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A successful year in numbers, facts and pictures!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This blog was supposed to have been posted yesterday but certain things came up and I only found time at about 2 am! Being too sleepy to type and upload pictures, I postponed it for today.

19th June 2011. Thatís the day my serious attempt here on Sparkpeople began. I had already been a member for almost two years but with no success. The date wasnít chosen by chance. My husband is the person who talked me into seriously trying hard to reach my goal. He is the one who made me believe that if we really want something, we can work hard and achieve it. So I chose his birthday to start my journey. And finish with this weight battle once and for all.

19th June 2012. One year later. Letís see my progress in numbers.

Weight: From 87 kilos to 69. From 191 pounds to 152.
A total loss of 18 kilos Ė 39 pounds.

Waistline: From 99 centimeters to 82. From 39 inches to 32.
A total loss of 17 centimeters Ė 7 inches.

Resting heart rate: From 94 to 66.

Blood cholesterol: From 254 to 220. (I still have to work on that one!)

Size: From 16 (occasionally 18!) to 10. From XXL to M Ė and sometimes S!

But the things Iím really proud of donít involve numbers. They are the non-scale victories, my fitness achievements, my strength and health proofs that I trade for nothing. All these things that a year ago I couldnít imagine myself doing and I couldnít actually do more than one or a few no matter how hard I tried. Iím talking about pushups, jumping jacks, lunges, planks, reverse planks, bicycle crunches. Iím talking about jogging all my way to my kidsí school. Iím talking about running up three floors in my apartment building. Iím talking about chasing my kids in the park. About health. About endurance. About strength. About freedom.

The benefits of exercise are the invaluable gift I got from my fitness journey. My strength is much more important than reduced sizes, clothes that fit or the number on the scale. Not that these didnít make me happy of course! But what makes me even happier are all those everyday moves that I can do freely now. I can bend and tie up my shoe laces without feeling that the increased pressure will make something burst! I can run if Iím in a hurry Ė no, I couldnít do this simple thing before! And numerous other things that I know many of you can imagine.

This is how I looked before:

And a before-and-after picture:

The picture on the left was taken on the day I joined SP in 2009.

I havenít reached my goal yet but I really donít mind. It just seems so difficult to lose any more weight and to break through this plateau and Iím not sure I want to go to extremes in order to see a smaller number on the scale. After all, I feel happy with the image in the mirror. And those few things that bother me can either be fixed with exercise or can never be fixed! They are just ďtime and experience marksĒ as I usually call them - just like face wrinkles. The only thing that bothers me is this cholesterol which is still a bit high and my doctor is sure that a few more pounds lost will definitely make a difference. Iíll just keep on with my healthy habits, wait and see!

What I really hope is that in 2013 on my husbandís birthday I will be able to post a blog here with the same maintained numbers and maybe some fitness accomplishments. Until then, I decided to launch a blog series about my journey. Iíll remember and share with you my thoughts, my struggles, my feelings, my success strategies. If I can help just one person to find the key to their own success, it will really be worth this journey.

Iíll just spread the Spark! Thatís my new mission.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLOOMINGLENA 9/4/2012 4:28AM

    You look great! You are an inspiration to me and thank you for all the motivation! I hope my journey with SparkPeople has the same results for me! CONGRATULATIONS! I adore you for all the things you have achieved and for your inner strength that led you to be NUOVAELLE! YOU ARE AMAZING! emoticon

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MINNA72 6/26/2012 12:45PM

    WHOA!!! Look at you, girl! You look amazing! Congrats!

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WANT2BEFIT10 6/25/2012 1:26PM

    AMAZING!!!! Look at your total transformation :) You should be so proud of yourself and what you've achieved! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ZANNBEE 6/22/2012 12:51PM

    Wow! So nice to see pics of you and your successes! Thank you for sharing your journey. Read your tribute to Jess and it made me cry. Congratulations for all that you've done! I am 6 months on my journey and I love being healthier. Way to go. You are an inspiration!

