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    GEMLADYONE   135,080
100,000-149,999 SparkPoints

A Journey from Obesity to Lean and Healthy - (2013 in Review)

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

This month marks the one year anniversary of my return to Spark People and a commitment to do it right this time. I reached final goal this month and have transitioned to maintenance, so I wanted to recap the year’s progress. Anyone can do this, so I hope that maybe my story will encourage someone who is still thinking about doing it (as I was for 5 years previously).

Here’s what SP helped me do in 2013 (by the numbers):

Weight: 193 lbs to 120 lbs – shed 73 lbs (38%) !
BMI: 31.2 (obese) to 19.4 (healthy) !
Body Fat: 39.3% to 19.3% - cut in half !
Chest: (8.0 in)
Waist: (13.5 in)
Hips: (9.5 in)
Thigh: (5.0 in)
Neck: (1.75 in)
Arm: (3.5 in)
Total lost: (41) inches !!

In 2013 I've logged over 3,000,000 steps and 1500 miles according to my Fitbit (which I love).

I’ve gone from a size 16 pants to size 4 and from XL tops to medium or small. My shoes fit once again (who knew your feet get fat too, LOL!). My rings and watches had to be sized down (twice during the year!)

But the best things aren’t really shown in the “numbers”, and honestly I saw many of these well before I got to final goal. Seeing how just a bit of progress improved my life was so important to keeping me motivated and determined to stay on track throughout the year. Here are some of the simple things that last year were impossible for me and that I now rejoice in:
• I can run and play with my grandsons (they get tired before I do!)
• Last year, I couldn’t walk a mile without being tired, with my feet hurting and wanting to rest. This year, I ran a 5K race in April (after only 4 months) and a 10K in December. In training I have done a half marathon distance, and have a 10 miler race scheduled for March 2014. I’m slower than a lot of people but I can finish and it feels good! I want to mention here that I’ve never run before in my life, and it was SP articles that gave me the idea and a dear Spark friend, (thanks GWINNER1), who convinced me that yes, at 49 years old and 190 pounds, I could start!
• I now regularly find that I’ve walked 10 or 15 miles in a day without even realizing it!
• On vacations in the mountains, I can hike any trail up or down, and any distance I want. I’m limited only by how much food and water I can carry and the daylight…woo hoo!
• I can go up 5 flights of stairs in my office (without stopping twice or more to rest), and can actually breathe normally when I get to the top!
• I spend a lot less money on food, and actually eat a lot more than I did before I learned how to change my diet.
• I don’t have to find excuses to not do the things I really want to just because I’m afraid I just can’t do them. I can walk any distance, and can go all day.
• I feel strong and confident in myself.
• I can do anything now!!

I’ve often been asked in the last 6 months by friends and co-workers “how did you do it”? The bottom line is that it is simple, but not easy. I started with a commitment and some small goals (that weren’t easy in the beginning) and kept adding new ones while learning how to make adjustments to my lifestyle to fit them all in. The SP plan gave me all the tools and information I needed both to start and to continue to progress along the path.

So, here’s the big secret of how to do it:
All I did was make a decision that I wanted to start improving my diet and fitness. That’s it! I made tracking an absolute priority and set goals and schedules for myself that I could reach most of the time, adjusting them from time to time as I progressed. I’m not always at goal, but I always am honest about what I did manage to do. The quick start goals were a help in the beginning (drink water, get enough sleep, eat freggies, and track, track, track. The 5% challenges were a big part of keeping me accountable for meeting my goals during 2013, and I think they are an excellent way to learn to incorporate new healthy habits into your lifestyle.

I have tracked all my food every day without fail for the entire year. (This is the ONE thing I made non-negotiable for myself). In the beginning the goal was to find ways to stay in the SP recommended calorie range, and it wasn’t easy, nor did I manage it every day until I learned to make adjustments. Later I worked to also be in range for carbs, fat, protein and fiber. With all in balance, I find that everything works better. I had to figure out how to do it and still have the things I really wanted (ice cream most nights, etc.) and how to manage it while traveling for business (not easy but with some planning and creativity it CAN be done so no more excuses).

For fitness, I started tracking steps and other activities and set schedules and goals as I progressed. My step goal in January was 5,000 per day and I didn’t make it every day. Now it’s 10,000 per day and there are still days I’m short, but having a goal and working to get there each day is important. If you do it perfectly every day, it’s time to move it up! For me it was important to incorporate exercises that I can so at home, take when I travel and do anywhere (hotel rooms, a guest room when visiting, etc.) I used Zumba DVD’s and SP videos in the beginning along with walking and later on added running and a more comprehensive ST program that is nearly equipment free. You don’t need a gym membership or expensive machines to get and stay fit, there are lots of options available at little or no cost!

