Sunday, May 03, 2009
Yesterday I attended the first Sparks convention, which was held in San Diego, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from my home north of Los Angeles. My husband offered to accompany me. We left at 5:30 in the morning and stopped at a Starbuck’s midway on our journey for coffee and oatmeal. We arrived in San Diego at 8:30, which was registration time. It was a beautiful, sunny day. The convention center was stunning and right on the water. The convention workers warmly greeted everyone as they walked through the door.
Chris Downie, the founder and CEO of SparkPeople, opened the meeting at 9:00 and gave a very inspiring and motivating talk. He told his own history, how he came to found SparkPeople, what the company is like today, and what he envisions in the future. I was impressed by his work ethic and humility. He was followed by a panel of five people who have all been successful losing weight and keeping it off with the Sparks program. After lunch another successful Sparks’ member reflected on her weight loss and told how this loss led to her present employment with SparkPeople. She was followed by the Sparks’ dietitian, who spoke about nutrition; a life coach and author, who spoke about the emotional aspects of overeating; and another author, who was not only successful losing weight with Sparks, but went on to accomplish personal success in other areas of her life thanks to the Sparks program. After telling the attendees about a new SparkPeople book, which is scheduled for release in December, Chris Downie brought the convention to a close at 5:00 p.m. Interspersed throughout the convention were breaks where optional activities were available, such as a morning walk or run, stretching sessions, cardio-strength workouts, visits to the Sparks’ store, spinning the SparkPoints wheel, and opportunities to speak with Spark employees with questions and suggestions.
I had some misgivings about my husband going with me to the Spark convention. He does not need SparkPeople for the same reasons I do. He exercises daily, and has not gained a pound since I married him 52 years ago. However, he had as good a time as I did at the convention. He was able to translate the goal setting and other aspects of SparkPeople to other areas of his life. My husband and I both left San Diego feeling motivated and energized.