November 2007...I barely recognize myself:)

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Hi! I'm a 28 year old single mother of a beautiful Shih Tzu named Lita. Although I've attempted to lose weight a multitude of times, my most recent motivation came from the end of what surprisingly (to me at least) turned out to be a pretty dysfunctional relationship. In the beginning my weight loss journey started as "revenge" to show he-who-must-not-be-named what he left behind. (Every girl knows about the break-up diet) However, I've moved past that. Now, every pound is for me, my health, and my future.

The first month and a half I consider my Depression Diet Stage. I ate maybe once a day and usually fast food. I admit I existed off of McDonald's sweet tea, sausage biscuits and chicken nuggets for way too long. Towards the end of February (month #2), I started eating healthy and joined SP.

Having been overweight my entire adult life, I realized I needed to focus on CHANGING the way I eat instead of DIETING. Losing weight consists of three parts: exercising, eating right, and staying motivated. Every day is a struggle, but it’s a struggle I’m winning! Having FINALLY broken into one-derland, my current goal is to lose the last forty pounds to get to my goal weight of 158 pounds.

My current fitness program focuses on Cardio every day and strength training three times a week. I walk and do Turbo Jam for Cardio. I am very scientific about my weight loss and am almost fanatical about tracking my calories eaten and burned. I guess it appeals to my analytical nature. However, it has been the most helpful “new” habit that I’ve developed. It’s amazing the calories and fat grams I was consuming without thinking.

Now that I’ve reached the 70 pound mark, I've had several people ask me about my "diet." Here's my best (& honest) advice...

1. Don't ever say the diet word again. Diet implies temporary. If you are significantly overweight (like I was), you need to change your life style for good.

2. Weight loss is 70% eating correctly and 30% exercise. Feed your body good stuff, become more active, and the pounds will start to melt off.

3. Drink water. Lots of half your body weight in ounces. I rarely drink anything else. Even then I try to stick to unsweetened ice tea w/ equal. However, I do find that flavored carbonated water fills the soda craving.

4. Take a multivitamin. I stick to my vitamin schedule like glue. Every morning I take a multivitamin, calcium supplement, Iron pill (prescribed by my dr.), and St. John’s Wort.

5. Avoid foods with more than 4g of sugar or transfat per serving.

6. Eat whole grains. This was really hard for me. My favorite food is any carb: bread, rice, pasta, potatoes...but I love the new body I'm developing more.

7. Keep a journal of what you eat & fitness activities. Being honest with yourself is soooo important.

8. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits & veggies a day. If you have problems fitting them in, try scheduling your other meals around the veggies.

9. Celebrate milestones...with something other than food. Personally, I like to celebrate when I drop a size. Two months ago, I was finally able to fit into size 16 jeans. I celebrated by buying a pair of size 14's to keep in my closet:)

10. Make exercise fun. If you've never tried Turbo Jam, get yourself over to and order a DVD! Never in my life have I had success with a fitness program like I've had with Turbo Jam. Including my gym membership & personal training sessions back in 2006. Which leads me to another thing. You can buy all the fitness equipment you need to drop 100 pounds for less than $75. I have a fitness ball, resistance bands, and dumbbells and have yet to run out of ways to use them.

11. Share your journey with others. Everyone starts with just one pound. A good support system will not only help you stay motivated, it will keep you accountable. Spark Teams are wonderful for this. A word of caution…beware of grump bunnies! Grump bunnies are the people in your life who, for some reason or another, discourage your lifestyle change. Most often they don’t do it maliciously but still can sabotage a month of healthy living with a couple words.

12. Fast food is the most addictive substance on the face of Earth. Face it, crack ain’t got nothing on Mickey D’s fries. Avoid it like the devil. Even the healthy stuff is a gateway drug. If you have to eat fast food, get a grilled chicken sandwich and run. Skip the fries and the soda. They might be a deal for only $1.25 more, but you’ll still be working them off days later.

13. Never, ever, ever give up. If you fall down, pick yourself up and keep going. The only way you will fail on your weight loss journey is to give up.

Member Since: 3/1/2007

Fitness Minutes: 2,100

My Goals:
I reached my interim goal of 200 pounds in January 2008. It took me a year, but I made it! From here, it's another 40 pounds to reach my ideal weight of 160 hopefully by the end of summer 2008.

My Program:
1200 - 1550 calories a day

Cardio five times a week

Strength Training three times a week

Personal Information:
I'm a true rarity--a native Floridian! I'm a financial analyst with a BS in MIS and a MBA. I enjoy trashy romance novels, going to the movies, and spending time with friends and family. I really do believe that laughter is the best medicine and having a positive attitude is the most important part of getting through life's challenges.

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    Wow what a great motivation you are..Thanks for all the good tips..
    3546 days ago
    Best of luck on your weight loss. You CAN do it! Here are some great teams that I hope you join:

    Victoria’s Secret Angels:

    SP Hotties:
    (which just started a great challenge called Totally Toned Abs! The challenge is a great way to lose weight/ tone up before summer)

    Carmen Electra Team is for those who want to look hot! We share beauty/ fitness/ diet tips so we all can be even more gorgeous and glamorous:

    F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Fans (new team):

    Hope you join the teams. Good Luck! Have a great week.

    3573 days ago
    Welcome to Orlando & Central Florida Sparkers team!
    3621 days ago
  • v CHRISTIE2007
    HI Meri,

    I came by to say hi and to Welcome you to Orlando Sparkers. You have done tremendously well and are an inspiration. All the best to you in your continued success......Christie
    3621 days ago
  • v FOXYCHIC85
    Hi Meri

    Welcome to the Shih Tzu club!!

    I just nominated you!! I think you are a great motivation and I'm glad to have you in our team. I hope that I can actually learn from you:)

    Do venture around the team and dun forget to woof to your precious for me!

    Take care

    Much love,
    3676 days ago
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