Conquering Life's Mountain

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Now that Christmas and Chanukah are behind us, many of us are starting to focus on the new year just a few short days away. This is a time of year when we all vow to purge unhealthy habits and replace them with healthier ones. There is something about having the opportunity to have a fresh start--to leave the past behind us and move onto the future.

Four years ago today, I joined SparkPeople as a member, just like you. During the past 48 months I have literally transformed my life, not just for my health's sake, but in developing the confidence to go out on a limb and take risks--risks that once paralyzed me.

For many, many years I allowed my weight to define me as a person. I believed that others judged me by my size and while that may not have been the case, I believed it. In other words, I put up walls around me that kept me from reaching out. I did not have the confidence to embrace the joys of life.

So what led to this epiphany of confidence building?

I must say when I started chatting with others on the message boards there was an instant connection. Others understood where I was coming from. They could relate to my trials, obstacles, frustrations and even my triumphs. I have made so many great friends and the list continues to grow with each passing week. What I have discovered is there "ain't no mountain high enough" for others to help us overcome the challenges that are inevitable in this life's journey.

I know for me, seeing the mountain I would have to climb in order to reach the top was terrifying. My goal to achieve the summit seemed insurmountable. I quickly learned to appreciate the summit for what it was, while putting all the focus on the small steps that were in front of me. I had to take the concentration off the big picture and look at each accomplished baby step for what it was--a step that took me closer to the summit. I am proud to say I reached the top of that one mountain, only to forge ahead to other mountains. Having goals is my motivation to stay the course and while it only took me 44 years to discover the key to healthy living success, as the old saying goes, "better late than never."

How has being a SparkMember transformed your life? Are you accomplishing goals you never envisioned yourself meeting before joining SparkPeople? What are your proudest accomplishments since joining SparkPeople?

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Being a member of Sparkpeople has probably saved my life. I know it has saved me from further endangering my internal organs. Thanks to Fleurrr and her persistance to get me to see my doctor. My BP is stablizing now and I have drastically changed my diet and my cooking methods. Report
It is so true--it's all about those little steps we take along the way. It's about smelling the roses along the way rather than waiting to live once we've reached the top of the mountain. I really like your blog and believe you have the truth written here. Thanks for the reminder that I'm doing it right when I set 5 pound goals for myself rather than trying to stay a 50 pound course! Thanks!!! :) Report
I was motivated by what you wrote. I have never succeeded in the weight loss until coming to SP. I agree that the small steps are the ones that will add up to the millions of miles. The turtle will win this race and that is what I focus on most of the time. Report
I've only been Sparking for a few months, but already I have established daily exercise and drinking water - habits I had intended to establish for years. Done! I joined here to shed pounds, and I have lost a few, but the main change that has happened is my attitude. I'm SO much more happy and positive, with more energy and focus. I feel like a different person, much more hopeful. I feel valued. I even feel deserving of the support and love I get here. I'm even learning to keep my house orderly, something that had been a long-time desire, but I didn't know how to do. Long story short, whatever my goals are, with Spark, I'm learning how to get things done. Report
My proudest moment on the spark was losing 10 pounds then regaining 8. I know it sounds crazy, but in losing and gaining this time I realized that this was a temporary setback, I had a journal I could look back through and see what I had done wrong and fix it, I had friends I could chat with, message boards I could post on and trainers I could hit up to see what I could do to turn myself back around and get back on the journey. I had all of these people rooting for me and I was determined that this time I wouldn't let them or myself down so I pushed through and the weight has been coming off, my body is transforming and I no longer let those setbacks derail me! Spark has changed my life for the better! Report
loved your blog. i am learning alot of things from spark people and i just joined to lose weight. thanks spark Report
Thanks for the journey. I'm going to press on with a new out look on life. Report
Congratulations on your anniversary and thank you for expressing what I expect many of us are feeling. I know I am. I joined on the 30th of December and can really relate to all you've said. It isn't just about the numbers on the scale. There's such a lot of deeper work to do with such a lot of corresponding benefit to gain. Thanks again and best wishes. Report
Being a part of a community striving to being in shape (body-mind-soul) is great, as i look around my neighborhood it seems like i am all alone until i log in and i am encouraged to keep on keeping on. Thank you SP! To the mountain top we go! Report
The one thing I have finally learned through SP is how to be patient with my weight loss goals. Thanks for sharing our insights. Report
COngratulations, not only on attaining your weight goal but also on reaching the summit. I hope there are many many more adventures in your future. Your post was very inspirational!! Report
Thanks for sharing; it's motivational to read how others feel and to know there are so many wonderful people challenging themselves to improve and succeeding. In 2009 I ran 2 half marathons and 1 marathon. It was SparkPeople that gave me the idea and encouragement to train for these races. I got caught up in the excitement of having a shared goal. Without SparkPeople, I would not have dared to dream so large. Crossing the marathon finish line was by far my proudest accomplishment.

