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    *AMBER512   198,816
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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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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHORTSGIRL 3/8/2011 6:45PM

    Thanks for sharing your story, you look great! Congratulations on all that you have accomplished. emoticon emoticon

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CHERYLNIELSEN 3/6/2011 11:50AM

    You are an extremely positive person! I really enjoyed your blog post and I like how you are straight and to the point. Thanks for the tips. I will have to check out your recipe blog as well. Congrats on your success! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/6/2011 11:50:57 AM

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MYADOG1 2/27/2011 11:13PM

    emoticon So nice to hear I'm not the only one who still enjoys dessert and eats in front of the tv or computer! Love the image of you throwing your water bottle at anyone with a "better" idea of what works. Thanks for the reminder that diets are not one size fits all

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MAYBE_SOMEDAY 2/27/2011 4:54PM

    Wow, what an inspiring journey! Thanks for the encouraging tips as well.

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AMBERLICIOUS88 2/25/2011 4:09PM

    Great Blog! From a fellow Amber too! Love your pics. Your before and afters are phenomenal! Thank you for acknowledging the fact that what works for one person, may not work for another. I guess we need to find the little things that keep us motivated and sticking to it. If that means a treat once a day, or once a week, do it! Good for you. I'm going to go stalk your sparkpage now, and add you as a friend! Go Ambers!

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MSPRIS3 2/25/2011 2:06PM

    Great Blog!!

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SEPTEMBERSPIRIT 2/25/2011 11:23AM

    emoticon emoticon Love your down to earth "what worked for you" despite the things you hear everywhere else... What matters is what works for US (as individuals) and it's obvious you found YOUR Formula!

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IMEMINE1 2/21/2011 1:36PM

    This was a real good(Great)blog.
I think you are so great.
You are truely an inspiration.
Keep up the good work.


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ANELAKANOA 2/20/2011 3:22PM

  WOW! Congrats! You look amazing and are such an inspiration!

Angie

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MRSSCHENCK 2/20/2011 9:06AM

    emoticon You look amazing! I bet you feel even better. Wow! You're truly an inspiration.

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WDWGIRLS 2/19/2011 9:21PM

    I am so proud of you for learning so much about what works for you early in life! It has taken me 60 years to finally get on the right track - lol. Thanks for taking the time to share your story and inspire sparkpeople of all ages.

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GRACEISENUF 2/19/2011 11:21AM

    Great blog...see why you got the blog award..loved it and the pics too!

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ASSYRIA1 2/18/2011 1:11PM

    i read SP blogs every single day, just for motivation, inspiration...whatever i can sap out of them! this is honestly, no BS, truly, truly the FIRST time anyone has brought me to tears. thanks man. i needed that.

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TWINSMOM0429 2/18/2011 10:46AM

  This is great and you look great! You have made great strides and the most important thing is that you did it YOUR way! You found something that works for you & stuck with it.

I love to eat & I love to snack but all in moderation, right? That's the key.

Keep up the great work.

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WEDDLEACE 2/18/2011 9:56AM

    LOVED this blog! Loved loved loved it. Thanks for the inpiration!

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MBRANDO 2/18/2011 9:52AM

    You look awesome!

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CUDDLYPOLARBEAR 2/18/2011 9:22AM

    You look great....Excellent post

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MIRACLELOVE77 2/17/2011 6:47PM

    that's awesome! congrats!! emoticon i just started SP and the hardest thing for me is knowing the portions I'm eating and cutting back on food...so I'm definitely going to check out your recipes! thanks! :)

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NANA717 2/16/2011 10:43PM

    WOW!! You are amazing!!!!!

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AML05030 2/16/2011 10:12PM

    AMEN GIRL!!!! You need to preach to the masses! I wish I had read your blog LAST week when I was flipping out over a know-it-all judging my food (I know she meant well, and I also know she had NO clue i've lost 30 pounds eating within my caloric range and eating less real JUNK).

GLuten free? HIT ME UP! My boyfriends family is gluten free!

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HAPPYWALKER 2/16/2011 6:47PM

    I loved your blog! I also think that it's important to find out what works for you - rely on our own inner wisdom and not something that worked for someone else. Congratulations on your transformation. You're beautiful, and I can tell you have a beautiful spirit inside.

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KRISTEN_SAYS 2/16/2011 10:24AM

    You look amazing! Congrats!

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LACHELY 2/16/2011 4:09AM

    I LOVE YOU BLOG I ALWAYS READ ALL THE STOREYS HERE AND I GET MOTIVATED BUT I AM SO LAZY TO DO IT FOR MY SELF! :(

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TIGGERROO21 2/15/2011 7:54PM

    Wow....very inspiring! Way to go on all your hard work!!!!

