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    JOHNTJ1   73,514
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints

I'm A Perfect Example of Why Spark People Works

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Friday, August 05, 2011

You will not find any before or after photo’s here, nor will you find secrets to success. If you have any to share, secrets that is, I am open and willing to listen to them. Most of what I’ve done has crashed and burned. Oh there have been a few moments of enlightenment and many, many good friends, but if you came here to find a magic potion, I apologize. You can close your browser window and move on to something you may deem a bit more fruitful. This isn’t a rant or a cry for help. It’s not even a “poor me.” It’s the best testimonial of why Spark People works. It’s because I am living proof.

When I joined Spark no one made me any guarantees or promises. There was no “quick start” program. There was “fitter and healthier me” in thirty days. No one tried to sell me anything. I was, however, fed a steady diet of support and common sense. Along the way I have made some really good friends, some young, some old and some in the middle. I’ve found that these folks endure the same challenges I do; they do not live in The Magic Kingdom and I have yet to meet the perfect person. At least I know I’m not.

I began my journey here at Spark weighing three hundred twenty six pounds. That was in December of 2009. By May of 2010 I weighed two hundred sixty pounds, by July one of that year I was down to two hundred fifty. I was a rock star!!! As quickly as it started, it stopped. I hit the dreaded plateau. So being the amazingly intelligent person I was I worked harder and exercised longer. Thanks to Spark People I discovered the C25K program. I ran my first 5K in September of 2010. It wasn’t enough. I had to run more often and much longer. I saw people running five miles and decided it had to be me. Never mind that they’d been running a year or more!!

I started to yo-yo. I’d gain five lose three, gain eight lose six. In late October I made a spectacular fall during a 5K that took the skin off my knee very close to my knee cap. It took three months to heal. I gained a bit more weight. I started running again in late December. I ran about a half mile and as I planted my left foot on the track I felt a pain shoot up my knee. The doctor said it was similar to an injury a thoroughbred horse receives when they plant their foot the wrong way. I was just glad they didn’t shoot me.

My PT gave up on me. She’s in business to make money and the results weren’t headed in the right direction. I still love her like a sister and daughter and I understand. Instead of resting and accepting the fact that a fifty seven year old heals slower than twenty seven year old does I decided it was time to train for my first triathlon. (No fool like an old one, right?”) That led me to spinning class. Not wanting to ease into things I decided that I would take three classes a week. The end result was an aggravated preexisting back condition that I didn’t know existed causing a slight bulge between my L2 and L3 vertebrae. I have a hard time walking more than one hundred yards and if I see a set of steps I almost cry. My legs are stiff.

While all this drama is going on guess what happens? I am slowly regaining most of my weight. As I write this morning I weigh two hundred ninety four pounds and yes I am scared. But I’m here. That’s why I’m a living testament to the effectiveness of Spark People. Every morning, right after I say my prayers and balance my check book I log on to Spark. I get up early to read blogs, tips, share with my friends and gain a bit more confidence each and every day. Have I thought about quitting Spark, sure have, about a hundred times a week? Honestly I embarrassed to have lost all that I gained in success. Being a terminally ill people leaser I worried that my one thousand plus Spark friends would drift away.

I’m not going anywhere. I will not give up. It may take a long time but I will regain my balance and equilibrium and I will solve the riddles and dilemmas. I may have regained most of my weight and be unable to exercise much right now but I look back and I know that it was all of my own doing. I threw caution to the wind and over did it!!

Before I joined Spark People I would have simply walked away and been bitter. This is not a cry for help or sympathy. In many ways I write or say what most people think and won’t say for whatever reason. I’ll get this and if you are feeling a little blue or down or defeated today well guess what? So am I!!! But ya know what?

We’ll get this. Stay here, and work the process. I promise.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SILLYHP1953 10/12/2011 10:55AM

    I'd gotten way behind in reading blogs and am almost caught up...I saved yours until last...on purpose. I know what they mean to me, that I have to savor them, let the thoughts percolate. So now I have started reading your blogs, I was behind all the way to your August 1st one. Maybe I had to accept some things in my life, deal with some things, before being ready for your blogs. Your blogs make me think...make me feel. I'm ready again.

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MOMMYTO5CUTIES 8/19/2011 9:18PM

    You can do it!!!! Just keep working on it you know what you need to fix and it sounds like to me you are starting to take those steps :)

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WEIGHTWATCHER72 8/19/2011 12:05PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog! You are inspiring and help everyone realize that you should never give up!

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JENNSWIMS 8/18/2011 3:42AM

    I have no doubt that you can put a stop to the gains and get through rehab to feel better. You can do it!!

