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Kimberly Dropped 100 Pounds and Took Control of Her Health by Making Small Changes


Name: Kimberly Pinney
Username: KIMBERLY0916
Amount of weight lost: 100 pounds
Hometown: Logan, OH
Occupation: Student
Age: 38
 
Kimberly Pinney transformed her life and her body by making one small healthy choice at a time until they turned into habits that helped her lose 100 pounds and take control of three serious medical conditions: bipolar disorder, IBS and fibromyalgia.
Posted 3/9/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 30 comments   11,039 views
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'How the Spark Activity Tracker Changed My Life'


Now that thousands of people have had the chance to use the Spark Activity Tracker, we decided to find out how SparkPeople members were enjoying the Spark. We were wowed by some of the reactions we received from everyday people who used the Spark to reach goals and stay motivated. Here are three stories of our favorite "success stories" so far.
Posted 2/27/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 23 comments   11,709 views
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Erika Lost 90 Pounds and Beat Depression


Name: Erika Schnure
Username: FATGIRLRUNN
Amount of weight lost: 90 lbs.
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Occupation: Meeting Planner
Age: 28
 
What was life like before your weight loss? Just before I lost weight, I was in a very bad place personally. I had just lost my job, I was extremely depressed, and I ate for comfort during my days at home. I used a popular weight-loss program to lose 55 pounds in 2010, but once I lost my job and couldn’t pay for the food anymore, I gained every single pound back, and then some. This landed me at 230 pounds at 5 foot 6 inches tall. I was completely miserable. In just my mid-20s, I was on the verge of being categorized as having high blood pressure, and my cholesterol was very high. I had given up. I thought my weight was due to genetics, and there was nothing I could do about it, so why try to eat healthy? Why pay for a gym when working out wouldn't do anything?

What was your ''light bulb moment'' that made you get serious about losing the weight? After losing my job in DC, I ended up moving back in with my parents in the Chicago area for about a year. Shortly after I moved home, my mother, who was also obese at the time, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Obviously, I understood the genetic implications of such a diagnosis, and I knew I was in danger of the same problem. Moving home may have actually been the best thing for me, because living in the far suburbs meant that I could not just walk a few blocks to gorge on burritos and cheeseburgers at my neighborhood restaurants like I could in DC. The closest fast food restaurants were miles away and required a car trip. I realized that eating as poorly as I did was just not worth it. As I made that realization, I discovered that eating well was not only a lot cheaper and easier, it was much more delicious!

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey. 
Posted 2/16/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 37 comments   15,952 views
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How One Couple Worked Together to Lose 267 Pounds


A couple facing diabetes and other health issues joined together to start a weight loss journey that took them from sedentary and lifeless to vigorous and healthy. They now have many Valentine's Day celebrations ahead of them as a couple thanks to careful food tracking and daily walking!


Names: Steve and Debbie Cartwright
Usernames: Sac-6582 and Debarizona
Amount of weight lost: Steve lost 180 pounds and Debbie lost 87 pounds
Hometown: Peoria, AZ                 
Occupations: Steve is in ministry and Debbie is a facility director for a camp/retreat
Ages: Steve is 54 and Debbie is 52
Posted 2/9/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 38 comments   11,321 views
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Jennifer's Resolution Started from the Inside Out


Today we share our final success story from our 2013 New Year’s Resolution Keepers.  Jennifer decided to deal with her depression by committing to a complete health makeover. Learn how she changed her outlook and her life by trying new things, setting mini goals and pushing herself beyond what she thought she was capable.
Posted 2/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 25 comments   9,038 views
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How Vowing NOT to Lose Weight Helped Amy Slim Down


This month we have been highlighting Success Stories for people who set New Year's resolutions last year and stuck with them, to help you begin your own journey to success. Today we introduce you to someone who started 2013 with a resolution to try new foods instead of a goal to lose weight, which had previously not been successful. What she found was the year she chose not to set a weight-loss goal and focus on something else, she actually achieved weight loss, too!
Posted 1/26/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 19 comments   11,575 views
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How Kicking Cigarettes Changed Amanda's Life


