Too Many Choices!

April 29, 2008

I have been being so indecisive lately!! This morning I wanted to workout before breakfast, but I didn’t want to get up at 5, but I also wanted to walk with the husband to the lightrail. So I couldn’t decide what to do. Then once I decided on timing, I couldn’t decide between a run and a quick gym trip! Since I’ll be running a lot at the beach, I decided to go to the gym for variety. So I did, and squeezed in 30 minutes on the Stairmaster before I came home and walked the husband to work and ran home. Whew!

I had half a banana with almond butter before I left –

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Breakfast was worse!! First it was hot oatmeal with trail mix. Then muesli with trail mix. Then pumpkin oatmeal with chocolate chips, then pumpkin muesli. Then pancakes! Ahhhhh! I couldn’t figure out what I wanted most. I finally decided on muesli with TJ’s antioxidant trail mix (dried fruit and almond slivers) with banana and strawberries. It was delicious!

The mixture was:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Brown Cow Low-Fat Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup hemp milk
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • Half a med. banana
  • A handful (about 1/2 a cup) sliced strawberries
  • 2/3 a serving of antioxidant trail mix

I made sure to get out the green spoon to remind me to eat slowly since the last time I made this I gobbled it down.

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THEN the decision was between tea and coffee! The husband was gone and didn’t make coffee, and I always use days when he’s not here to have tea. But I really wanted coffee! So coffee it was. I ended up having 1.5 cups. I think what I like most about coffee is it really helps me feel full along with breakfast. The extra liquid helps weight down my stomach. <3 it.

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Calories In, Calories Out

In spirit of last night’s calorie counting comments, I’m thinking about taking a break (indefinitely?) from counting. I have maintained my weight loss for a year now and am just now starting to feel confident in my ability to make good judgments in portions and balance. It’s taken me a whole year to get that feeling. I’m hoping you all will understand if I discontinue the calorie counts per meal. I will still be calculating nutritional information for recipes, so I will include those (mostly for dinners or new culinary creations) when I have them as an FYI. You can pretty much assume that my everyday breakfasts, lunches and dinners will each be about 500 kcal with a 200-300 kcal snack.

Like all good and bad habits, I don’t think going cold turkey is the best way to proceed. It needs to be a gradual process. I don’t doubt that I’ll keep a general tally in my head, and I will probably keep closer count on days when I am out of my normal routine (to both make sure I’m eating enough and not too much!) And I think I will also continue to measure out calorie-dense foods like trail mix and nut butters. But overall, I’m going to test this out and see what happens!

I think the most important thing to realize is, I WILL sometimes eat more than I want to or need to, but other times I’ll eat less. It’s the squiggly line approach 100% instead of just normal day vs. special occasion. The last time I switched from calorie counting to food group counting I gained about 3-4 pounds, so let’s hope I’ve learned something in the past 9 months! I am hoping the difference is that I have now learned a more moderate approach to eating out and snacking and will do my best to keep fueling my body with the best possible nutrition I can while enjoying every bite I put in my mouth :)

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Exa April 29, 2008 at 9:13 am

Kath,
I think taking a break from calorie-counting is a great idea. From what we all see as bloggers, you definitely know how to eat healthy, work with your cravings, etc.
Have fun at the beach when you guys go. I need a vacation too, but mine will have to wait until the end of June!

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2 Kelly T April 29, 2008 at 9:18 am

i also think this is a good idea. when i quit counting, i did it gradually too. Instead of keeping a running total, i would just get and general estimate at the end of the day of where i was at to make sure i didnt need a snack or anything. and then form there, i just slowly stopped adding up the whole day at once, and eventually stopped completely. i still do it very rarely if i have a really off day full of just snacking to make sure i got enough calories in, but its always to make sure i got enough. i never count to see if i have “gone over” my limit because you can tell when you have eaten enough/too much and when thats the case, i dont much care to know the total. aside from that, i just have a lot of free space in my mind since im not crunching numbers all the time anymore.

