'I Just Wanted to Live My Life'

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Angela, a stay-at-home mom from Salem, Ore., used SparkPeople to lose 86 pounds--and gain a better life.

Angela, known as ANG76H, used SparkPeople to stay motivated over the last 2 1/2 years. Her story is featured in this month's Family Circle.

The 33-year-old mother of two took some time to answer some questions for the dailySpark as a way to inspire other members.

dailySpark: Why did you decide to lose weight?
Angela: I was also tired of feeling depressed about my weight and just wanted to live my life to its fullest! I wanted to set a good example for my two young girls.

dailySpark: What were your biggest challenges throughout your weight loss?
Angela: In the past, it was always a matter of sticking with it. I would start a diet and then stop the first time I messed up. Or else I would try to do too much at once and get overwhelmed. That's why I love SparkPeople so much. There is so much help and guidance, whether it be from the Coaches or fellow SparkFriends. Their encouragement keeps me going! I learned that it's OK to mess up as long as you learn from it and keep going. Never give up! You just have to keep working on it every single day. Make small changes in your quest for a healthy lifestyle and keep adding to them...and before you know it you will be at your goal!

dailySpark: Did you hit any plateaus? If so, how did you get over them?
Angela: Yes, I'm in one right now actually. It can be so frustrating, but you just have to keep at it, don't give up! Eventually the scale will catch up! I noticed that I still lost inches, even when the scale wasn't moving, just by being consistent with my eating and exercise.

dailySpark: What is a typical day like in terms of eating? What are your menu staples?
Breakfast: steel cut oats, blueberries, coffee
Snack: yogurt and hand full of almonds
Lunch: salad with lots of veggies & chicken breast
Snack: apple with peanut butter
Dinner: salmon, steamed veggie & quinoa or brown rice
Menu Staples would be fruits/veggies, almonds, low-fat cottage cheese, fish, chicken breast and Hershey's Bliss Dark Chocolate Squares.

dailySpark: How has your life changed since losing the weight?
Angela: I'm not depressed anymore, and I can keep up with my kids. I feel good about myself and feel like the young 33-year-old that I should! I was featured in the June issue of Family Circle for my weight loss and that was just so exciting. I loved hearing my girls say, "Wow, Mommy! You're in a magazine!"

dailySpark: What is your favorite way to indulge now?
Angela: Dark chocolate!

dailySpark: What role does fitness play in your life? How often do you work out?
Angela: I try to stay active every day. I run or walk 3-5 times a week and do strength training almost every day.

dailySpark: What advice would you have for someone who is just starting his or her healthy journey?
Angela: Don't ever give up! I know it's a lot of hard work, but it gets easier and is so worth it in the end! Make small changes towards living a healthy lifestyle and keep adding to them.

dailySpark: What is your biggest inspiration in life?
Angela: My husband, Riley. He has Type 1 diabetes and puts up with so much on a daily basis, shots, finger pricks, always having to be so careful about his blood sugar. I am hoping that by my getting healthy, he will make healthy changes too. I want us to be around for each other for a long time.

dailySpark: Now that you've lost the weight, what are your other life goals?
Angela: I really want to do more races this summer. I am training for a 5K. Had a minor setback with a major sinus infection these past three weeks, but I am ready to start training again.

dailySpark: Do you have any other advice for our dailySpark readers?
Angela: I love these two quotes! They've really helped me keep going.
"There's nothing you've ever been successful at that you didn't work on EVERY day." Will Smith
"It's easy to say you're too tired, too stressed, too busy, too this or too that. Too bad. The only way you'll strip away the fat is to start by stripping away the excuses." -- Dr. Oz & Dr. Roizen- You on A Diet

dailySpark: I know that you have two lovely daughters. What role did they play in your decision to be healthier?
Angela: My family definitely played a role in my desire to get healthy. I wanted to set a good example for my two young girls. I don't want them to have issues with their weight like I have from Jr. High on. I know my healthy lifestyle has rubbed off on them already, they will say, "Look Mom, I'm exercising!" as they run around the house or try to do push-ups. They are too cute!

How did Angela's story inspire you? Don't forget to pick up a copy of Family Circle to check out her story (it's on page 122)!

