Read about my second year (month to month) on SparkPeople

Thursday, December 31, 2009

As I did at the end of my first year on SparkPeople, I'm archiving my main page where I wrote about my journey month to month during my second year, in case anyone's interested. Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I wish you all the best on your own journey.


I've made a real change inside of me that no one can see by the fit of my clothes or the number on the scale. I am the person I never thought I'd be: active, committed, devoted to my needs in a healthy way. I may falter, trip, misstep, and backtrack, but I will never fail to set my course forward again.

Thanks for stopping by my page. You can learn more about my first year's journey in my blog. I decided to pack away the old at the start of 2009. Here's to a healthy and happy 2009 for us all!

Update: January 4, 2009 - SW: 157.4
I've decided to join the SparkPeople New YOU Bootcamp Team today, which is good since it started today. I'm on an exercise streak (Yeah, it's only four days old, but it's still a streak!), and I thought the team would be a good way to ensure the streak continues. I'm really excited about 2009, and I hope that being so successful in January will really help my motivation as the year progresses. By the way, my definition of success is doing what I say I'll do and doing it to the best of my ability. If I follow those two mandates, I know everything else will fall into place.

Update: February 1, 2009 - Bootcamp EW: 156.8
As you can see, I took off a little over half a pound this month. I'm completely happy. I am at a place where I feel comfortable in my body, and all I'm looking for is to be stronger and fulfill my goal of living an active lifestyle. I am so grateful to the bootcamp and to my fellow Bootcampers on the Leaving 150-ville and Positive Sparkers teams who were right there with me this month. If you've read about last year, you know I struggled with getting back on my strength training routine. With Bootcamp I did ST 6 days a week for 4 weeks, and I didn't miss one day of exercising. It was a complete success as far as I'm concerned. I am not going to ever doubt my ability to get it done. I know that I may not FEEL like doing it, but I've learned that on those days, I can still do it. It's a matter of my desire to be the person I want to be. Building up the momentum at the start of the year has been so important for me, and I feel so powerful and confident. It's such a fabulous feeling!

As far as other measurements go, I haven't taken them as of writing this, but I do have one observation about toning up this month. At the beginning of the month, I noticed, while I was doing my hair, that my left arm had a jiggle to it, and my right arm, the dominant one, did not. That just seemed amusingly wrong to me. Well, I'm happy to report that as of today, the jiggle is gone, and my arms match up. So, there's my incentive to keep my strength training up: I don't want to look lopsided!

Mini-update 2/3/09: I've decided to do the other set of Bootcamp videos along with some of my other Bootcamping teammates who felt we just couldn't stop. I've challenged myself to do each video twice. Since February is a 4 week month, running from Sunday to Saturday, it's a perfect month for Bootcamping. I also weighed-in and measured today. I have removed another 2 pounds (numbers were bound to be off on the 1st because of TOM) to take me to 45 pounds gone for good! I took off almost another inch on my waist and almost half an inch on my hips. Although it's been since the end of November that I took measurements, I know that December was not the month that helped bring those numbers down since I was not strength training or exercising the way I did in January or the way I'm going to continue to in February. I love having a stronger, healthier body!

Update 3/2/09
I did not have a healthy February. I got hurt on the treadmill at the beginning of the second week, and it was just a nice, big slippery slope of poor decisions. I was upset and worried about getting hurt, and I just had a pity party for myself, hiding away in a hole, instead of working through it. I don't know why sometimes we can fight through things and other times we just wallow in the muck. When I'm thrown off my stride by something, I do not really handle it well. I guess I'm a routine kind of person, and when that routine is messed up, by an injury or by being too busy, which also happened this month, I just don't handle it well. So, that's on the list of healthy changes I want to make. The other one that's on the list is reaching out. Apparently, I am not the type of person to share when I'm going through things. I have always felt like I'm always reaching out to people, but I guess not when I'm down or things aren't going well. I have always said that this journey to a new healthy me is about way more than eating right and exercising.

I have also made a decision to change my goal weight. I've felt a lot of pressure recently from that number looming so close. It was always just some arbitrary number ("50 pounds gone, sounds good"), and it wasn't until I got close to it that I saw I would do well to reach beyond it. My new goal weight sits exactly in the middle of a healthy BMI for my height, and I feel like it will be a good place to reach for, a place I'll get to with enough time to really make these changes stick.

