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    KANSASROSE67   59,960
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Thoughts on my Fourth Spark Anniversary

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Today is the fourth anniversary of the day I joined Spark People. Four years ago today, I began a journey that has changed my life.

January 27, 2010 was not a special day. It was an ordinary day of work and family life. My feelings about my myself and my appearance were also the same as they had been for 30 years. I felt fat, unattractive--and unhappy with myself because I couldn't seem to change those things.

After working, getting everyone fed, and dealing with chores, I sat down at the computer. I decided to check out a website I'd read about in a Good Housekeeping magazine. I always read every article I saw about weight loss, and this one had been no exception. So, on a whim, I decided to join this thing called SparkPeople.

With a degree in Human Development and 30 years of learning all I could about weight loss, I didn't really think there was anything much I could gain from a free website. But I was sick to death of having good intentions and then giving up on them within a week or so. I was tired of being tired. I hated the aches in my back and knees that made me feel much older than my 42 years. I was sick of choosing clothes based only on the criteria of whether they made me look fatter. I hated feeling so self-conscious about my appearance that I even perched on the edges of chairs so my thighs wouldn't spread out as much. And I detested how I felt after stuffing myself with food, not only at mealtimes, but in secret binges if ever I had a moment alone.

Did I have a glorious epiphany of understanding the minute I signed up? No.

Did I instantly begin losing weight at an orderly pace of 2 pounds per week? No.

Did I suddenly find it easy to control my binges and resist temptation? No.

But what I gained from SparkPeople was just what I needed: support, accountability, and hope. I already knew about healthy eating, appropriate portions, exercise, and nutrition. The facts were in my head, but that wasn't enough. What I needed was the everyday, meal-by-meal, calorie-by-calorie accountability of tracking. What I needed was the support of others who were going through the same thing, who felt the same feelings, and who always supported, encouraged and offered constructive advice. What I needed was the belief--that I'd never had before--that it WAS possible for me to lose weight, to enjoy healthy foods, to run a 10K.

During these four years, I've reached my goal weight, I've maintained at a healthy BMI for more than three years, I've run more than 2,500 miles, I've learned how to cook and eat in a whole new way, and I've been freed of almost all of my arthritis pain. And even more importantly, I've learned a lot about myself and about WHY I used food as a substitute for the things I really needed, such as time to myself, nurturing, and affection.

Am I "finshed?" No way! Do I still slip up? All the time! That's why I don't see myself ever leaving the Spark community. After four years, my need for support, accountability, and hope are still there. And SparkPeople is still there for me.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIKETOHEIGHTS 3/18/2014 5:53PM

    Victoria emoticon

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SUSIEMT 2/27/2014 9:27AM

    Congrats to you and I so agree I also need the accountability and the support from my fellow sparkers. Woo Hoo to you!

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MARCOSMASTER 2/26/2014 8:09AM

    Congrats to you, and the longest journey starts with a simple first step. emoticon

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ELIZADUCK 2/24/2014 7:17PM

  Way to go!

I couldn't find a Sparkteam for people who are focused on MAINTAINING versus losing weight, and living a healthy lifestyle. So I set one up - anyone who is interested might think about joining to see if we can help each other stay healthy?
http://www.sparkpeople.com/mysp
ark/groups_individual.asp

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KANOE10 2/21/2014 7:54AM

    Spark, accountability, support, tracking are such keys to success. That was a great blog and congratulations on 4 years on Spark! You are doing a wonderful job of living a healthy lifestyle. I have changed my way of cooking also. I am impressed with your running!


emoticon

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MJREIMERS 2/21/2014 7:51AM

    Support, accountability and hope are the reasons I came to Sparkpeople! Sharing this journey with people like you makes it so much "easier." We all know why "easier" is in quotes!! emoticon

I love your honesty about the slip ups. I can relate to those, too! They are a part of life and now just a bump in the road instead of a major pothole!!

emoticon on your maintenance and keep it up!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/20/2014 2:55PM

    Support, Accountability and Hope! SP should add that quote as a banner on their website. Congratulations!