I WOULD LIKE TO FORMALLY APOLOGIZE for my Pat Sajack comment yesterday. He is a fine man. Even if his face does look like a frying pan.

http://www.everygymsnightmare.com

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3 Katers April 29, 2008 at 9:18 am

Hey Kath – sounds like the normal progression of what you’ve been doing. Congrats on a new stage in your lifestyle!

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4 Kelly L. April 29, 2008 at 9:18 am

Kath- Just wanted to let you know that I made the chickpea patties last night and they were SO good. I didn’t use olive oil or bread crumbs and I didn’t have the spices the original recipe called for so I used some Penzey’s combos I had (Northwoods, Garlic Salt, and Pepper) I also sauteed some onions and peppers and blended them in. They were so good. The next time I make them I am going to do without the peppers and onions so that my veggie fearing husband will eat them. I’ll top them with brown gravy when I do that though. :) Omitting the things I did didn’t effect things I don’t think I thought they were still fabulous. It gives you a lot more wiggle room for sides. I paired it with a baked sweet potato, a huge side of green beans and a toasted english muffin. DELICOUS!

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5 Kelly L. April 29, 2008 at 9:23 am

Oh and as for the calorie counting, I have to admit I’m kinda glad to see you stopping this. I mean people that eat like you don’t need to worry about every calorie they consume. You eat healthier than any other person I know and you still count calories and measure stuff. I think you’ll find it quite liberating. I used to obsess over it and weigh everything and once I stopped it was a breath of fresh air. I also think that as life becomes busier for you and you have more responsibilites you’ll find there are more important things in life than logging your daily intake. Don’t get me wrong, I understand you won’t stop completly and I can’t say that I don’t ever estimate what I have had but I try not to. My thought is life is too short to weigh bananas (or any other produce for that matter). :)

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6 Allison K. April 29, 2008 at 9:31 am

It’s so funny how people’s bodies work differently. When I stopped counting calories, and started counting food groups, I lost 6 pounds.

Kelly L- I love your thought “Life is too short to weigh bananas.” It would make a great tagline for a blog!

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7 Holly April 29, 2008 at 9:35 am

I WANT TO JOIN IN TOO!! Oh my gosh, we should all do this together girls :)

Calorie counting is soooo annoying. Like Twinks said, I don’t even know when I’m hungry any more :( I just eat up all my calories whether or not I’m hungry or not. It’s not that I’m too busy to count calories, it’s that it’s annoying, embarrassing and too OCD. I say let’s all do it!!

Let’s support eachother though and make sure we are staying on track :) I hate packing my lunch in the morning and making sure everything adds up right :( NO MORE!

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8 Another Kelly April 29, 2008 at 9:41 am

Congrats. I agree with the others that I think you’ll find it quite liberating. I started my weight loss journey last January, lost 15 lbs and then began maintenance a year ago last April. For the first few months I continued to do my WW journal religiously, but I felt like it was taking so much time and effort away from the rest of my life. I didn’t decide to stop counting until I read Intuitive Eating. I HIGHLY recommend it as a supplement to your journey. I think it makes a lot of sense and gives you a sense of what to expect as you transition. I know I’m not always perfect, but after eating intuitively for over 6 months I’ve been able to maintain my weight within a 3 lb range and feel happier.

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9 Yoon April 29, 2008 at 9:43 am

May I join in as well:)?

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10 Patrizzle April 29, 2008 at 9:51 am

I still calorie count, but I don’t do it as strictly as I used to. What I like to do, is in the middle of the day, write down what I have eaten so far and what I expect to eat. It gives me a general view of the day’s calories. I can just look at the food and know what the calorie content is. But I found that when I stopped doing that completely that I fell off the wagon and was eating way way too much!

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11 Tina April 29, 2008 at 9:57 am

I had a very indecisive morning too! I ended up eating both bulgar and oat bran for breakfast!

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12 Tina April 29, 2008 at 10:00 am

Forgot to add… Yay, for nixing the calorie counting! I feel the exact same way you do about it– plus I’d rather spend my time and energy on something else! :)

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13 rhodeygirl April 29, 2008 at 10:02 am

I think that is great Kath! I can’t weight (pun intended) to reach my goal weight so I can eventually just listen to my body. I like that you recognize that some calorie dense things like trail mix and pb are had to estimate so you will still measure… hopefully eventually you won’t have to! I really commend you for taking this difficult step and trusting your body! good luck!

