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*AMBER512
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Sparkiversary - What I've Learned with Pictures

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Monday, February 07, 2011

So it kind of snuck up on me. SparkPeople informed me that today is my Sparkiversary. Itís funny because a couple of weeks ago I knew it was coming up and thought, ďhey thatís pretty cool!Ē And then itís today and I have nothing planned!

But FOUR years ago today I joined SparkPeople and my life changed.

I went from eating this:



A typical Amber meal involving bread, starch, and wait, French fries are veggies right?

And this:



Mmm dessert is always the best part of ANY meal.

To experimenting with new foods:



Spinach in a smoothie? EwÖwaitÖno DELICIOUS! Edited to add: This particular one has spinach, banana, strawberries, almond milk and protein powder (I switch between Vegan+ and Amazing Grass).



Oh thatís right, those are real veggies!





Wait, I can still have dessert? I like this place.

And the food certainly isnít tasteless.







Recipes for those foods and more are available on my last blog!

So what have I learned? I learned that I can do more than I ever thought possible. I learned that I can look like this if I want:





Or, I can discover that there are healthier ways to eat, portion control isnít hard once you get the hang of it and hey, exercise can be fun!





And eventually I could even do this.



And you know whatís even better?? You can do it too! Yes, you. Because if I can do it, there is no one else out there that canít. Seriously. I like food, a LOT! My favorite activities all involve me on my couch. And yet even I can make some small key changes toward a better life!

How?

1. Decide what you want to do. What is it that you want to change about yourself? I didnít start fully tracking on SparkPeople until about a week after I joined. I played around on the website before coming up with any true goals. Only you can decide what is best for you!
2. Read success stories, read blogs, but most importantly read nutrition labels! And learn how to read them properly, so many things you think are one serving really arenít. Learn proper portion sizes, they will be a life saver. Knowledge is your power!
3. Exercise. While what you eat is such a huge part you gotta get up and move! And please donít suffer through something you hate. There are so many different forms of exercise. Yeah, you can run, or you can jump, skip, hop, slide, dance, shake it! Donít slug through an hour on a machine if group exercise is more your thing!
4. In the end, do what works for you. You can read a list of rules and follow them exactly. But if you arenít seeing progress, they might just be full of bunk! I do quite a few things that go against ďthe rulesĒ, but I have learned what works for me! Donít let some magazine or blog convince you to stop reaching for the sky.
5. Happiness is key. If what youíre doing doesnít make you happy in the end, then itís not worth doing. And notice I said IN THE END. Yeah, Iím not always smiling bright in the middle of a rough interval workout. But you canít imagine the feeling I get when Iím done. Iím smiling, I feel strong, powerful and usually in serious need of a shower. But thatís what great smelling body wash is for!

I donít think I can say DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU enough. You know what the best diet is? The one that works for you. You know want to know what worked for me? Eating less junk, eating more whole foods, exercising. Yeah, pretty basic stuff. Emotional eating was my downfall as well as getting discouraged trying to follow ďnever eat in front of the TVĒ ďnever eat at nightĒ and ďnever eat anything sweet.Ē Sorry, those ďneverísĒ donít work for me.

So I forged my own path. Eating while on the computer or watching TV slows down my eating and reminds me to savor my food? Check one for me! Having a snack a couple of hours before bed allows me to get to sleep without a grumbling tummy? Check two for me! Eating a small dessert every single night helps me turn down junk all day in anticipation? Check three, Iím done!

And if anyone tries to tell me Iím wrong, Iíll kick them in the pants!



Or make funny faces at them before throwing my water bottle and running awayÖ.You know, whatever works!

~~~~~

Iíll be getting back to my regularly scheduled gluten-free recipe blog soon. But I canít be bothered at the moment, Iím eating. ;)
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