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My Best Year


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Last year, something drastic changed for me. I wish I could say exactly when that was. No lightning bolts struck, no angels descended from a cloud with prophetic announcements, nothing so easy to point to and declare Ė thatís it! Thatís the moment when I changed my life! In reality, I think it might have happened one night as a dragged my weary body up the stairs, with creaking knees, and thought, Iím still 4 years away from retirement. If Iím feeling this exhausted and out of shape now, what how will I feel by then? It occurred to me that while I had been busily making financial plans for retirement, I hadnít given much thought to how my physical state might impact the quality of my life.

Iíve been overweight or obese for decades. Like many over-weight people, Iíve tried to lose before. Usually, Iíd successfully lose 10 Ė 15 pounds, then get stuck, fall back on old habits and put it all back, and then some. I think what changed this time was my motivation. When Iíd tried to lose weight before, it was for superficial reasons. I didnít like the way I looked, or how my clothes fit, or some special occasion was coming up. This time, I was focused on something more important Ė my health. And I had a real goal Ė to be in condition to enjoy a healthy, active, and hopefully, long retirement. At that point, I decided that even if I again only lost 10 Ė 15 pounds, I would consider it an accomplishment worth pursuing and maintaining.

There was one more difference this time Ė I decided to look for help. Lucky for me, an internet search brought me to SparkPeople. That was one year ago today. What a difference that year has made! When I set up my account and entered my goal, to lose 57 pounds, it seemed impossible. I set my goal at one pound per week, which would mean that if I could actually accomplish it, I would reach my goal weight on July 3, 2013. In reality, I didnít think it would happen. But I was committed to doing the best that I could to get in shape and improve my health, even if I never actually reached my goal weight.

I picked 57 pounds because that would put me at a healthy BMI. I started tracking my food immediately, as well as my water intake. I also began adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet, which wasnít hard for me since I like them anyway. It wasnít long before I started adding some exercise to my regime. Now, the fact is, I HATE to exercise. Never have liked it, never will. However, I do like being outside, walking, hiking, dancing, planting vegetables, and generally having a good time. As long as Iím not ďdoing exerciseĒ, Iím okay. So, rather than joining a gym, I went for walks, danced liked an idiot around the house (ABBA featured largely in this plan), and found other ways to move more. I started slowly (15 minutes at a time, 3 times a week) but before long, Iíd worked to moving for longer periods and more often.

It wasnít nearly as hard as I thought it would be once I got going. By October, I needed a new wardrobe. My pants were so baggy, I was afraid Iíd lose them. I was 30 pounds down and counting. And on April 19 of this year, I passed my goal by 1 pound! Today Iím 4 pounds below my goal and have been holding steady for over a month now. Iíve gone from a size 18W to a size 8. My cholesterol has dropped from 245 to 196 in the past year, and my blood pressure (which has always been good, thankfully) went from 120/80 to 100/70. Iíve stopped taking sleep aids at night, and I can run up the steps at work without getting winded. And I feel great! While itís nice to get all of the compliments Iíve been receiving from friends, neighbors, and colleagues at work who have noticed the change, the best part is that I look and feel the way I did years ago. No more dragging myself up stairs, and no more creaky knees. Iím no longer worried about the quality of my life in retirement, instead Iím thinking of all the new ways that I can find to stay active, all of the new recipes I can try, and extra things I can plant in my garden, once I have the time to do even more.

So, thank you to SparkPeople, and my wonderful SparkFriends, for making this one of my best years, ever!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOUIE-LILY 9/7/2013 5:34PM

    It suddenly dawned on me that I've never stopped by to read your blog. I knew your story would be amazing and encouraging but to actually read the details you share - it is truly a wonderful accomplishment. I can identify with so much of what you said, including enjoying ABBA ;) Truly, you are an inspiration that I know I will think of to continue to carry me forward. These stories help us all, I think. It makes us realize and remember we're not alone in our struggle and if one person can accomplish what you have with shear determination . . . we all can! Thanks for sharing your story, I'm glad I finally got to read it!
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KAREN608 7/27/2013 3:00PM

    Your page ought to have an Abba soundtrack!
I smiled all through reading this. Happy dance time
in your honor!
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ZOEYBLU 7/7/2013 12:54PM

    This is fantanstic.....!


Well , no wonder you feel so great !

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KAREN608 6/21/2013 2:46AM

    Your post was lovely. Reminded me of having a proper goal - good health.

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SUMMER2203 5/31/2013 11:11AM

    wow, this is one of the best success posts i've ever read! i can feel your happiness shining through your words, and i am so so happy for you. congratulations on reclaiming your life :)

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LEW0213 5/31/2013 9:17AM

    Wonderful blog. Congratulations on reaching your goal!!

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BEWELL48 5/30/2013 10:59PM

    Such an inspiration.......thank you!

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PHEBESS 5/30/2013 8:27PM

    Great job, very impressive!

And for me, it was hitting a certain size and realizing that I could continue gaining, or do something about it and go back to my former size. It totally is worth the effort, isn't it?

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MILLISMA 5/30/2013 8:24PM

    emoticon What a great job you have done! So proud of you emoticon emoticon

hugs....Mary Anne

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CLESHER 5/30/2013 5:46PM

    This is Awesome, great job....I see you finally did it for the right reasons !!!

I am proud of you....

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CHERIONE 5/30/2013 5:22PM

    Awesome!! Proud of you...healthier you!

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LINDAK25 5/30/2013 11:23AM

    Happy Anniversary! Congratulations! I really like your perspective. Lose the weight to be the healthiest you can be, not for vanity's sake!

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KAYDE53 5/30/2013 11:09AM

    I'm sooooo proud of you, my friend!!!! You have done a fantastic job!!! You really inspire me & I hope to reach my goal one of these days too!! (I like ABBA too) emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SQUIRRELLYONE 5/30/2013 10:28AM

    Great job! I feel the same way about fitness: I wanna do things that are fun. Working out is lame :P

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FARIS71 5/30/2013 10:14AM

    Oh my goodness how awesome! Thanks for the inspiration (and the reminder of how good ABBA music is!)

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