VTCRICKET84   30,532
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VTCRICKET84's Recent Blog Entries

New Year - Fresh Start!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Well, hello there Sparkland and Spark friends! I hope the year is off to a great start for each of you.

I'm going to be honest - I've been so unhealthy the past year that I'm concerned about my health. I'm currently at the heaviest weight I've ever been and feeling very, very "blah." I have set several goals for the year and I'm confident Sparkpeople will help me reach those goals!

Goal 1: Lose at least 5 pounds per month
Goal 2: Run a 5k
Goal 3: Run a 10k
Goal 4: Eat less processed foods/cook more
Goal 5: Save one-month of expenses in our emergency fund

My current weight is 285. I about cried, then I was angry, then I was really scared. I'm going to be 30 in November and I want my weight under control so that I can give myself the gift of a healthy, active life.

Today was day one for me. On New Years Day we were driving back from Michigan, and I knew I wouldn't get to the store until today. So far, I've made a green smoothie (spinach, bananas, pineapple, strawberries, milk and honey), walked 20 minutes and made homemade mustard-based ham salad to eat on homemade bread. Day one has been successful.

And day one usually is successful...but what happens around day 3, day 5, day 20? I tend to fall back into poor habits such as not being active, or eating fast food. I can't let myself do that and by blogging, being active again on Sparkpeople and planning ahead meals and exercise times, I can be successful throughout the year and beyond.

So, 2014, I welcome you and look forward to the challenges - and weight loss! - ahead.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATHYZ10 1/6/2014 8:05AM

    You've identified your goals and now, with the help of this community, you will work your way to success! You are surrounded by friends here---old and new---and together we make progress (even on those very hard days)

Welcome Back! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VTCRICKET84 1/5/2014 10:17AM

    I am very appreciative of all the support and motivating comments!! I am so glad I found my way back to Sparkpeople! Thank you!!


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BILLB000 1/5/2014 10:00AM

    Way to go and I am glad to see you making some important decisions. I have a good feeling about your doing well this year. You may have 'drifted away' from the shore but you are catching it and wanting to come back. That's a huge step. Sparkpeople is a good framework to help center us all. Thanks for sharing your struggles…. and in December we will read about your success! emoticon

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    Happy New Year! Your goals are great! I am totally in awe that you can make homemade bread. You can do anything! emoticon

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VTCRICKET84 1/4/2014 2:56PM

    Thank you for the kind comment!

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    Good luck with your goals for 2014! I know it's hard and we've all had our lowest points. Hang in there though, emoticon

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Reigniting the Spark and The Light Bulb Challenge

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hi Spark World!

It's been a LONG time...it looks like I posted my last blog in December. So many things have changed, yet so many have stayed the same.

I've been yo-yo dieting, trying to lose weight, joined Weight Watchers, etc. with no success. Not that I don't think certain diets or WW doesn't work - they just don't work for me. You know what worked for me a few years ago? Sparkpeople. It's time to come back to old faithful.

I turn 30 next year and I've begun a new "Light Bulb" challenge. Here is an excerpt from my latest blog over on happyhealthyashley.wordpress.com/ :

I have said since my very early 20s that I thought my light bulb on life - i.e. everything would make since, be clear, have meaning - would happen when I turned 30. I don't know why, and truly, I'm not quite sure what that even means, but I do know that I have exactly 64 weeks (448 days) to figure it out. And figure it out I will!

I was going to start on Saturday or Monday, because that's how I normally do things. I have to "get it all out of my system" before starting fresh only to repeat this same vicious cycle. I was talking with Peter last night and asked him when I should start and he said tomorrow. I kid you not, this is our exact conversation:

Me: I don't want to start tomorrow. I want to gorge myself with a last meal. [Yup, isn't that the classic food addict mentality?]

Peter: It's always your last meal but it never is. Don't you deserve better?

He is absolutely right. I do deserve better - so does he. He deserves a wife who has the energy to go out and do things with him, who he doesn't have to worry about her healthy, who feels like she belongs on the arm of her healthy-weight husband, who can possibly have a healthy pregnancy when it comes to have children. I want a long life with my amazing husband. I know that you have to lose weight for yourself, but Peter is a large piece of my motivation.

