Some may think of SparkPeople as just a healthy living website, but it is so much more! Many members form long-lasting friendships with other members (even in other parts of the world). Recently we found out that there was a couple that met on SparkPeople and got married earlier this year, which I believe may be the second SparkPeople wedding to date. Where else can you find such fun, long-lasting friendships and/or a possible mate who also enjoys living a healthy lifestyle? Only on SparkPeople, of course!
Being someone who also met their spouse on the internet by chance (over 15 years ago), I truly enjoyed the story about how Jan (JANHIM) and Greg (TRAILTRODDER) met (and are now married). I am very excited that they allowed me to interview them for the dailySpark so we can share their beautiful and fun story with all of you too. As you will see, Jan and Greg are definitely Making Their Lives An Adventure together!
(A picture of Jan and Greg during a hike on the Ledges Trail in the Cuyahoga National Forest in Ohio.)
Coach Denise: Why did you join SparkPeople?
Jan: I was 60 pounds overweight. I knew that I was risking my health and I was not happy with the vision looking back at me in the mirror. I had already lost 20 pounds using Weight Watcher’s online, but when a friend told me about SparkPeople, I immediately signed on.
Greg: Basically, I joined for the same reason. Having reached a weight of 204 pounds was enough to honestly do something about it. I was trying to be disciplined enough to follow eating and exercise examples set forth in the book Body for Life, by Bill Phillips. I was led to SparkPeople by an ad on another website.
Coach Denise: How did you two meet?
Jan: I received a SparkMail from Greg on February 8, 2011. He read my SparkPage, which described my home in the woods and my love of nature. He expressed a similar interest in nature and environmentalism which are close to my heart. We engaged in SparkMail for a brief time discussing many things that we had in common. Finally, I asked Greg if he would like to call me. We had long phone conversations every night for about a month.
Greg: That’s pretty much it. I had been visiting HIKETOHEIGHTS’ SparkPage and saw Jan pictured in a comment she had left. I might add that she was awfully cute.
Coach Denise: What sparked your interest in each other?
Jan: I have to say that Greg’s warm and genuine charm hooked me. Most of all, he loves to travel, hike and enjoy the outdoors. Very rarely will you find Greg in front of the TV. I love to enjoy the outdoors and nature and felt I had found my kindred spirit.
Greg: Jan always sounded excited when I spoke of my outdoor adventures and wished that she could experience the same. I told her that I plan an excursion every three to four months and I would love to take her places that I know she’d really enjoy. She truly does enjoy a good hike and she showed me that on my visit by taking me on four really nice hikes in the Cuyahoga National Forest. Not only that, but she enjoys my guitar playing and she wants to learn to kayak.
Coach Denise: When and in what part of your health journey did you meet?
Jan: I felt I really was getting to know this man on an intimate level and wanted to explore the relationship further. I was substitute teaching at the time and Spring Break was quickly approaching. I asked Greg if he would like to visit me in Ohio during the break. I don’t think I would have had the nerve or self-esteem to ask Greg to meet me if I was the overweight woman I was a year earlier. I had met my goal weight and maintained it for three months at the time Greg and I began corresponding.
Greg: It was the last week of March. I was really comfortable with the whole situation. Jan and I really got to know each other over the telephone. She’s not kidding when she stated that they were long conversations. Most of them were three to four hours and we really found that there were so many common interests. I had also met my goal weight and was settling in on the proper management of my eating and exercise regimen.
Coach Denise: Will you tell us about the first time you met in person?
Greg: When I arrived at the airport to meet Jan, she was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere and was beginning to think she had second thoughts and wasn’t going to show up. I thought “great, I came all this way to be stood up." I finally called her and she was waiting for me at baggage claim. She wasn’t allowed to enter the security area where I got off the plane. It didn’t take long after that to find her. As I was approaching baggage claim, from behind me, I heard someone say, “There’s my guitar man.” I turned around and there she was! It was a nervous introduction, but our hearts took over our nerves and we hugged for a long time. In fact, we hugged so long I had to retrieve my duffle bag at unclaimed baggage. Jan said it was "just like in the movies!”
Jan: During the first hours of our meeting I felt like a schoolgirl with an abundance of insecurities. Will he like what he sees and will he feel that this was a wasted trip? Will I feel the same connection to him that I felt over the phone? These were some of the random thoughts that were darting through my mind during these few minutes at the airport. After the ordeal with his baggage, we headed for my car to go to my place. I was nervous and Greg could see it. I was trembling and I couldn’t find my way out of the parking lot.
One of my major apprehensions was revealing my age. Greg had told me his age during one of our phone conversations (which was 57), but thankfully never asked for mine. I thought that my age of 60 might be a deal breaker. I knew that I couldn’t keep this from him indefinitely, but hadn’t planned on telling him right away. Well, it didn’t take long before he finally asked me how old I was. For me this was a painful moment. I was relieved when Greg told me that it didn’t matter and that I didn’t look my age at all...(huge sigh of relief!)
We truly enjoyed our time together and felt like we were meant to be. It was the hikes we had, the long talks, the intimate dinners and guitar by the fire that brought us closer together. We have so much in common and we knew then that the relationship would only get better -- and it has!!
Coach Denise: When was the wedding?
Jan and Greg: We were married on August 29, 2011 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. You couldn’t have asked for a better setting.
Coach Denise: Did you have other Spark People at the wedding?
Jan and Greg: Unfortunately, we did not have other Sparkers at the wedding. In fact, we had a sort of elopement. No family or friends - just the two of us. Everything at the bed and breakfast was planned for us, right down to the ceremony!
Coach Denise: What fun, healthy things do you like to do together fitness and eating-wise?
Jan: When Greg flew to Ohio to meet me, I took him to a few of the state parks in the area to hike. The day after I arrived in Kansas, Greg and I hiked the Konza Prairie together. It was 104 degrees that day!! Since then we have camped, hiked various parks in Kansas and Greg is going to teach me to kayak.
We grocery shop together and often plan our meals together, incorporating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and very rarely eat red meat. We read labels and try to keep the fat content to a minimum. We try to choose restaurants that have healthy choices on the menu. Just recently, we joined a health club which will help us stay active during the cold winter months.
Greg: Being with Jan is really awesome. It’s much easier to find support when your healthy endeavors are alike. It’s so much easier to manage and maintain when you work together. She always has an open ear for the healthy tidbits I find in an article and we love to share healthy recipes. She’s an amazing, wonderful cook. We do hike with our dogs from time to time and man, do we like to shop!
Coach Denise: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Jan and Greg: We want the SparkPeople community to know how much we appreciated the response that was given to our wedding blogs. We owe all of this attention to one Spark person in particular and she knows who she is. She is a wonderful asset to The SparkPeople site. She knows how to motivate and support her fellow Sparkers and we believe that through her, we met and married. There will always be a Spark in our life. We love you all!
Have you formed a strong bond with another SparkPeople member (friendship or other)? Do you have any other questions for Jan and Greg?
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