Thursday, December 13, 2012
One year ago today I signed up for SparkPeople. Happy anniversary to me!
These last 365 days have been filled with plenty of progress. I had gotten some unpleasantly elevated numbers on my annual blood tests, and my doctor said that I needed to lose weight. She pointed me in the direction of a nutritionist who in turn pointed me in the direction of SparkPeople. This news should not have been much of a surprise to me. About eight years earlier, I had finally found the motivation to lose weight and get healthier. Once a week, Dr. Phil was featuring a group of people on his talk show who were following his program, and their progress was very inspirational. I am remembered sobbing over some of the stories because I could so easily relate to them. So I bought the paperback book, read it carefully, figured out how to make it work in my life, and got started. I wanted to lose 90 pounds.
In ten months, I had dropped 65 pounds. I had more energy, fewer aches and pains, looked better, and felt younger. That should have been some pretty powerful motivation, right? Well, as many of you can relate, those new habits were not as strong as old habits. The holidays and their temptations arrived, and it made sense to allow myself a few treats. After all, it was the holiday season, and I had worked so very hard, I figured I deserved a few exceptions. And then a few more exceptions. And after the holidays, instead of losing a few pounds, I gained a few more. And a few more. And a few more. Eventually I was within 8 pounds of where I had started. And that is when the elevated blood test results arrived on the scene.
I already knew what I SHOULD eat. My trouble was actually DOING what I knew I should do. I managed to lose 20 pounds on my own. Then my nutritionist suggested that I might find the support I needed through SparkPeople. Even though the site offers many features that have been hugely beneficial, I am most grateful for the support, empathy, and motivation that I have received from my fellow Sparklers on the various teams. Sometimes they did not know that they were helping me, because I was quietly reading what they had shared. From their contributions, I found fellow souls who encouraged me and useful techniques that I could apply in my own life. Along the way, I made a few special friends who have been invaluable cheerleaders and thoughtful sounding boards. This seems like an ideal time to extend my heartfelt thanks to those angels:
MAVERICK59, who seems to know exactly when to toss me a goodie and a few uplifting words. Melinda, thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement.
ELIZACG9, my glamorous cowgirl friend, who drops goodies into my lap from time to time. Thank you for your steadfast friendship.
GRAMARAY, another top notch goodie tosser. Thank you for aiming those morsels in my direction.
BABYSMAMA12, who keeps me stocked with virtual fruit salad. Thank you for your comments on my feed. I notice and appreciate that.
NANCYHOME247, who shared the absolutely brilliant idea of popping frozen food out of plastic containers and into plastic bags. What an perfect solution to a lack of containers and space. Thank you for helping my freezer breathe easier.
LARKSONGRUTH, the woman with the gift of words. Your ability to put your struggles into words touches me and inspires me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
IAMAGEMLOVER, who signed up for SparkPeople one day before me. She fills my daily feed with so much activity that I am worn out simply from reading everything she does! Dear, I wish I had a quarter of the energy you have! (And yes, it does feel great!)
CTUPTON, leader of the Evening Eating Sabotage Myself Frustration group. She reached out to me and got me to interact just a wee bit. I am still not the most talkative person in the groups, but I am fast becoming known as the Queen of Alliteration! (Everybody has their unique skills, right?) Chris, I am so glad my biggest frustration led me to find you . . . or you to find me. Whichever.
GENESIS2012, the Arizona cheesehead! Carol, you are just simply a ray of sunshine. Your excitement just seems to bubble right up and off of my computer screen! You take so much of your time to offer your positive words with other people. Thank you for brightening my days.
AUDISP, who is probably the closest person to me geographically speaking. (We really do need to meet one another someday.) The two of us have so much in common that sometimes I think that she writes my blog for me! Mary, thank you for sharing this journey.
With the help of those folks plus many others and a strong dose of determination on my part, I lost the other 37 pounds, getting myself back down to where I was eight years ago. All of numbers on my blood tests were back into the normal range. I lowered my total cholesterol by 81 points, my triglycerides by 81 points, my LDL by 56 points, and my glucose by 15 points. Wahoo for me!