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BAKER1009 6/21/2012 11:29AM

    Elle you are such an inspiration!! I love seeing the before and after pictures. I've known your for over a year now and it's nice to finally have a face to put with your name :)
And it's cool to see just how far you've come!! You've always been a beautiful person, but I can see on your face in these pictures how much happier you are now and that's awesome!!
Yes, NSVs are just as important, if not more important, than what the scale says. I'm so glad that you realize that.

Keep up the awesome work, and I know for a fact that you'll have maintained perfectly and in 2013 you'll be so impressed with your success!!

Super hugs!!

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VENISEW1 6/21/2012 9:03AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MICHSTATE 6/20/2012 2:26PM

    Awesome job!!!!!! WooHoo!!!!

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 6/20/2012 2:21PM

    Wow-you look fantastic...and soooo much younger. You really do. Its funny how weight adds years. I know you will maintain. Keep on doing what your doing:)
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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03BFISCHER 6/20/2012 1:34PM

    Great journey!! Congratulations on your victories and the life you have gained!!!

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AEROBISAURUS 6/20/2012 1:24PM

    I LOVE your new mission. I LOVE your blog! I can't agree with you more about the non scale victories! I try to stress that to everyone I know who wants to be healthier and fitter. The scale means nothing! You are an inspiration! Way to work it! emoticon


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CATDUG19 6/20/2012 1:11PM

    Wow what a great year. Not only hav you loss a lot weight it looks like you have lost about 15 years. Congrats and keeping pushing yourself

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SHANTODD420 6/20/2012 1:08PM

    Congrats and you look amazing keep up the hardwork and dedication.


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JESSNSTONE 6/20/2012 1:08PM

    Amazing! You should be so proud of all you have accomplished! Way to go!!!

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Good luck, Jess!

Friday, June 15, 2012

When I first joined Sparkpeople back in 2009, her story was the first inspirational success story I read. I was amazed by her courage, by her struggle as a parent, by her choices and her hard work. She became one of my first Sparkfriends. Without knowing it, sheís been one of my best sources of inspiration. She became a runner. I would always read her training blogs with enthusiasm because they would always help me find the strength inside me to follow her example and find the athlete in me. Her race blogs would bring tears to my eyes. Tears of pride and happiness for a friend Iíve never met, I probably never will but has made a great impact on my life.

Her name is Jess. In the Sparkpeople world, she is known as WANT2BEFIT10.

Tomorrow sheís running her first marathon. I really wish I could be there to support her, to tell her how much I believe in her, to celebrate her successful journey in the runnersí world. But since I canít do that, I thought Iíd write this blog to offer wholeheartedly my best wishes for good luck.

So, Jess, this is for you. A little inspiration for tomorrow. For YOUR day.
You can do this. Your mind and your soul have been ready for this for a long time now. Your body has no other choice but to follow.
Iíll ďseeĒ you at the finish line!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WANT2BEFIT10 6/15/2012 4:38PM

    You are so incredibly sweet!!!! I have tears, and no words. I am so glad that I decided to log in tonight! I'll be sure to post after the race!

Jess :)

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BAKER1009 6/15/2012 7:43AM

    What a lovely tribute blog Elle!

Good luck Jess!

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The ugly truth about maintenance

Thursday, June 14, 2012

During all those past years that I had been experimenting with weight loss and different kinds of diets, me and my fellow-dieters Ė some friends that had been in the same time-consuming, energy-draining, frustrating and disappointing dieting nightmare Ė would always keep in mind the same word: maintenance! Why? Simply because in the mind of a veteran dieter that would mean the end of the torture! Going into maintenance means we have reached our goal weight and we are finally allowed to indulge on some of our favorite treats that we were forbidden to even look at during all those months of dieting! What a huge misconception!

The truth about maintenance is far from this. And there is one single, ugly truth about it that if you have adopted the way of thinking mentioned above, you probably donít want to hear about. But youíd better realize it now before you go into the above kind of maintenance and ruin all your hard efforts to lose weight.

Maintenance is not the second part of your diet. Itís not a specific period in your weight loss attempt.

Maintenance is actually the rest of your life. Period.