Best wishes for a fabulous New Year! Report
I'm excited about joining the site. This is only day 2, but already I am tracking everything - which is more than I've done in the past. I've tried "dieting" in the past. Now, I'm ready to lead a healthy lifestyle! Report
What an inspiration you are and how brave! Report
Thanks for sharing your story. I joined sp shortly after getting my iPhone last January. I had lost, & regained weight over the years. I'd made a committment already, but I wasn't accurately tracking my food, and had some, but limited support from my family, & freinds. After discovering the iPhone app, I begin to really explore the web site, signed up for newsletters etc. The support I've found here is wonderful, as well as all the fitness,& nutrition information. Having goals,& especially tracking my food is the most helpfull to me. It's become a big part of my life, & the app is a very convienent tool to have. Report
I have used the food diary off and on for several years now and I definitely see the benefit of the food diary. The other tools have helped me to focus on the important things in my life. I am definitely happier than I was when I started this journey. Report
SP has taught me discipline when it comes to keeping track of the food I eat and also encourages me to drink the amount of water my body needs. Reading inspirational stories like this encourages me to keep going and achieve my goals. Report
Learning how to drink 8 or more glasses of water a day and losing inches in my waist and hips. Report
I've only just joined Spark People and this motivational story is exactly why I'm here. I'll definitely be saving this and re-reading it on a regular basis - especially those times (that are bound to occur) when I'm doubting myself.

Thanks for the inspirational blog. Report
Well, I haven't met my weight loss goal, but am on my way.... My biggest accomplishment with the help of SP over the past 1.5 years is exercising on a regular basis! I had a broken leg and was in a wheelchair when I joined SP and joined the Swimsuit Bootcamp in May.... I couldn't do all the exercises, but I did what I could from my wheelchair! I did the aerobics from a stability ball and joined the Y and.... and.... and.... I am on both legs now and working out with SP videoes on a regular basis and exercising, even if for only 10 min., each day! While I haven't gained control over my poor eating habits yet, I am closer than I was in March, 2008! The friends I've made here are the best! Here's to my new year and yours too! Report
I love it! What a great attitude. Yours is definitely worth catching. ;-) Report
Great story and it is motivational to know that you are finding new mountains to climb. Good luck on climbing those as well. Report
So many people see themselves as unchangeable. Your blog entry is a great reminder that we choose how we live. Report
It's great to look back a year and see how far I have come in learning that good things take time and that I can plan to be easy on my failures because I know I will get back on track and all will be well. It's been a great year and I'm looking forward to continued success and wellbeing in 2010. God bless you all and the New Year. Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Thanks for the inspiring blog. I joined SP 12 months ago but did not use all the tools, did not blop.. needless to say that it was not long before i faded out. Now I'm bloging, tracking and reading... What a great community! SP rocks! Report
Great Attitude, happy to share the journey with you! Report
Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It is encouraging and inspiring, and I am so blessed to be a part of a "good thing" which is SparkPeople. As a result, I am not the same ... my whole health and wellbeing has changed as a result! Thanks! Report
Thank you so much for this fantastic blog. I am a new member and have a lot of weight to lose. Your word of encouragement are just what I need to motivate me. I will try to remember that one step toward my goal is better then no steps toward it. It is so inspirational to hear that there truely are others who have accomplished what they set out to do. Thank you. Report
Want to may 2010 my year to shine and be one of the Spark People success stories. Want to start using the tools and information available on the site and get an interesting Spark Page. Winter in MN is inside time for us so sometime computer is only outlet and company. Taking one day at a time. Report
Thanks for the motivation. I find that the weeks that I can't get to my computer to really take advantage of all the SP features are weeks that I don't do as well with my nutrition and exercise. I need the accountability and support here at SP to help me climb my mountains! Report
Congratulations for achieving so much on your journey. Thank you for sharing your insight. It came to me when I most needed it. Report
I'm going onto my 2nd year on Sparkpeople. The first year I didn't use all of the tools here or reach out to others. I found this year, 2009, it really helped to start doing postings, contacting and making sparkfriends and giving out goodies, and using the site as a place to get support. I am proudest that I began 2009 at 200 lbs and end the year 30 lbs lighter. I intend to keep working to lose more weight until I reach my goal, even if it takes a long time. I feel confident that I can at MINIMUM keep this 30 lbs off but that is not good enough. I also found out this year that I'm pre-diabetic so it's great to meet other sparkpeople with this challenge and know that I'm not alone. onward and upward in 2010. Report
I joind for a weight loss challenge competition at work. I wanted every tool there was to losoe weight and win. That competition is nearly over and I can care less about winning. The knowledge I have gained here is priceless. The support and advice I receive daily cannot be put into to simple words. I would be lost without Spark. To say it has changed my life almost seems to simple, but it has.

