wanted to get there as fast as I could. And so as a result, I didn't think about, well, why not put find my phone on Tammy's phone? So while we're driving, if it starts moving around, we might see that. It didn't cross my mind till we were driving. And the interesting thing about an Apple account, when you try to log into it from another device, is it always wants to send you a code. Now it's going to send that code to one of your Apple devices. I happen to use a Mac, so if I had been sitting at my desk, I could have got her logged in to find my phone there. But because we were already halfway to where we were going, I couldn't actually use Find My iPhone on her phone. I could log into my apple account, but then it wanted to send me that code and I'm like, well, if I had my phone with me, I wouldn't need this code.

[00:28:20.840] – Allan
So I was not real happy with Apple either. Someone just has an iPhone. I don't even know what they do. But I guess they don't find their phone from another device. Anyway, that was my day. Or at least it was it wasn't my day. It was a part of my day.

[00:28:37.940] – Rachel
And that's just how it happens, though. And when life hands you these weird situations, it's easy to get flustered and all of your common sense and all of your reasoning and logic sometimes just goes right out the window until you can just take a minute and breathe and solve your own problem.

[00:28:55.100] – Rachel
Yeah, mindset is a tricky thing. And I guess when I was listening to what you were saying about having an inner voice and being able to prioritize your own health and fitness, it brought me back to the days when I was overweight. And not a lot of my friends knew me back then. But after I had two kids, I had a little bit of extra weight. And it's hard as a mom, for many moms, or moms with the small kids that you can't just leave the house, you can't just leave your kids unattended to go for a walk or run or do something.

[00:29:30.110] – Rachel
And so when I was at that point in my life, I would put the kids to bed at night. My husband was home and so I would go for a run around the neighborhood. I also had workout videos, VHS, aging myself here, but I had workout videos. And so when the kids would lay down for a nap, I would put in a 30-minute workout video and workout in the basement. And so was it an ideal situation? No, but that was the best that I could do at that time to put my health as a priority.

[00:30:02.900] – Rachel
And I did have weight to lose. I did have some things that I need to take care of so that I could be a healthier, happier person for my kids. So you just find these weird ways of getting around these situations that life just throws at you?

[00:30:17.990] – Allan
Yeah, I like to tell my clients quite often that life doesn't get in the way, life is the way.

[00:30:24.710] – Rachel
It is.

[00:30:25.550] – Allan
You're not going to get around it. You can't sit there and say, I'm going to wait to do this until I'm not as busy, or oh I screwed up. That will never happen again. I'm like, well, how often does that happen? Every time?

[00:30:39.830] – Allan
And so the point of this is, one, there's not another day. Every day you put off doing the right thing for yourself is lost forever and you're not going to get that time back. If you're looking at it and you're thinking, Okay, I need to prioritize myself but my kids and that's valid. You can't just leave a two-year-old and four-year0old alone in a house and go for a run around the neighborhood.

[00:31:09.770] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:31:10.760] – Allan
Even if you can still see your house from there, some people would call that irresponsible. So you've got to come up with another solution. Now, what does that take? Well, it could mean that you hire a babysitter when you go train. And I know not everybody can afford to do that, but that's an investment. Maybe it's that until your kids are old enough to somewhat be autonomous and be left alone, you invest in a treadmill. So you're like, okay, I've got a two-year-old, a four-year-old. I buy a treadmill. And for about the next ten years, I'm running on the treadmill when my significant other is not here to take care of the kids. And that's your investment in yourself. And so you've got to be willing to make that investment.

[00:31:52.730]
It's time, it's effort, it's money. And it can look like a lot of different things. But it's got to be a solution that you find because you have self-love, because you have to solve this problem. You can't just ignore it and say, oh, I'll wait till my kids are 12 and 14 before I start. Because it won't get easier.

