Success Story: 'I Was Made for More!'*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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?

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I love your determination! Report
You go, Carley !
Proud of YOU
Love and Blessings Report
Congratulation on a job well done. You are an inspiration to myself and others.
I am proud of you in the way you got control of your health and weight all go hand in hand. Keep up the good work and may God continue to bless you. Report
Very nice job, continued success to you! Report
WOW, what a winner ! I think I can do it too. Thanks for the inspiration. Good luck in all your future endeavors. Report
This was a wonderful story to read. It is always amazing to me what people can accomplish when they find the right path. You are one of many who has been blessed to find SparkPeople. Aren't we lucky,
Thank you for your inspiring blog and for sharing with us. Report
Congratulations on a job well done! Keep going! Report
You are so inspiring! Report
What a journey you have had & what courage to keep going! Your story inspires me to keep going as well. God bless you! Report
Congratulations on your super transformation. You have over come more than weight loss in this journey.
You look super fab.
Be strong, stay positive.
Tisha Report
Thank you for being so open and honest in your story. I know it will help many people. You are an inspiration! Report
It is powerful what the mind can do! You are an example that if you want to change your life that you can! Continued success and thank you for sharing your story! Report
Congratulations on your journey. You look twenty years younger and a lot happier. Thanks for sharing your story. Report
Congrats on your accomplishments! You are a real inspiration! Report
What a great job you have done turning your life around... Thank you for sharing your story :) Report
WOW! What an inspirational blog!!! Congrats on your accomplishments!! Report
You are such an inspiration! You look so much more confident in your "After" picture. Keep on doing for yourself and inspiring others and always share your story. You are worth it! Report
Way to turn things around for yourself! You've come a long way, congratulations! Report
Congratulations Carley! Thank You So Much For Sharing Your Story. Such Motivation and Encouragement!!! God Bless You! :) Report
Oohh, Carley, didn't you do wonderful--! Congratulations, in bunches and bunches!!!
:-D Report
Congrats! Your story is an inspiration to me and to so many others. Report
great story,and great job!! Keep up the great work Report
I was touched by your story. Congratulations! Report
Amazing! Loved your stary! Report
Carley...You know that you are my hero!! Report
Congratulations Carley! I enjoyed reading about your journey. Hugs. Report
Congratulations! Carley you are truly an inspiration to many of us! Report
You are a great example! Way to go! Report
You're awesome! Congratulations on all of your success! Report
You're awesome! Congratulations on all of your success! Report
Way to go!! Report
Great to read about your journey. Best wishes! Report
I love your attitude! That sure was a long journey! Continued luck to you! Report
Carley,wow! You're one awesome Sparker! I, too, am bipolar and have some understanding of how bad it can be. I am so glad you're proactive on behalf of your physical and mental health. Nothing can hold you back. WooHoo! Report
nice article.........You go girl. Mental health and physical health do go hand in hand. You have a lot of courage to share your mental health issues. Having those isn't easy........I do get that. Report
You were definitely made for more! Congratulations on your spark journey, the journey to a healthy you from head to toe - inside and out. Many continued years of good health and happiness.
Amazing! congrats! Report
Congratulations! Way to go for taking charge of your own health! Report
Congratulations Carley! And thank you for sharing your inspiring story with the rest of us. It helps to read stories such as these...especially on the more "challenging" days.

Best wishes to you! Report
good work! Report
Thanks for sharing your journey! I too was once in a "dark place" and I've learned so much from my struggles to triumph over depression. It makes us stronger! Report
Congrats on your success, you are indeed an inspiration!! Thank you!! Report
Thanks so much for inspiring me. Congratulations to you! Report
You are AWESOME!! You are such an inspiration to me and anyone else that reads your story! Thank you for sharing!! Report
Go Carley! Hurrah! Report
Continued blessings to you!
You are an inspiration. Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Thank you for sharing your story and for your honesty. You have done an amazing job at reconnecting with yourself and yes, it is all intertwined. Mind, Body, and Soul all have to be in sync. Report
Wow, what an incredible story of saving oneself. Congratulations. Report