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Well done to you for continuing to be active and watching the diet even when you reached plateaus or when the scale said different. Report
Congrats Angela, and thanks for sharing your story Report
Congratulations Angela. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!!!! Report
It is inspirational stories like yours that make me so glad that I am on Spark People!!! You look stunning and I am glad you have shared your journey with us! Report
Angela, I can relate to you about being depressed about your weight and I must say that I am really inspired by you and your story. I am so proud of you. You are truly amazing. Report
Awsome story!! I love your quotes. Report
WOW what an inspiring story, THANKS for sharing!! Report
Angela- I loved reading your page and your blogs. Spark People is so lucky to have people like you here to help and inspire others to reach their health and fitness goals. I know how challenging it is to lose a large amount of weight because I have lost almost 170 pounds so far. It isn't always easy. But isn't it better than being unhealthy and overweight? I'll take working 'hard' at being healthy and fit over the difficulties of living in an obese body any day!

You are beautiful inside and out! You look so much younger and happier now. CONGRATULATIONS on your weight loss and your article in Family Circle magazine- WAY TO GO!

De Anna Report
i really loved this story. it was an insperation for me. right now i am struggling with staying with it. this really helped me realize its ok just started smart next time Report
Thank you for sharing. This is a journey that I have started on so many times. I am ready to stay on till the end. I need to see and hear about other peoples successes as encouragement for my journey.
Thanks again. Report
Great. Report
Whoa, what a change we can do it too! We all know of the setbacks that happen. Just don't beat ourselves up or even think of giving up. Change is good and when we eat healthier we will see that in our body. If and when we see a plateau we must persevere and keep at it,. for the changes are happening there in our body. Building muscle so as to be more fit!!!! Yeah let go make it to our goal!!! Report
Thanks Angela, for taking the time to share your journey with us. Just the other day I heard about eating chocolate once a day and I see that a Hershey's Bliss Dark Chocolate square is a menu staple for you. Hmmmmm, I'm going to have to check that out. Report
Great Job Angela! I loved your blog. You are a great example to your children and an asset to your family. Keep up the good work. And good luck at your races. Report
Angela, KUDOS to you on your tremendous hard work and your success.
It's stories like this that help the rest of us to stay focused and motivated.
Very good work and I will be reading the article Report

i just saw the article last night. angela, you are a true inspiration!!

k Report
Congratulations Angela and thank you for sharing your story. I had started on Sparkpeople back in November, but life interrupted and I never stayed focused. I saw the article in Family Cirlce and was encouraged by your success and I logged in for the first time in a long time and have been tracking my food and reading articles and beginning to exercise again! Report
Inspiring and awesome! The perfect SparkStory. Congratulations, Angela. Report
Awesome for Angela! I really enjoyed the quotes she shared - I will put them on my Sparkpage and refer to them when I need a lift. Congrats on the magazine feature, too, how exciting! Report
Great job Angela! I too am 33, and have two young kids - boys. I just had my second 6 weeks ago and after a hard time with PPD with my first, made worse by my weight and self esteem issues, I knew I had to be better after this baby. I'm excited to find SparkPeople and stories like yours. I've lost a lot of weight before - 52lbs! But I have to say it was so much easier without a husband and kids to influence me. hahah I really feel positive this time that I can do it!

