I have been a member of SparkPeople since 2008, but it wasn't until a year ago that I really made the commitment to stick to it. Today, it's been a year since I made myself a promise to turn my life around and start taking better care of myself. Back then, I was miserable. It wasn't just the weight getting me down but it was a major factor even if I didn't realize it back then. I weighed 190 pounds which was my highest weight ever and I knew something needed to change. My eating was out of control and I was in a bad physical shape. After Valentine's Day 2012, I decided I need to love and respect myself enough to make the commitment to be healthy. And after that, I never hesitated.
Along the way, I have definitely made my share of mistakes but I have always walked away from them smarter than before. I have learned so much about myself this year. I'm a lot more aware of what is going on in my mind and my body, and I have a clearer sense of what works for me and what doesn't. I'm very proud of myself for losing weight slowly but steadily and for not gaining any of the weight back even when my life was crazy and stressful and when I sometimes found myself slipping back into my old ways. I have learned to be more forgiving towards myself. I'm only human and it would be unfair to expect to be perfect. Life is what it is, it's rarely perfect, things happen that throw us off the course sometimes and then we just have to find the strength in ourselves to keep on moving forward. A setback is not the same thing as failure. That I have learned.
Today, I celebrated my one year with SparkPeople by going for a run. I ran a 5K in honor of my progress and my healthy, strong body. A year ago, I could not jog for as long as 5 minutes without stopping to catch my breath. I've come a long way since then. I've lost 36 pounds and become so much healthier and I'm in a much better physical (and mental) shape than I was back then. I'm happy and I feel like I'm where I need to be in life. The confidence and strength that I got from changing my life for the better here on SparkPeople also gave me the courage to make some important changes in other areas of life as well and I feel like I'm finally on the road to becoming the person I was always meant to be.
It's an ongoing process and I'm excited to see what my next year with SparkPeople will bring! The thing I want to focus on now is to really turn this into a lifestyle and lose even the last bits of diet thinking once and for all. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I love how SparkPeople is all about making a lifestyle change and ditching the diets for good, and I've been doing really well when it comes to that, at least for the most part. But what bothers me lately is the fixation on numbers. How many pounds have I lost, how many pounds do I still have to lose? How many calories am I eating? How many calories am I burning? How many inches have I lost? How many inches would I like to lose around my waist, my hips, my thigh...? While measuring all of that is an effective weight loss tool, I've started to feel like I'm putting way too much emphasis on it. It makes me feel like this is a diet and not a lifestyle. I'll do my best to explain what I mean but please bear with me.
Being someone who has a history of eating disorders, obsession and need for control are always lurking near. I have noticed my behavior follows a patter that usually goes like this: I get really motivated to lose weight, a lot of weight. I make all kinds of plans and calculations. I measure everything. I try to weigh myself only once a week and end up weighing myself every morning. Numbers consume me. For a month or so, everything is going well. I'm motivated. I updated my blog every day, I'm constantly online. I'm obsessed with the numbers on the scale and I need to see them go down so I can track it here on Sparks. I compare my results with everyone else and sometimes I feel discouraged when others lose weight more quickly than I do. But then I get sick of it. All of it. This is where I am today. And by that I don't mean that I'm now eating loads of food mindlessly and not working out at all. I still am eating healthy for the most part and working out, but I'm sick of worrying about the numbers. I started this new cycle on the beginning of December. Back then, I was really excited to start losing weight again (I had been feeling unmotivated for a while, actually I was pretty much where I am now) and so focused on the numbers. I kept comparing myself to everyone else on here. I compared my goals with theirs. I changed mine continuously. But then, a few weeks ago, it once again lost its lure.
And this is why I want to learn to find BALANCE. Balance is key. I need it in my life.
It is something I have yet to learn. I want to focus less on numbers and more on improving my health. I want to weigh myself only once a month and maybe change my ticker into one that measures monthly fitness minutes instead of weight. I want to eat healthy but I don't want to be obsessed about it. I don't want to go to extremes. I'm usually very good at avoiding going to extremes these days but I still do it sometimes and I want to stop. I wish I could explain this better but I'm afraid I can't.
My point is: I want to stop comparing myself to everyone else. I don't have to be as skinny as some people are on here. If I want to be curvier, it's okay as long as I'm happy with it. If someone who is my height weighs 120 pounds it doesn't mean I have to weigh that much too to be happy and content in my life. I want to focus on improving my health instead of the numbers on the scale. I want to stop worrying about losing weight - the weight will take care of itself when I'm living a healthy and balanced life. It might take time but I don't mind; I know I will get there one day and by doing it slowly and by making this a real, lasting lifestyle change I know it will stay off, too.
So those are my goals for my second year with SparkPeople. I want to thank you all for always being there for me! I couldn't have done this without you. I love you all for being so amazing and giving me so much support and encouragement. WE CAN DO THIS!!!
(Me in July 2011)
(Me in December 2012)
I'll make a picture blog with more (new) progress pics tomorrow :)