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LSPIZZA 8/17/2011 1:35PM

    Do hang in there!

I am glad you are still here.

I worry about injury all the time. I started my exercise journey to combat grief and depression and anxiety after I was widowed with young chikdren. I actually just did my first Triathlon about a week ago. And I am down a lot of pounds as a result.

But the real victory is the attitude. And you have it. Keep sparking!

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BARBIE779 8/15/2011 8:58PM

    Take it easy and remember this isn't a race. Hang in there and you'll make it.

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FARAWAY01 8/15/2011 4:15PM

    Hang in there and take it a bit slower next time around. You can do it! I'm back at SP after losing/gaining, so you're not alone in that.

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TRULYVISIBLE 8/15/2011 9:12AM

  Sounds like pool exercise would be perfect for you. No joint pain. You can even hold onto a noodle and just go across the pool till your body is feeling better. My biggest fear is gaining back what I have already lost. I know I will eventually get to my goal weight so no fear in that. Just fear in gaining it back. The more I am on Spark the less fear I have. It just might be that my yo yo days may be behind me. ( I hope) I see how my thinking is changing and my eating habits. Great honest blog, thanks.

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XIUXIE 8/15/2011 8:21AM

    There is a Samuel Beckett quote here that is applicable "Try. Fail. Try again. Fail better."

Weight loss and getting healthier is not going to be a simple straightforward thing. Most of us get of track, gain back weight, stop exercising because life gets in the way etc, etc. This is a process without a final ending. The best we can do is to try and to try again when we fail. It is hard but it gets easier along the way.

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SNOWANGELDIVA 8/15/2011 1:13AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THEIS58 8/14/2011 12:50AM

    Thanks for a dose of honesty about how difficult this can be emoticon

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WEKIMER 8/13/2011 9:40PM

  John, great blog. Great to hear your story. Sorry to hear about the injuries and how they can affect our life.
I too always start off with a bang and then a few days or weeks or months down the road, get side-lined.
But you're so right, we never stop, we never give up. Hope springs eternal. We will lose the weight, we will be healthy, and fit.
No matter how long it takes because we are worth it! kim

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FLA-1956 8/13/2011 6:13PM

  I think a lot of us feel as you do. Hang in there and know you have friends here that believe in you. emoticon

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CHICAGOMAN46 8/13/2011 12:18PM

  Hang in there and keep believing and keep working the best that you can. We all hit a bump in the road every now and then but with that comes a chance to really work hard and improve ourselves an individual.

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    I did not know are even more amzing than presumed!

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ANNE-ELIZ 8/12/2011 10:48AM

    So sorry that things have been hard! I know what tolls illness and or injury can take, not only on the weight loss but on your emotions as well.

All those little unhelpful voices both inside and outside your head that get to voicing their opinions...

I've been sidelined by a couple of illnesses and unable to do the activity and exercise that I had so slowly and carefully worked up to. I'm just now contemplating how to get back to doing something that won't start the whole cascade again.

You're such an asset to this community. Your honesty and ability to voice what we both know to be common experience, but that feels so isolating, is a great gift. The strength of this program and site is that it is a long term project and we're not alone.

Thank you. emoticon

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TRACEY5280 8/10/2011 2:47PM

    I get the wanting to start out too fast. It's a intentional mental thought to reign it in. I'm happy to see you're not giving up. Please don't ever.

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NEEDTOLOSE100LB 8/9/2011 4:37PM

    Life is a journey. There are many different roads and detours. Sounds like you are on one of the detours. I think I speak for a lot of people on here, we are glad that you haven't given up. We look forward to your advice, your wit and your will. You haven't let us down. Hopefully, we can help you turn this around too. Hopefully, we don't let you down. We are here for each other. Anything I can do, please tell me. Sometimes, kind words are needed. Other times we need a kick in the seat of the pants. Sometimes they come together. I would give you a kick, but it sounds like that wouldn't help your back, so, John, keep your chin up, your mind working on this puzzle and thank you for being you, no matter how big or small you are. Thank you. L.

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CATHERINEL66 8/9/2011 8:03AM

    I know I always say this -- but HANG IN THERE John. I think you'll find your way to a balance on nutrition and fitness if you keep giving yourself opportunities to be successful. Really. Whether it's spin, yoga or something else you start (slowly), I know you'll get there. And I think you can make the scale your friend (or not enemy) if you can use it as a tool to monitor the impact of the calories ... and find the point where you can eat well and not gain (and lose a few pounds).