If you persuade yourself that now that you have reached your goals, you are actually allowed to go back to your old habits, youíre literally fooling yourself. Itís like having quit smoking. After a year of being smoke-free you decide that itís ok to have a cigarette at this high school reunion. After all what kind of harm can one do? But one leads to another and before you know it, you find yourself purchasing a brand new packet of cigarettes. And you might be thinking right now that the example is not very successful because smoking is an addiction. And Iíll agree with you. But think about when you started your weight loss journey. Do you remember how hard it was to quit on that every day soda or how difficult it seemed to resist those tasty hamburgers at the fast food restaurant at the corner? Didnít it seem like an addiction back then? Do you remember how hard you had to push yourself to go to the gym or get out the door for that run or push in the dvd and do a workout for 30 minutes? Do you know how easy it is to allow yourself to ďtake a breakĒ? And this break could actually become so long that it could easily bring you back to square one!

And at this point you might be wondering: ďSo, what? Do I have to diet for the rest of my life? Do I have to run a marathon every week in order to maintain my weight?Ē

Of course not.

While on your weight loss journey, you should always keep your mind on maintenance. No, Iím not kidding here. You should do exactly as I did when I was on diet after diet but you should look at maintenance from a very different point of view. It shouldnít seem like the life-saving oasis at the end of your strict and depriving dieting desert! It should be your guide to choosing your new way of life. Maintenance in your mind should be the equivalent to lifetime habits. Every day of your journey you should take small steps into changing your bad habits with new healthy ones. And before establishing it as part of your healthy lifestyle, you should consider: ďIs this a habit that I will be able to maintain when I reach my goal weight? Is this something that I can do for the rest of my life?Ē And make the right adjustments where necessary.

It will take time. Lots of time actually. But youíll be fighting with the right weapons. Strict diets and exercise schedules designed for Superman can bring results fast. But you have to choose if fast is more important to you than long-lasting. If you want to lose weight and keep it lost forever, you just canít choose the fast way. Because itís just changing the surface not the roots of the problem. So, at some point youíll have to do it all over again. Albert Einstein once said that doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. It makes sense, doesnít it?

So, if youíre just starting out with your weight loss journey or if, for some reason, something is just not working out and youíre not getting results, rethink about your battle. Choose your weapons wisely. Lead yourself to victory. Succeed. Because you can.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCASEY7 12/28/2012 5:08PM

    Loved the blog. I'm still trying to get the hang of maintenance and you've made some terrific points. Lots of food for thought, thank you!

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MICKEYH 11/4/2012 1:05AM

    Thank you for wonderful and Good advice. emoticon emoticon

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DNRAE1 11/3/2012 6:48AM

    Wonderful blog, Elle. I have found myself actually trying to develop habits that I can live with forever. Nutrition, exercise, and positive attitude even when things aren't going exactly the way I want are my mainstays. I still have a long way to go, but interacting with positive inspiring people like you make the journey much easier!

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MEXGAL1 11/2/2012 10:09AM

    To me maintaining never gets easy. I will say that sparks really helps as I am on line everyday and read blogs like yours that really help. For me maintaining is eating healthy every single day and on occaision eating or splurging when I am a bit under goal.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write such an inspiring blog.
Have a terrific day and week end.

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SUSIEMT 11/1/2012 8:49PM

    Yea You! Very good blog on maintenance! So very True! Keep up the good job!

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WATERMELLEN 11/1/2012 8:11PM

    What an amazing blog!! So well written, so unflinchingly focused on the reality of maintenance.

Healthy eating and exercise are changes we can sustain every day of our lives. The benefits are huge, worth every bit of the self-discipline it takes.

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AMARILYNH 11/1/2012 5:47PM

    This is SO TRUE!! A friend once told me I should make no change in my eating that I couldn't live with for the rest of my life - and I finally GOT it!! We all have to learn that every calorie eaten is NOT equal - eating real food that nourishes our bodies is very different than eating empty calories. Thanks for a great blog!! emoticon

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POPSY190 11/1/2012 5:08PM

    Sustainability is all! Great blog.