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14 Rach April 29, 2008 at 10:04 am

Hi all,
I think it’s great that y’all are stopping calorie counting (or at least giving it a try). I used to count calories and, like Holly said, found it became an annoyance. I haven’t counted calories in at least 5 years but I still do quick estimates from time to time. Mainly I just focus on food groups, and it makes life so much easier. Good luck to everyone!

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15 Stella April 29, 2008 at 10:05 am

Hi Kath
I rarely post… but I had to chime in on this great conversation. As a Registered Dietitian… I think this is an outstanding idea!!!!!!! For the past 10 years, I have been using the intuitive eating method with my clients… the result is they actually end up eating less because they are so focused on listening to their body. It is very liberating and they feel “free”. I always emphasize focusing on a healthy lifestyle instead of a “number” is the best way to go.

http://www.simply4younutrition.com

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16 arielle April 29, 2008 at 10:08 am

I think giving up the calorie counting is a smart decision and you’ll be just fine.

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17 VeggieGirl April 29, 2008 at 10:08 am

I am the QUEEN of indecisiveness, haha – everything from food to workouts to shopping, etc.

On a side-note, we had the same pre-workout snack this morning, since I ran out of hazelnut-butter :0)

I’m glad that you’re doing what’s right for you, about the calorie-counting situation.

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18 polly April 29, 2008 at 10:08 am

yahoo! I love the new plan, guys. This is classic

“Life is too short to weigh bananas.”

Fabulous. Kath, you should title your next post that when you have a banana.

Today I for the first time in a LONG time… just dumped shredded wheat, a sprinkle of multi grain cheerios into a bowl, cut up a nana and splashed almond milk on top and ate it. :)

Yum. I’m full, happy, healthy and have more brain space. :)

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19 PS April 29, 2008 at 10:09 am

KellyT, I like that! Free up some space in my mind…

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20 chelsea April 29, 2008 at 10:16 am

It all comes down to realizing what you eat. To lose 60 pounds, I didn’t count calories, I counted food groups. But then I stopped writing down what I was eating and gained back 15 pounds. Then I started CK and got it under control again. I think as long as you record what you eat (which you most certainly do!) you’ll be fine.

I know this is a hard one for you but I think it’s a good step. The first time you tried to stop you were so sure you were going to fail, that you did. And again, when you started counting food groups, you were so sure you would fail, and you gained 4 pounds. Approach it this time like you have the tools and you KNOW how to do this. You’ll succeed, when have you ever not? :kiss:

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21 Liz H. April 29, 2008 at 10:26 am

My roommate is obsessed with measuring and counting and usually eats out of measuring cups…she should read this…the other day I walked into the kitchen and she was pouring green beans into her cup…i thought the exact same thing, life is toooooo freaking short to count green beans

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22 Nick April 29, 2008 at 10:37 am

Why does the green spoon help you eat slower? I think I missed that one.

As for the calorie counting, I did the same thing as you. I counted them for a while, eating 4 meals a day and trying to keep each meal at around 500 calories. Eventually, my eating habits became routine and the necessity of calorie counting simply went away. It seems like you know about how much you can/should eat at one time. I gotta tell ya, it’s much nicer now that I’m no longer counting calories, you kinda feel more free and open. If you have a little bit of something real unhealthy, then you just just eat less overall for that meal, etc…

The Peanut Butter Boy

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23 Heather April 29, 2008 at 10:38 am

Good luck with the new approach! It really does seem like you have a very well-balanced mindset when it comes to food, so I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

Also, I’m sure you’ve gotten this question before- but where did you get the cute spoon? I saw a similar one at Sur la Table, but they only had it in white (and it was tiny) :(

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24 Justy2003 April 29, 2008 at 10:40 am