:)

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TIGGERROO21 2/15/2011 7:52PM

    Wow....very inspiring! Way to go on all your hard work!!!!

:)

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MYSCALETIPS 2/15/2011 7:31PM

    I love it! Those "nevers" don't work for me either =) Thanks for putting this blog up because it is reassuring to know that what I am doing will work FOR ME and I dont have to feel bad about it! Great job! emoticon

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HEYPINK 2/15/2011 4:28PM

    amazing! congrats on your success and thanks for the inspiration!

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BECKY_LYNN84 2/15/2011 4:23PM

    Wow!! Congrats to you!!!

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TAGPOINTE 2/15/2011 3:31PM

    Can you give me the recipe for the smoothie?? I would love to try it.

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TAGPOINTE 2/15/2011 3:28PM

    Can you give me the recipe for the smoothie?? I would love to try it.

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BBGYRL4 2/15/2011 12:22PM

    Congratulations on your success! Loved the blog and I'm excited to check out some of the recipes, your food looks delicious!! Keep up the great work!

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NELLBELLA26 2/15/2011 12:05PM

    Inspiring blog. Congrats on the Sparkiversary!
You look great.

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LUCKYONE60 2/15/2011 11:03AM

    Wow, nice work! Great job and fun to read your blog with photos. A picture is worth a thousand words...Keep up the good work!

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LUCKEGIRL40 2/15/2011 12:06AM

    How wonderful! You are truly inspiring! Amazing...keep up the great work!

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FEISTYSHAMROCK 2/14/2011 11:52PM

    Ha!! You are AMAZING! Thanks for the inspiration, I am looking forward to checking out your blog for gluten free recipes!

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LUBAML 2/14/2011 11:00PM

    Great job! Congratulations! I'm happy for you. emoticon Luba

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CROW_AND_POPPY 2/14/2011 10:28PM

    Awesome job! and isn't it crazy looking at the 'before' food / meals and thinking "and I ate that????"

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 2/14/2011 11:26AM

    What a great blog! You have to feel so good every time you look at yourself and realize what you have accomplished. It's a simply amazing transformation--and you're right, you have to find what works for YOU. I think you've found that formula and have achieved success! I hope that someday I can look like you do today! Altho--that probably is never gonna happen, since I'm more than twice your age. Some things, losing weight can NOT change! But I'm working to change the things I can!

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JENDOOD 2/12/2011 7:00AM

    HA!! Love it! Just what I needed!!

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ANGELOO29 2/10/2011 7:31AM

    So amazing! It reminds me why I started and provides inspiration to continue on!

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READY4LIVE 2/9/2011 11:19PM

    What a journey Wow! Good for your for finding what was good for Amber, finding zest for life, and 94 lbs loss baby!! You ROCK! Whats also awesome about you too, is you've pretty much been at goal for awhile now, but your still loggin in, tracking, maintaining your loss and spreading much encouragement! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/9/2011 11:20:13 PM

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NAVYMOM133 2/9/2011 3:48PM

    FANTASTIC!!! Happy Sparkiversary to you! You are in control!

Melly

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WILDVIOLETS 2/8/2011 10:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEWJEWELS4LIFE 2/8/2011 9:09AM

    emoticon You are such an inspiration & very right!! You have to do what works for you!! Not everybody can do what the magazines and tv tell us to do. The foods looks AMAZING!! I will be checking out the blog for recipes. Happy Sparkiversary!! emoticon

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KATFOSTER11 2/8/2011 7:18AM

    Great Inspiration! Congrats on all of your success!

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JULIEANNCAN 2/8/2011 5:10AM

    emoticon and happy Sparkversary! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AUBREYINGMAN 2/7/2011 11:51PM

    I just want you to know that I am so proud of all the progress you made. I really like the photos you included in this blog. I Love you. You inspire me every day!

emoticon

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HANNAH_CALM 2/7/2011 9:44PM

    Good for you! Congratulations on your Sparkversary! You look great now, really healthy! I know what you mean about how you have to break the rules sometimes. I like to exercise before bed now and then, and they say you're not supposed to. It's silly though. I mean, you get tired, and then it's even easier to fall asleep! Keep up the good work!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LADIDAK 2/7/2011 8:37PM

    Amazing!!! You have such a simple, yet inspiring story! :)

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MT-MOONCHASER 2/7/2011 7:38PM

    Great going!!

emoticon

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