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ADRIENALINE 11/1/2012 1:50PM

    I'm so lucky that my stomache actually shrunk. I met a girlfriend for dinner and an awesome presentation of the Capitol Steps. We went to Panera Bread where I had a Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. I was delicious but I really couldn't finish it and ended up taking home half. 33 weeks and still going strong.

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XENATHOMAS 11/1/2012 1:38PM

    Good advice

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DOUBLEMME 11/1/2012 1:38PM


Very good!


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JEWELY_ROADS 11/1/2012 1:30PM


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MELAYAHM 11/1/2012 11:17AM

    I'm not at the maintenance stage yet, still heading fairly steadily towards my goal set at the beginning of joining SP. I have to admit, I am of a mind that once I get to that goal, well, first I'll review whether I need to go any lower, but then, if I decide that that weight is fine, then I was kind of hoping that I could get off eating barely more than the recommended calories for a child! I realise that I can't go back to how I was, eating biscuits and chocolate pretty much whenever I felt like, but I was kind of hoping that I would be able to add back some of it. But then, I also know that I am useless at control, so I will have to consider how I deal with that. I was kind of expecting that my stomach would 'shrink' once I'd been eating so much less for so long (3 months now), but I still feel hungry most of the time, so 'eating until you're full' is not a good tactic for me. I have to distract myself, usually on the computer.

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BESTSUSIEYET 11/1/2012 10:01AM

    Thanks for a great blog that we all need to read! emoticon

4 years ago I knew I HAD to get my weight under control. Had done it before & successfully kept it off for a couple years -- but then wandered back (one little choice at a time) into my old habits and regained all I'd lost (sound familiar??). This time I didn't set a weight goal -- I decided to build little habits that I felt I could keep doing FOR LIFE. 10 minute walks daily. Single servings at dinner. Rolls & butter don't HAVE to be part of EVERY dinner. Add a piece of fruit for mid-morning snack. Drink more water. Little by little, the pounds came off. When I'd lost 25 pounds I thought "I'll quit here" -- but that meant stopping or changing one or more habits I'd worked for months to develop! and THAT just didn't seem right! So I didn't increase my calorie range on SP. I kept walking daily. I continued to go to the gym 2x/week for strength. And I lost another 25 pounds!! I ended up losing 25% of my starting body weight!

A co-worker began a weight loss journey the same time I did -- and we lost the same amount of weight. But there the similarity ends. You see, he dieted successfully for a few months, then went back to eating the way he always had. And now his closet is full of clothes that don't fit. He gained most, if not all, those pounds back. And last week his Dr. said he HAD to lose weight and get his cholesterol down -- and so he begins the cycle again, admitting that, "You did it right" (but frankly isn't sure he wants to change his way of life forever). He jokes about needing to sit down with me and have me tell him what to eat ... but I don't think anyone else can tell you. I had to see for myself that a ceasar salad is not a healthy choice. I had to see on my tracker how many calories Thousand Island Dressing adds. I had to go online and compare menu choices at restaurants we frequent. Things that sounded healthy so often were not. I'm not sure that someone else telling me these things would have worked. I had to learn for myself and learn to make healthy substitutions.

I eat differently, but there's nothing "forbidden". I allow myself small treats (planned into my day) -- just like I did when I was trying to lose weight. And I may miss one day of exercise now & then. But I am determined to continue for the rest of my life with the Healthy Habits that I began 4 years ago. The "maintaining me" does pretty much what the "losing weight me" did. And it works! I feel good, am happy with my size & shape, enjoy being more active, and plan to continue! Healthy Habits are indeed for my benefit -- and I'm sticking with them!

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MKELLY72 11/1/2012 9:59AM

    Nicely written blog!
When people approach me about how I got where I am and how I stay here, I always say it's because I finally figured out that I had to choose techniques that I was willing to commit to FOREVER- no crazy restrictions, no insane, boot camp-styled exercise. I knew I would not sustain it, and without that, I knew (as a fellow weight loss veteran) that I would just gain it all back again. I allowed myself reasonable treats through-out my weight loss, and I learned how to eat them in moderation, because I knew if I made them forbidden I was just asking for trouble.
Everyone has subtle variances in what he/she can and will sustain as healthy habits for life, and it's so important to know ourselves and to customize our own lifestyle changes.
It is a hard truth for someone who wants to lose weight- especially for someone who has a lot to lose- the slow way is the best way to find the groove into maintenance!