I count calories most days…except for my one “free” day. I also don’t count on vacations and things like that because it’s so hard to estimate what any of the food is when eating out. I toyed with the idea of quitting counting towards the end of last year and then ended up gaining a few pounds because, while I was still eating healthy, I was eating too much…then I started counting again and lost about 8 pounds (but I definitely don’t starve!). I think I just need to learn to listen to my body instead of my mind (because I LOVE to eat)! Maybe I’ll try this again soon. Good luck, Kath! :)

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25 BethT April 29, 2008 at 10:59 am

I’m glad an RD posted already, because many RDs suggest the food group counting method versus calories. As a future RD, Kath, I think you’ll be fine (AND a fine example for your future clients). When I visited a RD recently and she pointed me toward this, I thought she was crazy — but I am so much happier counting food groups. Hurrah!

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26 Romina April 29, 2008 at 11:04 am

I read the whole conversation about the calories last night, and I think it’s a great idea. I’ve been counting calories to make sure I get enough, because I know I could easily eat less and feel satisfied. But I think you’re right, after calorie counting or a while, you learn to know it intuitively without having to count all the time. I might have to take up this challenge! Calorie counting is definitely something I don’t want to do forever.

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27 Betsy April 29, 2008 at 11:04 am

i think that is a really great step for you. you are obviously very in tune to what you eat and what your body needs, so this should be a good thing and probably won’t cause weight gain.

i dont’ count calories but i pretty much know how many calories are in what i eat, but i don’t count them. i’m trying to learn how to eat intuitively, which can be really difficult but it’s the best way in the long run.

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28 BethT April 29, 2008 at 11:08 am

Oh, and I meant to add that if anyone wants a great sample of counting food groups, the “diet” part of the Self challenge (which you can get on self.com) outlines it really well.

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29 Julz April 29, 2008 at 11:12 am

Amen Sister!!! Kath, wow, what an accomplishment! Something that I find so special about this blog is your JOURNEY. Your blog is so exemplary of a true journey to a healthy lifestyle. You show that it takes trial and error, successes, struggles, setbacks, more and more successes, and risks.
Through all of this, you have taught all of your readers about trusting yourself. I find it so sad that so many people who struggle with their weight/food/physical insecurities/whatever else are AFRAID OF THEMSELVES. They are afraid to eat alone, afraid of what they will do around food, with food, afraid of failure, but even more so, afraid of success. There is that underlying fear that success can only be short-lived, but in reality, success SHOULD be viewed (as seen in your blog!) as the first chapter of a new life. You adapt, you build, you experience, and you maintain your success. And that, in and of itself, is inspiration that all of us could use a HECK of a lot more of :)

BRAVO!

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30 Biz April 29, 2008 at 11:54 am

I think that is great Kath! Not only because I think you do make great choices already, but because you are going to be so busy coming up, you know in your head you are doing the right thing.

I only use calorieking.com because I am an insulin dependent diabetic, so I need to be exact on how many carbs I take in so I give myself the right insulin. If I didn’t have to worry about that, I probably would continue to eyeball it. I was 210 pounds at my highest, and am currently 159 with a goal of around 130 (I am 5.2).

I will still drop by every day to see what you are up to – it keeps me focused!

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31 Ange C. April 29, 2008 at 12:12 pm

I also want to add to this conversation, and congratulate you, Kath, (and everyone else) on taking the healthy step to not count calories! Your blog portrays a wonderful balance of combining delicious, healthy foods and intuitive eating already, that this seems like your next step. What an accomplishment for you!

I also stopped counting calories quite a while back and lost 5 pounds without even trying. Everyone is different, but I think the liberation that comes along with it will give you a new-found boost in self confidence and your body will thank you for it!

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32 rachel k April 29, 2008 at 12:54 pm

hey kath–

you may already know this, but i was looking at the ada website and found that there are DE dietetic internships. very cool. i am thinking about going back to school…again…to become a rd, but was worried that i couldn’t intern without paying $$$$$ b/c my husband is in medical school and we dont know if his residency will be in state (NC!) or out of state.

anyway–just thought i’d share in case you and your husband decide to move before you get to do your internship.

take care.

