Sparking Others Helped Her Lose 142 Pounds*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Barbara June (ARKPLE)
Weight Lost:  142 pounds
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
What was life like before your weight loss?
I gained the weight by not paying attention to my food choices, not weighing in, not moving my body, not putting myself first, not dealing with clinical depression, inviting temptations into my home and totally neglecting the wisdom that is my body for many years. I felt depressed. I relied on a cane to walk even a short distance. I could not climb stairs at all. I had difficulty completing daily tasks with ease.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
When my weight climbed over the 360-pound mark, I vowed to lose weight. Enough was enough! I wanted to put myself first--that was my biggest motivation for weight loss. Putting others ahead of me led to clinical depression and weight gain. I was tired of remaining on the sidelines. I wanted to participate more fully in life.  I knew I would not have a perfect journey, but I vowed to start where I was and to make slow changes in my eating patterns and gradual changes in movement.

Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
To lose the weight, I relied on I weighed in weekly, enjoyed my food choices, savored every bite, competed against myself, engaged in joyful movement, and more!

I believe in the Arthur Ashe quotation, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." I also believe that we are each capable beyond our imagination and that we need to be compassionate toward our bodies; right where they are, even carrying excess weight. It's so important to stop feuding with our bodies and to thank our thighs and grab those hips to express gratitude versus wishing them away.  Also, I heartily believe that calories don't always account for everything. Outlook counts too!

And, as Maya Angelou says, "Nobody, but nobody, can make it alone." So the journey is best accomplished by buddying up, sharing knowledge, jointly inspiring yourself and others, joining a new SparkTeam, sparking today and sparking often!

I have been very active in the Biggest Loser Challenge SparkTeam (completing nearly a dozen rounds) and I am also a co-captain of a private team. My success was enhanced by my role in encouraging others to eat mindfully, to not seek perfection and to lose pound by pound, inch by inch, bite by bite and step by step.

How long did it take you to lose the weight?
It took over two years; however, it matters little to me how long it took. What matters most is that I’ve not regained my weight.

How has your eating habits/dietary intake changed compared to the way you ate before your transformation?
When it comes to food, I believe that just because you can eat, doesn’t mean you should. SparkPeople helped me check in with myself to feel stomach hunger before eating meals or a snack.

Then, I tune into what my body is asking for and allow myself to eat this without judgment. I eat much more consciously as a result of my participation with SparkPeople. I approach food with an awareness of my senses. Most importantly, I stop eating when I am no longer hungry, before becoming too full. I transition to another activity to help separate myself from the food (often that activity is sparking!).

I now take time to enjoy my food and eat in a calm environment, preferably at a table and not in front of the computer or the TV. I no longer respond to hunger as an emergency. I practice choosing smaller portions, and then I return again for more food should my physical hunger return.

What is your typical exercise routine like?
 I’m new to kickboxing (an activity I never thought I would or could engage in!).  I attend kickboxing class three times a week, and I also include some strength training twice a week.

Who is your biggest inspiration?
The following authors: Geneen Roth, Susan Albers, PsyD, Michelle May, M.D. and more. That is, all authors who share their knowledge about mindful eating.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
I do not rely on my cane. I am no longer plagued by hypertension or pre-diabetes. I can engage in joyful movement. Now, I can do a DVD of indoor walking with Leslie Sansone, whereas I could not walk unassisted before the weight release. I sleep better. I wake up more rested than before and with great deal of energy, vitality and aliveness.

Congratulations, Barbara June, and thanks for sharing your story!

