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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.

Month 7 – THIS IS A WHOLE NEW WORLD
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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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARYGOLD5 5/28/2013 9:46PM

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LEANJEAN6 4/10/2013 6:30AM

    great blog-

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LIFETIMER54 12/17/2012 8:15AM

  emoticon emoticon

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TMORELLI 4/23/2012 11:21PM

    Great job !!!! Loved this blog.

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BABSS46 2/1/2012 1:25PM

  Thank you for writing this, it's very inspirational, I am sure that it will inspire others that read it too. GREAT JOB!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WONDERS06 10/29/2011 5:08PM

    So neat! Inspirational! I love your attitude!

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KITTYF54 9/9/2011 2:17PM

    Thank you for your insights. how great that you've reached you're goal.

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NBETTYB 8/31/2011 7:30AM

    This is great...it really shows what you can accomplish. I'm just about to go on a holiday, and have hit a little plateau, so this is just what i needed to read about.

Thanks
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GINA180847 8/29/2011 6:22PM

    I really must save this to reread once in a while. What an awesome journey.

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BISSA7 8/12/2011 2:52PM

    I was delayed in reading it, but this is such an awesome and inspirational blog! I love it!

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CRES765 8/2/2011 8:29AM

    Congrats for your success. I am happy for your success. emoticon

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DJENKINS1128 7/20/2011 10:18AM

  Wow! What a ride for you, Tara. It makes all of us Sparks people proud to share your success. You go girl. emoticon

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MARJORIEWRIGHT 7/11/2011 9:40AM

    Thank you for sharing. It is great to have those lessons put out there again. emoticon

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STITCHINGNAN 7/4/2011 2:40AM

    In other words lets stop making excuses and go for it! Many thanks for the reminder. Ree

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JOJOLALA88 7/2/2011 6:16PM

    Thanks for the inspiring words. I wrote them down and posted them on my wall for when the time comes...and it will come.

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MAYBER 6/30/2011 6:47PM

    Very nice reading your journey with dedication and determination you have achieved and best wishes as you continue to strive toward new goals one day at a time

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HELLOKICIA 6/30/2011 10:57AM

    Congratulations, you've earned it!

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XORACH13OX 6/27/2011 9:07PM

    Thank you for sharing! This was very inspiring and I hope to someday be able to write my last paragraph as well! emoticon

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VOVERS1 6/27/2011 7:53PM

  Thank you, this was very inspiring

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SUSIEMT 6/27/2011 6:29PM

    Good for you!! Not only do you know what's what but you can write as well! Keep up the good work hon!

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1TERRY7 6/26/2011 12:08AM

    Thank you for sharing your journey! emoticon

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CHERID615 6/25/2011 3:48PM

  Absolutely wonderful!! I am not one to find excuses for why things aren't going as I would want...and I have learned to be patient with myself and prepare for those bumps in the road along the way...I have been out of work for 17 months and making ends meet has been nothing short of miraculous...I know from where my help truly comes..and as I have gone from stable to not knowing how the bills will get paid I took on spark! Much like starting a diet on thanksgiving! But I knew that if I didn't start somewhere, I would always be one of those "tomorrow" people getting nowhere...

I am still under tremendous stress, but only when I forget to give it to God and just do the next right thing..and doing the next right thing for me is staying on course and quickly adjusting myself when I have gone off course without intent...My difficulty in exercising is that I have had 4 knee surgeries in one year...one of them being a partial knee replacement and one just recently to make some corrections due to infection...but...even though all of that may be a good reason to not exercise because truthfully I am being told to be careful so that I don't re-injure my knee....I can and do walk as much as I can but in moderation...your message is highly motivating even for those of us who do not have the ability to "work it out"..lol...as we would like....so to lose I have had to be very strict in keeping within my 1200-1500 limit and I can honestly tell all of you that I have done very well staying close to if not sometimes under 1200 and the weight has begun to come off...so it does work, but only if you work it!

