Monday, June 02, 2014
You have to find the right fit!
I've been a member of Spark since 2009 and from 2009-2011 I lost about 70 pounds with the help of SparkPeople, SparkFriends and SparkChallenges. During that time I would sign up for multiple challenge teams lead by some great leaders. It helped keep me motivated and losing.
In summer of 2011 I got a little fed up with the Spark "Superstars/Motivatiors" at the time (who either led or were a part of the same challenges I was). I honestly believe it was the beginning of my downfall and the start of gaining back 45 pounds between June 2011 and March 2014.
Many of these "superstars/motivators" ALWAYS had a loss, NEVER seemed to have a tough week and their bodies looked pretty amazing. Everyone loved them and worshiped them... for me it started looking a little like a cult. And, most of the time they were not really very motivating. Some, were even a little mean. What started out to be a good thing for me, began to become very discouraging for me. I felt like I could never measure up to these folks, never lose all the weight and never have an amazing body. All the negative talk I thought I had banished slowly began to creep back in. Of course most of these are problems I have had since childhood and not the fault of the leaders/motivators. They didn't force me to feel that way - the environment I had put myself into was not a good fit for me.
I was working out all the time, tracking tons of fitness minutes and running. While I had lost weight, my body shape was seeming to stay the same - just a smaller version. I was tired and still felt like the fat girl. At some point I quit all the challenges. Then I quit tracking my food. Then I quit tracking my exercise. Then the exercise got less and less. While the exercise didn't stop all together it was much less than I was doing to lose or maintain. Then I just stopped logging on to Spark at all. I was DONE and not in a good way.
Flash forward to March 2014. I was DONE of gaining the weight. DONE with feeling like a failure at this one thing in my life I just can't seem to get right. So, with head down and tail between my legs I came back to Spark. The first thing I did was delete all the teams I was on except for one... the RV Enthusiasts (Hubby and I full time RV so like-minds...). This was the ONLY team where I felt totally encouraged and supported. It was hard writing the "hey, I screwed up but I'm back" post on the team board but everyone was so welcoming and kind. They made it really easy to come back.
They were at the end of a challenge when I came back so I jumped into the next one that lasted 8 weeks - this is our last week. This blog was actually one of our challenges!
Our awesome leader, Sharon, comes up with something different every week to push us and motivate us. It's been interesting each week to see one challenge being easy for some team members and difficult for others. It all really depends on where we are in our journey and what we are working on. It helps us realize that sometimes, baby steps are what works best. The folks on the team are encouraging and supportive whether you've had a great week or a not so great week. It's really a TEAM and I appreciate that SO much. During this challenge I have averaged losing a pound a week and that is exactly where I need to be right now. I'm not in a race with anyone but myself and I am learning (with the help of challenges) to be fierce when I can and not to beat myself up when I'm not.
The best advice I have about challenges is they work for me. They will probably work for most anyone IF you find the one(s) that are right for you. There are plenty to be found here on Spark. Check them out, read the various chat boards on the teams to see if it might be a good fit for you and what you are trying to do - lose weight, work out more, maintain your weight, etc. Look through some of the past challenges for that team and see if it's something you think you can incorporate into your life or is it too much to handle right now.
Only you will know what is right for you and it may take going through a few challenges before you find the perfect fit!