I worked through a number of injuries, as you know, this year ... and now I have a new one. My new challenge is a potential injury to my income (restructuring at job), so I'm seeking a new one, and trying not to give in to freaking out, LOL. And also not picking up the bad habits again.

Hang in there!

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NASFKAB 8/8/2011 8:09AM

  Thanks for pointing out the truth

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ALLISON145 8/6/2011 3:45PM

  Becoming the "ultra mega quick success story" always hangs over us as a huge temptation, so it's great to see you 'keeping it real' and reminding us that we should keep our feet on the ground and our efforts moderate and above all consistent. Blogs like this one help to teach others that consistency is more important to the process than shooting up and flaming out. You have a great story to tell with all kinds of lessons to be learned - the question is whether you feel ready to apply those lessons for yourself now. Either way, thank you for sharing them with us!

You can do this. I know it - do you?



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JBARSTOW 8/6/2011 11:41AM

    Been doing a bit of bouncing on those numbers myself recently. This is a journey, and the road isn't a straight shot; it curves around and doubles back on itself at times, I'm finding.

Hang on in're gonna make it, so long as you don't quit trying!

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AKATUJE 8/6/2011 10:28AM

    emoticon emoticon

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LYNMEINDERS 8/6/2011 4:26AM

    Yay...awesome blog John....
I am so pleased that you haven't quit even though I know you feel like it at glad you are still here with your wisdom and writing about your insight that heps us all.....


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CARTOONB 8/5/2011 9:26PM

    I'm one of the "young" friends, huh? emoticon's a downer for you. There is no "there" to be traveling toward. Once you hit a goal, there is another goal. Once you hit your desired weight, there's maintenance. You're not "done" until you die. How's that for motivation!? The good news? You get to make that journey with me and all of these other great folks you've met...and a few more you haven't met yet.

I, for one, am glad to have you join me on mine. emoticon

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MAGGIE805 8/5/2011 8:30PM

    Amen! I get that way from time to time. But I always come back and am better for it. This site has changed me. Great blog. emoticon

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BECKY3774 8/5/2011 6:36PM

    Thank you for your honesty. We have all been there. I lost eighty pounds over seven months, and then plateaued, and proceeded to gain back about twenty five of it over the next year or so....I figured that my clothes weren't changing sizes, I was good. Nevermind the fact that everything was so tight, I was beginning to look like a stuffed sausage!!! Luckily, I found spark before gaining back all eighty pounds....and I'm here with you now to learn how to conquer my food issues....are you game? emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SPEEDY143 8/5/2011 2:58PM

    emoticon you're human emoticon I just became your 1087th SparkFriend who's just as human as you and looking forward to ALL the joys and sorrows of living a full life because I don't intend to quit either emoticon

emoticon Linda

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WHIPPEACHZ 8/5/2011 2:56PM

    Yes! You have an awesome attitude. Yes you will get there ... maybe not tomorrow, maybe not even this year... but you will get there because you have learned the secret of positive thinking.

Thank you so much for posting this... awesome blog!

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GAL7288 8/5/2011 2:56PM

    I really think thats the attitude we should all have, there is never a clear path to take, every direction has potholes the important thing is to walk around them even if it takes longer! Thanks so much for posting. And we are here for you, no matter if you gain or loose weight cause we are all doing it, I'm guilty of it too.

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EILI359 8/5/2011 2:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KIBAISREADY 8/5/2011 2:16PM

    Thanks for sharing your story... I truly enjoyed it! Oh how I can relate.. especially to that dreaded Plateau, the up and down, that's me right now as I type this words... I love the attitude... Keep pushing on and yep Sparkpeople is Amazing!

Best Wishes,

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MIZZSB 8/5/2011 2:10PM

    hang in there emoticon , we are in this together.


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DEBRITA01 8/5/2011 1:33PM

    We all have our ups & downs, losses & gains, but we're still here and that's the most important thing. No one except us to be the perfect Spark People but us. Try not to put any added pressure on yourself and keep your great attitude. Do what you can each day physically, keep eating healthy, and keep your head in the game, as you have been. Over time you will regain your physical strength and heal...and the pounds will follow. We 50+ SP know what you're dealing with and are here to support you. Hang in there! emoticon

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    Weight gain happens to most of us at some time or another. But if you never give up and if this new way of eating and exercising is really a way of life then there is no failure. Just set-backs that are learning experiences.

Comment edited on: 8/5/2011 1:33:58 PM

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ZURDTA- 8/5/2011 12:28PM

    emoticon similar thing is happening to me... but I too am still here, still learning, still trying, still making mistakes... but still learning from them, and still trying... etc...

