How I Plan to Spread the Spark

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This journey has been incredible.The support and accolades that I have received have been so humbling. I have sat and cried several times over comments people have written me.  I know that what I have been able to accomplish and maintain over the last few years is something to be proud of and I am VERY proud of all I have accomplished.

Can I let you in on a little secret? 

I hate that I ever had to be on this journey in the first place. It is an embarrassment that I had to gain 100 pounds, sleep years of my life away and see myself in the mirror and not like who I was, in order to finally start living my life to its fullest. I hate that my marriage suffered because I simply gave up for a while.I am incensed that when my daughters were little I couldn’t participate with them like they deserved. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the knowledge that I gained coming through this experience is instrumental in fueling my passion for life now. For that, I am grateful. I truly embrace where life has taken me now, and I will continue to encourage and support all of those who are now on their own journeys and are seeking my help. You probably know the type I’m talking about: those that have reached their lowest point or their highest weight and don’t know where to begin. That is what SparkPeople is all about after all-- supporting each other.

I am adding a NEW project to the list, however. I want to reach out to those that are just starting down this slippery slope. I am probably talking about those folks who are part of the younger age set. Teenagers and twenty-somethings. Metabolism is probably still working to their advantage, so their poor eating habits haven’t caught up to them yet. They can be saved before they have to learn as I did that food should fuel their bodies instead of serving as an emotional crutch or social tool. Some of them might even be active.  I need to encourage them to stay that way. 

I want to break the cycle of obesity in America. I want to educate more folks about healthy nutrition.  I want to show them that it is easy! Did you know that there is a SparkTeens program?  What if we could figure out a way to mentor the next generation?

Let’s face it: America is the largest country in the world, literally.  Our meal sizes, our portion sizes, our drink sizes, you name it, it’s bigger. We are bigger and it’s TIME TO STOP THE MADNESS!!

I am declaring war, friends. I am declaring war on two sides.The first battle will be for those who need the help, and the support NOW!  SparkPeople is an amazing place; we all agree on that and I’m certain you probably support others within the site. How do you do with people outside the safe haven called SparkPeople? Do you offer help? Have you ever offered to sit with someone and show them around SparkPeople? Are you willing to spend a few minutes and share your story? Tell people your story.  Tell people the SparkPeople story. They need to know that they are not alone! I am going to attempt to come from a voice of experience. That is why it’s so important to share our stories. Let others know your story, let them know HOW you found success. I even share with people how I became obese. That is an important part of my story, right? I will let them know how I failed.That gives credibility to when I then share the success of how SparkPeople taught me to eat healthy and be active.

The others I am going to wage war with are those who don’t know that they need help yet. I am going to encourage those folks to evaluate how and what they are eating.  I will encourage them to stay active.I will do this by example. I will teach my daughters the importance of healthy living.Hopefully they will then be able to pass this information on to their own friends. My 6th grade daughter is required to take P.E. every day for 45 minutes.  Sounds great, doesn’t it? There are 120 students in her P.E. class.That is insane!  How can two coaches and one volunteer really get those kids moving? It is my job to take care of them.   

You see friends; I honestly believe that we CAN rid the world of obesity, one person at a time. I strongly believe! I’m feeling lonely standing on this battle field right now. Do I have any Sparkers joining me?

Spread the SPARK.

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Spark Teens is a great idea, but since adults are not allowed access, even to their kids' accounts, how are we supposed to mentor them here? My kids joined Spark Teens, but the food tracker was too hard for them to keep up with since I cook a lot of meals NOT from a box, and the recipies I put in were not readily available to them. There is no way to leave them a note of encouragement, either. I understand why the privacy, but it works against them, too. Both kids abandoned Spark Teens within a short amount of time. Report
I spread the spark where I can. Report
I'm on the team already. I spark people everywhere I go. It's just feels like the natural thing to do. So, I have joined you in your journey. Let's keep sparking!!!! Report
I am sure that you will meet this challenge as well. Congrats on losing a 100 lbs Report
Your distaste for the situation that got you to being 100 lbs overweight has the same passion and your resolve to catch others before they tumble too far down that slippery slope. Luv your enthusiasm!