So, what’s next? My 2014 will be all about maintenance and enjoying life. I’ll keep tracking (it’s now a habit anyway) and stay in my new maintenance nutrition ranges. I have 2 races scheduled so far for 2014. I’ll stay active with the 5% challenges as a maintainer and will continue as the challenge leader of the Awesome A team, at least for the upcoming Winter challenge. I've changed my lifestyle and will never go back to where I was!

emoticon So, do you want to get healthier, lose weight, and be able to do what you want in life? A great quote from Coach Nancy says “Don't waste your time with ‘could've’, ‘would've’ or ‘should've’. Focus on ‘can,’ ‘will,’ and ‘do.’”

What are you waiting for?! SP gives you all the tools you need and 2014 can be your year! emoticon

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
BEAUTIFUL_REINA 2/22/2014 5:23PM

    I'm so encouraged, by your blog. Thank you for sharing it!!

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MICHELE142 2/22/2014 5:20PM

Awesome and very well out! Work hard an maintain that maintenance weight!

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BLONDIE218145 2/22/2014 4:51PM

    I really needed to read this today. Ty

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    I was very encouraged by this. I have always wanted to run in a marathon, but have struggled with the very fact that when I do lose the weight I thought I should or ate the wrong things over a holiday, I got very discouraged. This has encouraged me to step back, take a deep breathe, evaluate my situation, and make adjustments if need be and move on. I will no longer berate myself for making mistakes on this journey of mine. THANK YOU for helping me find my strength in a journey that I have been struggling with for years! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JARO2014 2/22/2014 1:41PM

  I find the tracking tool in SP laborious, tedious and frustrating. is that really such a critical piece to success?

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WANT2LOOKHOT 2/22/2014 12:47PM

  What did you use to log your progress? The old fashioned way, pocket notebook? Or phone apps. with calorie counts? If so, which apps.? Just wondering. Did you have to learn how to cook? Do you take lunch to work most of the time? What did you use to learn how to keep track of carbs, protein etc. and what are you using to keep track of this. Spark People app's on your Smart Phone? I don't have a Smart phone but will get one if I think it would help. Wanted to know the nitty-gritty but she didn't mention it with the exception of Fitbit for walking accountability. Please respond. emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/22/2014 12:57:45 PM

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PIGGYWAY 2/22/2014 10:31AM


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JPANNELL0 2/22/2014 10:06AM

    GREAT BLOG!!! Thank you so much for sharing! You have inspired me to make in happen for me in 2014!!! emoticon emoticon

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BRENDY_28 2/22/2014 8:45AM


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CORNERKICK 2/22/2014 2:58AM


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HUTC0100 2/22/2014 1:21AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ELIZACG9 2/21/2014 10:24PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BROKENJEWEL 2/21/2014 10:01PM

  Congratulations! This is inspiring especially to a person like me who keeps having negative thoughts about my weight loss battle. Thank you for sharing your story.

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AMBER461 2/21/2014 8:09PM

  Congratulation on reaching your goal. Thanks for sharing.

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XENA1956 2/21/2014 7:21PM

    Great blog and fantastic job! I took off a lot of weight also 206 - 143 from Nov. 2009 - 2011, and did my first 5K at 55. But in Nov. 2011 I injured my ankle and I slowly gained all the weight back because I couldn't walk or jog. I had surgery in Dec. 2012 and it took most of 2013 to recover after having some other medical issues. I too am back once again on the Sparks program and doing great. I hope to be able to do some 5K's by summer and work up to 10Ks at some point. You are a real inspiration to me and I know many others. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DELLMEL 2/21/2014 7:17PM


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GOOSIEMOON 2/21/2014 6:06PM


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NEWTINK 2/21/2014 4:36PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUPERSYLPH 2/21/2014 4:17PM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing!

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KMRJPR 2/21/2014 3:40PM

    Congratulations on your success! And thank you for sharing your story with the rest of us!

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KANSASROSE67 2/21/2014 3:07PM

    I very much enjoyed your story...congrats on your success. Tracking was the key to my success, as well.

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VALERIEKNIES 2/21/2014 3:02PM

  Great work. Thanks for your encouragement.

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LIZMVR 2/21/2014 2:43PM

    Good job on all of your hard work! Best wishes for maintenance!

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FALCONGIRL2010 2/21/2014 1:50PM

    Wow that is so inspiring! Congratulations on all the healthy changes! It's clear you're much healthier and happier. Thanks for sharing what a difference can be made in one year with goals, motivation, and determination to reach them.

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I_AM_MARIE 2/21/2014 1:31PM

  congrats on reaching your goals.. I am very frustrated with myself right now..since blog certainly inspired me.. I have spent too much time on my can'ts..I need to start dwelling on my cans..

