LENELLA   6,414
5,500-6,999 SparkPoints
LENELLA's Recent Blog Entries

I'm Back!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Hello all my friends at SP! It is so good to be back and be among you. I have missed being here, and have miss the accountability. However, I am grateful that I have not gained any weight during my sabbatical, but with that being said, I feel I have missed a month and a half of not losing as well. Being offline (which was not a decision to do so, but circumstances beyond my control that made it happen) drilled into me very deeply that I need SP! I can't manage on my own without being here daily.

I need to be able to track my caloric intake daily, and I am spoiled by having all of my favorites foods right there at the click of my mouse, and dwa-lah, the nutritional tracking pops right up. This is important to me because I no longer have a nutrition book in which to look up nutritional and caloric values on food. And I love the end of the day pie chart so I have a visual of what I have done that day. Yeah!!!!

I also love the weight tracker. The graph is great and lets me have a visual of what I have been doing. I hate to see that graph go up even one pound, and so it serves as an incentive to continue to work hard to keep the graph coming down.

The exercise tracker is so valuable as it allows me to see each day what calories I have burned for the week, and how much more I need to burn if I want a regular weight lose.

I also love to track my SP points. It has become a game to me. And while I love to post to the game rooms, it is in me to make sure that I have received enough points doing other things as if the game post were not even included. For me it is an easy out to post to games just to receive daily points. I do it for fun, not for the points. That is why it is important to me to watch videos, read article, and be involved in other things to get those points.The articles and videos are so valuable that you can't put a price on them.

I am a visual and hearing learner. I need both things to stimulate my brain in order for it to stick. That is what I love about the articles here on SP as well as the videos of nutrition, exercise, and whatever else is available.

SP is such a wonderful and fantastic site with so much love and dedication put into it so others, rich or poor, short or tall, Asian or Latino, over weight or wanting to stay fit can all benefit from. SP is a place for all people all over the world no matter their geographical location, their disability, or their ethnic background. SP is for ALL PEOPLE, EVERYWHERE! Where else can you find this principal in place? Very few places.

Thank you SP for bringing this venue to the world to help people all around the world to become fit and stay healthy. You are truly a life saver for many.

It is so good to be back!

Love and Peace,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUVTOBOWL 10/10/2013 8:40PM



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1HAPPYSPIRIT 10/8/2013 5:33AM

    emoticon emoticon

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BRADMILL2922 10/8/2013 5:21AM

    emoticon Glad you found your way back!

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STEPH-KNEE 10/8/2013 2:05AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SADIEMAE32 10/7/2013 10:21PM

    emoticon Glad to see you're back online emoticon

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PIXIE-LICIOUS 10/7/2013 8:29PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GWTRIKER 10/7/2013 7:42PM

    Welcome Back!!

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ROSAMARCELLE 10/7/2013 7:33PM

    My views exactly. Slow and steady is the best way, and using the fitness and nutrition trackers helps to keep me motivated and on track. emoticon

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TURTLE69 10/7/2013 7:11PM

    I can't function without the Nutrition and Fitness Tracker. The Nutrition Tracker helps me to keep track of the calories I eat of all the different foods. Plus, with the food calculator I can input foods that I make and find out the calories from them. I just love it. The Fitness Tracker helps me to keep track of how many calories I burn, which I haven't been able to always track. I love SP and I was AWOL back in 2009. I can't see myself without SP now.

It is good to have you back using the tools SP has to offer. Remember we are here for you to help you with your life style change.

emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/7/2013 7:14:30 PM

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PENNYPEARLS 10/7/2013 6:48PM

    Oh, I am THRILLED to see you back!! Yes, SP is an absolutely wonderful site. I am very grateful to be a part of it. Welcome back!! emoticon emoticon

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HENABELLE 10/7/2013 2:40PM

    emoticon It has been a long time! I have been working diligently at losing this past month. Since the fall weather is here, I've gotten back to walking. Now that you've returned, your motivation will return as you use the SP features of accountability! emoticon

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KIMPY225 10/7/2013 12:22PM

    It is tough for me to stay on track if I don't use the Spark food tracker!