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

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What an inspiration! Great Job! Thank you so much for sharing your story! Report
Wow! Congratulations. I like your attitude. Report
Barbara, I'm only a few lines into your story, but it's already sparked a chord in me. Putting people before ourselves will sabotage us. It's something we have to learn the hard way, isn't it? Report
What an inspirational story! Thanks for sharing. I am new to SparkPeople and love reading one success story after another. I know I can do this, too. Report
Wow. You are an incredibly strong woman. Thank you for your words of wisdom! In reading your story, I can't help but be gripped by this: "just because you can eat, doesn’t mean you should"... I feel like it's a foreign concept that just finally made sense (if that makes sense?) I never thought of it that way. Report
I know that you aren't aware of the impact that your story has, I'm sure for many and definitely for me. Thank you so very much for sharing in total honesty. You are greatly appreciated and although everyone's journey is different it helps to know that I am not struggling alone. You raise a lot of key points that are extremely helpful. I mentally abuse myself endlessly and forget to congratulate myself on the little things. Many, many thanks to you. Report
Thank you for sharing the story of your journey. Your story is truly inspiring. Like others, I was impressed with your attitude and your choice of words. You have learned to control the inner voice that sometimes derails us. Best wishes to you as you continue your journey to maintain the weight loss and continue to enjoy the health benefits! Report
Barbara - I just read your story and am so inspired by it. I started my journey (not always on sparkpeople) at 367 pounds. Right now I am at 315, but I really need some help. Would you consider being a support person to me? Report
I am SO ridiculously proud of you :) Report
I really like the term "weight release." Letting the weight go, setting it free, sounds much better than "losing" it which implies that it's something you want, something you have to go find again. Report
Thank u I needed to hear this Report
Well said! Thank you for sharing your journey-very inspiring! Report
Wow! What an awesome story. You inspire me to continue my journey. Report
So inspiring! You are a beautiful "poster girl" for mindfulness and joy. Report
awesoMe story. thanks for sharing, i'M very inspired by you! Report
I want to do this also for my precious granddaughter., and I feel I can do it now just by joining Spark. Thank You for sharing. Report
You are a great inspiration! Report
You are awesome!!!!! Report
AWESOME!!!! Barbara, very inspiring.....thanks for sharing your journey! Report
Thanks for sharing. you're pretty awesome. Report
I love the term you use "weight release"! So appropriate! Report
You are phenomenal! Report
Good job regaining your life! Report
simply amazing what inner strength Report
You look awesome. You just made me push a little harder toward my goal. Thanks. Report
You give me hope
.Love these two comments
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." and " just because you can eat, doesn't mean you should".
Great Job !!!!!!!!!!
It's so amazing what you have done, keep up the great work. Report
you look great. i just got started and decided that i want to take my life back. the past is the past. ive started counting calories and really controlling how much i eat. when im upset i start a new project and that eliminates the emotional eating. thanks for sharing. your awesome. Report
Congrats! You look great. :) Report
Congrats on your success!! Inspirational!! :) Report
Your story is such an inspiration!! I'm so glad I read it. I am finding this site to be a huge inspiration!! I'm finding myself on Sparkpeople now more than facebook!! Thank you for sharing your success story!! Report
Congratulations! I just came back to this site and I'm ready to take SMALL steps. It is inspiring to hear your story. I am currently using a cane at 41 years old and I can't keep up with my parents who are 70 years old. My mom especially misses going shopping with me - I just cannot stand/walk that long. I'm looking forward to just doing the simple things in life. To hear your story helps me to continue with my goals and stick to it - for the rest of my life! Report
Amazing job! Report
I am most impressed my your attitude. I love how you choose your words..."enjoy my food choices"..."joyful movement"....."weight release"....It seems that you have transformed much more than your body. Congratulations and enjoy your new life! Report
your story is my story. I have to use a cane to walk, which I cant walk very far, cant stand for more then a few minutes and need a mobility scooter to get around the stores.. Whats next, w wheel chair? Bed bound?NOPE.. I am back( as of 3 weeks ago) and I will make it this time.. Your story was a great inspiration. Thank you and congrats on your acheivement! You GO GIRL! Report
Your story sounds so much like my life story. I always took care of my family first and I was always last. I finally relized for me to take care of my family I had to first take care of myself. All my life I have been over weight and using food as confort for when I was sad or worried or depressed. I had high blood pressure/diebeties pain in my knees and could not stand up for very long. My health was getting very bad. my family is my inspiration. I am slowly changing my life to healthy life style living. I do my exercises everyday. Either I do my 3 mile arobics DVD and exercise bike for 40 minutes or I do my DVD and go walking. I try to get projects and always keep busy so that I can ocupy myself and not think of food. So far I have lost 85 pounds and I am super happy. I started last Nov 2012. I feel alot more energized and happy and confident with myself. I feel always ready for a challenge. I still have a journey ahead of me, but that is okay. I am looking forward to continuing and taking care of myself. You look so beautiful and you are a inspiration to me. It helps to hear your story and to know we have friends that can support us going through the same issues we go through in life. CONGRATULATIONS on your accomplishments:) Report
WOW!!!! You look GREAT!!!! So happy for you!!!! Report
Fabulous! Report
Thank you you are an inspiration to me. I hope I can accomplish my goals for health and weight loss this time around. Report
Congrats! What a milestone and very encouraging, too!

KEEP SPARKIN!!!!!!!!! Report
Congratulations! You look amazing =) Report
Thank you! I love your Arthur Ashe quotation, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." I was very focused for one month (much better than 2 days), but not so focused this month. What you shared was so helpful and encouraging. Because even though I didn't lose as much weight the second month, I didn't regain it all either. I, too, need to stop beating up my body, and instead be grateful to it and listen to it. It's only what I can do right now that I need to think about; yesterday is past and tomorrow is not here yet. Report
Hey Barbara! Love you and love your story. Congrats for making it so far and for being a spark star! Can't wait to see what the next two years bring you. : ) Report
Nice job!! Report
OMG Barbara! Look at you Superstar! Well done lady! Report
Way to go!!! You are indeed a success story and very inspirational!
Spark Cheers! Report
Wow, very inspirational....I too belong to BLC, and am loving the support I get there. I also am a leader in Power Cookies....SP is the most amazing site there is for love, understanding and support, no matter what you are doing.
Thank you so much for this wonderful I am inspired...thank you. Report
Very inspirational story. Thank you for sharing. Continue enjoying your new life.
Take care! Report
I am so very proud of you for your strength and courage to love your body and encourage others to do the same! You are a rock star! xoxoxo Report
Congratulation. I love that now you can sleep better now. Do not need a cane to walk and have more energy. Report