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SPEEDY143 2/21/2014 1:03PM

    emoticon on having a SP Featured Blog Post emoticon emoticon progress emoticon The very best to you in your maintenance year emoticon .... Spark On emoticon

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FEMISLIM 2/21/2014 1:02PM

    Woo Hoo!!!

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LATINGROOVE 2/21/2014 12:45PM


Awesome job and very inspiring! Challenges were made to test our sense of self and you have truly proven that we CAN accomplish our goals as long as we're WILLING to do the work. May you continue to prosper in mind, body and spirit. God bless : )

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NURSEDINY 2/21/2014 12:36PM

    Thanks for this awesome blog! You really inspired me to keep working towards my goals! emoticon emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 2/21/2014 12:26PM

    Super blog!!

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MYTIME2015 2/21/2014 12:11PM

    Congratulations!! You inspire me!

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TANJAT88 2/21/2014 11:33AM

    This is an amazing journey and one that is confirmation and well as motivation for me personally. It is about what I call "baby steps", living in balance, and accountability. I deeply respect and admire your honesty and accountability in your post. It is great to hear that, while the journey was not "perfect", it brought about such wonderful successes and, while the #'s are there, you make it clear, that the biggest changes didn't have to do with the #s.

Thank you SO much for your courage, honesty, and desire to help all of us who are on this journey together.

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KAYWEB555 2/21/2014 11:03AM

    Thanks for the inspirational blog ! Yes I know these things and do so want this to me my year 2014 !!! So we are off to the walking in place start and I have done 2 20 min workouts this morning. Later I will do my usual 15 min bike ride and shortly I will be stepping out for my normal 30 min mile with the pup ! Off to the races ! I must set it as a priority to track my food , now and not say later !
Thanks once again for this wonderful blog ! Success looks so great on You ! Wishing you a year of successful maintence !

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JASNYDER11 2/21/2014 10:44AM

    Wow...what an inspiration you are! Thank you so much for sharing your story and I wish you much continued success! I will remember you and your journey as I continue on mine. emoticon

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JRRING 2/21/2014 10:44AM


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MISSDEE333 2/21/2014 10:24AM

  This was so inspiring!

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REENSKI 2/21/2014 10:23AM

    You are right! Congratulations on your success & thank you for the inspiration.

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JIBBIE49 2/21/2014 10:16AM

    Week of 02/20/2014 - Featured Blog Post

The Big Secret of How I Lost Weight and Got Healthy


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HARRIET2 2/21/2014 9:53AM

    Congratulations on achieving your goal! That is truly awesome. Best to you in maintenance!

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UWHK8STER 2/21/2014 9:52AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! You've had a great year and the success is just a sign of all the hard work you've put in. Have a great 2014!

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PUGACHUG 2/21/2014 9:42AM

    Congratulations on attaining your healthy weight goal!! Thank you for sharing your weight loss story. It is a huge motivator for many of us who are where you were over a year ago. Wishing you well with maintenance!! emoticon

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TRISHWITCH 2/21/2014 9:04AM


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TERRI518 2/21/2014 8:55AM

    emoticon emoticon GREAT JOB! I'm impressed and more motivated to keep reaching for my goal!

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DERMICK13 2/21/2014 8:35AM

  I just began the program this week and already feel better. Reading your article is truly inspiring and motivating. I believe I have to stop getting on the scale every day, since I see it go up and down. I am tracking, exercising and staying within my goals, so I know the weight will eventually come off. Again, congratulations!

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SPARKBJOK 2/21/2014 8:31AM

    Congratulations! I'm right there with you. I committed on January 1, 2013. Have tracked every morsel of food I put in my mouth since then. Got a Fitbit in April and have a daily goal of 10K (don't always make it but often go over 10K so it pretty much averages out). I haven't lost as much as you have but 17 pounds are gone and they "ain't comin' back, baby!"

I've been maintaining since September and have even lost more weight but I'm trying not to.

We can do it and so can anyone else. It's all about commitment and making small goals along the way.

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MSFROGGIE 2/21/2014 8:19AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Big hugs to you Spark Sister!!! Thank you for your story. It will help to motivate those of us that are stalled!

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MARIA2006 2/21/2014 7:53AM

    Congratulations on your success! Your story is very inspiring; thank you for sharing.

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TIFALVA 2/21/2014 6:42AM

    This is actually the first thing I read this morning. It's so inspiring and an excellent way to start my day :-)

Congratulations on all of your progress :-)

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MOM195 2/21/2014 4:02AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
your blog inspired me and actually woke me up.
I need to keep on track and make it happen if I
want to run and play with my grandson who is 2 yrs old.
I want to be around for my kids and hubby too.
thank you for the wake up call.

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DEZISOLO 2/21/2014 3:51AM

  wow thank you for sharing . I can, I will and am going to do.. todays a new day

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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.