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HANSBRINK 2/20/2014 12:38PM

  What a down to earth blog! Thanks!

Did I have a glorious epiphany of understanding the minute I signed up? No.
Did I instantly begin losing weight at an orderly pace of 2 pounds per week? No.
Did I suddenly find it easy to control my binges and resist temptation? No.

Am I "finshed?" No way!

Nice to know that the journey is not always an easy one. Everyone else has bumps in the road too.



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PACKERMANN 2/20/2014 10:55AM

    Good words of wisdom!
thanks for sharing that it took you awhile.
i've been on this roller-coaster a few years with some weight still to go.
you inspire me to continue to my goal. :)


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MOMMY445 2/20/2014 10:25AM

    congrats on your success! happy spark anniversary! have a terrific day!

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IAMAGEMLOVER 2/20/2014 10:13AM

    I found sparkpeople.com by accident. I was looking for a different website that I had used before to track food but couldn't remember the name of. I really believe that it was my Dad that helped me find sparkpeople. He is deceased. I have reached my goal and have maintained for one year already.

Great blog you have captured what sparkpeople really is.

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FELINA 2/20/2014 9:13AM

    Great blog! It really sums up what Spark is all about!
emoticon on your new healthy lifestyle!
emoticon

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CELIAMINER 2/20/2014 7:27AM

    I'm in a rocky phase of maintenance right now, so your words ring especially true. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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HOLLYM48 2/20/2014 7:27AM

    Congrats on being selected as the featured blog this week! Congrats on 4 years!!!
You are truly an inspiration to me and so many! Keep up the great work!!!

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NELLJONES 2/20/2014 7:22AM

    Isn't it amazing that the Day That Changed Everything can be otherwise so ordinary?

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BESSHAILE 2/20/2014 6:04AM

    Yay for you and congratulations on finding that motivational oomph to do what needed to be done.

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TORTISE110 2/20/2014 5:23AM

    emoticon You are an inspiration and a great spark friend!

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CRUISEBOUND2014 2/20/2014 5:08AM

    emoticon Thank you for sharing your story. It is very motivating!

emoticon



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ELLEKTRA 2/20/2014 5:06AM

    I love the honesty of this blog. You have done so well! There is so much I could relate to on this...bravo!
(I live in the UK now but was born and raised in Kansas :) )

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UNSWEETMAMA 2/19/2014 11:06PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KELLIEBEAN 2/19/2014 11:04PM

    Great blog! It should be required reading for all new members.

Congratulations and your accomplishments!

emoticon

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DALID414 2/19/2014 10:41PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 2/19/2014 10:02PM

    Great blog! Congratulations!!

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KIMBERLY_Y 2/19/2014 10:02PM

    Congratulations! Happy Sparkversary to you! Great way to celebrate with you blog. Glad you shared your inspiration and motivation. It means a lot to hear from those who have been at this for much longer than me. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

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MEXGAL1 2/19/2014 9:43PM

    Great blog and wonderful job! you have accomplished so much and for all of us to read about your journey it is most motivating. Thanks you so much for sharing with us.
Sallie

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JULIEABIGAIL 2/19/2014 9:00PM

  to echo what everyone has said, for i cannot find fresh words, GREAT BLOG! thank you for sharing your story in such an accessible way. congratulations on your myriad achievements; i always find resilience an especially invaluable, courageous, admirable asset. you have plenty of that and more.
btw, 01.27.2010 may not have seemed like a special day when you awoke that morning, but it was my 50th birthday! emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/19/2014 9:02:51 PM

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ECCOVISION1 2/19/2014 8:57PM

    Very nice blog!

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PEZMOM1 2/19/2014 8:41PM

    emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 2/19/2014 8:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Happy emoticon
You have learned this is a journey, not a destination!
Enjoy the ride and keep up the great work!!