Many of us begin the new year with a desire for a fresh start in a new direction. With the right habits, motivation and support, our goals can become so resolute they carry us to places we never imagined. We want to help you remain steadfast in your healthy living quests this year by introducing you to several people who set goals for 2013--and stuck with them all year long.  
Posted 1/19/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 10 comments   7,074 views
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How Janna Lost Weight and United Her Family


Last week we introduced you to Amanda, who successfully kept her 2013 New Year’s Resolution to kick the nicotine habit. Today we introduce you to a single mother that achieved her 2013 resolution to lose weight and helped her family get healthier at the same time.

Name: Janna Miller
SparkPeople Username: jannamiller
Hometown: Colona, Illinois
Occupation: Special Education Teacher
Age: 43
Starting weight: 240 pounds
Current weight: 170 pounds
 
What was your New Year's resolution? My New Year's resolution was to lose 70 pounds by January 1, 2014.

Why did you set a New Year's resolution? On New Year’s Day 2013, I was 240 pounds, taking meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. I was also told I had a slow brain bleed. I had no energy and always felt sick. Being a single mom, I knew I was not going to be around for my kids if I didn’t change. So I finally decided to change.  My youngest son was also severely overweight and having similar medical issues. I knew I needed to be a good mom, which meant being a good role model to him.

What did you do to stay motivated? I was very lucky. We went into this project as a team -- my mom, my son, and me. As a former athlete and a current coach of three sports, it fit my personality. We gained strength from each other. We motivated each other, we held each other accountable for our actions and we celebrated each other’s victories.

Why do you think you stuck with your resolution when so many people give up? Our entire family was on board with the program. They knew we needed to do this, and if that meant changing around the menu or adding some more activities, they were all for it. They also would keep us motivated to keep doing our program. If we slipped--and we did at times--they would kick us in the butt and get us going again.

What tools, routines, habits, and motivators did you find most helpful in sticking with your resolution? It became important to plan meals, something I was not very good at. We also got rid of A LOT of food that was just not possible to have on our new lifestyle. This was very helpful for me because if I see it I will eat it. My daughter was a two-sport letterman in high school and in the Army Reserves, so weight is not currently an issue for her. She would keep all of her snack in her locked room! We found snack foods that we could have and made sure we had those on hand for weak moments. We would do weekly weight checks with our doctor’s office every Friday after school, and that helped keep us on track. I also joined the weight-loss challenge at school each quarter, and we weighed in every Wednesday.

Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it? I have had many plateaus. Sometimes I was not eating enough and my body let me know so I would up my carbs for a few days and then I would be back on track. Sometimes I needed to change my workouts. I just kept telling myself: This is not about now, this is about always. If you take a short break, that is OK, just come back!

What was the hardest part about committing to your New Year's resolution? For me, it was finding the time to do things for myself. I am a single mom of four active kids. I teach special education, which has a lot of paperwork and individual planning, I coach three sports, I run a very active youth-service group that always has activities, and I have a huge, close extended family. It is hard to fit in "me" time.

Did you experience any other benefits (improved relationships, reach other goals, improved self-image/confidence etc.) while sticking with your resolution? I can keep up with my kids and my great-nephews more!  I am now thinking about trying to date if I can fit it in!

What advice do you have for others who might set a similar resolution for this year? It is not a new diet and you can’t think about it that way. You need to change your lifestyle because you and your family are worth it. Sometime we get into these old habits, and we know they are not working for us but they are comfortable. It will take time to make the new habits feel comfortable just keep working at it.
Get a support system! Make it a team effort! Who can’t get a little healthier?

Now that you've succeeded with this resolution, have you/will you set any other goals?  Yes. I think I am going to go back to school.

How did SparkPeople help you achieve success? I have been motivated by a lot of the articles on SparkPeople.  They have lots of good information and even if you only use a little it helps move you in the right direction.  Remember a healthy lifestyle is not a sprint--it is a marathon. Slow and steady will get us to a healthy life.
 