I always have to look at the positive side of everything, so here it is. In February, I was getting pretty good sleep, and I was very conscious of drinking my water. Also, I did not quit thinking every day of what I wanted to do. I may not have always done it, and I may have given in to food or inactivity, but I didn't just throw everything aside. I never stopped believing in myself, either, and I never will. This journey isn't easy, but I won't give up on it or myself EVER.

Mini-update 3/4/09: I weighed in today and I had added on almost 5 pounds (4.8 to be exact) in 4 weeks. A shocking amount (for me) but not a surprise because I was not doing most of what I know I have to do. It took me a half-pound out of a healthy BMI and back into overweight. That's relly a slap in the face for me, but I'm really looking at it as a lesson learned. I know what I didn't do well and how far I let it get out of control until I decided to buck up and pull myself out of it. I see now how much harder I've made it on myself, and I'm going to do everything I can not to let myself do that again. I've already returned to tracking my meals, getting my cardio and strength training done. I have a lot more to do because frankly, I got used to not being focused, eating more than I should, and skipping my exercise if I just wasn't feeling like it. Still, I'm hopeful and strengthened for March.

You know, there's such a part of me that wants to hide away from letting people know what I've done, but I know that anyone who visits my page will see the truth of this journey, especially those, like me, who spent a whole lifetime being big and believing they couldn't change. This isn't easy. Just when I think I've got it, it somehow slips through my fingers. The thing is, before, I would have let that be the point where I just gave in and let go. Now, I just get up, dust myself off, and get going again. This is for life. My life. I'm important enough to keep putting the effort into myself. I will probably have times where I lose my focus again, but I guarantee that I will get my focus back and move forward just as many times. That's just who I am now, a person who doesn't give up on herself.

Update 4/11/09 - (-2.6 pounds) I have been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to update, and that's too bad because I have great news. I am out of my funk! Whatever had me bogged down through February and March has finally disappeared. I cannot say I'm a whirling dervish of healthy choices with no chance of an unhealthy choice sneaking in, but my attitude is positive, and I feel great about what I'm doing. So, I have one thing to say to anyone who finds their motivation and energy down, keep going. We can't go anywhere, we can't achieve anything if we give up. Yeah, we might feel like nothing's happening or that we're falling backward, but the only way to get out of that is to keep trying. While I was going through it, it felt like I was trying to get through a never-ending mud bog, feeling the sucking at my feet and only being able to move v-e-r-y slowly. Obviously, not a pleasant experience, but knowing that quitting wasn't an option, I just kept trying to find something to pull me out. Sometimes I'd think I'd found a branch to hold onto, only to have it snap and let me fall back in. All I can say is that it wasn't the never-ending place I thought it was, and eventually I could feel some ground beneath my feet and I could pull myself out. The thing about living a healthy lifestyle is that I KNOW to my very being that there's no other way I can be now. I won't ever stop exercising. I won't ever stop making the best choices I can for food. I won't ever stop trying to find my healthiest life. Knowing that gives me the strength to get through the hard times.

Update 5/3/09
I'm starting the new month with a gain from last month, up 1.8 pounds. I am certainly doing a lot of up and down the past several months, but I'm learning not to get bent out of shape about it all. Both mentally and physically, I'm adjusting to all the changes, and I'm still processing all that's happened in the last year and a half with my body and my attitude towards my health.

I've started the new SparkPeople Sweatsuit to Swimsuit Bootcamp that runs for the next four weeks. I'm excited to have a new goal to work on, and I know from my last bootcamp experience that I will be successful. It feels great to have that confidence in myself. I have been needing to get back into my strength training routine, so this is really great timing for me. I feel like all those hard-won muscles have taken a vacation, and I need them to get back to work!

I have been really busy lately, and I haven't been as active on SparkPeople as I'd like, but each day, whether I'm able to log in or not, I think about the things I've learned on here, and I always carry around the lessons from SparkPeople and my fellow Sparkers. I just can't imagine a better safety net against my old ways. Just knowing all the people who are on here making it happen each day inspires me to keep on moving towards my goals. WE CAN DO THIS!