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PINKANGEL73 11/1/2012 9:35AM

    Couldn't agree with you more!

After many years of dieting, losing weight and then putting it all back on with extra countless times I finally realised weight loss diets don't work long term. Then I found Sparkpeople and started to track my food every day. I could see clearly where I needed to reduce portion sizes (for me carbs) and also what meals I ate when I had a really good day on calories without feeling too hungry. I gradually developed a meal plan of foods that I enjoy, that both my OH and I can eat together, that is just now a way of life. A new permanent habit. I should perhaps say that I have always eaten a fairly balanced diet, just too much of it!

Somewhere along the way something magical changed in my thinking. Because I no longer felt like I was on a diet I couldn't go off track or take a break from it. From what? I don't have good or bad or banned foods so I no longer felt deprived, or guilty if I ate some treat or went out for a meal. I just tracked everything and adjusted accordingly over the next week or in advance if I knew in advance I would need some extra calories to use. The added bonus of just knowing I can eat anything I really want is that I seem to want the sugary foods that I used to crave all the time far less.

As I have been losing weight I have hit a couple of plateaus because being lighter I was no longer burning off quite as many calories. So I adjusted my calorie range just a little (about 100 cals per day less each time) and that was enough to start weight loss again. I still have a long way to go but the way I see it I will continue to do this until I reach my happy weight and I won't reduce the calories anymore.

Comment edited on: 11/1/2012 9:44:08 AM

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    Wonderful, very true blog. We have to be in it for the duration. I don't where along the way I threw out the diet mentality, but it happened a while ago for me. Think I read a SP article about it. You've done a great job laying out the case for ditching that diet mentality that is no more than a set up for failure in the maintenance phase - which is, like you said, simply the rest of our lives. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ELAYNE39 11/1/2012 8:17AM

    Bottom line is: You can't take off weight one way and expect to keep it off another way. Hard lesson to implement once you reach your goal weight.

Great blog!!

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KANOE10 11/1/2012 8:08AM

    That was a very good blog. It is so true that this a life long way of living. It is not a diet. If you return to your old habits, you will get the old results.
I love that quote about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Lots of excellent points on maintenance!


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ISHIIGIRL 11/1/2012 8:05AM

    I really agree with everything you said. When I started out to lose the weigh "this time" I didn't ever want to gain it back so I always had in the back of my mind the fact that I would need to make these changes for the rest of my life. WW helped me learn the lessons I needed and Sparkpeople has helped me to maintain for almost 4 yrs. Very good blog!

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SLENDERELLA61 11/1/2012 8:00AM

    Very wise. Very true. I've been at goal weight 4 years now, but still am improving my lifestyle! Thanks for your insight. -Marsha

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LOGOULD 11/1/2012 7:12AM

    Thanks for writing this blog. Though I reached my goal weight range a year and a half ago, I consider myself a newbie at the "maintenance" game. I love the thought of being able to do this for the rest of my life, but that means learning to go at it slow and steady and to be kind to myself. Lot's to learn there, but thanks to you and the rest of the maintenance team, I WILL DO IT!

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TORTISE110 11/1/2012 7:10AM

    I agree. We learn a new life style and if we embrace it, it will work for us. emoticon

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MILLIE5522 11/1/2012 6:50AM

    Great blog!
I do believe that deprivation is the worse thing that you can do. At the beginning of my new lifestlyle I promised myself that I would only eat what I truly enjoyed; that I would allow myself to eat whatever I liked on special occasions as long as I tracked the calories; to only do the exercise activities that I truly enjoyed which in my case meant dancing, walking and cycling. I looked at food as a treat to be savoured and enjoyed. I no longer rushed through my food but took my time to really appreciate the taste and texture. I reached my goal weight 6 weeks ago and I am continuing as before because I am enjoying this new lifestyle.