With that conversation in mind, I'm starting today. I may not be perfect and my fridge isn't completely stocked but losing weight and being healthy is all about figuring out what works for you. I don't want to diet; I want to have a healthy diet but I don't want to be on a diet. I don't want to always be waiting to eat normal again. I want this lifestyle to be my new normal. So last night, I canceled my Weight Watchers subscription. I truly believe that WW is an awesome program, but it just isn't working for me. It's the classic case of "it's not you, it's me." I can't be trusted with that much flexibility and will be looking at meal plans that offer variety but are tailored towards a daily calorie intake. I am going to be using my old faithful, Sparkpeople.com*. The last time I was successful at losing weight, I counted calories using the food tracker on Sparkpeople. I figured if WW wasn't really working for me at this time, then why not try something else?

To read the rest of the blog, please click on happyhealthyashley.wordpress.com/201
and feel free to subscribe if you are interested!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALISWALKER 8/15/2013 10:51AM

    emoticon I am so glad you are back!

I will send you an invitation to the Fall Challenge in a few weeks. I kept plugging and on the edge of onederland. I joined WW 3 times and it never clicked for me, bit Spark helps.

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CLASSYLADYMAY 8/14/2013 5:25PM

    You go girl.. you can do it!! you do have to find out works for you..!! first for me exercise..!! treadmill is my thing and walking.. and now yoga..!! so if you find what you love then you will keep doing it.. then food will become easier.. i do green smoothies.. it helps with cravings and i get my veggies and fruit in . So this is a journey and it does take time. i have faith in you!

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PENNYPEARLS 8/14/2013 9:55AM

    Welcome back!! emoticon

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VTCRICKET84 8/14/2013 9:48AM

    Thank you! I've missed the site a lot! I was very active about four (wow can't believe it's been that long...) ago!

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TAARON69 8/14/2013 9:47AM

    Welcome back! This is absolutely an amazing site for encouragement and motivation. Keep on keeping on. You can do this! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Weekly Recap - Dec. 10-16, 2012: The Balancing Act

Monday, December 17, 2012

When I stepped on the scale last Monday after having a sleep test for sleep apnea and seeing the numbers 274, I felt pretty awful. I let myself feel nice and "woe is me" for a bit because I needed to capture that feeling. I need to remember how awful, unhealthy, painful and embarrassing it was for me in that moment.

But then it was time to move on from that moment, that scale and those numbers.

It was time to make a plan and to create ways to reach my goals. So later on in the week, I hopped back onto Sparkpeople, I started tracking my food and I've been a daily user of Sparkpeople again.

Monday morning through Friday lunch I did really well. I was making healthier choices, eating fruits and veggies and making conscious decisions about what I was eating. I was mindful of how many calories those cookies would set me back. Though I wasn't perfect, it was the best week I had had in months!

Friday night we did have dinner out, then Saturday we met up with family for a pre-Christmas gathering. It was fantastic and, of course, the food was amazing. And rich, creamy and delicious. That wasn't enough so on Sunday, we also splurged and had chips and salsa as well as a fast food dinner.

I'd say if I had to put it into percentages, I was mindful and healthy 60% of the time, and unhealthy, not caring like I should the other 40%. That's not perfect by any means, but I'm learning and making adjustments along the way.

And somehow, I still lost two pounds this week! I'm pretty excited about that - especially knowing how disastrous I was this weekend.

This week I know will be tough: holiday lunch at work today, holiday lunch at our main campus for work tomorrow. My hope is that if I overindulge at the beginning of the week, to make better choices the rest of the week.

I'm already learning that my food choices are going to be a balancing act for me. Some people also call that moderation, but I think for me, it works better to call it a balancing act because I sometimes feel like I'm on a see-saw.

