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Seven Things I’ve Learned in Seven Spark Months

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I just recently passed my seventh month sparkversary and I thought I’d take time to reflect on just a few of the many things I’ve learned.

Month 1 – Anything is Better Than Nothing
When I began this journey I lived in a small apartment with my daughter, with no gym membership or ability to have workout equipment in my home. Despite all of that, I was ready to charge full speed ahead. What I realized this month was that there are ALWAYS opportunities for fitness. One of my original fast break goals was to start my day off with an upbeat song. So, I’d spring out of bed, shuffle the IPod, and get moving. I will never forget laughing at myself with the wild moves and gyrations I was doing to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance – she’s so weird that I was getting totally into it and making my body do weird things. It became a sort of game with Gianna – she’d want to be held while I was dipping, twirling, and jumping – so by holding her I was adding a strength component. I wore a pedometer and remember many a night where I refused to go to bed until I’d rolled over that 10,000 step mark – so I’d be reading a book while marching in place, etc… I took walks with the baby, I probably annoyed my neighbors to no end when they heard me jumping jacking at all hours… but regardless, I was well on the way to my journey. And the weight rolled off.

Month 2 – Even Holidays Can’t Derail a Woman on a Mission
I was one of those ‘crazies’ who started this endeavor right before the holidays. I remember I loved Spark at that point because there were so many “survive the holidays” resources. I blogged a strict plan for how I was going to exercise crazy to make up for eating what I wanted at Thanksgiving… and I stuck to it to the letter. My parents were wondering who this woman was that abducted their daughter when I would go out periodically during the day and do wind sprints up and down the driveway. They were in shock when I told them I just needed 20 minutes before opening gifts on Christmas morning because I had to get my 30 day shred in. I did not just survive the holidays – I thrived. And the weight rolled off.

Month 3 – Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (and Save)
By this time I needed to step up my cardio and I now had a home of my own with some room to play exercise – wise. Because of my thriftiness, I was now in a position to purchase some items to start building up my home gym. The biggest expense was an elliptical which I would do again 100 times… my fiancé said it best, “Wow, baby, you use the (blank) out of that thing!” Yes, I sure do. I bought a stability ball, resistance bands, hand weights, a jump rope, a kettlebell – all the tools that I need to continue to change things up. It all helped my mission. And the weight rolled off.

Month 4 – Never Forget Where You Came From
This month I realized that people have started treating me differently – I became more popular and received comments from people I’d never talked to before. It was nice at first but I started to realize that I don’t need fair-weather people. I don’t need new friends who want to talk to me now that I look smoking hot (haha)… and I also had to look at a few things in my own personality. I caught myself a few times when speaking to my fiancé referring to someone as fat. Excuse me! It was a few short months ago when that would could cut me to the quick and now I was using it against others? Nuh uh. I stopped that type of thinking right away but it just did amaze me how things change so quickly and that we should all remember where we came from. And the weight rolled off!

Month 5 – Exercise is a Sanity Saver
This was March – my absolute craziest, busiest time of year at work. It is our fiscal year end and my job goes from medium stress level to off the charts ridiculous stress level. No matter what time time I was logged in til at night, I’d still wake up to 15 more urgent emails. It is enough to drive someone to drink, and in years previous, I barely maintained my sanity. This year I had a line of defense. I MADE time to exercise – I MADE time to get my little girl out for a quick walk when I felt like my head was going to explode. I took a cage fitness class and punched that bag with the image of some of my work issues blasting in my head… and I survived March. And the weight rolled off.

Month 6 – Plateaus Are No Fun but Keep it in Perspective
I hit a very long plateau and tricked myself into thinking I was ready for maintenance – just because I had been so successful to this point that I wanted so say, “There ya go, Tara… done! No more weight loss, you did it, you were 100% successful!” But deep down I know I still had some more to go… and it was not going to be easy. I did everything I read about – change it up, cycle calories, reduce calories, increase calories… my scale would not budge! I got down on myself quite a few times but then I looked back at some swimsuit pics of myself now vs. then. It was a saving grace for me to tell myself, “Self, there is no pressure. If you don’t lose another ounce, you’re fine. You’re healthy, strong, and beautiful. It will be great WHEN the last 10 lbs come off, but give yourself a break. You are at a place you never expected to be.” And, sadly, the weight did NOT roll off.

I have the Aladdin magic carpet song reverberating in my head as I write this final paragraph. I hope everyone on Spark gets to this place and can write this paragraph because it feels amazing. I am extremely active, most of the time. I do fun things with my family. I cook nutritious meals to nourish myself and my family. I prioritize my time so I am giving the best of myself to all facets of my life. I’ve dropped 35 pounds, gone from a size 14 to a 4, and radiate strength. In 7 months I have reinvented myself and I feel I can take on anything. BRING IT ON!
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