As for increasing the number of calories in order to not lose any more weight that I've decided needs to be done carefully. I know that as I now weigh less than I did I must be using up less calories. In my first year of my new life style I tracked my calorie intake and weight loss and worked out that my daily calorie rate was 1870 calories, in my second year this had gone down to 1770 calories. This is just an average figure and probably not very scientific but I see it as a guideline. If I keep to an average of this number I should be able to maintain.

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MOBYCARP 11/1/2012 6:48AM


I set out to think about lifestyle change, and it was still hard to adjust to the reality of it. Perhaps I lost the weight too fast, but learning to *not lose* while at the same time not going back to the habits that pushed me to obesity was hard.

A year after hitting initial goal, things are easier; but I'm still finding areas where I need to adjust my mindset and/or my habits. "The rest of your life" is taking a while to sink in emotionally.

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TRAVELGRRL 11/1/2012 6:33AM

    I've got another 10-17 pounds to lose, and I'm determined that this WILL be the last time! Thank you for the "ugly truth", but one I definitely need to hear, over and over! Thanks for a great blog.

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/1/2012 6:03AM

    I'm so glad TinaJane has been pointing us at blogs, because of course NO ONE can spend all the time reading or we'd never get our lives lived! This one is terrific... so let's boost it... so true, and such a tricky lesson to learn, but so vital to our long-term maintenance success!

You've got the secret... let's shout it from the rooftops. emoticon

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ELLEKTRA 11/1/2012 5:43AM

    Well spoken, and so true as I have been maintaining for 2 years.

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SWEDE_SU 11/1/2012 4:03AM

    exactly what i needed to read today. great blog!

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GT2SMILE 6/22/2012 4:04PM

    I LOVE your blog! This is the mind set I am trying to develop, and you've reaffirmed it for me again. Thank you!! emoticon

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ZANNBEE 6/22/2012 12:52PM

    This is a great blog!

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BAKER1009 6/14/2012 3:32PM

    Cool blog, Elle!
I have had to sort of put myself into a maintenance mode right now with my "condition". The hard part for me is adding in those 300 calories. My husband is like, well eat a pop tart at breakfast. What??!! Are you kidding me, no way! LOL!
My thoughts are, if you find a healthy life style to live along the way, maintenance mode will be much easier. I guess that's why "diets" just don't work. Because I have found a way to eat lots of healthy foods over the last year, it's easier not to slip into the old ways. I can have a scoop of ice cream and be content, and that's because I've taught myself that over the last year. I didn't deprive. I think deprivation is the worst thing one can do. I gave up white bread, and rarely ate wheat, but now that sandwiches are sounding good, they will only be made on whole wheat.

Am I making any sense or just rambling, LOL!?! I can't seem to tell with myself these days.
Anyway, you made a lot of GREAT points!! It's not easy. It never will be. But there are things you can do to make things simpler on yourself, that's for certain!!

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Dancing with the... parents!

Monday, June 11, 2012

What happens when an adult is brought in a situation where they have to do something that has long been forgotten since their school years? When, all of a sudden, you find yourself in a school surrounded by hundreds of kids, parents and teachers who are actually staring at you and are waiting for your performance?

Well, if this was some kind of research, we could easily provide some really interesting results. For those of you who havenít read my previous blog, Iím talking about the parentsí dance performance at the schoolís end-of-year celebration last Friday!

Now that I think about it, it was kind of funny. You could see a group of parents who usually preach their children daily about being strong and courageous and taking chances and not be afraid of trying new thingsÖ being the exact opposite! One could track down hundreds of anxiety symptoms just by looking at us! Trembling legs, racing hearts, over-sweating, stomach butterflies, to name just a few. In addition to this, we were the first parents to try something like that in our school. If you could see the look into the eyes of the other parents who were seated comfortably in front of us, you could ďreadĒ the high expectations in their eyesÖ

But, we did it! Iíll borrow the words from a good Sparkfriend of mine. We surprised them! And we surprised ourselves! We were good, really good! Yes, of course we made a few mistakes but we were enjoying this so much that we managed to pass on our positive energy to everyone. And, yes, we got, a big applause, and yes, we felt proud! And yes, weíll do it again next year if we have the chance.