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My heart aches...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dear friends,

I was able to jump on here for a short moment this evening and I wanted to share something with you.

The other day I was perusing the message boards, adding comments here and there when I stumbled upon a room that the title seemed interesting, but when I went in I was a little shocked at what was being written. Most of the comments were about all kinds of fattening desserts, and how they could not wait to eat their pies, their ice cream, etc.

It brought back a memory to me when I first started to lose weight I used to go to TOPS club with my mom. Now she did lose weight, and she was able to keep it off. But most of the ladies there were not serious about losing weight, and all they wanted to do was get through with the weigh in, the meeting, so they could all decide what restaurant they were going to that day. Most of the ladies literally "pigged out" with the excuse that they have the rest of the week to lose it. You see, they used the club as their social outlet.

So whether it was right or wrong, I honestly can't say. A couple of them responded with shocked responses, but most just ignored that I wrote anything at all. But I will say this. One lady contacted me about the message I wrote and said that it was timely for her, because she was having a hard time getting started about. If I helped just that one, then it was worth it. I want to share with you what I wrote. Here it is in its entirety.


Cheerleader Lenella:

Don't allow the cravings of food control you. You are worth more than that. You will feel euphoria for only a short moment, then the regret, the condemnation, and the depression will soon follow. Is it worth all of that?

Food is an addiction. It is as addictive as everything anything else in life if not more so. Because we don't see it as such. We have to eat, and there is temptation to indulge around every corner, down every street, down ever grocery isle.

We use food to overcome and hide the real problems that are going on inside of us. Many may have forgotten or blocked out the thing that started our addiction. Others just can't bring their self to talk about things because it seems easier to be judged for being fat then it is to let the truth out. We must face our demons. They are scary, but we give them power over us, and we need to fight to be victorious.

We can't change the past, but we can change the future. We can feel good about ourselves right here and now. If you want that ice cream or cookie, ask yourself, ďIs it within my caloric intake for the day?Ē If not, then put it off until tomorrow, and completely enjoy a couple of cookies, or a half of cup of ice cream, and feel good that you are controlling the amount you eat, and not sitting there eating all of it!!! Take time to enjoy every morsel. Let your tongue roll over it to enjoy every sensation that comes along with it. Eat it slowly instead of inhaling it. Enjoy the taste, and smile knowing that you are having your favorite snack, but in moderation, because you are in charge, and you are controlling it. And you will have peace of mind knowing that it is all within the limits of your caloric intake.

The same goes for exercise. It is hard to get started when you are depressed, or feeling down. But the fact is, if you begin, then it makes you feel better. It gives you energy, and you feel more alive. You don't have to start off exercising for an hour, or even a half hour. Starting off with 10 minutes a day is acceptable, then as you get used to it, add another 10 minutes, perhaps in the evening before you take your shower. You are guaranteed a good nightís sleep. There are so many great videos right here on SP.

We make weight loss harder than it has to be, because of the mental hoops we make our self jump through. I can say all of this, because I have been here over and over again. But this time it is different. This time I have faced the reason why I got fat, and continued to stay fat. I became honest with myself, and quit blaming everything else for my problems.

Consistency is the key. Learning a new way of eating that becomes a lifestyle change, and quit lying to our self that after we lose this weight we can go back to eating the way we used to. That can never happen, because the weight will come right back on. We have to change the way we eat, and realize it will be this way for the rest of our life. Some things in life must end, and can never be the same as it used to be. Eating is one of those things.

We don't have to give up everything, but some things we eat, we must learn to make substitutions. For instance, substitute nonfat Greek yogurt instead of salad dressings, mayonnaise or heavy cream. It will open up a whole new world for you.

And last, enjoy the journey along with the stimulation you get from learning a new way of cooking and eating. As we begin to exercise the pounds will roll away and we will find that we can do things that we long ago gave up on as never being able to do again.

You can do this. We all can do this. Letís do it together!

Peace and Love,


It is my hope that if any of you are struggling right now that perhaps this will be a light shinning in your darkness and help you to lift your head so you can get back on the right track. :-)

Take care everyone.