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GLORIAMAJDI 2/19/2014 8:21PM

    I so agree with you, the support here is unbeatable. I've only been maintaining since the beginning of September but I couldn't do it without the people here.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/19/2014 8:18PM

    emoticon Great retrospective, from another "lifer" here at Spark. I have formed such close friendships... even met some of these folks in real life... Spark community fills the gap that most other programs leave behind... that ongoing contact and support from fellowship!

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WATERMELLEN 2/19/2014 8:06PM

    Great blog, and congrats to you on your 4th Sparkiversary!! You describe the process vividly and realistically: it's never over!

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AMARILYNH 2/19/2014 7:44PM

    Awesome blog - great journey!! I totally relate!! And I feel just the same about never leaving SparkPeople - I NEED the accountability! And if I can give back some of what I got here so much the better!! emoticon

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LCERVERA 2/11/2014 5:21PM

    What a great blog! It's true-Sparkpeople is able to do what all the books, websites and diet programs just never can. I'm a believer, too! emoticon

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LOOKY-LOU 1/31/2014 10:09AM

    Happy anniversary!

And, way to go!

Really enjoyed the blog, what worked and why we are all still a work in progress! Saw the photo of Juliana's homecoming, you have a beautiful family!

Tina

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TECH1960PS 1/29/2014 9:52AM

    Congrats on your 4 year anniversary, awesome story ! emoticon emoticon

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SMILINGTREE 1/28/2014 1:33PM

    Thanks for sharing. You have been, and continue to be, an inspiration to me.

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ROBYN168 1/28/2014 1:21PM

    Great Blog! You summed up what so many of us are thinking - which is why this is a great place. It is full of understanding! emoticon Happy Anniversary!

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KRISZTA11 1/28/2014 12:58PM

    Congrats to your 4th Spark Anniversary!
emoticon

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LISAINMS 1/28/2014 10:15AM

    emoticon
Great blog!

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GLMOM2 1/28/2014 7:37AM

    emoticon

We are all in this together! emoticon

You are doing emoticon ! emoticon

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SHRINKINGSHERI 1/28/2014 6:02AM

    emoticon

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JLITT62 1/28/2014 5:40AM

    So well said! Congrats on a job well done, even if it never ends.

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COLUMBINE2 1/28/2014 12:49AM

    Congrats...especially on maintaining your weight...which is such a slippery slope! You blog is right on the money and you've communicated so well.

Thanks for articulating the tremendous gift Chris Downey and his team have developed for all of us. You have done so well and are truly an inspiration! Don't ever leave SP; we NEED you! emoticon

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IDICEM 1/28/2014 12:41AM

  Congratulations on your success! It's great to see you sticking with SparkPeople for maintenance as well.
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CLAIREINPARIS 1/27/2014 11:53PM

    So happy for you that you found Sparkpeople! Congratulations for your success not only at losing weight, but also at maintenance. emoticon

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CANNIE50 1/27/2014 11:46PM

    I love this blog. Happy, happy "Sparkiversary". You are such an asset to SP and I am so glad to have discovered you here - your graciousness is always apparent and you deserve every single blessing, and many more. emoticon

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BOOKAPHILE 1/27/2014 9:26PM

    That's why a lot of us are still here after reaching our goals. Happy 4th Sparkversary!

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HOLLYM48 1/27/2014 7:18PM

    AWESOME Blog! Congrats to you on your absolutely awe inspiring accomplishment!
I have so many of the same feelings about how I came to this site, never really believing but hoping that it would be the answer I needed and look how far you have come. Way to go and here is too many more successful years here with this great community.
Way to go. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CUTENHEALTHY 1/27/2014 7:14PM

    I know exactly how you feel...hope, accountability and support are exactly why I like Spark! I love hearing about your 4 year anniversary and your ultimate success. Your last paragraph listing your accomplishments speaks volumes from where you started. See Spark is not frittering our time away. Our interactions online and our blogs are immensely valuable. I'm so happy for you! Congratulations on your big day!

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