Meet Carley Cooper (username SPARKYCARLEY), a SparkPeople member who pledged to heal her body so she could heal her mind. Read on to learn about her inspirational journey!
What is your age?: 46
How long have you been a SparkPeople member? How did you find SparkPeople?: I have been a SparkPeople member since October of 2008. I was referred by another SparkPeople member who I had met on a support website.
What is your favorite feature on SparkPeople?: My favorite features are the Nutrition and Fitness Trackers, as well as the support from other members. I could not have done this journey without their support.
How much weight have you lost?: I originally lost 75 pounds, which put me at my goal weight. I gained back a little and I'm now at a loss of 62 pounds. I've reset my new goal to be a total of 85 pounds lost.
How long did it take to lose the weight?: It took me about one year.
What was your light bulb moment that made you decide to lose weight?: You see, I have bipolar disorder and social anxiety disorder. At one point, I was living with a disabled man. My mental health was so bad that I often couldn't take care of myself. He took care of me, when it should have been the other way around. When I broke up with this man, I realized that I was about to land in the hospital in the mental health ward. This was terrifying, as I was newly single and alone. I was so afraid of what was to become of me. I had gotten to the point where I didn't trust the medical industry to help me.
My ''ah-ha!'' moment developed from this dark place. I had no choice but to do something to save myself before it was too late... because no one else was going to do it for me. I needed to get my future back before it slipped through my fingers for good. In order to get into a healthier mental state, I knew I would require a healthy body, too. The first step to that I could think of was to lose weight. ''I can't have a healthy mind without a healthy body'' was my theory, and my motivation.
What was your biggest obstacle while trying to lose weight?: Staying motivated to work out, especially during the winter.
What does your weekly exercise schedule look like?: In the summer, I work out outside and do a strength training video at home. I work out to SparkPeople videos during the winter, since it gets very cold here in Canada. I work out 4-6 days per week.
What is your favorite way to exercise?: We have a very beautiful lakefront where I live. My favorite way to exercise is power-walking in the park near the lake.
Do you have any personal fitness goals coming up?: My personal fitness goal is to have tight abs. It's my biggest struggle.
What does a typical day of food look like for you? How does this compare to the way you ate before your transformation?: A typical day of food would be:
Breakfast: Pro-biotic yogurt with almonds and berries mixed in, green tea, and a piece of fruit or a whole-grain slice of toast with butter. Other times, I may have a boiled egg, a piece of fruit, green tea, and a slice of whole-grain toast with butter.
Lunch: A spinach salad with chicken breast and veggies, with green tea. Or, a personal pizza made on a whole-grain tortilla, tomato sauce, fresh veggies and a small amount of grated mozzarella cheese.
Dinner: A serving of fish, chicken, or beef, with fresh veggies and a small potato or brown rice.
Snacks: A piece of fruit, or some veggie nibblers (carrot or celery sticks, radishes, green pepper, broccoli), or maybe some nuts.
What is your favorite healthy food?: My favorite healthy food is spinach. I absolutely love it. I get big energy boosts after I'm finished eating a spinach salad for lunch. It keeps me going all afternoon!
What is your favorite treat food?: My favorite treat food is a chocolate chip cookie. I allow myself one day per week to have some extra treats, like a cookie or a small piece of cake.
Who is your biggest inspiration?: My biggest inspiration are my SparkPeople friends. They've supported me through the good days and the bad days. They keep me going, they inspire and motivate me, and they help me feel like I'm helping them right back. I feel loved and useful.
Do you have a personal mantra/saying/quote that you live by that you'd like to share?: My personal mantras are:
''As long as you don't quit, you're not a failure''
''I was made for more''
I have these written on sticky notes and pasted on my mirror and my refrigerator. These things inspire me to keep pushing myself hard and keep my goals in sight. I spent years avoiding mirrors as much as possible. At about 50 pounds into my weight-loss journey, I happened to see myself in the mirror for the first time in a long time. I was wearing just my underwear. I started to cry; I couldn't believe my eyes. I looked like one of those women that intimidated me because they look so good. Another time, I took out my ''skinny'' jeans that I had been saving as a goal. They were too big! It was an exciting day for sure.
*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
Does Carley inspire you? What can YOU do today become a healthier version of yourself, in both body and mind?
More From SparkPeople