Peace and Love,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SADIEMAE32 8/19/2013 12:00PM


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JENNNIC1 8/18/2013 2:11AM

    So true

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NEVERORNOW 8/17/2013 9:26PM

    emoticon Well said!

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ANRRN12 8/17/2013 8:44PM

    Thanks Lenella, I really did need this :)

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PENNYPEARLS 8/16/2013 9:33PM

    Very well said! emoticon

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MEMKEEPR 8/16/2013 9:18PM

    Good words of wisdom - thanks for sharing

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LEANIE64 8/16/2013 9:06PM

    You are one of the reasons emoticon

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I will be offline for a short time :-)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hey everyone,

I wanted to let you know that I will be offline for a short while.

I will miss talking with all of you, and there are so many new friends. But do not fear, I will be back. I will be manually tracking my nutrition, and weight loss. Once I am back, I will up load it all. :-)

Keep smiling, sparking, and encouraging one another as I will be back soon. Keep me in your prayers.

Love you all.

Love and peace,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SADIEMAE32 8/14/2013 7:46PM

    emoticon Take care! And keep thinking of us for motivation while you're gone emoticon

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GWTRIKER 8/14/2013 6:27PM

    Hope you are back soon

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LENELLA 8/13/2013 10:52PM

    Thanks everyone for your well wishes. All will be fine. :-)

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MEMKEEPR 8/13/2013 9:42PM

    Take care and we hope to see you back soon!


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NEVERORNOW 8/13/2013 9:04PM

    We'll miss you! Take care, and hurry back! emoticon

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PENNYPEARLS 8/13/2013 8:30PM

    We will miss you! Hope everything goes well for you during this time. emoticon

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Victory! A Winning Combination!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hello Ladies and Gents,

I am very excited today! I have been holding off blogging, because I wanted to be sure of what I have been doing really works before I shared it with you. But I am happy because it is working! Yeah!!!!

What am I doing? I am doing what we have been told to do. I have been eating the right amount of calories and exercising. And yet this past week I have not had the chance to exercise until yesterday, because I had an unexpected surgery on my foot to remove a growth that came up suddenly. But in spite of that, I continue to lose weight, slowly but surely.

Previously I have talked about considering having bariatric surgery, but have since decided against it. However, one of the benefits that has come out of it, is a local charitable foundation whose whole mission is healthy lifestyle. They offer free nutritional classes to anyone who wants them, rich or poor, they are free to all. You can either attend a class, or you can have a one on one private session. When considering bariatric surgery, you must go through three to six monthsí worth of nutritional classes to qualify for the surgery. That is how I came to find out about them.

So even though I decided not to have the surgery, I elected to do the classes. And believe me, I know what I need to do, but it helps to have this additional boost for accountability. So I decided to use the one on one monthly session. My nutritionist loves the Spark program that allows her to see all my daily meals, and the pie chart for each day. I download them on a flash drive, and she can look at any given day.

This past month was my first visit with her. She said I was doing everything right, except for two things. She wanted me to keep my caloric intake to 1200 or above, and she did not want me to have big loses. She said that one to two pounds a week allows my body enough time to catch up with the loss, and prevents starvation mode.

This is a big deal for me, because I always thought unless I was losing big numbers, I was failing myself. Now I am happy with the slower pace, with the consistent process of losing a couple of pounds a week. I am enjoying the process more instead of feeling I have to punish myself, and starve myself to lose weight. According to the Sparks calculator, that should put my final weight loss goal around March 2015. That isnít bad at all. I mean, I have been fat for years, what is a couple of years out of my life that allows me to be a healthier me.

Mentally I am relieved. I have learned that if I continue to eat right, and exercise regularly, I can lose weight. This is a success formula for me. I have also learned that there are plenty of workout videos on Sparks that cause me to move and get in some daily activity. Even if I canít do everything they want me to do, I can modify the exercises to my abilities. I have started with the beginnerís videos, and as I progress and lose more weight, I am excited about moving into the more difficult videos.