I am stronger than I ever believed. I can run. I have shocked people with the changes in me and have inspired others to do this, the right way, not the quick fix way!

Mostly I have found the way to be PROUD of me. Report
This is so timely in my life....thanks for taking the time to share. Keep on reaching!!! You can do anything you set your mind to! Report
Spark has helped me find some great friends that enjoy the same things in life. Without Spark I wouldn't have people to meet up with to bike or run. It's always nice to know that you'll have someone to meet up with at an event.
I'm also grateful to Spark for me to help others along their journeys.
Best wishes for 2010! Report
Spot On Blog! Thank you. In my 6 month journey with SparkPeople, I have been blessed with 3 "C's"
and an "A+". Connection, Confidence, Community and Accountability. Thank You SparkPeople! Report
This could not have come at a better time for me - I feel myself slipping because I have not been appreciating the baby steps I have taken...Thank you for the inspiring words! Report
Thank you for your inspiration! As I am starting out on this journey, it give me hope!! Congratulations ! Report
Thankyou for the incredible blog entry! Congrats to you!!!! Weight loss is a journey that many of us take over and over in our life. It's the few who make it a once in a lifetime trip, with a one way ticket that are the INSPIRATION FOR OTHERS just starting out. I have a one way ticket now~and loveeee it! No turning back, no returning to that 365 pound land(body) ever again! This has been a 14 year mission, truly a lifestyle by now. Of course I've done multitudes of programs along the way, without a regret one, or I wouldnt be where I am today~ Wearing size 12's rather than 7XL's. Whooo-hoooo!!! The most important part of all though is that I havent become another person along the way. This hasnt been about looks, as I've always loved me. It's about health~decreasing in size, that I'd possibly be adding years to this wonderful adventure called...L.I.F.E.

~SmilinDi~ Report
Great story Nancy, I have not been with SP that long and your story gives me inspiration to not only climb a mountain but also re-define who I am and what my goals are. Thank you Report
Nancy, thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us. Today is my 2 year sparkiversary. I'm not where I had hoped to be, but certainly not where I started. I have met some wonderful friends here & for the first time feel comfy reaching out for help when I get in a difficult period. SP is the greatest! Report
Thankyou. I have immediately forwarded this to my Mother...I joined Spark only a few months ago, but I have transformed my life by giving up drinking and smoking. I have been trying for years and have now stopped for 6 weeks. I feel so in control. I havenīt lost any weight yet, but Iīm working on it. SP is so inspiring and now when I go on to Facebook, it seems so negative. The power of the team is amazing! Good work everyone. X Report
what a great inspiration. You are right better late than never! Report
Thanks for sharing. I haven't been with SP too long, but it has certainly helped my motivation and I feel better. Report
Nancy, I loved this blog! If you ever get a chance to go see Yvonne Camus, she is a great motivational speaker. One thing that she left with me was this, "It's not the mountain in front of us that will stop us, but the pebble in your shoe - look after the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves." I love that saying, and it has stayed with me ever since. (The pebble gave her blisters that almost made her stop her eco-challenge race). Report
Nancy, the one thing I want to learn now that I have reached my goal is MAINTAIN the weight SUCCESSFULLY. This is something I have never been successful mastering my entire life and I am 51. My plan is to take it one day at a time and one new habit at a time. I must not look at this as something that I can do overnight.

I must maintain my healthy lifestyle and I WILL! Report
Thank you for sharing your story! Very inspiring! I have learned to take it one day at a time. Not to look back and stew on it, only look for today.... Report
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