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COUCHDIVA333 8/5/2011 12:18PM

    yep we are in this together. and we will get thru this.
hope you are healing well!

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_AIYANNA_ 8/5/2011 11:57AM

    John, thank you for writing this blog and for being the wonderful person that you are.

I know that given time your body will heal and that you'll get back on track. Focus on other aspects of getting healthier and please, please stay with us :)

Take good care, my friend :)

Elen xxx

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JENNY888 8/5/2011 11:52AM

    John this blog shows how much you inspire us even when you feel down. Your persistence will result in your winning again I know. Some of us instead of taking one small step back and two small steps forward try to take one giant step forward and end up taking a giant step back instead. I know. I did it also. Much for the same reasons as you. I know the feelings of defeat.

I also will not quit and will continue again, a little wiser this time, and take two small steps forward at a time. I will get at my goal a little later but with the wisdom from the past should get there.

I applaud you for coming out and saying what is going on. I see many that just sit at the same weight forever here on Spark. I thought they were just in a plateau, but have come to realize that the ticker does not ever go into the negative numbers. I'm not sure that is such a good idea. I think if I actually saw the minus on mine it would mean more.

After reading a blog of yours at the start of the year I reset my ticker so I would not be resting on past victories but showing actual progress like you said you did. I'm not so sure it was such a good idea. Watching the hard earned progress on the ticker fade away would have been a good thing. Instead things just stayed at zero.

I wish you the best of luck. If you need a real friend to talk to, not just one in a thousand, I am here.

I like SMOKON's advice above to concentrate on the food portion while waiting to heal. What great advice. When I am healing instead I concentrate on baking and cooking comfort food. I will now change my way of thinking in these times.

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NATTY0488 8/5/2011 11:48AM


Keep it up. You will get where you want with this attitude!

You're still a rock star!

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LUVMYK9S 8/5/2011 11:48AM

    I right there with you John! I'm not much of a motivator or inspiration, I'm at the same place with my weight as I was when I started Spark in 2009, but I keep plugging along. Although I have not been losing, I have not continued to gain weight, but I have learned a lot about myself and I know one day I will reach my goals.

Just keep Sparking!

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FROGGERHKC 8/5/2011 11:32AM

    "We’ll get this. Stay here, and work the process. I promise. "

You are so right! Everyone has bumps in the road. They key is to keep on going!

emoticon emoticon

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SUSANS_TURN 8/5/2011 11:31AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DANA564 8/5/2011 11:10AM

    Love your attitude! Being 50 myself I understand about injuries, slow healing, and setbacks. We are here to support each other through good times and bad, sometimes more bad than good. Like you, I'm taking one day at a time and I wish you luck and good health. God Bless.


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AMBERADAMS1 8/5/2011 11:09AM

    I'm amazed at how you can be down in the dumps and still write such a motivating blog! Your level of self-awareness amazes me. I wish I was that in touch with myself to figure out why I do the things I do. Hope things start looking up for you!

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SMOCKON 8/5/2011 11:02AM

    Don't waste time. I got off track with my exercise routine in December. Just when I was getting started again at the beginning of summer, I broke a toe. I couldn't exercise, so I ate. HELLO?? Because I couldn't burn calories, I added calories?? How did that help me?

While you're letting your body heal, give it good stuff and work on getting the food part under control. Then you're not wasting the time it takes you to heal.

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JANC7223 8/5/2011 10:51AM

    John, I love reading your blogs. You always seem to write something I need to hear when I need to read it. Glad you are staying here. Life definitely is fluid and it those who learn to take the good with the bad who truly succeed. You will suceed!

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KKINNEA 8/5/2011 10:22AM

    We're with you and cheering you on!

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KAT573 8/5/2011 10:20AM

    Great Blog, John; I do think recognizing, acknowledging and accepting and finding ways to adapt to the changes brought on by aging is one of the hardest but potentially greatest, Rites of Passage, on all levels. Persistance added in with these, will keep you heading in the right direction! I am so glad you are here!
Hugs emoticon

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ERLYWA 8/5/2011 10:14AM

    You are STILL a rockstar in MY book. Because a rockstar to me is the person who fights hard, never gives up, and is willing to take a long, painful look at their mistakes so as to learn from them and move on.

I know why you pushed forward even when your body was screaming to slow down. I am still recovering from a hip injury, which is my second injury in four months. All because I refused to listen to my physical therapist and strength train. No, I was stubborn and just went out and ran, ran, ran.

So I know how you're feeling and I am so glad that you put all this down for others to see. Your diligence and refusal to give up is inspiring! :)

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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.

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