I owe SparkPeople big time. I joined in July 2008, REALLY really struggled at first with the extreme change in my diet necessary to hit the food tracker targets and I didn't see the point of the fitness tracker because I was already habitually walking 15000 to 17000 steps a day (I'm a classroom teacher). But I learned some surprising (to me) truths about my diet, most importantly (1) that I was less a "vegetarian" than a "grainetarian" and (2) that even apples and carrots can give you too many calories if you eat them absent-mindedly.
Before the end of the month I dropped my home internet connection to save money and stopped tracking anything, but the small changes in my attitudes about food stuck. When I bought a scale and decided to re-start using SparkPeople in the summer of 2009, I had already dropped 15 pounds of the30 toward my goal. Encouraged by that progress, I bought in entirely to the idea of small, slow, sustainable changes (instead of trying to look cute next weekend) and a much deeper trust of SparkPeople. So I took on tracking again, started a weight training and running routine, and lost the second 15 pounds over the next year.
I had chosen my goal weight as my lowest adult weight, thinking I had gotten that weight without trying and therefore it must be a healthy weight for me, but when I got there I was torn. I wanted to lose more weight because my hips and thighs are still heavily padded. But my face looked gaunt, with deep shadows under my cheekbones, and my breasts were just gone. My thighs are the "before" picture in a weight loss ad and my ribs are the "anorexia" picture in a tabloid.
I always said I'd rather look like Venus Williams www.frugal-cafe.com/public_html/frugal-blo
than Angelina Jolie www.hollywoodgrind.com/contributors/images
, and I am slowly coming to accept that this is my genetics. So I've gained back about 8 pounds, I'm regularly running 5K, and I'm growing pretty studly biceps and triceps. I think it's true what they say about the impossibility of spot reducing. My stronger arms are BIGGER than when I was weak and the batwings aren't going anywhere; my thighs are much thinner than 30 pounds ago and when I am photographed launching my next step during a run, those quadriceps are downright impressive, but that heap of lard on my hips just below the edge of my underwear - I think that's permanently with me. I am learning to celebrate my body as much for what it can do as for how it looks.
And I look a lot better, too - body conscious clothes have become pretty fun. I'll just be showing off the flat stomach and choosing shorts longer than hot pants, y'know? I guess the best thing that this journey with SparkPeople has given me is that now I feel in control of my health, and THAT is a huge blessing.
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