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 SparkPeople.com. 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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