How about you? Will 2014 be the year you reach your goals? The best way to set yourself up for success is to make sure that your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Using these guidelines is a proven way to create goals that you can stick with for the long haul. After reading the explanation of SMART goals in this article, print out this goal-setting worksheet to create your own SMART goals to make 2014 the year you find success.
Posted 1/12/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 15 comments   6,629 views
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Marie Lost 141 Lbs--Read More on HuffPo Healthy Living


Marie Dozier (FEB_SHOWERS16), a 30-year-old nurse who lost 141 pounds using SparkPeople, is featured on Huffington Post Healthy Living this week.
Not only did Marie lose the weight and keep it off, but she also beat a sugar addiction, too.

Check out her story here, and if you're also struggling with a sugar addiction, you might be interested in our four-week Tame Your Sweet Tooth Challenge.
Posted 1/5/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 15,606 views
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SparkPeople Success Story in 'People' Half Their Size Issue!


One of the best parts of working at SparkPeople is watching people reach their goals and achieve things they never thought possible. Today, we're sharing with you the story of a woman who not only lost weight (more than 200 pounds) but also--as of this week--crossed a major goal off her "bucket list."

Tracy Meuschke (TRACY31502), a stay-at-home mom from South Bend, IN, is featured in this year's "Half Their Size" issue of People magazine. If you ever doubted whether you could lose weight and keep it off the healthy way, just look at Tracy for inspiration. We know her story is going to inspire so many people who are just starting their journey, who are where Tracy was just a few years ago.
Posted 1/3/2014  3:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 27 comments   20,047 views
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How Sandy Lost the Baby Weight for Good


Sandy Clark (ORANGECOWCAT)
Weight Lost: 70 pounds
Hometown: Roland, Iowa
Occupation: Group fitness instructor and stay-at-home mom
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
I got pregnant with my son in 2006. Prior to that pregnancy, I was always at a normal body weight and didn't have to work much to maintain that weight. During my pregnancy, I gained more than 60 pounds. After delivering my son, I realized that those 60-plus pounds were not really necessary during my pregnancy! I lost about 35 pounds within the first few months, but when I went back to work, I started to gain all the weight back, plus some more. I was working 60 to 70 hours a week and felt miserable because I was struggling to make time for myself to make me feel better. The more miserable I felt, the more I struggled with my weight. I'd never been overweight in my life and to struggle with it now felt awful. I wanted to be happy with my new life and my new family, but I hated how I looked and how I felt.  Although I was still trying to be active, I found that most of the time I really just wanted to sit around and feel sorry for myself.
 
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
I wanted to lose the weight from the beginning, so there was never really one factor that pushed me to do it. I was unhappy with how I looked, and I was tired of wearing baggy clothes to try to hide my size. My wedding rings were tight, and I absolutely hated all the pictures I saw of me with my baby.  I didn't want to be close physically to my husband because I was repulsed by my weight. And I was just sad. All these things together really pushed me to want to get serious about the weight loss. However, when we had our fourth miscarriage a few months after my son's first birthday, I decided that I was going to lose the weight for good. I was going to have a healthy lifestyle so that I would be around to enjoy my son's life, see him grow up and hopefully have some more kids!
 
Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
Posted 12/22/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 16 comments   7,671 views
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Watch: How Dave and Julie Lost 220 Pounds


Dave (dave3977) and Julie (jujumiller) Miller joined SparkPeople in February, just after starting their weight-loss journey. In just 11 months, they have shed more than 220 pounds--137 for him and 87 for her, with another 60 and 30 to go, respectively. What a great success story!

Now the couple is being called "Cleveland's Biggest Losers" by their local TV station WKYC. This morning, they were on the news to show off their slimmer, healthier selves and share the secrets to their success.


Watch the two-part segment here.

