Mike Lost 67+ Pounds Using SparkPeople--and Now He Works Here*

By , Michael Honkomp, Ad Operations Specialist at SparkPeople
Editor's Note: By popular demand, our Behind the Scenes at SparkPeople feature has returned. Today we're interviewing Mike, who joined the SparkPeople team earlier this year. In addition to being a SparkPeople employee, he used our program to lose almost 70 pounds (and he's not done yet)! Mike, who credits daily use of SparkCoach for his success, learned to love running. Read his story!  

Name: Michael Honkomp (HONKUS)

Position at SparkPeople: Ad Operations Specialist

Age: 38

Family: Married to Erin for 14 years, father of two girls ages 7 and 4

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? 4 months

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job: My proudest moment happens each day when I walk in the door for work. I do everything I can to help SparkPeople spread its message so it can help others as much as it has helped me.

How do you stay in shape?
I do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day: walking, running, free weights, floor exercises. I also eat a well-balanced diet, keeping within the calorie range I have set on SparkPeople.

What's your favorite food?
Pad Thai with tofu

What's your favorite indulgence?
I like to pour a modest glass of scotch while the wife has a glass of wine and just hang out.

How do you feel when you exercise?
Simply put, I feel alive. After a run, when I'm breathing deeply, dripping with sweat, and slightly tired, it makes me feel more alive and in tune with myself than anything else.
What do you do to de-stress?
I read books.  I bought a Kindle a few years back, and have made great use of it.
What is your passion in life?
My family is my main passion.  Providing them with a home and a happy, healthy lifestyle has been what keeps me going each day.  I can’t find any joy greater than the smile and laughter of my girls.

How has working at SparkPeople affected your life?
I love the mission of SparkPeople.  It started to affect my life long before I started working here, but after working here and seeing the employees truly living it day by day has strengthened my resolve even further.

Have you gained or lost weight since starting here?
I have lost about seven pounds since I have started, and I plan to lose 13 more to reach my goal.

Have you started any new habits?
I arrive about an hour early to work each day to give me time to exercise, rest, shower, and take a few minutes to focus on the day ahead.
What's your favorite breakfast cereal?
Plain Cheerios and a fresh banana or blueberries.
What did you eat for dinner last night?
Salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts
Do you have any hidden talents?
On weekends I like to fire up my smoker grill and cook a “low and slow” pork shoulder that takes all day to prepare (or whatever else I can come up with). Grilling is a hobby I started in recent years, and I have been enjoying learning new recipes and techniques.
What are some of your goals?
My main goal is to lose the last bit of weight to be at my ideal weight. 
I have smaller ongoing exercise goals: running a race, weight-lifting goals, daily step count goals. I have a longer-term goal (which I need to start) to relearn piano or another instrument--perhaps banjo.
What's your favorite SparkPeople feature?
SparkCoach. I still use it every day after nearly a year. It is a great daily motivation tool and was a big factor in losing 67 pounds to date.
What do you like best about working at SparkPeople?
Helping spread the message of SparkPeople, and watching the site help others as much as it has helped me.
Is there anything else readers should know about you?
Before working at SparkPeople, I was a SparkPeople member. To date, I have lost 67 pounds and plan to lose 13 more.  After having been 80 pounds overweight for 10 years, I started a new lifestyle in January 2012. SparkPeople was at the core of this change. Using the Nutrition Tracker and Fitness Tracker daily, I began to track my food intake and my new exercise routine. That January I joined a gym, and I was talked into a package that included a few dozen sessions with a personal trainer. My routine became working out 30 minutes a day. I met with the trainer once every other week to keep me in check and make sure my technique was safe and sound.  I used the vast library of articles, exercise routines and recipes available on SparkPeople, too.

With the help of my wonderful wife, we as a household eat much healthier. I became a SparkCoach user shortly after its release, and I found it to be invaluable. I really loved the daily interaction. The advice from the videos and the reflections each day kept me positive and always looking to improve.  About six months into my new lifestyle I had lost about 30 pounds.  About that time I decided to try jogging for the first time in my life, and signed up for my first 5K in October.  Running was VERY hard early on.

Using some 5K routines on SparkPeople, I ran a 5K in October, after a 10K in September (yes, I did it backward!) and 5 mile race that Thanksgiving.
Running has really helped me to shed the pounds. I still run 3 or 4 times a week, usually totaling 10 to 15 miles. I run a 5K or 10K most months of the year now. This year I have run a 5k or 10k each month. I ran a 14k this September and plan to run my first half marathon in late October! 

I do some exercise each day for at least 30 minutes. It has become part of my daily routine, and I love how I feel after each workout.  I can’t overstate how big of a part SparkPeople has been in my life change and how it has helped uncover the real me that I had buried for so long.

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com