******************Creating a Summer of Success********************
I am building on what I've learned this year and creating something new for myself. I am calling these next three months the "Summer of Success." I WILL NOT accept anything less from myself, as I feel I have been doing this year. I got comfortable and happy with my accomplishments. Yes, they were great, and I am proud of myself, but complacency has long been a problem when I'm doing things for me. So, for June, July and August, I am going to be the strong, capable, determined me who reaches her healthy goals and keeps pushing through any walls that may appear. While I care about the weight because that is an indicator of what I'm doing or not doing, it is not my purpose this summer. My purpose is to be mindful of what my health really means to me, to not just talk the talk but walk the walk, as I did so well last year.

Update: 6/7/09 (up 1.4 pounds - 160 lbs.)
May was not what I expected at all. I had such high hopes for Bootcamp, and it just didn't happen. I didn't make it happen. Every day, I knew what needed to be done, and I didn't do it. Being so busy has kept me from my goals, but I feel as if I'm just using that as an excuse, though, of course, it's valid in one sense. Still, if it needs to get done, then, we can get it done. I get done everything else when it's for others, so I should be able to get things done when they're for me. So, you might think I'm down, but I'm not. I always, ALWAYS, have my strong will to succeed, and I have come back fighting this first week of June. I have a new plan. Yes, I always have a new plan because if that one fails, then, I have to keep trying to find one that works, and if that one stops working, then I need to move on and try again. I'm just not giving up on a healthy me!!

Update: 7-1-09 (up 5 pounds - 165 lbs.)
Well, I am really loving the new plan I mentioned in last month's update. I just feel really positive and strong from accomplishing so much. Even though I had a two week vacation during this time with my in-laws, I really kept to my plan as much as possible. Also, my fellow Sparker, Chloe and I became accountability buddies, and that has helped tremendously. When I haven't felt like getting exercise done or thought about making a less healthy choice, I would think about the goals we've made.

Despite feeling so great about what I accomplished in June, I gained 5 pounds. I wish I had an answer (I have a few theories), but I'm not stressing over it. Yes, I have gained the last three months, but I was only upset over the other months because I knew I wasn't doing all that I should. This month, I don't have that feeling. I am even back to tracking food so I can confirm that I am making the healthy choices I think I am. So, I'm going to keep up with the healthy decisions I've got going and just let the weight take care of itself. I feel healthy, and I'm making healthy decisions, and that's what matters to me!

Update: 8-2-09 (down 6.4 pounds - 156.6 lbs)
July was a great month for me. I kept working towards my goals despite June's weight gain, and it paid off. I can feel my stamina and strength improving all the time. I've kept up with my cardio goals and exceeded them some weeks. I took off what I'd put on in June and a some extra. I am going to improve on my successful summer in August by doing the Swimsuit Bootcamp that I was unsuccessful with in May so I can get on track with my strength training. One thing about the changes I've made is keeping my word to myself, and when I didn't complete the bootcamp in May, I promised I'd get back to it. Now's the time since I've got my cardio and nutrition going so well. I'm also still tackling the issues with my sleeping habits. I've had some success and some failure, but the point is, I keep trying.

Update 9/1/09 (down .6 pounds - 156 lbs.)
I felt like this month was really successful for a lot of reasons. I found I had so much more stamina and focus, and when I said I was going to do something, I did it. I was also really tuned into changing behaviors immediately and not looking at missteps as a time to go off track. I re-started the SparkPeople bootcamp that I didn't finish in May, and I did it faithfully, which has really helped me rebuild good strength training habits. This was the end of my Summer of Succes, and no matter the number on the scale, I feel successful! Now, on to an Awesome Autumn!

--------Summer of Success Weekly Stats--------
June 1-7: 7 days of cardio (487 minutes), 1 day of strength training, 7 days of healthy eating and positve attentiveness to myself and my healthy goals (160 pounds)
June 8-14: 7 (364 minutes)/ 1 / 6 (vacation- no access to scale)
June 15-21: 6 (323 minutes)/ 1 / 6 (vacation- no access to scale)
June 22-28: 5 (324 minutes)/ 3 / 6 (165 pounds)
*June update at the bottom
June 29-July 5: 5 (352 minutes)/ 2 / 6 (163 pounds)
July 6-12: 6 (363 minutes)/ 2 / 6 (161 pounds)
July 13-19: 6 (435 minutes)/ 3 / 7 (159.6 pounds)
July 20-26: 6 (390 minutes)/ 2 / 6 (159.2 pounds)
*July update at the bottom
July 27-August 2: 5 (341 minutes)/ 1 / 6 (156.6 pounds)
August 3-9: 5 (317 minutes)/ 5 / 6 (154 pounds)
August 10-16: 6 (400 minutes)/ 6 / 6 (155 pounds)
August 17-23: 6 (412 minutes)/ 6 / 7 (155 pounds)
August 24-31 (Week + 1 day): 8 (435 minutes)/ 5 / 6 (156 pounds)

SoS Totals: 4,943 minutes of cardio, 37,760 calories burned, 4 pounds gone, and many healthy habits were created!