Posted 12/18/2013  4:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 44 comments   18,130 views
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How Jen Lost 110 Pounds and Transformed Her Life


Jen Rinehart (BLONDBIKEGIRL)
Weight Lost: 110 pounds
Hometown: Lacey, WA
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
I got married, got a life, got stressed, got bored and got lazy. Our marriage was centered on good food and TV and not being incredibly active after our sedentary workday. I didn't feel good about myself. I hated shopping for clothes, and I couldn't believe I'd gotten so big.  I didn't think I could get the scale to do what I wanted it to do, so I felt very hopeless and complacent about my weight.   
 
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
When I decided to leave my husband I was getting sick -- very sick. I took my two of my cats and a few of my belongings and went to my parents’ home about 30 miles away. I took off my ring, handed it to my dad and went to lie down -- for what ended up being five weeks. I was admitted to the hospital with plans for exploratory surgery to discover why I'd lost 38 pounds in five weeks and could no longer even get my body to hold water. I then spent 21 days in the hospital and walked out those doors vowing that I would forever respect my body as I never had before. I was alive, and thankful to be so, and the fact that I had to wear a colostomy for the next six months seemed a small price to pay. That 38-pound loss in the hospital was a spark for me to keep going.


Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
Posted 12/15/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 31 comments   12,537 views
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Lisa Quit Dieting--and Lost 78 Pounds


Lisa Walton (LUCKEGIRL40)
Weight Lost: 78 pounds
Hometown: Papillion, NE
Occupation: Disaster Recovery Analyst
 
What was life like before your weight loss?
I have had a weight problem most of my life. I can still remember the first time my mom looked at me and told me I needed to lose weight. I was only about eight years old at the time, so I decided to put my leotard on and run around the house for a while. I took the scale to my mom and showed her that I had "lost" weight. She told me that that's not how it works. My mom was concerned about me and would continually try to get me to lose weight over the years. She tried everything, including bribes. I heard time after time that I wouldn't be able to get a good job or get a boyfriend if I continued to be heavy. I was very stubborn and tried to prove my mom wrong. I tried diet after diet and would experience temporary success only to jump back up to a higher weight again. I got married to my high-school sweetheart when I was 21 years old. Soon, he picked up where my mom left off with the lectures about my weight. I wanted to feel like my husband could accept me for who I was. After that, my weight skyrocketed. I got all the way up to 240 pounds when I was pregnant with my first child. At 5'3", I was pretty big. I lost some weight after giving birth, but began a cycle of yo-yo weight loss and weight gain for a few years.  At a doctor’s visit in July 2010, I felt crushed when I looked at the scale and it read 220 pounds again.  I was almost back at my pregnancy weight.

I felt awful. I couldn't stand looking in the mirror. I continued to feel my jeans getting tighter and tighter. I was grumpy with my kids and my husband. I constantly thought about how other people viewed me as a fat person. I felt self-conscious when I would sit in chairs and worried about whether I was crowding the people next to me or if the chair was going to hold my weight. I thought about my weight most of the day every day. It was miserable. I didn't feel like I was worth the time of day. One day, I sat on the floor during a very crowded meeting, and I had a hard time getting up off the floor. I realized that the problem was getting out of control.   
 
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
My grandmother was diagnosed with Type II diabetes when she was about 60 years old. She also had macular degeneration and high blood pressure. In May 2010, my grandmother was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, and she passed away on June 1, 2010 at age 81. I was very close to her, and it hit me very hard when she died. I decided that I was going to use her death as the motivation I needed to start my weight-loss journey. I wanted something positive to come out of her death.  I take after her in a lot of ways, and I don't want to develop high blood pressure or diabetes.  I was also at my highest weight at the time of her death, and I couldn't stand myself anymore. I needed a change. I needed to be able to look myself in the mirror and be happy with what I saw. I needed to be able to not dread putting on my pants.
 
Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
Posted 12/8/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 54 comments   13,463 views
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Find Out How Gregg Lost 70 Pounds


Gregg (GREGGWEISBROD) has lost 70 pounds, thanks to running and giving up junk food. Read his full weight-loss story on Huffington Post Canada Healthy Living!  

Congrats, Gregg!
 
Posted 12/4/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 13 comments   6,756 views
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