One "bad" decision and I stay down - like this weekend, but then something happens and I make a good choice and somehow I'm back up and feeling great. The goal is to live in that happy medium in the middle. Level. Balanced.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWME0519 12/17/2012 10:31PM

    Ashley, I say celebrate the success and don't dwell on the failures!

emoticon emoticon

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PINKNFITCARLA 12/17/2012 5:14PM

    Yay for a great week, being back to tracking and for a 2 lb loss! emoticon emoticon

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SANDBBAR 12/17/2012 12:44PM

    I do the same thing Ashley...one slip up and I'm off track. I know we have to get out of that mindset...and we'll succeed!! The parties...I went to one Saturday night, and found it was a good thing to hold on to my glass of wine, and stay away from the food table!!! If I wasn't looking at it all the time and just kept talking and sipping, I was alright. It was a cookie swap, and I chose to "opt out" of swapping, and just bring an appetizer. I was happy to leave the party without 10 dozen cookies, I must say!! You have to do whats right for you and your health...don't eat to please anyone! emoticon

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Friday, December 14, 2012

I guess the great thing about beginning again, means that you haven't lost your drive to succeed right?

Here I am, once again, at the beginning.

If we rewind to about 2005/2006, I weighed 250 pounds which I thought would be my heaviest weight ever.

Then, with the help of the South Beach diet, minimal exercise and twist of luck, in 2007/2008 I lost a total of 75 pounds. I was at my lowest adult weight of 175 pounds! I felt amazing and for the first time ever actually felt like I looked amazing. Of course, I eventually gained the weight back and by February of 2010, I weighed 245 pounds.

With the help of Sparkpeople.com, I was able to lose 40 pounds but in the events of the last year or so, have gained all of that weight - plus some - back.

It was heartbreaking to step on the scale Monday morning and see some really scary, unfamiliar numbers: 274.

I have officially gained 99 pounds. Is this even possible? Wow.

So, here I am again, beginning yet another weight loss journey. I'm so grateful for the resources of Sparkpeople and have had the most success and enjoyment in the weight loss process using Sparkpeople.

I was looking back at my weight loss progress report (awesome feature!), and when I was successful in 2010, the results were slow and steady. There were weeks when I lost multiple pounds, but there were many weeks when I lost a pound or less. This helps to give me some perspective and to realize I don't need to lose - nor will I lose - 10 pounds every week.

While exercise is important, I have found that my biggest problems revolve around my extremely unhealthy relationship with food, so through this journey my goal is really re-define that relationship and get to a happy, healthy place.

My goal is no longer to be at 175, rather, I think 190 is more manageable for me. So, that's my goal. My deadline is by my birthday next year (Nov.5), which gives me about 46 weeks or 326 days - almost a full year to reach my goal.

I won't be upset if I reach my goal sooner, but if I average 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week on a normal week, then November would be about right to reach my goal.

I've picked Mondays as my weigh-in days and my hope is to post a weekly Monday blog reflecting on my prior week.

I refuse to make this a crash diet. Instead, I'm focusing on making choices that work for me and choices that will work to make for a lifestyle change.

Thank you for all of the support over the years on this site, dear Sparkfriends. I'm hopefully that I can reconnect with many of you and find some new friends, too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWME0519 12/16/2012 6:25PM

    Ashley, great to see you back in Sparkland! We all have our ups and downs. It doesn't matter how many times we fall but how many times we get back up!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/16/2012 6:26:49 PM

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SANDBBAR 12/15/2012 3:24PM

    I'm right there with you Ashley, gained back 40 of the 48 I lost. emoticon
I am here for you...we can do this and this time we will keep it off!!! emoticon

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CARRAND 12/14/2012 3:40PM

    Good plan. A pound a week really adds up. Meanwhile you can be adjusting your attitudes towards food, learning portion control, and all those other things that allow you to not only lose, but to keep the weight off. Find some exercise you really like to do so you will do it consistently. The time I spend at the gym pays off in how I feel. Plus, it keeps me out of the kitchen and away from food!

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YMWONG22 12/14/2012 8:29AM

  Good for you for not quitting. As long as you don't give up, you can still achieve your goals.
You are a strong and positive person.
I'll be cheering you on.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VTCRICKET84 12/14/2012 8:27AM

    thank you! sparkpeople has always been such a safe, welcoming, non-judgey environment that has really helped in my weight loss. hoping that works this time too :)

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WILSON1926 12/14/2012 8:15AM

    Welcome back................
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Helping a Fellow Sparkfriend!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hi everyone!

A sparkfriend of mine LOLA_98CHIC who was co-leader/leader of some challenges I participated on is working on research project for school. If you have lost weight and would be interested in helping her, here is the link to her blog:




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