Spark Spotlight: Michelle (MSMITCHELL2696)

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: Michelle (MSMITCHELL2696)
Age: 44
Location: Athol, Massachusetts
Small Success of the Week
Michelle recently announced in the Community Goal Feed that she was celebrating a major milestone: hitting her one year anniversary of making healthy lifestyle changes. While she did hit her weight-loss goal, she gained some things as well.

"I have gained a level of fitness I have never known, a deeper love of nature, a strength to believe in myself and know that I can overcome my obstacles as long as I keep fighting for what I want," she says. "I learned I don't need to be perfect but I do need to be persistent and mindful. I have learned to believe in the process, even through months of no-scale movement, [and] to believe that it all falls together if we are patient and just keep trying."
What's your overall goal?
My overall goal at this time is to lose 100 pounds and then see where I am. I chose this goal because I have never in my adult life weighed less than 200-plus pounds.
How is SparkPeople helping you get there?

SparkPeople has shown me that a lot of what I thought was the right way to lose weight wasn't correct at all. It was a lot of needless deprivation, a calorie limit that was too low to maintain and I learned that moderation is the key. Through the SparkPeople community and by reading advice and encouragement and of others' struggles and their successes, I have learned how common our diet misconceptions are and how hard we have to work to overcome the diet mentality of "all or nothing."
SparkPeople has taught me that we all struggle, we all get off track from time to time but that it is all part of the process and part of learning [to have] a healthier relationship with food. Mostly though, I have learned to forgive myself when I struggle and make poor choices. I try to learn something from these lessons and to move forward toward my goals.
What's your biggest challenge right now?
My biggest challenges right now are that I still battle binge eating episodes but they are less frequent and not to the same extent that they were.
What advice do you have for someone who just joined SparkPeople today?
1. Believe that you can do this.
2. Start slowly with a few changes that you can and will stick with. As they become comfortable, add in more changes.
3. The only way we fail is if we stop trying. Even [on] a day we don't do our greatest, we have still succeeded because we tried.
4. Moderation will set you free from the diet mentality that holds us back. There are no "bad" foods or food groups. All foods can be enjoyed; some less healthy ones need to be enjoyed a lot less often and in portion sizes that are realistic for your calorie range.
"If you are struggling, [know] that is part of the process. Do your best every day. Even when your best isn't great it is still wonderful because you were trying and not quitting," she shares.
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!