I've got the Spark!
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I gained 90 pounds in three months while on birth control eight years ago (I stopped that reeeaall fast), and while I hadn't gained any more over the seven following years, none of the fad diets (Atkins, Cabbage soup, etc), pills (I did Fen-Phen once) or visits to nutritionists helped. I stayed right where I was. Even having a son five years ago, I didn't gain or lose during or after my pregnancy. I started dieting with a group of friends in January and joined Spark People in March. And now I've gotten to a weight that I haven't seen since 1998!
My first goal, inspired by an article I read on the motivational section, was to lose ten percent of my body weight (at that time 26 pounds) and not focus on the entire 115 pounds I wanted to lose all at once.
At first it was difficult, and I hit a plataeu for about six weeks where my scale didn't budge. I stuck with it, however, and then I really started to notice a difference. It took me three and a half months to lose 10%, but that little bit already gave me more energy and made me feel healthier.
To date, I've lost 35 pounds and five inches from my waist and my co-workers, spouse and friends are all commenting on it. Nothing has felt better than pulling out the old clothes and finding that jeans that used to fit snuggly or not at all are fitting again. My friend even commented last night that my shirt looked too big for me! Results, even small ones, have been great motivation to continuing progress; it's so much easier to say no to that tub of popcorn at the movies or that extra serving at dinner when I remind myself of how I'm doing so far and how I don't want to sabotage my goals.
I have a five year old son and though I've always been healthy, with low blood pressure and great cholesterol levels, I knew that as I get older, my extra weight could, and probably would, cause problems later. When my son started poking my belly and saying "Jiggly Jell-o," I really woke up and realized that I needed to do something real and long term. I want to be a good mom and that, to me, means having the energy and stamina to keep up with my little guy. I've heard that weight loss gets even harder as you age so I'm determined to make the change now, before problems arise.
Using the Spark People meal planners, I began planning my meals and snacks the night before. I found that every other time I tried dieting, I became obsessed with food. All day it was a struggle to say no or I was constantly thinking "Can I have that?", "Should I have that?" Or I was constantly thinking about food, which would lead to binging later or constantly feeling hungry. By planning out my day ahead of time, including snacks, I would take my lunchbox with me and whenever I was hungry, I ate something from my box. I never had to "think" about it which made me feel more fulfilled since I didn't constantly have food on the brain. I began exercising, even for short periods of time, and found that my energy levels skyrocketed, giving me more energy to be even more active. It was a domino effect.
And I tracked my other goals, including water and vitamin intake, sleep, and eating habits which helped add some other good habits that made me feel healthier, too.
I bought a scale for my kitchen and I weighed EVERYTHING, which really made the meal planner twice as effective.
My biggest surprise was realizing how much a serving size really was. That bowl of cereal I ate before was actually three servings! Portion control has been the biggest, and I think, most influential change to my routine. I never ate bad before but even "good" food can pack on the pounds when you have too much of them.
I've gotten out of the binging and backsliding because I don't deny myself. I have a piece of chocolate if I crave it and i don't feel the least bit guilty because now I can say no to an entire candy bar or a pan of brownies.
When my associates notice the change in me, I have to tell them how great Spark People is- I've gotten at least eight coworkers and friends signed up when I tell them that it's not just calories but exercise, water, good thinking, and an entire life style change and I show them the site and how easy it is to use.
Not long after beginning with Spark People, I gave up soda completely and found I didn't miss it at all, then I stopped having to "force" myself to drink eight glass of water and started easily drinking more than that. I tracked my sleeping habits and really got into a routine of eight hours of sleep- last month I started waking up before my alarm clock and I didn't get tired half way through my day. Last week, I put on my old "favorite" pair of jeans, the ones that hugged my curves just right, and then proceeded to pull them off without unbuttoning or unzipping them! That was a fantastic feeling that I really feel I owe the great advice and motivation from Spark People.
I still have long way to go, but tomorrow I plan on going to the park and playing hide-and-seek with my son and with that kind of motivation and the support of Spark People, I truly believe I will get there.