For instance, I cannot get down on the floor due to the arthritis in my knees. My weight plus my bad knees means that once I am down on the floor, I canít get back up without great difficulty. So instead, I use my bed to do my floor exercises. And there are some other injuries in my body that does not allow me to raise and extend my right arm above my head, so I go through the motions with my body, but I end up leaving my arm down.

I am really stoked about all of this!!! For the first time in my life, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I finally have a winning combination! I am eating right, I am exercising, and I have a nutritionist that keeps me on track, one that I can be accountable with each month to give me an extra boost.

For the first time in my life, I am being honest with myself. I have come to realize that I have lied to myself over and over again where my weight is concerned. Havenít we all at some point in time? I mean we never would have gained the weight if that were not so, right?

I am now able to accept the truth from myself when I tell myself that I donít really need those extra calories, or I donít need to devour that whole bag of chips. As a matter of fact, I donít need chips at all. There are so many other things I could eat so much better for me. So there are many things I no longer bring in my house. But if it does come in, I enjoy a little bit and the rest goes right back out the door.

It is exciting to make healthy choices, and to be able to control my eating. Take for instance, this past week I made fried green tomatoes for my son. I grew up on them as a child, and I look forward to them every year. But this year something different happenedÖI only ate two as opposed to eating a whole plate of them. Talk about victory! And to boot, they tasted so much better that way. I did not deprive myself the enjoyment of eating them, and yet, I still lost three pounds this week! This is great! I have learned how to enjoy myself, through controlling my eating habits, and especially portion size. A major, major victory for me! :-)

We can be normal; we donít have to feel like freaks, or failures. But it has taken me a lifetime to get here. I have had many failures along the way. It was not until I got into the right frame of mind that I now have victory. I had to realize that I had no other choice, I must change my lifestyle. Once we come to this place in our life, then we can better fight off the negative things that come up to derail us.

I no longer eat the way I used to eat. I have learned to love vinegar on my veggies with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and it tastes more delicious than dredging them with ranch dressing. I have also learned that tomato juice is also my friend for making dressings, and to cook with. It cooks down and thickens up, and it then clings to my pasta. Lemons are something else that I love to add in my tomato juice based sauces, as it adds that zing, fresh taste. The sauces are sooooo low in calories! Victory!

I have learned to get away from cream based sauces, cream in my tea, cream in everything and to eat healthy. And if I do need milk, I whip out my almond milk. There is nothing more delicious than to drink a glass of almond milk with a teaspoon of maple syrup! Omg! it is sooooo yummy!

I hope I have encouraged you. Once we get past the belief that we canít give up our favorite foods, and we begin to experiment with other foods, we then come to the understanding that we can eat healthy and enjoy the foods we eat, all in moderation. It opens up a whole new world to us; a more healthy world.

Peace and Love,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEPH-KNEE 8/11/2013 8:23PM

    You are doing amazing and you have the right attitude for true success!! You are ready to lose weight at a steady pace and that is the way to do it! emoticon emoticon

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MEMKEEPR 8/11/2013 7:10PM

    Enjoyed you blog - thanks for sharing and inspiring us

Joan emoticon

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GWTRIKER 8/11/2013 6:21PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LENELLA 8/11/2013 4:26PM

    Sadie Mae,

I uploaded the recipe for you. You can view it here.



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SADIEMAE32 8/11/2013 12:51PM

    emoticon What an awesome blog!! Do you have any links to those saucy recipes? I've never thought of using tomato juice.... and I would also like to know, do you just drizzle vinegar on your cooked veggies?

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NEVERORNOW 8/11/2013 11:46AM

    emoticon The realization that you need to take responsibility for your weight rather than blaming it on other things is a HUGE step in the right direction. Congrats on your decision not to have the surgery. I really admire you for that. This is a great blog and you are an inspiration! Keep up the great work!! emoticon

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PENNYPEARLS 8/11/2013 11:03AM

    Great blog! Very inspiring. You are doing fantastic!! emoticon emoticon

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Losing Weight After Menopause

Saturday, August 03, 2013

I recently made this reply on a SP Board and wanted to share it with you.