Now my goal is to survive this holiday season without doing any damage to my progress. If I can maintain until mid January, I will consider that to be a victory. Then, once I feel up to it, I am going to give myself another challenge. I should exercise to strengthen my body overall and give me more endurance, and that would also help me maintain my weight loss. I might even try to lose another 5 or 10 pounds. But most of all, I hope that when I celebrate my second anniversary, I will not have put back on any weight. With the help of SparkPeople and the friends I have made here, I will keep working at it.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Have you ever listened to one person give advice to someone else, but the wisdom triggered something in you? That happened to me this evening. I was watching an episode of "Dr. Phil," who I think has a great talent for speaking truth in a way that makes sense to a lot of people. He said something that he has said many times before:
"How much we trust another person is really a function of how much we trust ourselves to be strong enough to deal with their imperfections. If [you] trust somebody to be truthful and honest and they [aren't, you] can handle that. [You are] strong enough that [you] won't be emotionally bankrupt if somebody let's [you] down."
Those words have always rung true, but tonight they hit me in a way they never had before. A light bulb came on over my head. Up to this point, when someone has let me down, I have felt betrayed and personally attacked. It is almost as if I believed that I must not deserve to be treated any better.
I have always known that I do not do well with imperfections, neither my imperfections nor the imperfections of others. But what a surprise it was to me to realize that instead of reacting to their flaws, I am reacting to my own!
I am not perfect, never have been, never will be, no matter how hard I try. It stands to reason that nobody else is perfect, either. I need to learn to forgive myself for the mistakes I have made . . . and the mistakes I inevitably will make! Then and only then will I be able to forgive other people for simply being flawed human beings like me.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I have been sparking for about four months now. At first, everything here looked very overwhelming. The site offers so much that it wasn't possible to absorb it all at once. My first reaction was that there was no point in starting because it would be way too much work and far too time consuming. But for some reason, instead of giving up, I decided to give it a try. Baby steps, I told myself. Don't try to do everything. Just choose one or two things. If those go well, I can add more later.
Well, those first baby steps did go okay. Mind you, I did not set off any fireworks. But I was moving in the right direction. And then I added a few more steps here and a few more steps there. I continued to make bits of progress, and I felt good about that. At my last weigh in, I passed the 20-pounds-lost point (21 pounds, to be precise). Together with the 20 pounds that I lost before I joined SparkPeople, I am down 41 pounds since May of 2011.
It finally hit me. I am not making just a little bit of progress. I am doing a damn fine job! I have lost more than a 35-pound bag of dog food, more than five gallons of milk from the grocery store. The thought of picking up those items and carrying them around all day long . . . well, it makes me tired just thinking about it.
But as proud as I am with my weight loss, I had another revelation. While dining with friends, I was struck by the differences in our food choices. They were eating what I would have eaten a year ago. Multiple servings of high-fat meat, plenty of pastries, dessert at almost every meal. I was choosing lean protein, whole grains, and fruits. Even my portion sizes were much smaller.
But maybe even more significant than my healthy choices, I did not feel like I was suffering. I enjoyed the foods that I elected to eat. And I was satisfied with the amount of food I ate. When we left the table, I did not feel like I had suffered. I felt good physically, mentally, and emotionally.
This happened without me realizing it, one of those gradual changes that sneaks up on you. Oh, believe me when I tell you that I have no illusions that my problems are behind me. I know full well that there are slippages in my future! This hasn't been a success-only journey up to this point, and it will not be a success-only journey going forward.
I came to SparkPeople for the support of the community. I haven't been the most active poster, but every day I have been reading your wisdom and advice and successes and struggles. Simply hearing about other people who share my struggles has been strengthening. A few of you have reached out to me, and for your extra assistance and friendliness I say THANK YOU! Simply being noticed by someone else is helpful. It gives me that little pat on the head that helps me keep going. I sure hope I can help out others the way you have helped me.
I can't do this alone yet. I need to hold your hand, so to speak. I still need to make more changes. As good as I am doing with my food choices, I am not doing nearly as well with exercise. I lack motivation, and I can't seem to find enough time in the day. And I know I need to get more sleep each night. So if anybody has any brilliant ideas, please do let me know. And if you live nearby and would like to walk together, holler! I could use the motivation that comes from a companion who is expecting me.
Friday, April 13, 2012
I did something today that I have never done before . . . but I would have been happy if I had never experienced it. While riding down the highway with a friend, two deer ran across the road in front of us. We missed the first one, but not the second. Blessedly the deer stayed on the outside of the car rather than flying through the windshield. Other than a few sore and scared people and a car with a very ugly front end, we are well. Tomorrow we will have to make some arrangements for the car. For now, though, we are off to sleep.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Boy, do I have the munchies tonight. I am not really hungry, but I still have the urge to eat something. Anything. And I am out of calories for the day.
I have been doing so good lately that I am determined to stay within my calorie range for the day. I just have not figured out how I am going to accomplish that.
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