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Happy First SparkVersary to Me!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

One year ago today I signed up for SparkPeople. Happy anniversary to me!

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These last 365 days have been filled with plenty of progress. I had gotten some unpleasantly elevated numbers on my annual blood tests, and my doctor said that I needed to lose weight. She pointed me in the direction of a nutritionist who in turn pointed me in the direction of SparkPeople. This news should not have been much of a surprise to me. About eight years earlier, I had finally found the motivation to lose weight and get healthier. Once a week, Dr. Phil was featuring a group of people on his talk show who were following his program, and their progress was very inspirational. I am remembered sobbing over some of the stories because I could so easily relate to them. So I bought the paperback book, read it carefully, figured out how to make it work in my life, and got started. I wanted to lose 90 pounds.

In ten months, I had dropped 65 pounds. I had more energy, fewer aches and pains, looked better, and felt younger. That should have been some pretty powerful motivation, right? Well, as many of you can relate, those new habits were not as strong as old habits. The holidays and their temptations arrived, and it made sense to allow myself a few treats. After all, it was the holiday season, and I had worked so very hard, I figured I deserved a few exceptions. And then a few more exceptions. And after the holidays, instead of losing a few pounds, I gained a few more. And a few more. And a few more. Eventually I was within 8 pounds of where I had started. And that is when the elevated blood test results arrived on the scene.

I already knew what I SHOULD eat. My trouble was actually DOING what I knew I should do. I managed to lose 20 pounds on my own. Then my nutritionist suggested that I might find the support I needed through SparkPeople. Even though the site offers many features that have been hugely beneficial, I am most grateful for the support, empathy, and motivation that I have received from my fellow Sparklers on the various teams. Sometimes they did not know that they were helping me, because I was quietly reading what they had shared. From their contributions, I found fellow souls who encouraged me and useful techniques that I could apply in my own life. Along the way, I made a few special friends who have been invaluable cheerleaders and thoughtful sounding boards. This seems like an ideal time to extend my heartfelt thanks to those angels:

emoticon MAVERICK59, who seems to know exactly when to toss me a goodie and a few uplifting words. Melinda, thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement.

emoticon ELIZACG9, my glamorous cowgirl friend, who drops goodies into my lap from time to time. Thank you for your steadfast friendship.

emoticon GRAMARAY, another top notch goodie tosser. Thank you for aiming those morsels in my direction.

emoticon BABYSMAMA12, who keeps me stocked with virtual fruit salad. Thank you for your comments on my feed. I notice and appreciate that.

emoticon NANCYHOME247, who shared the absolutely brilliant idea of popping frozen food out of plastic containers and into plastic bags. What an perfect solution to a lack of containers and space. Thank you for helping my freezer breathe easier.

emoticon LARKSONGRUTH, the woman with the gift of words. Your ability to put your struggles into words touches me and inspires me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

emoticon IAMAGEMLOVER, who signed up for SparkPeople one day before me. She fills my daily feed with so much activity that I am worn out simply from reading everything she does! Dear, I wish I had a quarter of the energy you have! (And yes, it does feel great!)

emoticon CTUPTON, leader of the Evening Eating Sabotage Myself Frustration group. She reached out to me and got me to interact just a wee bit. I am still not the most talkative person in the groups, but I am fast becoming known as the Queen of Alliteration! (Everybody has their unique skills, right?) Chris, I am so glad my biggest frustration led me to find you . . . or you to find me. Whichever.

emoticon GENESIS2012, the Arizona cheesehead! Carol, you are just simply a ray of sunshine. Your excitement just seems to bubble right up and off of my computer screen! You take so much of your time to offer your positive words with other people. Thank you for brightening my days.

emoticon AUDISP, who is probably the closest person to me geographically speaking. (We really do need to meet one another someday.) The two of us have so much in common that sometimes I think that she writes my blog for me! Mary, thank you for sharing this journey.

With the help of those folks plus many others and a strong dose of determination on my part, I lost the other 37 pounds, getting myself back down to where I was eight years ago. All of numbers on my blood tests were back into the normal range. I lowered my total cholesterol by 81 points, my triglycerides by 81 points, my LDL by 56 points, and my glucose by 15 points. Wahoo for me!

Now my goal is to survive this holiday season without doing any damage to my progress. If I can maintain until mid January, I will consider that to be a victory. Then, once I feel up to it, I am going to give myself another challenge. I should exercise to strengthen my body overall and give me more endurance, and that would also help me maintain my weight loss. I might even try to lose another 5 or 10 pounds. But most of all, I hope that when I celebrate my second anniversary, I will not have put back on any weight. With the help of SparkPeople and the friends I have made here, I will keep working at it.

emoticon Merry Christmas, everyone! emoticon
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