Thanks for the inspiration! Report
Congratulations on your success and thank you for sharing your story.
These articles help to keep us all inspired.
It can be done...you just have to keep trying and never give up.
:o) Report
Wonderful story and so inspiring. Glad you shared your typical day menu too. You look wonderful and so happy and healthy. Hugs to you. Report
GREAT story Angela, you look AWESOME!! Report
Great story. Thank you for sharing the quotes. your story and the quotes are together very inspirational. I have been in a real slump and think this will be a help to me. Report
Way to go! I got that issue of Family Circle earlier this week, and when I saw that there was someone from Spark People in it, I thought that was really cool.
Congrats Angela! Report
What a wonderful and encouraging story. I have about 86 pounds to lose and now I know why I'm not losing. Too many excuses!!! Thanks for the quote! My goal is a healthy lifestyle, one day at a time! Thank you so much for the encourgagement and sending me in the right direction! I am an Oregon "girl" too! Keep up that healthy lifestyle! Report
I too am a stay at home mom with a beautiful 12 year old daughter, and wonderful supportive husband of 18 years. I could not have have started or even made it on this Lifestyle changing journey without their encouragement. After trying for 6 years to have a baby, God blessed us with Kellee. We had her late in life. I being 35, and Richard, 37. Ironically the exact same age as my parents when they had me. But since then I have fought an extremely arduous battle with off and on weight gain. There have been a few debilitating set backs. The loss off my left of my sight in my left eye. I wear a scleral shell. In freak accident in my yard. Breaking a stick that flew up in my eye and tore my retina. Which led to depression. Which led to weight gain. But also has pushed me into telling people how important it is to wear safety glasses while doing yard work. Also, I jumped from a ledge that was higher than I thought. 8ft. to be exact, and knocked my knee cap all the way around to the back of my leg. In turn, which tore my ACL and tendons. I have had 3 surgeries. 2 orthscopies, and a complete ACL surgery. I have been living on a daily basis with 2 rods,2screws, and chronic pain. My orthopedist has finally agreed to a complete Total Knee Replacement this summer. He kept telling me I was to young to have one. But after looking at the last 2 MRI's, he said it is time to do the surgery. Unless he is just tring to tell me in a nice way I am old now!LOL. Anyway, I have blamed lack of being able to do exercise because of pain. I have blamed pain, antidepressants, lithium medication. I have blame everything under the sun on my weight issues. But the one thing I never blamed was me! And than I found SparkPeople. More or less, SparkPeople found me. After a week long marathon of insomnia, binge eating, and just self pity. I was at my witts end. Than my family was invited to a Performance based on the movie with Tom Hanks,"Big."No Pun intended.LOL At the Theater Of Performing Arts. I panicked. We live 35 miles from there, which in reality is nothing. I had become so complacent being in the country and just running to the school, store, and post office 10 minutes away. That the thought of getting dressed up, parking and walking downtown, and than walking up stairs and sitting through a 2 hour play mortified me. I practically threw up. On top of that, it took me 3 hours to get ready due to ripping my closet to shreds before I found something to squeeze into. I have not clothes shopped in years. Why bother. I had my big T-Shirts and spandex stretch pants. Oh Lord I prayed, for the sake of my child get me through this one night. Than my neighbor who gives me all her read magazines sent them over through her child. And there you were! He had answered my prayers. Suffice it to say I did go. Kellee fell in love with the theater. I survived. Kellee is now a member of Summer PlayHouse and will be performing in summer play,:Reaching The Rainbow." And here you are again. And today I made a decision to help with set designs with my Husband. It is wonderful people like you that God has put on this earth to cross paths with people like me and bring encouragement, and self worthingness in my life. Had Sparkpeople not been in my life, than I would have not even noticed your article. Thank You so much for being one of those people to being a good role model to my child and to myself. To you and SparkPeople for giving me a Spark in my Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul and taking back control of my life. Take Care and GodSpeed Carlin5007 Report
That is awsome- congrats on your progress! I am borrowing your two quotes they were good ones! Report
Congrats on the success that you have had. I hope that one day I can sing your song along with you and others. Report
Well done on losing weight - I hope you break through your plateau and continue with your progress! Report
Congratulations Angela you make us not want to give up but keep going until we reach our goals too. 2 1/2 years sounds like a long time but when you get your weight down for good you have to work at it for a time. I imagine you hit a lot of plateaus before you got it down. Thank You for inspiring us. Report
CONGRATS Angela! What a true inspiration you are to all of us! You look amazing and I bet you feel amazing, too! Thanks for sharing a little part of your life's journey with us!!! Report
great story congrats!!

GREAT JOB!! Report
It is so difficult to see the end of the road from here. This makes me want to continue on my journey and gives me hope. Thanks! Report
Way to go, Angela! Very inspiring! Report
These are the types of stories that really motivate you to keep going! Angela, congratulations on your success. Report
I'm sitting here at work (on my lunch hour) reading your story and trying not to cry. What an inspiring story. You really make me want to stick to it this time!! Thanks. Report
Wow! It's like reading an article about myself. You and I started around the same weight and have had some of the same ups and downs with weight. You are a great inspiration, reading this article got me going today. WHOO HOO SP people!!!! Report
Excuses are the devil of weight loss ~ when you strip them away, there's nothing left but you and the truth :-) Great job, Angela! Report
Thanks for sharing the story. I too am working hard to set a good example for my kids, and to show them the being healthy is a lifetime sport. Report
I read this in the magazine. I was so happy to see a Sparkmember just doing her thing. Angela this is a wonderful accomplishment. You look wonderful. Keep up the good work. Remember you are worth it. Love your story. Report
wow! way to go, I hope you can inspire many others with your story. Report
Great Blog !!! love reading about your success your great !!! I need to hear more stories like yours it makes it seem like i can do it too!! Report
Angela, that is fantastic! My husband is from Salem OR and we were just their for our honeymoon in August last year. Beautiful place! Report
I love reading about the success of others. It adds a 'spark' of persistence to my journey... Report
Angela's story inspires me to continue in my journey not just for me but for my children, husband, and granddaughter. The message I got was that no matter what the setback the only way to deal with it is to get back to healthy habits right away.

Angela looks absolutely radiant in her photo. Health and pride really look good on her. Report
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