*************Making it an Awesome Autumn************************
I had such a great time creating a Summer of Success that I just felt I needed to continue by making it an Awesome Autumn. Over the course of 92 days of my Summer of Success, I did 4,943 minutes of cardio (over 82 hours of heart-healthy movement!), and I toned and strengthened my body through regular strength training. I'm going to use what worked during the summer months, and now, for September, October and November, I'm going to add some focus on some other areas while improving on what I previously achieved.

Update: 10/1/09 (down 1.4 pounds - 154.6)
September was a great month. I started my new plan, Making it an Awesome Autumn, which runs from September through November. It's really helped me keep focused. My workout routine has been great, even if I never made it to the 3 days a week strength training. That'll just be something I work on in October. I'm still only managing early to bed nights about once a week. I'd love to change that, but as a lifelong night owl, that's something that'll just be a constant struggle. I'm up to the challenge, though!

My changes this month haven't just been to my healthy habits but also to other areas of my life. I feel like, for some reason I'm not aware of, I've been letting go of a lot of little hang-ups I've had. They're just little things that hold me back from living emotionally free, and I can feel them falling by the wayside. I'm become my healthy self inside and out. I even had, in all the 22 months on SparkPeople, someone finally give me the best compliment I could ask for: "You look healthy." Wow, that was amazing for me. It wasn't about my weight, size, or level of activity, but the actual label of "health" to be put on me. It's not the need of anyone to validate what I'm doing that made me happy but the fact that this way I feel and live is showing so that people can see it.

By the way, I need to give a shout-out to my fellow Sparkers who are just being amazingly supportive and wonderful. There's just always someone around who's ready with a helpful word, a pat on the back or a shoulder to lean on, and that's a great feeling!

Update 11/1/09 (up 2.4 pounds - 157 pounds)
October was a very strange month. I was going strong for the first half and then did a 120 (not quite a 180) where I stopped being active. I haven't been keeping to most of the goals I have set for myself. It started a few days before my scheduled vacation, and I thought I'd shake it off by now, but I got sick, and that worsened it. Now, I just haven't felt any real drive to be focused. Even the thought that I'm one month away from my 2 year Sparkiversary hasn't spurred me into action. So, that's where I am at the start of the new month, and it doesn't feel good, but it's not feeling bad enough for me to do anything about it, either.

Update 12/1/09 (up .6 pounds - 157.6 pounds)
I never got back in the groove after my end of October slip. I'd feel like I was going to make it happen, and then, I wouldn't follow through. I finished my Awesome Autumn plan much less awesomely than I'd hoped (3218 minutes/53.6 hours of cardio and not enough strength training by a long shot). These things happen, and my plan obviously failed somewhere, and then, I didn't make adjustments. One plan is not going to fit all people, and even if you find a plan that works, it may suddenly stop working. The whole point is to just keep working, though.

On November 28th, I reached 2 years on SparkPeople. 2 years! I had all kinds of changes and successes happen in my first year, and this 2nd year was all about me learning to come back fighting when I struggled. I'm at the same place weight-wise that I was a year ago, but I've got a whole other year of experience under my belt now. This year has been eye-opening to me in a much more profound way than the first year's eye-opening experience of learning I could lose the weight. This year has been about what it takes to keep going even when those obvious successes aren't piling up month after month. The successes are still there, just deeper down where people can't obviously see. I know I have improvements to make, and I always will. So, knowing that and always going back to work on what I need to are successes in my book.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Carolyn - You are so right - the changes we make in our journey - on the inside - are the most important. It is only be acknowledging those changes and honoring the importance of those changes - that help us to continue on our journey to the person - we know we can be. I am so happy that your journey is continuing on your path, your time, and your changes - in YOUR life - you are becoming the Carolyn you have always wanted to be. I am glad i know you, and i too am blessed, for this site and thanks for your continued support in my journey. Your friend, Laura emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2879 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/14/2010 11:05:31 PM
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.