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JOYTHEIA 6/23/2011 6:45PM

    I love this post. Go You! emoticon

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TAMIJOWILL 6/22/2011 2:33PM

    Thank you so much for sharing I have been looking today for something to keep me going. I am glad I found your blog it was just what I needed. emoticon

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1GROVES2 6/21/2011 8:42AM

    Thanks for sharing....you are very inspiring.
;o)

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CBOWER55 6/21/2011 7:42AM

  nice to ohear

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MMPEARSON13 6/21/2011 12:12AM

    Very, very inspiring. Thank you!

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SANSANDY1 6/20/2011 5:41PM

    emoticon absolutely fantastic

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HEARTANDMUSIC 6/20/2011 4:53PM

    Congratulations! Awesome blog!

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TERESAMARIE1959 6/20/2011 4:17PM

    Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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SUPERSYLPH 6/19/2011 10:59PM

    Thank you for sharing all you learned! It helps a lot!

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AHODGES7 6/19/2011 2:13PM

    You took just the RIGHT perspective and DID IT!
Congratulations!
Andrea

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VIOLET_66 6/19/2011 2:04PM

  I have been trying so hard to keep motivated on exercising and I have failed miserably many times. Your determination finally motivated me and since last week , I have been doing exactly as what you did and I am happy to report that since 5 days ago I have lost 4lbs just by exercising and not really watching what I eat. The result has motivated me to control my cravings and I feel great, thanks to you.

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LAURALLANCE 6/19/2011 11:08AM

    Thank you for sharing your progress it sure is motivating! emoticon

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DEMAIS9401 6/18/2011 11:10PM

  That was great blog very inspiring thank u. Great job by the way. emoticon emoticon

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DEMAIS9401 6/18/2011 11:09PM

  That was great blog very inspiring thank u. Great job by the way. emoticon emoticon

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DEMAIS9401 6/18/2011 11:09PM

  That was great blog very inspiring thank u. Great job by the way. emoticon emoticon

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KELWEL2 6/18/2011 8:12PM

  Man! That was refreshment to my soul; just what I needed Tara. Thank you! emoticon

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MIMI4150 6/18/2011 7:19PM

  God Bless You! Congrats on your outstanding success. You must be under 35, right? You sound like you have your head on straight and I hope you will continue on the path you have set out for yourself. Much continued success!

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MADDEELOU 6/18/2011 6:18PM

    What a motivating an inspiring blog. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. It was just what I needed today.

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YELLOWBIRD01 6/18/2011 11:12AM

    Awesome!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!! Just what I needed and when I needed it!!!!!

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EVA_AISLING 6/17/2011 7:38PM

    This is the kind of commitment I need! I hope to be there with you someday soon! emoticon

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FLPALM 6/17/2011 10:20AM

    NOW THIS WAS REALLY GREAT! I LOVED YOUR LINE...."AND THE WEIGHT ROLLED OFF!" IT GIVES ANOTHER DIMENSION TO YOUR PROGRAM....YOU "ROLLED OVER AND OVER TO A NEW YOU!" GOOD LUCK, GOD BLESS, AND KEEP SPARKING! emoticon

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ANDIG8 6/16/2011 11:46PM

    Wow! So happy for you and thank you for sharing such a wonderful journey!


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TWITLET 6/16/2011 4:57PM

    Thank you for this. It has helped inspire me to get back to everything I had been doing 5 months ago and to work hard once again at my goals!!! emoticon

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REBECCALYN10 6/16/2011 3:31PM

    LOVED LOVED LOVED this blog! It is exactly what I need today. You are fabulous!

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55FOXY 6/16/2011 1:01PM

  Not big on reading BLAH, Blah, Blogs, but this one you have walked the talk!
Inspires us to keep focus ( and moving ) forward emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/16/2011 1:02:26 PM

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TONISTRELEC 6/16/2011 12:08PM

    emoticon emoticon

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TAMMAE 6/16/2011 9:51AM

    Wow! I am really impressed with how you stuck with the exercise while visiting the parents. I am still working on that one...I do travel a lot (300-500 miles)and tend to convince myself I'm too tired to exercise. Thank you for posting your determined attitude. You gave me a ton to think about.

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REVERIE2 6/15/2011 6:53PM

    What an inspiring blog! Thanks!


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