This whole thing may seem irrelevant to Sparkpeople and our health journeys but itís not! Itís been almost a year since I consistently started trying to change my lifestyle and myself. A year ago, I would never have tried something like this. First of all, I lacked the physical endurance. Being obese and with little to no exercise in my daily schedule, I would never have made it through a half-an-hour non-stop dancing performance. Secondly, I didnít have the required self-esteem, determination and, well, guts to go ahead and dance in front of so many people! And these changes were made with the invaluable help of this community.

There are people here who have made a great impact on my life and with whom I feel like Iíve known them for years even though Iíve never met them in person. Which is kind of weird for me because I never believed in human relationships over the internet! And for months now Iíve been feeling like my relationship with these Sparkfriends is not on equal terms. I mean, when I ďtalkĒ to you by leaving messages on your page or commenting on your blogs, I ďseeĒ you. I have a visual image of you in my mind. What do you have of me? Probably, my little girly image in my profile pic Ė which is actually very characteristic of me because Iíve always loved Sarah Kay images, but, still itís nothing real. So, I made a big decision for me. I decided that itís time to meet my Sparkfriends ďin personĒ! So, Beth, Jess, Nikki, Carole, Sharon, Tammy, Suzanne, Annie, Jennifer, Minna, Sarah, Shannon, Tambi, Debbie, Whitney, Leela, Liss, Carolyne, Mitzi, Bren and all of you new or old Sparkfriends whose real names I donít know, thatís me just before dancing last Friday.

You have all inspired me, helped me and been part of my health journey.
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    very glad to meet you emoticon

I sometimes see myself in your words, and today I see someone who I *want* to be - I want to have the confidence and positive attitude that you have right now. I'll get there, because you've shown me it's possible. Thanks for being a great spark friend.

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ZANNBEE 6/11/2012 11:43AM

    I feel the same way. Nice to "meet" you! So proud of you and so proud of your accomplishment. Your outfit rocks! That must have been so much fun. I have always loved to dance but never took any classes or anything..maybe someday!

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AEROBISAURUS 6/11/2012 10:35AM

    Hey girl, heeeey! First Congrats on your dancing performance!! Here are a dozen roses emoticon you just can't see the the other 11! :P It's such a rush to do something a little out of your comfort zone, way to go! I applaud your courage! Also, you look great!!! I'm glad I got to meet you :D I think of my SP friends the same way. emoticon

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BAKER1009 6/11/2012 10:11AM

    Well hello Elle!! So nice to meet you!! You are one of my closest friends here on Spark, and the only one I have never "met". So it's good to finally meet you!

I'm so happy to hear how well things went on Friday. I was thinking of you and sending you lots of positive energy!! I'm glad you did this, and I know how far you have come to be able to do this. I'm sure your husband and daughters were proud beyond words of you!! I know I am! I hope you are all able to do this next year. It's a great thing for the kids...way to be awesome role models!!


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LILDREAMY 6/11/2012 10:06AM

    OMG! You are beautiful!!! You look GREAT and so young! :-) I can't imagine you being scared to show yourself off, but I say that when "I'm" not the one doing it, lol.

I'm so glad it went well for you. Now it's time to do and try more things like that. :-D Now that you know you can do it it'll be a piece of cake! :-D

Love the blog and very inspiring! That's exactly what I want to accomplish after Rachel is here. :-)

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Stepping way out of my comfort zone!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

And not only physically! Iím about to do something that requires lots of other characteristics which I didnít know I have, or maybe I donít! But let me be more specificÖ

Last September, at the beginning of the new school year the parentsí committee at my daughtersí school announced the beginning of a parentsí dancing class. Now, when I say ďdancingĒ, donít let your mind go to rumba, tango or other ďdancing-with-the-starsĒ kind of dances! Weíre talking about traditional dances of our country Ė I think itís called line dancing Ė which is performed in small or big groups and usually in a cycle. Still, itís difficult. It requires learning the steps, counting and being adequately fit and having lots of physical endurance. Iíve always loved dancing of all kinds. And having already lost some weight and embarked on my fitness journey, I decided to join!

