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Canned Fat Drive: Donate Pounds Lost to People in Need

Find Weight Loss Motivation by Feeding the Hungry

-- By Cindy Dyson, SparkPeople member
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Did you know your cupboards are full of instant motivation? That the grocery store shelves are stacked to the rafters with it? That you probably open up a can of motivation on your kitchen counter every day?

Canned foods are everywhere. And besides using them for, well, sustenance, you can put them to use to motivate your weight loss and help others at the same time.

The idea came to me while I was putting away canned goods after a trip to the grocery store. I had joined Spark People the week before and already lost five pounds. But those pounds were just a few tiny ticks on my scale—nothing tangible. As I hefted cans overhead to my pantry shelves, I wondered, “What do those five pounds feel like?” I pulled out an economy-sized jug of sauce—exactly five pounds.

“Wow!” I said, lifting the jug up and down a few times. “That’s a lot of fat that’s not on me anymore!” It was so motivating that I put the jug on the washing machine and lifted it every time I walked by. By evening, I was so pumped about how those first 5 pounds felt, I vowed to keep adding to it.

After a couple more weeks, I’d added several cans of tomato sauce to my Canned Fat Stock, as I came to call it, witnessing, several times a day, the real weight of my fat loss boosted my motivation.

As the Christmas holidays approached, I thought, “Why should I put all these cans back on the shelves? Why don’t I give them away to folks who actually need more food?” I decided to donate the "Canned Fat" to a local food pantry. Every step I took while carrying the bag of cans reminded me of how much weight I had lost. And at the same time, I felt an overabundance of joy about transforming my loss into someone else’s gain. Later, I created the Canned Fat Drive SparkTeam to encourage others to create their own Canned Fat Drives.

Whether you join the Team or not, you can harness the motivation of Canned Fat in many ways to stay motivation and to give back—both symbolically and literally—the extra fat you used to carry around. Here are five ideas for your own Canned Fat Drive.

Anniversary Giveaway
Once a year (perhaps on the anniversary of the date you joined SparkPeople or reached your weight loss goal), give away the amount of weight you've lost in the form of canned goods. One member had lost so much that her donation filled the back of her SUV. Just lugging all that weight from the car to the drop box, was exhilarating for her—she was no longer carrying that excess weight around each day. And what a boon to your local food bank or animal shelter!
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Member Comments

  • What a great motivating idea! Will start to set aside cans for every 5 lbs. lost. - 6/30/2013 5:02:20 PM
  • what a great idea!! I will plan on donating to our animal shelter and also to our human shelters.We try not to use anymore canned products than necessary but I will try to keep track of all food weights(packaged as well as canned) and donate my lbs. lost at the end of the year or sooner. - 6/3/2013 11:29:35 AM
  • What a great idea! Help others while helping yourself... - 1/6/2013 7:25:53 PM
  • NKOUAMI26
    I feel really good about it and it is something that I will start doing myself. It is so important to reach out and help those who need it but it is also such an encouragement and motivation!!! - 11/15/2012 3:33:54 PM
  • I love this article! I want to donate in food or litter to my local shelter how much weight I have lost in the new year and every year thereafter. When maintenance comes, I want to continue donating. What a great idea! I can't wait to carry 40lbs of litter up the steps of the ARL. :D - 10/4/2012 4:32:47 PM
  • Thank You for such a wonderful idea. I was looking for another way to keep motivated and now I believe I found it.. Was looking for a way to share this to facebook as I know many people that aren't on spark that are always looking for ways to lose and then to help the community.. Thanks for being the blessing you are. - 9/6/2012 10:53:25 AM
  • What a great idea!!!! I'll start with the 45 lbs lost for my first year and go from there! Including my maintaining loss..... - 9/6/2012 10:35:23 AM
  • I would not have thought of this but thanks it is a good idea - 9/6/2012 10:13:26 AM
  • Amazing idea. Imagine if everyone on Spark People did this. If we all donated our weight lost to date it would be a phenomenon. - 9/6/2012 9:55:56 AM
  • This is a very thoughtful and inventive idea. Think of it as donating the calories you would have eaten to someone who needs them. - 9/6/2012 9:37:22 AM
  • I really love this idea. Well done! Having a visual is a great way to stay on track. - 9/6/2012 9:22:04 AM
  • What a great generous idea! Helping other people while helping yourself! Thank you. - 9/6/2012 9:07:12 AM
  • I really appreciate this member taking the time to write this motivating piece. Thank you. - 9/6/2012 8:44:58 AM
  • How rewarding to be able to help others while helping yourself! What a blessing! - 9/6/2012 7:38:06 AM
  • What a great idea! Thank you for sharing it with all of us... - 9/6/2012 7:13:26 AM