Spark Spotlight: Karen (STEEPERSLOUNGE)

By , SparkPeople Blogger

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Karen (STEEPERSLOUNGE)
Age: 56
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Small Success of the Week

When we first noticed Karen's small success, she had posted on the Community Feed that she hadn't eaten added sugar in a whopping 171 days! She has continued that streak and is now up to 190 days sugar-free. Karen also reports she's in her best health ever and has gone from taking 14 medications to zero.  

What's your overall goal?

My overall goal is good health. My weight loss is an added benefit of tracking my calories and exercise while understanding the macro and micronutrients I need to meet my personal health goals.

How is SparkPeople helping you get there?

SparkPeople has taught me that consistency is the key to meeting not only my weight-loss and health goals but also to gain enough confidence in myself to take on new adventures—no matter what the scale reads. I now speed walk 5Ks to 8Ks, volunteer at the finish line for marathons and at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and row on a competitive rowing team. It took me eight years of "Sparking" to learn consistency, and that weight loss and good health begin in the kitchen.

Before I learned consistency, I joined SparkPeople and quit several times under a different username. I would lose the weight, regain it, get frustrated and quit. After undergoing a chelation treatment for an overabundance of copper in my system, I rejoined SparkPeople to track my copper intake, this time not even thinking about the scale. I began to input my foods manually with the Nutrition Tracker. It took a long time but my hard work paid off. It was then that I really began to notice how much sugar I was consuming on a daily basis.

I joined the Tame Your Sweet Tooth Challenge twice. I read and reread all the articles, took notes and learned to really read every label of the foods I purchased. I read them prior but never paid attention to the added sugar. I already gave up soda years back and I thought it was time to turn my attention to how much sugar I was consuming by eating foods labeled "low fat." It turns out, the products were low in fat but high in hidden sugar.

I then began to make all my own salad dressings, condiments, sauces, et cetera and that lowered my sugar intake to 28 grams or less a day, which I get from eating fruits and vegetables. I consume smart portions of real butter, regular sour cream, real cream for coffee and real whipped cream for dessert with berries. I have not lost any taste in food and do not miss the sugar. Plus, I have lost 37 pounds in 190 days.

What's your biggest challenge right now?

Right now, my biggest challenge is that I am stuck at a plateau which I know is normal and will pass. I get up and tell myself every morning that "Today is a new day to conquer" and to keep going, keep tracking my calories, exercise, read the articles and maintain my portion control.

What advice do you have for someone who just joined SparkPeople today?

I would suggest starting simply by tracking all the foods you consume and do not be discouraged when you realize how many calories you've been eating—that is a good place to learn where and how to change your eating lifestyle. Also, learn to love drinking water and track it every day.

Do not compare yourself to others, as we are all different and what works for one might not work for you. Read and reread the articles provided by SparkPeople, try the SparkPeople Premium workouts, the recipe nutrition calculator and SparkRecipes. Learn that sometimes failure is a non-scale victory in disguise; [failure] taught me consistency and to change my plan, not my goal.

Want to be the next small success we spotlight? Share your successes on the goal feed or in the comments below, and you might be the next person we contact!

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IRONADONIS 7/24/2018
thx Report
NANCYPAT1 7/17/2018
Thanks for sharing this! Report
Well done Report
ANNEBOO 7/16/2018
Good job! Report
CHERYLHURT 7/15/2018
Excellent Report
SUNSET09 7/15/2018
Thanx for sharing, SparkFriend. Report
CKOUDSI617 7/14/2018
Excellent advice from a voice of wisdom and experience! Thank you! Report
Awesome points Report
BIKE4HEALTH 7/14/2018
thanks Report
TMP0418 7/14/2018
Awesome Report
BIKE4HEALTH 7/14/2018
thanks...great points Report
DMEYER4 7/13/2018
WTG Report
JSTETSER 7/12/2018
WTG! Small successes are key! Report
-POOKIE- 7/12/2018
Great! Report
INSIGHT62 7/11/2018
Karen, you are so inspiring to everyone. Congratulations on all your success. Report
ANGELDIAMOND122 7/10/2018
So full of positivity, perseverance, determination and awesomeness!! Congratulations!! You're fabulous!! :) Report
PATRICIA-CR 7/10/2018
Awesome story! Congrats! Report
MNABOY 7/10/2018
Thanks for sharing! Report
KHALIA2 7/9/2018
Congrats ! Report
Congratulations on a great job. Report
RHOOK20047 7/9/2018
Thanks for sharing your story. Report
JOC36BROWN 7/9/2018
Thank you great advice and story. Report
good advice Report
ETHELMERZ 7/9/2018
Why does your body have too much copper in it? Report
Thank-you Spark Community!
You have keep my motivation and consistency strong through encouragement. Report
DIANNEMT 7/9/2018
I have been Sparking for over 2500 days--lost 40 pounds, regained some and back to losing now. Active participation in the 5% Challenge has been my key! You are doing great! Report
USMAWIFE 7/9/2018
great advice Report
1958TMC 7/9/2018
Karen, you are a true inspiration!! Report
1958TMC 7/9/2018
Karen, you are a true inspiration!! Report
I truly admire your dedication to removing sugar from your diet...amazing! Report
NANCYPAT1 7/9/2018
Great story! Report
NANCYPAT1 7/9/2018
Great story! Report
NANCYPAT1 7/9/2018
Great story! Report
Thanks for the inspiration! Report
JANIEWWJD 7/9/2018
Congratulations!!! Report
KRISUA 7/9/2018
Gives me hope. Report
MOONDRAGON30 7/9/2018
congratulations Report
KATHYJO56 7/9/2018
This is an awesome article. Congratulations!!! Report
ZRIE014 7/9/2018
thank you. Report