The classes were really fun. They were once a week and they were a stress-relief for me. And as a stay-at-home-mom, they were also a good opportunity to get out of the house and meet with other people. But a few weeks before Easter we realized that there was a bigger challenge ahead of us! Our teacher told us that all kidsí classes traditionally take part at the end-of-the-year celebration, dancing in front of the whole school. So, we will have to do the same!!!
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Now, let me point out a few things. Iím as shy as a 3-year-old hiding behind his mom every time someone smiles at him! Iím self-conscious beyond imagination! Iím the kind of person who gets sort of ďparalyzedĒ under circumstances of stress and feeling nervous! As a student, I used to dread days like these where I had to talk, dance, perform or just stand in front of so many people! I absolutely love pictures and videos as long as I stand behind the camera! I blush when I talk in front of people I donít know very well! And tomorrow Iím going to dance in front of a whole school with so many students, parents and teachers looking at us, with cameras and lights in front of us and with my two little girls waiting to feel proud of their mommy Ė thatís the toughest one!!!

Comfort zone: circumstances under which you feel comfortable with yourself. In physical terms, when your heart rate is as high as you can handle, you can still talk without being out of breath and you feel like you still have enough endurance to keep you going. Itís surely difficult to step out of it. You must push yourself to your limits, you must be ready for more. But thereís also comfort zone in emotional and psychological terms. We usually choose activities that we feel weíre better at, that we think they are more suitable for us and we donít want to step out of this ďcomfort zoneĒ for many reasons. Weíre scared, embarrassed, we have low self-esteem, we donít believe in our abilities, and the list goes on.

But this site can do miracles! The motivation and the inspiration found here together with the changes on our bodies that weíve worked so hard for can cause a change in our attitude, too. We can take risks and try new things! We can stare back at the comfort zone weíve boldly stepped out of and wonder: ďDid I really do that?Ē

What did your weight loss make you want to try? How did you step out of your comfort zone? Were you successful? Iíd like to hear your stories and try to feel more positive for my attempt tomorrow. In the meantime, some "good luck" wishes and lots of positive vibes could be greatly appreciated! I donít want to be humiliated in front of my little girls and my husband! Keep your fingers crossed!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I wish that I had read this soon enough to send you a good luck - but you don't really need luck when you have strength, determination & some new-found confidence. Way to go!

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ZANNBEE 6/11/2012 11:40AM

    This site is amazing. For me, it's beginning to run and planning on doing a 5K. The other stepping out the comfort zone thing for me is doing strength training, as well as buying clothes that fit instead of hiding behind big baggy floor length clothes...

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CANNIE50 6/7/2012 4:07PM

    I will share with you two quotes that I enjoy: "Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone." "Everyday, do at least one thing that scares you." I also want to remind you of something - people in the audience want you to do well. They will admire you for doing this (as I do). Perhaps, once you take the first dance step, you can shed the anxiety and EMBRACE THE JOY! I do lots of things that make me nervous. Actually, I just blogged about a challenge I am taking on - if you get a minute, check it out. In the meantime, dance dance dance - you will never regret spending more time dancing. emoticon

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BAKER1009 6/7/2012 3:01PM

    I'm so proud of you and I can't wait to hear all about it Elle!!

You are not going to do anything embarrassing silly head!! You're going to look great, feel great, and do great!! Your girls and your hubby are going to be so proud of you!

emoticon Go Elle! emoticon

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 6/7/2012 9:17AM

    I know you will do awesome!

After I lost 30lbs last year, I ran a 10k race(I would have never done that before) AND I went to a wedding last summer and felt like a rocked a certain dress and shoes that I would have NEVER picked out the year before.

You can do this and your family WILL be proud of you. Have fun!!!!

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CHRISZ40 6/7/2012 8:12AM

    Wishing you the best. I enjoyed your blog.

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