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33 Emily April 29, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Hmm, maybe I am weird, but I really like counting calories. I guess it fits with my anal, obessive-type personally, but I like keeping track of the nutritional info of what I eat as well as how much, and using Calorie King leaves my mind free to worry about other things in life. I actually feel more relaxed toward food when I am keeping track of things. I tend to forget to eat during the day, and way over do it at night, so tracking things helps me stay balanced. But, to each her own; you gotta do what works for you and makes you happy :)

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34 Holly April 29, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Now that I’m not going to be counting calories any more, I want to do the same when it comes to exercise! I’m very good when it comes to exercising; 6 days a week… and then I have 1 light day.

Does any one have tips for exercise? I feel like I get obsessed with that as much as counting calories, and that sure isn’t healthy too!

Does everyone work out every day?

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35 flipflops April 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm

I just age a banana with almond butter (never had it before, I’ve replaced my old skippy brand….if I’d only known before. SO SCRUMPTIOUS! Yay.

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36 Amy C. April 29, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I think it’s great that you aren’t calories anymore too. I want to get there eventually but right now I’m still trying to lose about 15-20 pounds so counting it is!

Question for anyone who would know. If I wanted to see someone for guidance about losing weight and get in the right nutrients would I see a RD or a nutritionist? I really don’t know. I’m using calorie king right now which is great but I want to focus more on healthy eating as opposed to just eating my calories.

As for exercise, I typically workout 4-5 days a week. I’d like to do more but sometimes life gets in the way or I hit snooze too many times and don’t get a chance later in the day. :P I aim for 6 but as long as I workout at least 4 them I’m okay. I’m even taking running clothes/sneakers on my trip to China next week to get in some extra exercise there! :)

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37 Sarah April 29, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Amy C—I’d see an RD if I were you. A nutritionist *could* be good, but might not be either…you kind of have to do your research in who you visit. They aren’t certified/didn’t go through the internship that RD’s are required to go through. Without needing that certification means they could be ‘just as good’ as an RD, or they might know next to nothing and like the name ‘nutritionist’ in front of their name.

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38 GreenTea April 29, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Amy C.

I’d recommend an RD as well. They are more costly though.

A second option would be a weight management counselor, basically nutritionists who have taken special tests/requirements to help learn about weight loss and healthy ways to do so.

A GOOD nutritionist/weight management counselor could help you out and probably refer you to a more reliable RD if he/she didn’t help you meet your goals.

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39 Kim April 29, 2008 at 1:48 pm

I dont understand the counting food group thing that has been mentioned… not that I want to do it, just wondering :)

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40 Kath April 29, 2008 at 1:54 pm

chelsea ,
Thanks for your comment :) If anyone knows my WHOLE history it’s you!!

Nick ,
The green spoon is tiny so you have to eat slower with it.

Heather,
Check the FAQs, the green one :)

Julz ,
I enjoyed reading your comment – thanks!! I hadn’t thought about it as the journey so much, but you’re so right. If you go back in the blog archives, I think my eating has evolved a lot. You said it perfectly: it’s an ongoing process – and most importantly – about getting to know, trust and love your self.

rachel k,
I’m not sure I understand your comment? Did you mean to say there are internships in every state?

Emily ,
You are not weird!! As someone who has counted on and off for years, and someone who loves number crunching and organization, I can totally relate. I agree it can be as liberating as not counting! I don’t think counting is right, wrong, good or bad. It’s what works for you at the moment.

Kath

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41 Melissa (the other one) April 29, 2008 at 1:56 pm

All this talk is so inspiring! Count me in too…..I announced on my blog last week that I’m going to try this too. It is a huge commitment for me, as I’ve counted for 5 years!

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42 Ally April 29, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Muesli looks great!!

Good luck on letting go of counting calories! Whenever I am on vacation I find myself counting in my head… it’s so hard when you generally know how much you’re eating.

And congratulations on maintaining your weight, I look forward to when I am at that point :)

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43 Kenzie April 29, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Can you post your muesli recipe? Thanks!

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44 Kath April 29, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Kenzie ,
Just mix all of the above ingredients together and let sit in the fridge for about an hour – or longer.

Kath

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45 Nikki April 29, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Go Kath!!

p.s. your muesli looks amazing!

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