The first thing I want to say is congratulations for not giving up on losing weight, and starting the process all over again. DONíT buy into the lie that you canít lose weight once you have gone through menopause. And donít buy into the lie that youíre never going to lose weight, so you will just accept it and stay fat the rest of your life.

SparkPeople is living proof of that both of these are lies, as there are many women who are success stories after menopause. Losing weight after menopause doesnít have to be any harder than it is for anyone else. What it does take is determination and dedication. You must make losing weight a priority by making it your daily focus, because YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Measure Everything

The first thing you must learn to do is measure everything! Donít guestimate; it doesnít work. Until you are comfortable with, and can learn to judge by your eye how much you are using or eating, measure it. That way you know exactly how much is going into your body. It really does help and work.

Keeping a journal: Becoming a fact finding food scientist

One of the best tools you can do for yourself is to keep a daily journal. In this journal you will need to record the following things:

Journal Records

ē A morning daily weight (after you have had a morning elimination)
(This can eventually be changed to once a week when you have
become comfortable with knowing your body.
ē Record everything you eat each day, and record information like
what time you ate, and whether or not it is a new food.
ē Record how it made you feel after you ate it; whether your body
feels hungry, good, full, or bloated.
ē Also record what kind of activity you did for the day, and when you did it.

ē Each morning after weighing yourself, evaluate whether you had a weight loss, a weight gain, or stayed the same.
ē Look at when you ate what food. You may find that you canít eat carbs past a certain time of the day, and you can only eat protein and green vegetables in the evening, with a fruit snack right before going to bed. You will also learn what foods you can eat together and what foods is better eaten at different times.

These are things I have learned about my body through keeping a journal. I hope this gives you insight on how important keeping a food journal is.

Eliminating certain foods, or limit how often you eat them:

I know that it is said that you should not eliminate any foods from your diet. And that probably works well for a lot of people, but for me it doesnít. There are some foods that I have learned that I can no longer eat, and I am fine with that. Some things in life are final, and we have to learn to accept that. There can be no going back, so we just get over it and go on.

You may need to retrain your pallet, and I find that now since I am out of menopause three years, (now 58) I find it is so much easier to eliminate certain foods from my diet. I donít like the sickening sweet cloying taste of rich foods and desserts anymore.

Here is my list of foods that I either have completely eliminated or rarely eat.

Foods Eliminated

Cream: This truly was my nemesis. I loved it, and it loved me. It put the pounds on daily as I loved it in my tea. I no longer allow myself the luxury. I love myself more than I love the cream. And I have to tell you that eliminating this one item has caused me to have so much more energy.

Ice Cream: This is one pleasure that I have decided not to eliminate from my diet, neither do I allow it to come into my house. I enjoy this on a very limited base. It is usually at a celebration, and then I limit myself to Ĺ cup, period.

Breads: I have found that my body doesnít do well with yeast breads. I can have flat breads, tortillas, and crackers, but nothing with yeast in it. It just will not allow me to lose weight.

Fried foods: Completely eliminated

Rich Desserts: Completely eliminated. I may taste it at someoneís request, but that is the extent of it. I taste it and then forget it. I donít think about it, and I donít dwell on it. It will not be a temptation in my mind. I will not give it the power to control me. I control it!

Cheese: I have eliminated almost all cheese. I find that it does not work well with my body. It seems to give me constipation. But if I do partake, it is parmesan or the soft cheese Swiss. My body seems to do well with both of these.

Foods I have replace with other foods or have decided not to give up at all

Milk: I have replaced this with Almond milk. It is my new friend. I love Almond milk, and I no longer have that heavy feeling in my stomach after drinking it. If you cannot pallet the taste, which I donít have a problem doing, you can add just a smidgen of maple syrup, honey, or organic sugar. Not too much though, you donít want to add those extra calories.

You can also add fresh fruit such as strawberries, or blueberries for fruity milk, just whirl it together in the blender. If you want a milk shake, just add frozen fruit. It really does work wonders.

Silk Almond milk for 8 oz. is just 30 calories. You can truly drink it all day long.