[00:32:13.340] – Rachel
No, it doesn't. And you really have to remember, I know you didn't want to use the analogy of putting the air on when you're going down on an airplane, you put the air on you before you help the people next to you. But that's exactly it. You can't pour from an empty cup. You need to be full and happy and strong yourself, and you need to be healthy. And the more healthy and happy you are, the better person you are for those around you, your family and your friends and your coworkers and everybody else. And it's just so important. You are so important. And you really do need to put yourself first as best as you can.

[00:32:51.890] – Rachel
And often it's striking a balance. Sure, you've got family responsibilities, work responsibilities and all sorts of things, but you are so important to so many people and you should take yourself make yourself the best priority you can.

[00:33:04.400] – Allan
Yeah, it's you know, and it goes it goes even deeper than the being there for them while they're kids. I mean, we're in this I guess the term they use the sandwich generation and the concept is that many of us will be taking care of children at the same time we're taking care of our parents.

[00:33:21.860] – Rachel
Right.

[00:33:23.480] – Allan
Because people are having children later in life, they're putting it off and they're having them later in life. And as a result, they're beginning to have to take care of parents at the same time that they're still taking care of their kids. Now, I can tell you that only one of our boys has a daughter and she's older. It's from a prior relationship. So it's not his. But he's been in the kid's life since she was 10 months old or something like that. So she's dad and he's adopted her and all that.

[00:33:52.970] – Allan
But our other kids are already in their late 20s, early 30s, and they're not even thinking about kids in many cases. So, yeah, I'm going to probably be in my sixties before our daughters really start deciding that they're going to start afamily. And if that's the case, I don't want to be the 80-year old that she's just sending kids off to college. And now I've got to take care of dad.

[00:34:21.320] – Allan
You know, that's. That's not who I want to be, and so this self care is not just this selfish thing, it's really thinking about holistically who you are as a person and where you fit in to this whole scheme of a family and realizing that the healthier and stronger you keep yourself, the less of a burden you are on anybody in, the more you are able to help.

[00:34:45.880]
And so I can just imagine my daughters , look, hey, I'm fine. I'm 80 years old. Send my granddaughter down here to Bocas for six weeks. Come on down, bring her down and maybe we take her back up. But yeah, she can come down. I've got to be able to run on that deep sand and Bluff Beach. And I've got to be able to do the things that she wants to do and keep up with her. To be that individual that can be that caregiver without requiring caregiving myself is really the way I kind of like to couch this. You know, I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. It's a funny way, I like to say it, but what it really means is I want to be able to run in deep sand with my granddaughter when I'm 80.

[00:35:36.940] – Rachel
Yeah. For sure.

[00:35:38.230] – Allan
That kind of thing. So, as we get into this, just realize that you have to love yourself. You have to do this every day you give away and don't do it is a day lost and you really need to turn this around. It's really about getting aware of that story in your head and trying to make it a different ending.

[00:36:02.410] – Rachel
Yeah, that sounds great in it. And if anyone listening has any questions or doesn't know where to start, reach out to Allen's Facebook page or email or anything, we would love to guide you and how to make these choices or how to figure out how you can make fitness a priority in your life. We'd love to help you with that.

[00:36:21.160] – Allan
You can go to https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and join the awesome Facebook group that we have out there. There are weekly challenges and we're always having discussions about things that are going on in the health and fitness world. And there's a lot of fun, too. It's not just this and that. I post the pictures of the of the beach there and I believe I put even some pictures of the monkeys that kind of made a monkey out of me. I wouldn't have had those videos if I had found my phone. Those videos are alive and well and you can go out on a group and actually see them right now if you'd like.

[00:36:58.870] – Allan
So anything else you want to go over, Rachel, before you know that?

[00:37:02.680] – Rachel
That was great. Thanks so much.

[00:37:04.510] – Allan
All right. You take care and we'll talk next week.

[00:37:06.760] – Rachel
Yep. Take care.

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– John Dachauer– Margaret Bakalian
– Deb Scarlett– John Somsky– Melissa Ball
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Thank you!

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