Keep Sparking! Report
It's great to see someone who's so passionate about the health and fitness of the coming generation! People like you make a positive difference. Thanks! Report
Hey Jman. Great article! I try to spread the spark with my friends as much as possible. We can keep chipping away at it! Report
My husband and I are passionate about helping people to "see the light" about their health and wellness. We've taught a health & nutrition class at our church, and he's done one for some of his employees at work. I talk to people endlessly, at church, at TOPS, at Girl Scouts, everywhere! Also, every single time I go anywhere for any medical reason (I went through a year of tests and donated a kidney in January, and have had follow-ups since then), I always talk to every person I encounter about SP! Now, hubby and I are trying to tackle the junk we feed kids at all of our children's programs at church. I think we'll be doing lunch for VBS week this summer. Then we need to work on things like movie nights & Sunday school snacks, etc. I absolutely DESPISE the fact that we are teaching kids at church how much Jesus loves them, but we are feeding them poison. I want our actions to reflect our teachings!!! Report
Jerome, what an excellent blog!! I have been struggling with my two children (in their early 20's) to educate them and get them to open their eyes so they don't have to go through the same things I have (and am). I SO wish I knew back then what I knew now, and could have appreciated the young, healthy body I had. I totally am with you on the "I love the lessons I have learned through this journey, but I hate where I had to go to learn them!" Report
I'm in. Thanks for reminding us that it's not just the overweight people that need help but those on the road to get there. Report
Awesome as always friend!!! I have my Spark People Lunch Box and I take it everywhere I go. I Spread the Spark when people ask me how I did it. I Spread the Spark on Facebook and Pinterest. I Spread the Spark when I tell people about you, your story and your success.

Not that it's been easy to lose 22 pounds and keep it off for 2.5 years. Stay active and healthy. Keep moving forward. Drop my cholesterol and blood sugar levels, but it's not as amazing as your journey.

Anyone can lose 22 pounds. Not everyone will begin to work on 100!

You inspire me daily!! It was great to see you run the RnR!! Report
Great! Report
Very true..I am with you. Report
Awesome Blog!!! I spread the Spark on Facebook everyday. We can do l it. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. Report
I will join you. while my journey is still in its beginning phases. (Been here since 08 but not really taking my journey seriously until now). I am making better choices and leading my girls to do the same. I was soo proud of my 6-year-old daughter when she wanted to buy her lunch at school because they were having salad that day :). I also lead a daisy girl scout troop and we try to make sure that the snacks we give the girls are healthy and well balanced. Report
Oh my goodness Jerome! I am so happy for you. This is the first day of my spark and the first day of the rest of my life. You are the first blog I have read and you are going to become my inspiration! BTW I could really use a mentor!! haha. Report
Wow Awesome blog!! I am spreading the spark on facebook and pinterest!! We can do this!! Report
Way to go Agent J....I'm spreading the spark to at least one of my kids on a regular basis. I'll look for other opportunities. You know I'm out there with you. Report
My heart breaks when I think of all the young people that are absolutely wasting their best years living an unhealthy lifestyle. You are to be commended for taking an active interest and working on this issue. Best to you! Report
Wow! What an inspiring message. I'm just beginning my journey, or maybe more honestly, just becoming serious about my journey. It took my doctor telling me that I have high blood pressure, at 32 years old. I have 3 young sons aged 5, 4, and 3. I know because there is some heredity behind blood pressure and heart conditions, that they have the cards stacked against them. I want them to grow up living a healthy lifestyle, and believing that it is just the "normal" way to live. So, don't feel so lonely on this battle field...there are others here with you. We are just playing a little catch up :P Report
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