Sweeteners: I cannot stomach sweeteners. I have tried them my whole life, but I just canít get past that sickening sweet bitter taste. Stevia doesnít even do it for me. So I have decided that I simply will be very limited in my use of sweetening agents. I use three, the same as afore mentioned above. Maple syrup (2 Tablespoons in my yogurt is simply heavenly). Honey (I find this works best in things that are not hot because it then takes too much, unless it is baked items. And the last is organic sugar. Why do I specify organic? Because I have found that it seems to be sweeter, and it takes so much less than regular sugar when sweetening something like tea. And, I like the taste of it better. It seems to fill me up.

Mayonnaise or sandwich spread: Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip just add calories. This one was a hard one for me to give up. But I found a substitution. Non-fat Greek Yogurt. It works wonderful as a substitute. For a savory taste, I like to add seasoned salt with onion and garlic powder, and a little bit of dried parsley, and a pinch of honey. Then I add some lemon juice. OMG! It is unbelievable how good it is! You can have your chicken salad and eat it too! (ha ha!)

Butter & Olive Oil: I love butter, and it is one dairy item I choose not to give up. But I have decided to limit myself it use. I use Olive Oil for most things, but once or twice a week, I allow myself a pat or tablespoon of butter, depending upon whether I am eating it on something or cooking with it.

On last bit of adviceÖkeep your body guessing. Donít allow your eating habits to become predictable, because your body will get used to it and then stall. Allow yourself that cupcake, or ice cream every now and then. Eat buttered noodles, and mix it up a bit. Have some malted milk balls, but donít bring them in your house. Buy a few and let them be gone, or give the rest away. But when you eat them, donít do them all on the same day, and donít think you can do it tomorrow because you did it today. Just every now and then.

So there you goÖmy take on losing weight after menopause. When you are losing weight, you will never be successful if you donít make it a lifestyle change. You will never be able to go back and eat the way you used to eat after you lose weight, or you will put it all back on again. It has to be permanent.

You can do all of these things a fore mentioned above, and still not lose weight if you do not exercise. You MUST exercise. Start out slow even if you have to do things sitting on a bench or in a chair. I learned how to walk again by walking up and down my hallway, and before you knew it, I was walking a mile outside on a trail!

I still have a long way to go on my weight loss journey, but this is my final weight loss journey, because I am readyÖto live again, to enjoy life again, and I am determined to do it. It is no longer an elusive dream, but an attainable goal. :-) We can do this!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    In a search here at Spark regarding weight loss after menopause, your blog has been a life line! I am facing surgical menopause come next month, and fear weight gain.. not for vanity sake, well maybe a little, but mostly for not wishing to add issues to my daily health ( I have fibromyalgia and heart/BP issues run in family).

I have always been active, but with different health issues cropping up over the years, one with my bladder last year, I had to take a break from time to time... each time I do I pile on about 5-6 pounds and thank goodness that is it, but each time I do that it takes a lot more to get it off.. I have been working since January keeping a food diary and walking nearly every day, currently 4-5 miles on most. I eat about 1200 calories most of the days and unfortunately fall into that trap where I eat the same things each day as it is easy, but do have a meal here and there or a snack/treat that is high calorie to hopefully get the body unstuck... unfortunately each time it jumps a pound or two ( even with not eating that many more calories to explain it).... so then back to square one for a week GRRRR... that all being said I manage to drop about a quarter of a pound a week... still not seeing my measurements go down oddly enough, but think it is the hormones as I have a monthly that only gives me a 5 day break most months for the last three years!

Anyway, my point, after taking the long route to getting there, I have had a lot of anxiety about the weight issue, the shifting of weight etc and dealing with HRT's etc, not to mention the fact that I will not be able to walk and at the distances that I do for awhile after surgery.... your blog and good advice and cheering on ect, has helped quite a bit... so than you!

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LENELLA 8/3/2013 4:42PM

    Thank you for your encouraging words Never or Now. :-)

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NEVERORNOW 8/3/2013 4:14PM

    Very well said!! I'm 63 and being post-menopause is NO reason not to lose weight. It's often used as an excuse, but if a woman wants to lose the weight, she'll do it whatever age and stage of life she's at. Thanks for sharing all the great advice!

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